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Friday, 15 December

01:58

Not in My Name: Delhi Gathers to Condemn Rajasthan Hacking The Wire

Poets, academics and others gathered to protest the rising tide of hatred and violence across the country.

The stage on Parliament Street. Credit: The Wire

New Delhi: Delhi on Wednesday evening witnessed another citizens protest under the Not in My Name campaign, titled Nafrat ke khilaf hum sab ki awaaz against the murder of Afrazul Khan in Rajasthan and the rising tide of hatred in the country.

I am Muslim, I am India, was the protestors clear message, urging citizens to stand up against the spate of violence erupting in different parts of the country.

The protest started with an address by Saba Dewan, founder of the Not in My Name campaign, demanding the immediate dismissal of the Vasundhara Raje government in Rajasthan. Expressing shock at the at the culture of impunity, the documentary filmmaker said that it is the administrations abstinence from taking steps that has encouraged the perpetrators to continue their violence. Today, what is at stake is not the unity and integrity of the country, which it is, but it is our humanity that is on the verge of being lost, she said, speaking to The Wire. 

01:23

Exit Polls Predict Victory for BJP in Both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh The Wire

Exit polls predict the BJP will win over 110 seats in Gujarat and 49 seats in Himachal Pradesh.

Successive opinion polls since August this year indicated a rise in the popularity of the Congress as against an almost commensurate decline in the BJPs popularity in the state. Credit: Facebook

New Delhi: Exit polls for the Gujarat assembly elections have shown the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party comfortably ahead of the Congress. Exit polls for the Himachal Pradesh elections too predict the BJPs victory over the Congress by a two-thirds majority.

The last minute thrust of the BJP, which saw the party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi using every trick in the bag to regain the state, appears to have paid dividends. The last pre-voting opinion poll, conducted in November 30, had the BJP and Congress neck and neck with 43% of the vote share each. According to the exit polls, the saffron party appears to have upped its share by 3 to 4 percentage points since then largely thanks to Modis campaigning as is well on its way to securing its fifth consecutive government in the Gujarat.

The exit polls predict the BJP will win over 110 seats in the 182-member Gujarat assembly. The party had won 116 seats in the 2012 assembly elections while the Congress had bagged 60.

01:00

Demolition of a Madrassa Triggers Tensions, Violence in Jammu The Wire

Nomadic Muslim communities allege that they are being specifically targeted by the governments eviction drive.

Hari Market in Jammu. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Hari Market in Jammu. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Srinagar: The demolition of a madrassa by government authorities in Jammu on December 4 has led to fresh accusations of selective targeting against the BJP government in the region where families from the Gujjar and Bakerwal communities, living in forests and other peripheral areas for decades, face an eviction threat under the guise of development and retrieval of encroached state land.

Employees of the Jammu Development Authority (JDA) bulldozed the madrassa in the Gool Gujjar area, barely five km from the main city, leading to protests and violent clashes. Despite the government ordering the transfer of a senior police officer and constituting an inquiry into the incident, the situation continues to remain tense.

The morning shock

A large number of families from different communities including Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus have been living in Gujjar, on the banks of river Tawi, since 1976.

Ashraf Khatana, a local, told The Wire that early in the morning, a team of JDA officials joined by a contingent of police arrived with a bulldozer, and within no time took down the madrassa and allegedly desecrated holy scriptures.

We pleaded with them to stop the demolition, reminding them of assurances given to us by...

00:49

Interview 1334 New World Next Week with James Evan Pilato The Corbett Report

[audio mp3="http://www.corbettreport.com/mp3/2017-12-14%20James%20Evan%20Pilato.mp3"][/audio]This week on the New World Next Week: the World Bank helps ring in the technocratic future with climate financing; pigs fly as the Pentagon gets an audit; and Facebook rolls out machine-learning suicide-predicting algorithms.

00:37

How Russia expedited Syrias victory OrientalReview.org

A huge role in the resolution of the Syrian crisis was played by the Russian diplomats who set in motion the negotiations in Astana, while Russian planes and warships bashed terrorists on the ground.

The post How Russia expedited Syrias victory appeared first on OrientalReview.org.

00:12

From JoyCamp to Poetry The Corbett Report

Benny Wills (aka one of the collaborators behind the JoyCamp conscious comedy group) joins us today to discuss the next step in his evolution as a creative human being: poetry! We talk about his new video/poem Bill Lost His Memory and what it means for the future of Benny and JoyCamp.

00:00

Remembering the Women Who Helped Shape Indias Constitution The Wire

The Centre for Womens Development Studies 2018 calendar revolves around two women members of the constituent assembly Dakshayani Velayudhan and Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit.

The back-cover of the calendar for 2018. Courtesy: CWDS

The back-cover of the calendar for 2018. Courtesy: CWDS

New Delhi: The contributions and role of the women who helped draft the constitution of free India was front and centre last week at the release of the Centre for Womens Development Studies 2018 calendar  Women at the Midnight Hour. The calendar revolves around two of those eminent women members of the constituent assembly Dakshayani Velayudhan and Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit.

At a time when the agency of adult women to govern their own lives has come under threat, and with the country completing 70 years of independence, the CWDS has chosen to draw focus to the 15 women in the 299-member constituent assembly. Yes, there were only 15, said Malavika Karlekar, under whom the organisation has been producing calendars for over a decade.

According to her, the CWDS calendar grew organically out of an exhibition which was aimed at recording the history of women over a century and a half through photographs. These images in the Representing Indian Women 1875-1947: A Visual Documentary exhibition eventually became a part the organisations calendars.

For the 2018 calendar, the ph...

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Thursday, 14 December

23:54

Supreme Court to Pronounce Order on Mandatory Linking of Aadhaar Tomorrow The Wire

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, representing the Centre, said the government was willing to extend the deadline up to March 31 next year.

On the issue of linking of Aadhaar card with mobile services, the Attorney General said that the deadline of February 6 next year was fixed in pursuance of an apex court direction. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today reserved its interim order for tomorrow on a batch of pleas seeking a stay on the governments decision of mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various welfare schemes, as the Centre extended the deadline up to March 31 next year.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the final hearing on the petitions challenging the Aadhaar scheme itself would commence from January 17 next year.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, representing the Centre, said the government was willing to extend the deadline up to March 31 next year for mandatory linking of the national biometric identifier to avail the benefit of various services and welfare measures.

Venugopal, however, told the bench, also comprising Justices A.K. Sikri, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, that the Aadhaar should be allowed to remain mandatory for opening of new bank accounts.

The government had yesterday issued a notification to extend till March 31 the deadline for mandatory quoting of Aadhaar and Permanent Account Number (PAN) for bank accounts and certain financial transactions. However, there is no word on extending the February 6, 2018 deadline for linking mobile SIM cards with Aadhaar.

On the issue of linking of Aadhaar card with mobi...

23:42

Income Inequality Highest in India Since 1980s, Finds New Report The Wire

The reports findings give credence to the theory that the opening up of the economy has disproportionately benefited those at the top of the income pyramid.

Credit: Reuter

New Delhi: Income inequality has reached historically high levels in India since the 1980s when economic and trade liberalisation began in the country, with the top ten percent of the population accounting for 56% of the national income in 2014, says a new report on income inequality across the world by the World Inequality Lab.

The report gives credence to the theory that the opening up of the economy has disproportionately benefited those at the top of the income pyramid.

The report further says that the top one percent of the population accounted for as much as 22% of the countrys total income in 2014.

Also, the absolute growth in income of the top one percent of the population since the 1980s has been more than that of the bottom 50% people taken together, according to the report.

The report was coordinated by economists Thomas Piketty, Facundo Alvaredo, Lucas Chancel, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.

According to the report, inequality within the top...

23:30

IAS-IPS Turf Wars Are Not Good For Governance The Wire

Indias policy makers and the enlightened elements in the steel frame need to appreciate the gravity of the problem and understand the ramifications.

What is good for the IAS is not necessarily good for the country, and the same thing applies to the IPS. Credit: PTI

What is good for the IAS is not necessarily good for the country, and the same thing applies to the IPS. Credit: PTI

A commonplace clarification to begin with. The chief secretary of a state, its home secretary and district magistrates belong to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). The state police chief and district police chiefs belong to the Indian Police Service (IPS). At times, a few district magistrates and police chiefs come from the cadre of state service officers, thanks to their political clout.

On September 7, 2017, Rajiv Kumar, the chief secretary of Uttar Pradesh, wrote a letter to district magistrates directing them to chair the monthly law and order review meetings in their respective district police lines to assess and analyse the law and order situation. As expected, the IPS community took offence at the letter, interpreting it as an attempt to dilute their authority in the police hierarchy and command and control in districts. Subsequently, again as expected, the UP police chief, who is...

23:29

Is a Bottleneck Effect Endangering Chinese Alligators? The Wire

The effect is what happens when the population of a species shrinks so much that the surviving individuals are not just fewer in number but also contain fewer genetic variations.

One of several Chinese Alligators at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Caption and credit: Greg Hume/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

One of several Chinese Alligators at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Caption and credit: Greg Hume/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

The sleek Chinese alligators living inconspicuously in the murky wetlands of the Yangtze river are being pushed to the edge of extinction again. Less than 120 individuals survive in the wild. The trouble is that the captive population, present in sufficient numbers in two natural reserves in China, might be suffering from a population bottleneck, according to a recent study from Zhejiang University, Hangzhou.

Such a bottleneck happens when the population of a species shrinks so much that the surviving individuals are not just fewer in number but also contain fewer genetic variations.

If we were to compare the long strands of DNA between two individuals of the same species, we would find some subtle differences. These differences help the population adapt to changing environmental conditions, withstand the outbreak of new diseases, etc. The larger the number of individuals in a naturally healthy population, the larger the number of variations that confer adaptability an...

23:25

Congress Slams Election Commission for Ignoring Modis Model Code of Conduct Violation The Wire

The party accused the EC of being a puppet of the ruling BJP after it pulled up Rahul Gandhi over alleged model code of conduct violation in Gujarat but failed to take action against the PM for the same.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. Credit: PTI

Rahul Gandhi. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: A day after the Election Commission (EC) issued a notice to Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi for violating the model code of conduct in Gujarat, the party accused the Commission of becoming a puppet and frontal organisation of the BJP for failing to take action against the prime minister for holding a road show soon after casting his vote in Ahmedabad today.

Rahul had been pulled up by the EC for giving an interview to television channels after campaigning for the second and final round of polling in the state had ended.

The Congress said the prime minister had conducted a road show and thereby violated the model code of conduct by walking up to the crowds who had gathered outside the polling booth and then waving to them from the footboard of his vehicle.

Senior party leaders later also submitted a memorandum to the EC against Modis alleged violation of the model code of conduct.

It is a sad day for the country as EC has denigrated the constitution, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala charged at a press conference organised by the party at the All India Congress Committee headquarters in New Delhi. He said the poll panel had denigrated into a puppet and frontal organisation...

22:53

Indias Strategic Embrace of the US Has Failed to Extend to the WTO The Wire

With the US going back on its promise of helping India and other nations, the Modi government will pressured in its quest to double farmer incomes.

In 2015, the-then commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman confidently stated that a permanent solution would be found. With the stalemate at the latest WTO meet, this confidence seems to have been misplaced.

In 2015, the-then commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman confidently stated that a permanent solution would be found. With the stalemate at the latest WTO meet, this confidence seems to have been misplaced. Credit: Reuters

Over the last three years, India has proudly claimed to have built a deeper, strategic relationship with the United States with Prime Minister Narendra Modi making a great number of high profile visits to America. However, despite this new paradigm of so-called strategic embrace, India doesnt seem to have succeeded in making the US budge on its key areas of economic interests at the WTO. The current ministerial level talks at Buenos Aires, Argentina, have collapsed largely because of USs lack of will to find solutions to the pressing problems of the developing world.

Whats more, on the most critical issue for India a permanent solution to its public food stocking programme which involves procuri...

22:39

Israeli-Saudi Clash with Iran on Syrian Soil is Pretty Much Inevitable New Eastern Outlook

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As was expected, once Moscow and Washington started disputing who attained victory over ISIS in Syria, the militants of this terrorist organization decided that they would need to demonstrate that its too early to write them off completely. Especially since the last 25,000 of its fighters vanished in the desert, after being stationed for a considerable period of time in eastern and southern parts of the Syrian Arab Republic.

It turned out that all of those predictions were accurate, as Syrian media sources have just reported that ISIS launched a massive assault in the area of Abu Kamal, that had allegedly been liberated more than a month ago. To make the matters worse, the above mentioned Abu Kamal is under control of radical militants, with only western outskirts of the city still being defended by the local Shia militia, while the rest of the city remains to be occupied by militants. For sure, this latest offensive is relatively insignificant, but it creates an escape corridor to the deserted areas of Syria which are not controlled by local Shia militia groups and the Syrian army. The offensive has already resulted in a death of toll of over a hundred Syrians, both military and civilian. Additionally, reports state that ISIS has taken prisoners, that are usually being routinely execute after short interrogations, conducted by ISIS field commanders. While this is difficult to classify this course of action as guerrilla warfare, since the engagements continue to remain relatively regular while radical militants would often employ armored vehicles and artillery to get an upper hand on the field of battle. The problem is that the Shia militia that is trying to contain ISIS units enjoys virtually no air support, as theres been a single report about an raid in this area conducted by long-range bombers. Presumably, those were Russias military plains trying to help the self-defense units out. Moreover, while visiting the Russian Khmeimim air base in Syria, Russias president Vladimir Putin voiced a warning that Russias air corps may return in full force in Syria should the situation demand such an involvement.

At the same time, were observing an increase in military activities near Syrias southern border with Israel and Jordan. After all, this is the region where the majority of the so-called Free Syrian Army detachments were deployed and they have no intension of surrendering their weapons as they are more than eager to carry on the armed struggle ag...

21:45

Kushner and Saudi Crown Prince the Wunderkinds Wreak Havoc Strategic Culture Foundation

Kushner, a dodgy property dealer with no diplomatic experience, is Trumps unelected top aide, assigned to seal the deal of the century meaning bring peace between the Palestinians and Israelis. Like the Saudi Crown Prince, with whom Kushner is said to be close friends, the two neophytes think of themselves as creative innovators. Wunderkinds.

21:30

Watch: Yogendra Yadav on Gujarat Elections Issues and Likely Winners The Wire

Yogendra Yadav of Swaraj India talks about his prediction for the assembly elections, the agrarian crisis in Gujarat, emerging social movements, Rahul Gandhi and more.

The post Watch: Yogendra Yadav on Gujarat Elections Issues and Likely Winners appeared first on The Wire.

21:30

The Futility of Dreaming of the Padmavati-Khilji Dream Sequence The Wire

The opponents of Padmavati base their protests on rumours of a dream sequence between Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji despite Bhansalis clarification that no such sequence exists in the film.

Deepika Padukone as Padmavati.

A recent video by Sanjay Leela Bhansali carrying a clarification on Padmavati, unlike his films, is calm and economical. In it, Bhansali says that the rumours of a dream sequence between queen Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji are incorrect and that no portrayal hurtful to the (Rajput) communitys sentiments exists in the film. The Padmavati controversy has assumed epic proportions, with death threats issued to actress Deepika Padukone and dir...

21:15

Why the Doug Jones Victory Is Overblown Strategic Culture Foundation

Nothing less than accusations of fondling a fourteen-year-old, along with copious proof of dating sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds, was needed to stop Roy Moore from becoming the next U.S. Senator of Alabama.

20:45

Why America"s Law Enforcement Empire Resembles Secret Police in a Dictatorship Strategic Culture Foundation

Americas law enforcement empire has all the characteristics of secret police in a dictatorship. It is not transparent in its actions, has a history of bending the rules to obtain convictions, and its officers are rarely held accountable.

20:30

Growing Food From Mattresses: What Experts Can Learn From Working in Refugee Camps The Wire

Limitations improve creativity: we think up solutions we would never have thought of in a lab.

Anthony Ryan, Author provided

Author Provided

I am a scientist who has spent his career working with industry at the interface of science, engineering and medicine. I have served on many advisory boards on translating research into practice. But I never feel the flames of knowledge exchange burn as bright as when Im at Zaatari refugee camp, in Jordan.

The news is often full of refugee crises couched in terms such as how will we cope?, without much thought for the refugees themselves. And Europe has seen only a fraction of the number of refugees compared to countries like Jordan. Zaatari alone holds 80,000 people. I had my eyes opened to the complexity of refugee life for the first time in July 2016, when Helen Storey from the London College of Fashion and I were invited to visit Zaatari by the UNHCR. Now were part of an international team of experts varying from engineers to fashion designers trying to come up with solutions to some of the most complicated problems on the planet.

The refugees legal status usually prevents them from taking up employment, owning property or moving freely, stripping them of agency. At home they were farmers, engineers, teachers, doctors, so not only have they been forcibly displaced, but also forcibly unemployed. And they cant do anything that even looks like it might lead to permanence, like getting a job or fixing their house. Despite this, the eagerness to put a plan into action was truly astounding, and many smiles and jokes were exchanged. It is incredible to see the resilience of the Zaatari folk.

I learned the expression necessity is the mother of invention as a child and here I saw it play out in front of me: limitations improve creativity and we think up solutions we would never have thought of in a lab. Weve made windmills, wheelchairs and recycling trucks out of old bikes, and grown tomatoes without soil. Our partners at the London College of Fashion work on the human end of well-being, recognising that personal care and making skills have profound effects on peoples self-worth and mental health and provide the framework for building livelihoods and communities.

...

20:29

Tasmanian Tigers Were in Trouble Even Before Humans Came to Australia The Wire

A new study of the genes of a long-dead Tasmanian tiger suggest the animals numbers were dwindling since about 70,000 years ago. But this doesnt change the fact that humans drove it into extinction.

A thylacine with a distended pouch at Adelaide Zoo, 1889. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A thylacine with a distended pouch at Adelaide Zoo, 1889. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Tasmanian tiger or thylacine looked like a dog, had stripes like a tiger and carried its young in a pouch like a kangaroo. This strange creature went extinct in the early 20th century. The last thylacine died in captivity at Hobart Zoo, Tasmania, in 1936, just a few years after humans had hunted it to extinction in the wild.

But now, researchers sequenced the DNA of a century-old preserved specimen and found the thylacines suffered from poor genetic diversity. This, it seems, left them vulnerable to many diseases long before humans even arrived in Australia.

The thylacine was a top marsupial predator found across Australia and Tasmania. Weighing about 30 kg, it looked very similar to a wolf or the Australian dingo. Populations started dwindling on mainland Australia and disappeared completely about 3,000 years ago, leaving thelast remaining group in Tasmania. In 1888, the Tasmanian government put a bounty on the thylacines head because it was believed to attack sheep, threatening farmers livelihoods. The thylacines were killed indiscriminately, with the last known animal in the wild murdered in 1930.

Its genetically closest living relative is deb...

20:15

Silk Road Fever Grips the Russian Far East and Boosts Economy Strategic Culture Foundation

Now, with the integration of BRI and the EAEU, Russia has a great chance of fulfilling part of its Pacific Destiny... Today, that vision is alive with gold and timber in the mountains north of the Amur, fish in the Sea of Okhotsk and the Bering Sea, and gas reserves from Sakhalin island all part of a modern export chain.

19:45

Ivan Gren: New Amphibious Ship to Enter Service with Russia"s Navy Strategic Culture Foundation

Naval infantry units from the Black Sea Fleet and the Northern Fleet have been carrying out important missions in Syria, such as providing security for the Russian naval base in Tartus.

19:23

Despite Tillerson Overture, White House Says No Negotiation With North Korea The Wire

US secretary of state Rex Tillerson delivers remarks on the US-Korea relationship during a forum at the Atlantic Council in Washington, US December 12, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Washington: No negotiations can be held with North Korea until it improves its behavior, a White House official said on Wednesday, raising questions about US secretary of State Rex Tillersons offer to begin talks with Pyongyang any time and without pre-conditions.

Given North Koreas most recent missile test, clearly right now is not the time, a White House official told Reuters.

Tillerson said on Tuesday the United States was ready to talk any time North Korea would like to talk, appearing to back away from a key US demand that Pyongyang must first accept that any negotiations would have to be about giving up its nuclear arsenal.

The White House has declined to say whether president Donald Trump, who has taken a tougher rhetorical line against North Korea than Tillerson, gave approval for the overture.

A day after Tillersons comments at Washingtons Atlantic Council think tank, the White House official, who declined to be named, laid out a more restrictive formula for any diplomatic engagement with North Korea.

The administration is united in insisting that any negotiations with North Korea must wait until the regime fundamentally improves it...

18:17

Camiguin 2018 Boom or Bubble? News from the Philippines

Camiguin 2018 an equation with hundreds of unknown variables.

2017 had been an extremely turbulent year for Camiguin. After the economic shock caused by the Marawi unrest, the islands tourism industry began to recover in the last two months. And in the last two weeks a whole bunch events kept the island vibrating. This is what happened in chronological order:

December 1 PAL keeps its promise

On Friday December 1 short after noon the first flight of PALexpress PR2929 landed in Mambajao. So we have now at least two daily flights between Cebu and Camiguin. And CEB schedules even a second flight per day in the afternoon. But this flights will only come to Camiguin on particular days and unfortunately UFN Until Further Notice. But keep on reading, there comes more.

PAL Q300

Above photo shows a PAL Bombardier Q 300. The route Cebu-Camiguin is served by PALexpress.
PALexpress to continue in Camiguin 2018

December 8 a Jumbolino on the tarmac

In my former life I often flew with the Jumbolinos of Crossair. Jumbolino was the nickname passengers and crews gave to the BAe 146. Such a small plane with 4 jet engines. So, last Friday a cousin of the LX Jumbolino stood in Camiguin. INCREDIBLE!

...

16:52

The Face of the Enemy Yesterday and Today New Eastern Outlook

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Over the last few centuries, roughly after the Peace of Westphalia when the borders of states were determined after unceasing and bloody wars, Russia with her vast territory, seas, rivers, forests, natural riches, brilliant composers, writers and, most importantly, her people so rugged, so able to survive in a harsh climate, and in such severe conditions appeared to Western Europe as a different world: far away, unknown, and menacing. Even in the enlightened 19th century, accounts from visitors to Russia seemed strange, confused, at times simply an outright fable to down-to-earth inhabitants of Western Europe, which caused amazement and fear. To be sure, Russia was always considered a great power, both European and global. Others endeavored to attract her to their side in the global struggle for dominance on the seas and lands, in conflicts over natural riches, and for power. In the context of a bipolar world, the Soviet Union and those associating with her supporters were labelled a source of universal evil.

And for only one period, not long in historical terms, after the breakup of the USSR, which turned out to be a tragedy for those living within its borders, Russia, weakened and seeming to lose its supporting roots, began to be called in Western capitals a friend, partner, and even a colleague.

But the place of an enemy devil does not remain empty. By this time, an internal crisis appeared in the Old world, and the demographic problem was coming to the fore. For menial labor, the aging population needed ever more immigrants who were, supposedly, to have integrated into European institutions and taken their right place. Instead, the completely unpredictable happened. New generations of Muslim immigrants publicly announced their intent to preserve their own identity and traditions within the European community. This caused serious alarm among the Western elite. Media outlets and politicians in their public appearances gave warnings about the threatening Islamization of Europe, and that Islam was the main enemy of modern civilization. The then NATO Secretary General Willy Claes spoke about that with convincing candor (for that straight talk he was quickly hounded out of office as Secretary General).

Then came September 11th, 2001, the greatest act of terror in history. Afterward, other acts occurred in a number of European countries, smaller in scale, but sowing no less fear. At that time, the American political analyst Samuel Huntingtons put forth his theory on the Clash of Civilizations, which beca...

13:55

Serba Tak Pasti: Keamanan Digital Wartawan di Indonesia dan Filipina News and Events

Menurut Committee to Protect Journalists (CIJ), sebuah organisasi global yang mengadvokasi kebebasan pers, Filipina dinilai sebagai salah satu negara paling berbahaya bagi nyawa wartawan. Beberapa bulan lalu saja, seorang wartawan di Mindanao meregang nyawa setelah peluru menembus kepalanya. Di Indonesia, menjadi wartawan juga sama mencekamnya. Kasus demi kasus penyerangan terlaporkan dan menurut Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI), sebuah lembaga swadaya masyarakat, kasus kekerasan terhadap wartawan tengah meningkat. Sudah jelas, wartawan-wartawan di kedua negara ini dalam bahaya oleh karenanya mereka harus berupaya memproteksi diri mereka lebih baik lagi.

EngageMedia, sebagai bagian dari Cyber Steward Networks, melakukan serangkaian penelitian mengenai kondisi keamanan digital bagi wartawan di Indonesia dan Filipina. Dalam empat puluh wawancara, para wartawan mendiskusikan tingkat kesadaran mereka mengenai isu keamanan digital dan, jika ada, langkah-langkah dalam menanganinya.

Kami sebelumnya telah mempublikasikan hasil dari wawancara-wawancara kami di situs EngageMedia dalam dua unggahan blog: satu fokus pada kasus di Indonesia dan satu lagi di Filipina. Pembaca juga bisa menyaksikan video pendek yang kami buat untuk menjelaskan konteks Indonesia. Riset di dua negara ini memberikan peluang bagi studi komparasi. Di tulisan ini, kami akan menguraikan dan menganalisis beberapa isu terpenting mengenai keamanan digital yang tengah mencuat. Kami berharap tulisan ini memberikan wawasan lebih mengenai bagaimana wartawan mempersepsi dan mempraktikan keamanan digital.

Penyimpanan Data Online

Di era ini, wartawan umumnya menggunakan telepon genggam dan alat perekam digital untuk merekam wawancara. Semua foto, klip video, dan data audio menuntut tersedianya ruang penyimpanan data yang besar. Belum lagi data-data itu harus dijaga keamanannya, terutama dari pihak luar yang bisa punya niat jahat. Jika data-data kita simpan dengan melampirkannya dalam email, hal itu juga rawan karena email kita mudah diretas. Jika kita memilih ruang penyimpanan data cloud yang kini popular seperti Dropbox, Google Drive, atau Onedrive, data kita cenderung lebih aman. Data kita terenkrips...

05:49

Trumps Jerusalem Statement Opens a Pandoras Box New Eastern Outlook

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US President Donald Trumps decision to recognise Jerusalem is the capital of Israel has been predictably condemned by the governments of all states, except Israel itself.

Trumps own statement on the issue whats more carefully worded than the reaction to the decision would suggest. In typical Trump style, he expressed the United States wish for an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis and a great deal for the Palestinians. He emphasized that the United States is not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders.

Unfortunately for Trump and the United States, those carefully qualified words will simply not be believed. The United States has claimed, at least since the Truman era (1945-48) to be an honest broker in the dispute between Israel and Palestine.

It is a testament to the power of western propaganda that this manifest nonsense could be maintained for so long in the face of all evidence to the contrary. For example, the United States has exercised its veto power in the United Nations Security Council more times to the benefit of Israel then on any other single issue.

In United Nations General Assembly votes the United States is often, along with a literal handful of nations, voting with Israel against United Nations General Assembly resolutions condemnatory of the latest outrages perpetrated by the State of Israel.

The power of the Israeli lobby in US politics is well documented. Trumps announcement at least has the virtue of shattering that long-standing canard.

Amidst all the furore however, a more significant point has been obscured, and that is the continuing shift in the balance of power in the wider Middle East region, more accurately termed Southwest Asia.

Israel has invested constable financial, military and political capital in promoting a relationship with Saudi Arabia. It has been established for example, that Israel has supplied Saudi Arabia with military equipment for use in the latters wholly illegal war being waged in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia has been seduced into this unlikely alliance by Israels considerable achievement in convincing Saudi Arabia that Iran was its chief threat to spiritual leadership among the regions Muslim populations.

...

01:36

The new choice for asylum seekers: deportation or prison +972 Magazine

Israel finally plans to close its desert detention facility for African asylum seekers. Refugee advocates worry it could be the start of something even worse.

By Joshua Leifer

African migrants gather during a protest outside the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on January 26, 2017. African asylum seekers protest on Thursday near the Kneeset and the Supreme Court against the new "Rwanda or Saharonim" policy of the Israeli government. (Sebi Berens/Flash90)

African asylum seekers protest near the Knesset and the Supreme Court against the new Rwanda or Saharonim policy of the Israeli government. (Sebi Berens/Flash90)

During a midnight vote on Monday, the Knesset passed a bill that will enable the government to detain asylum seekers indefinitely or deport them to an unspecified country in Africa. The law passed by a margin of 71 to 41.

[tmwinpost]

The consequences of the law will stem not only from what appears in the text of the bill itself, but also what doesnt: there is nothing in the bill that mentions deportation. Instead, on paper, the lawwhich amends an existing law dealing with illegal immigration to Israelextends existing provisions that al...

01:06

Peace in Border Areas Essential for Smooth Relations, India Tells China The Wire

Sushma Swaraj. Credit: Reuters

Sushma Swaraj. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj discussed the Doklam episode with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi during their bilateral meeting and reiterated that peace and tranquillity in the border areas were essential prerequisites for smooth relations.

Confirming that the issue of Doklam was raised during the meeting between Swaraj and Wang on Monday, external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the Indian leader underlined the need for approaching the bilateral difference with due consideration to each others sensitivities and concerns.

The external affairs minister and the Chinese foreign minister both noted the challenge it had posed to the relationship and both expressed satisfaction that it was resolved with the disengagement of troops at the face-off site through concerted diplomatic communications, Kumar said.

He also said Wang said that the peaceful resolution of the Doklam issue reflects the political maturity of both sides.

While agreeing with this, the external affairs minister reiterated that the maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas is an essential pre-requisite for the smooth development of bilateral relations, he added.

Swaraj also underlined the need for approaching bilateral difference with due consideration to each others sensitivities and concerns, and recalled the consensus reached between the leaders of India and China in Astana earlier this year on the need to work together to ensure that our difference do not becom...

00:57

The Challenges Facing Jignesh Mevani, Independent Candidate From Vadgam The Wire

With Congress and AAP declaring their support for Mevani, and activists from various parts of the country campaigning for him, will the Dalit leader make the cut?

A scene during Mevanis campaign at Kanodar. Credit: Damayantee Dhar

Vadgam/Kanodar/Banaskantha: Kanodar, a small nondescript town on the Palanpur-Ahmedabad state highway number 41, in Banaskantha district, has been bustling with visitors from all over the country. The town has rarely been in the news and the atmosphere in north Gujarat has never been so politically charged. Here, in a hotel called One Ten on the highway, activist-turned-politician Jignesh Mevani has set up office, and it is from here that his team has been managing the election campaign in Vadgam constituency.

Apart from his core team of activists from the Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch (RDAM), student activists from Jawaharlal Nehru University, including Mohit Pandey, president of the JNU student union, cultural activists from Pune and other activists from Delhi, have been camping at Kanodar for a month to campaign for Mevani.

Mevani had maintained that he would not be contesting the assembly election and he would certainly not be supporting any political party. However, he had made it clear that his team would campaign against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in this election.

Making a U-turn, Mevani, on November 30, took to social media to announce that he would contest the election from Vadgam constituency, a...

00:49

Royal Backed This is Bahrain Worked With Trump Advisor to Build Ties With Pro-Israel Groups Bahrain Watch

Bahrain Kings Professorship in Rome Worth $2M Funded Through Group Run By Scottish Expatriate

 

 

PRESS RELEASE

Contact: bahrainwatch@bahrainwatch.org
Twitter: @bhwatch
December 13, 2017

This weekend a contentious delegation from Bahrain were sent to Israel, purportedly to send a message of peace from the Royal family. This occurred just after US President Donald Trumps controversial unilateral decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. An investigation by Bahrain Watch shows that central to the delegation was a right wing advisor to Donald Trump, who has helped This is Bahrain build ties with anti-Palestine individuals and organisations over the past year.

Rev. Johnny Moore, a member of President Trumps Evangelical Executive Advisory Board, travelled with the delegation to Jerusalem. He owns a public relations firm catering especially to leaders who want to promote their public image to faith-based audiences. Moore visited Bahrain in April 2017, holding meetings with senior members of the government, then helped This is Bahrain to develop a document of religious tolerance launched in the Kings name at the right-wing Simon Wiesenthal Centre.

This is Bahrain is a pro-government PR roadshow, fronted by Scottish born Betsy Mathieson, who is often seen in the company of the King. It grew out of her supposed NGO, the Bahrain Federation of Expatriate Associations (BFEA), which she founded and used to defend Bahrains ruling family and security forces amidst the crushing repression they had inflicted. Mathieson launched This is Bahrain, touring it to cities across the globe including London, Berlin, Brussels, Paris and now Jerusalem

Neither BFEA or This is Bahrain disclose their funding, although their close proximity to the ruling family is clear. Our investigation reveals that a full time professorship, titled the King Hamad Chair for Interfaith Dialogue and Peaceful Coexistence, is extensively funded through BFEA. The position, established at the Sapienza University of Rome by the Kings son Nasser...

00:32

Interview 1333 Benny Wills Creates Conscious Poetry The Corbett Report

[audio mp3="http://www.corbettreport.com/mp3/2017-12-13%20Benny%20Wills.mp3"][/audio]Benny Wills (aka one of the collaborators behind the JoyCamp "conscious comedy" group) joins us today to discuss the next step in his evolution as a creative human being: poetry! We talk about his new video/poem Bill Lost His Memory and what it means for the future of Benny and JoyCamp.

00:25

Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan Near Reservoir Agreement EurasiaNet.org - Inside the Cocoon

Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are nearing definitive agreement over how to share a disputed reservoir near the border in another sign of warming relations between the countries.

Kasan-sai reservoir was the focus of tense standoff in 2016 that culminated in state-sanctioned kidnappings and armed confrontations.

Lawmakers in Kyrgyzstan on December 13 voted unanimously in a first reading to ratify a bilateral agreement granting Bishkek control over the reservoir. Agriculture Minister Nurbek Murashev has said that although Kyrgyzstan will retain control over the facility, both countries will retain access to the water contained within. Kyrgyz farmers will use 8 percent of the water for irrigation of 1,500 hectares of land. The remaining 92 percent will be used by Uzbekistan for an area of 28,000 hectares.

The agreement also covers the issue of expenditure for maintenance of the reservoir. Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan will divide the $230-290 million costs in proportion to the amount of water they use.

Kasan-sai has been one of the longest-standing bones of contention between the countries. The reservoir, which is also known by the older designation Orto-Tokoy, was built in Soviet times out of Tashkents budget to service the needs of farmers downstream in the Uzbek SSR. But the basin itself lies well within the boundaries of recognized Kyrgyz territory.

Uzbekistan has long protected the reservoir with armed troops and flatly rejected Kyrgyz appeals for pay lease fees.

read more

00:14

Lalji Singh, Considered Father of Indian DNA Fingerprinting, No More The Wire

His big break came when G.P. Roy Chowdhury asked Singh to study snake chromosomes because no one had studied them before. Singh soon came upon a startling result that his peers thought was impossible.

Lalji Singh with an Indian rock python in 2002. Credit: indianscholarscongress/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Lalji Singh with an Indian rock python in 2002. Credit: indianscholarscongress/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

New Delhi: Lalji Singh, regarded the father of Indian DNA fingerprinting, passed away on November 10 at the age of 70 following a heart attack. Singhs was an outstanding personality; he was an excellent scientist, an able administrator, an institution builder and a social worker all rolled into one.

He was one of the leading lights in taking DNA fingerprinting to the mainstream in India, both in terms of research and forensic applications. Encouraged by his work, the Government of India gave him the task of establishing a Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) at Hyderabad in the late 1990s. The CDFD is today a major institution with an enviable global standing.

He also helped set up a slew of laboratories to work on different aspects of genetic research, such as population biology, structural biology and transgenic studies.


Also read: The DNA Profiling Bill is back in a new avatar heres the lowdown


Singhs life makes for an interesting reading. He was born on July 5, 1947, just one month before India attained independence, to a poor farmers family in a village near Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. A brilliant student from the start, he was admitted to the Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi. His break came when he reportedly asked a professor to suggest a topic for a special paper as he was studying for a master of science degree. This professor was G.P. Roy Chowdhury, a big name in genetics, and without batting an eyelid, he suggested Singh study the chromosomes of snakes. When asked why, Chowdhury said no one had worked on that topic before, in a tone that suggested there would be no more questions.

Singh narrated the turning point in his career in an interview he had given a few years ago to Eureka, a television programme produced by Vigyan Prasar and Rajya Sabha TV. He recalled that he had been petrified because he was scared of snakes. But he had to do it as he had been instructed by Chowdhury.

Soon, Singh came up on a startling r...

00:13

No Chanting or Ringing Bells at Amarnath Cave, NGT Tells Shrine Board The Wire

A view of the Amarnath yatra. Credit: Flickr/sandeepachetan CC 2.0

New Delhi: In a bid to preserve the eco-sensitive Amarnath cave shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) today declared it a silence zone and prohibited religious offerings beyond the entry point.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said the Amarnath Shrine Board should ensure that proper infrastructural facilities are provided to the pilgrims so that they are not deprived of a clear darshan, and the ecology of the area is maintained.

The NGT earlier said that declaring the area around the Amarnath cave shrine a silence zone would be helpful in preventing avalanches and maintaining its pristine nature.

Nobody would be permitted to carry anything from the stairs leading to the holy cave and everybody should be properly frisked at the entry point. From the point of stairs and the area inside the cave should be declared silence zone, the bench said.

The green panel ordered removal of iron grills in front of the ice stalagmite resembling the Shiva Linga so that devotees could get a better view of it and said there should be no noise pollution near the sacred structure.

It also restrained carriage of personal belongings including mobile phones beyond the last checkpoint and asked the shrine board to construct a place where pilgrims can keep their valuables.

The green panel also directed the committee of experts headed...

00:07

WTO Meet Likely to Be a Washout as India and US Clash Over Food Security The Wire

Developed countries claim that Indias price support for crops such as paddy and wheat have breached the cap prescribed by the WTO.

Every year, India announces MSP for as many as 23 crops but the bulk of subsidy payout goes to paddy and wheat, which are considered as staple foods for Indians. Credit: Reuters

Every year, India announces MSP for as many as 23 crops but the bulk of subsidy payout goes to paddy and wheat, which are considered as staple foods for Indians. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: The Buenos Aires ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) appears headed to be a washout with the US refusing to accede to Indias demand for a permanent solution to the public stockholding for food security. India has put its foot down on the issue, saying that no substantive outcome is possible at Buenos Aires if its demand is not met.

Today in the agriculture negotiations in Buenos Aires, a major country stated categorically that they cannot agree to any permanent solution on the public stockholding issue at ministerial conference (MC) 11. This has posed a severe threat to a successful conclusion of the conference as there was a ministerial mandate for a permanent solution by MC11, said a commerce ministry release.

It is a setback for the Narendra Modi government which had hardened its stance on public stockholding.

Under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA), developing countries can give agricultural subsidies or aggregate measurement support (AMS) up to 10% of the value of agricul...

00:03

Jharkhand PDS Minister Admits to Government Mistake in Alleged Aadhaar-Related Starvation Death Case The Wire

Activists have demanded that the officials responsible for cancelling the ration card of Santoshi Kumaris family be held accountable.

Saryu Roy. Credit: YouTube

Saryu Roy. Credit: YouTube

New Delhi: With Jharkhand food and civil supplies minister Saryu Roy admitting that the Raghubar Das-led BJP government in the state was on the backfoot in view of the alleged hunger death of 11-year-old Santosh Kumari in September this year, activists who blamed the government all along for cancelling the girls familys ration card have now demanded action against the guilty officials.

Tweeting a portion of Roys statement in which he had said, Ignoring ground realities they (CM & Chief Sec) boasted how fake ration cards were deleted, Anjali Bharadwaj of the National Campaign for Peoples Right to Information tweeted calling for action against officials who deleted the familys card without inquiry and did not act on their complaints.

00:00

Sometimes We Wonder If You Have Forgotten You Are the Prime Minister of This Country The Wire

Author Kiran Nagarkar, in his open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asks about his silence on crimes against Muslims and the practice of curbing dissent.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Credit: PTI

Dear prime minister,

Greetings. We are all in awe of your energy, your single-mindedness of purpose and the fact that once you make up your mind, you will not let anything absolutely anything stand in your way.

When a bee gets into your bonnet, you make sure that it stings as many millions in the country as possible. To take a random example, among the various tasks youve set for yourself, one of your lifes missions is to make Aadhaar mandatory. I dont wish to quibble but if I am not mistaken, the Supreme Court has to still decide on whether it impinges on the privacy of the Indian citizen, and so the government is  supposed to take it easy and not force it down everyones throat. The Supreme Courts fiat has of course not made any difference to you. Everyone with a cell phone and a bank account is bombarded with an Aadhaar warning at least once a day, never mind that millions have already signed up for it. You have taken care to see to it that the Aadhaar form is accessible on the internet. There is, however, a small niggling problem. Millions of our countrymen have no...

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Wednesday, 13 December

23:32

Putins Middle East Tour: Russia is Not Going Anywhere New Eastern Outlook

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Over the last couple of days, Russian President Vladimir Putin conducted a series of visits back-to-back, visiting Syria, Egypt and Turkey in less than 48 hours. In spite of the brief nature of these visits, Russias leader managed to hold extensive discussions with the heads of the above mentioned states, while Egypt and Turkey saw a round of full-scale negotiations with representatives of each nations respective business leaders, assisted by foreign ministries and ministers of defense. This fact became apparent when the composition of the Russian delegation was revealed, which included Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, several economic ministers, heads of major state corporations, including Rostec, Rosatom and Gazprom.

In Syria, Putin has not just congratulated Russias military for its success in destroying ISIS, confirming the intention of the Russian Federation to significantly reduce its military presence in the Syrian Arab Republic, but had a thorough discussion with Syrias President Bashar al-Assad about the prospects of a political settlement in Syria. Indeed, the conflict in Syria wont automatically end and it is necessary to organize an inter-Syrian dialogue in Damascus, while inviting the representatives of the united opposition. However, the task at hand is anything but simple, given the irreconcilable spirit of the opposition regarding the political fate of Bashar al-Assad and its preasumption that Assad must go. But here there lies a legitimate question why so? After all, it was the army under the president of Syrias command that, with the support of external allies such as Russia and Iran, succeeded in putting an end to ISIS and preserving the sovereignty of the country, despite attempts made by a handful of regional forces to divide it into enclaves and quasi-states. That is why Putin and al-Assad agreed to carry on their efforts to bring all parties together at a congress on inter-Syrian reconciliation in Sochi in February of 2018, together with Ankara and Tehran. They have also discussed issues related to the restoration of the destroyed infrastructure and the economy of Syria.

Putins trip to Cairo had clearly predefined priorities the development of trade and economic relations, tourism, and military cooperation. But the parties had to discuss the Palestinian problem in light of the recent decision by the US under President Donald Trump to transfer the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recogn...

23:30

Citizen Shambhulal Is the New Face of Hindutva The Wire

The only way we can confront him is by rebuilding our democracy into one which protects the likes of Afrazul and Akhlaq.

Shambhulal is the middle-class protagonist of Hindutva who destroys our secular dreams and our plural worlds. Credit: Bharath Joshi/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Shambhulal is the middle-class protagonist of Hindutva who destroys our secular dreams and our plural worlds. Credit: Bharath Joshi/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

On December 12, I read Syeda Hameeds article in the Indian Express on Mohammed Afrazul and my blood ran cold. There was something stark and surreal about the event, a dance macabre dismissed as another banal case. Afrazul was a Bengali worker from Malda, a migrant and Muslim working to earn a living in Rajasthan. An ordinary, faceless, nameless man who would have lived anonymously if not for Shambhulal.

Shambhulal is not faceless. He is a middle-class avatar of hate and confusion. Our country today is not a collection of people. We are a collection of symptoms of hate and revenge, much of which is surreal. It is based on a sickness of history where our mind and our memories are still overcoming the Mughals. This generates a series of diseases like love jihad, the lynch squad or people trying to protect the virginity and purity of Padmavati. Our history itself seems to have become...

23:28

Thailand: US Creating "Space" For Destabilisation Land Destroyer

December 13, 2017 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - In late November, the US, Canadian and British embassies along with several other European partners as well as the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Amnesty International, organised what they called the "Isaan Human Rights Festival" in northeast Thailand.

Foreign embassies have funded and directed a number of events to breath new life into the political proxies of ousted former prime minister, Thaksin Shianwatra in pursuit of regime change in Thailand. 

US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) funded media front, the "Isaan Record" in its article, "Rare human rights event gathers Isaan communities and foreign diplomats," claims (our emphasis):
The 8th Annual Isaan Human Rights Festival brought together 17 communities from across the region, activists, scholars, and international and Thai students. Ambassadors from Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom were in attendance, as well as political officers from Canada, the European Union and the United States. National Human Rights Commissioner Angkhana Neelapaijit also attend the event. 

Hosted by Mahasarakham Universitys College of Politics and Governance, the festival opened a rare space to discuss the human rights situation in the Northeast.
While the US-funded media outfit mentioned funding provided by the Germany-based Heinrich Bll Foundation, it failed to mention other sponsors whose logos were clearly visible in media used throughout the event.

Creating Space for Destabilisation and Conflict 

The foreign-sponsored "festival" takes place against the backdrop of a currently dormant Thai political crisis. In 2014, the Thai military ousted then Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, sister and publicly admitted proxy of Thaksin Shinawatra, a convicted criminal hiding abroad to evade a jail sentence and who was himself ousted in 2...

23:27

Thailand: US Creating "Space" For Destabilisation Alt Thai News Network ATNN

December 13, 2017 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - In late November, the US, Canadian and British embassies along with several other European partners as well as the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Amnesty International, organised what they called the "Isaan Human Rights Festival" in northeast Thailand.

Foreign embassies have funded and directed a number of events to breath new life into the political proxies of ousted former prime minister, Thaksin Shianwatra in pursuit of regime change in Thailand. 

US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) funded media front, the "Isaan Record" in its article, "Rare human rights event gathers Isaan communities and foreign diplomats," claims (our emphasis):
The 8th Annual Isaan Human Rights Festival brought together 17 communities from across the region, activists, scholars, and international and Thai students. Ambassadors from Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom were in attendance, as well as political officers from Canada, the European Union and the United States. National Human Rights Commissioner Angkhana Neelapaijit also attend the event. 

Hosted by Mahasarakham Universitys College of Politics and Governance, the festival opened a rare space to discuss the human rights situation in the Northeast.
While the US-funded media outfit mentioned funding provided by the Germany-based Heinrich Bll Foundation, it failed to mention other sponsors whose logos were clearly visible in media used throughout the event.

Creating Space for Destabilisation and Conflict 

The foreign-sponsored "festival" takes place against the backdrop of a currently dormant Thai political crisis. In 2014, the Thai military ousted then Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, sister and publicly admitted proxy of Thaksin Shinawatra, a convicted criminal hiding abroad to evade a jail se...

23:10

This is Bahrain: How right-wing Zionists and Bahraini royals found themselves in each other Bahrain Watch

 

This weekend, the news spread that a delegation of religious leaders from Bahrain was visiting Israel and Jerusalem at the same time that Israeli troops were shooting Palestinians protesting against Donald Trumps unilateral decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The delegation was made up of 24 members of a pro-monarchy organisation called This is Bahrain, who were purportedly sent by King Hamad to send a message of peace.

The visit to Israel is the latest act in a strategy bringing together an unlikely set of bed-fellows, including the King of Bahrain, right-wing pro-Israel rabbis, an evangelical spiritual adviser to Donald Trump and a Scottish born campaigner who is more loyal to the Bahraini monarchy than the king himself, whose campaigning group, as we reveal, made a whopping $2 million donation to the University of Rome in the kings name. It is a strategy which claims to be about religious tolerance, but is based on the intolerance for social justice that the regimes of both Bahrain and Israel base their rule on.

The news of the visit was met with widespread anger by Bahrainis and Arabs on social media, that an Arab country would send a peace delegation to Israel at such a time. PLO leader Hanan Ashrawi was quoted in the Jerusalem Post as saying the move was the height of insensitivity:

To come at this time when Trump has provoked everyone and given the Arab world a big slap in the face, to come in the name of inclusiveness and tolerance to Jerusalem in which Palestinians who dont have Jerusalem IDs, have no access to Jerusalem or the holy sites or their institutions or families, to do that now is unbelievable.

Bahraini opposition politician Ebrahim Sharif, of the Left-leaning Waad party...

22:49

New Syrian Refugee Wave Likely in Europe If Aid Dries up: UN The Wire

Syrian refugee Bashar Wakaa (3rd L) and his family stand in front of their tents at a makeshift camp for refugees and migrants next to the Moria camp on the island of Lesbos, Greece, November 30, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Alkis Konstantinidis

Syrian refugee Bashar Wakaa (3rd L) and his family stand in front of their tents at a makeshift camp for refugees and migrants next to the Moria camp on the island of Lesbos, Greece, November 30, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Alkis Konstantinidis

Geneva: Syrian refugees could again seek to reach Europe in droves if aid programmes are not sustained in five neighbouring countries hosting the bulk of them, the UN said on Tuesday.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was giving details of the $4.4 billion appeal to support 5.3 million Syrian refugees in surro...

22:32

Centre Extends Deadline for Linking Aadhaar, PAN With Financial Services to March 31 The Wire

The deadline to furnish Aadhaar cards in order to keep availing of welfare benefits was earlier set at September 30. Credit: PTI

The deadline to furnish Aadhaar cards for certain financial transactions was earlier set at December 31. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: The central government has extended the December 31 deadline for mandatory quoting of Aadhaar and PAN numbers for certain financial transactions like opening of a bank account till March 31, 2018.

The new rule notified in the gazette modifies the Prevention of Money Laundering Act of 2002 to replace the requirement of submitting the Aadhaar number and Permanent Account Number by December 31, 2017 with a provision saying submit the Aadhaar number, and Permanent Account Number or Form No. 60, by such date as may be notified by the Central Government. The new deadline, March 31, was announced later in the day.

While the 12-digit Aadhaar is issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), PAN is allotted by the Income Tax Department. Form 60 is a declaration filed by an individual or a person (not being a company or firm) who does not have a PAN and who enters into any specified transaction.

Tuesdays notification by the Department of Revenue in the finance ministry effectively paves the way for extending the deadline for mandatory quoting of Aadhaar for activities like opening a bank account. This is in line with the Centre last week informing the Supreme Court that it is willing to extend till March 31 the deadline fixed...

22:30

When Patriotism Becomes Treason The Wire

What really happened at the not-at-all-secret meeting with former Pakistani officials at Mani Shankar Aiyars house.

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Credit: PTI

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Credit: PTI

When Congress party chief Rahul Gandhi threw Mani Shankar Aiyar to the wolves after he described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a neech kism ka aadmi, he presented Modi with a juicy target. On December 8, at a rally in Banaskantha, Modi alleged that after he became prime minister in 2014, Aiyar had travelled to Pakistan to get him removed to improve relations between the two countries. Modi said the Congress had then tried to muffle the episode, and did not take any action against Aiyar.

Two days later, at a pre-election rally in Palanpur in Gujarat, he roared, Now, news is that the Pakistan high commissioner, the foreign minister and Manmohan Singh met at his (Aiyars) house just before the Gujarat pollsThis is a serious issue. I want to ask what was the reason for this secret meeting with Pakistanis. To this he attached a seemingly unrelated statement: Former Pakist...

22:28

Beneath the illusion of a temporary occupation lies apartheid +972 Magazine

By claiming that its control over Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza is temporary, despite lasting longer than South African Apartheid by any measure, Israel is able to justify a regime that denies one group political and civil rights while privileging another.

By Fady Khoury

Border police officer stands in front of Palestinian as they wait to cross from Qalandiya checkpoint outside Ramallah, West Bank, into Jerusalem to attend the Ramadan Friday Prayer in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, July 26, 2013. Photo by: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org

Israeli Border Police officers hold back Palestinians as they wait to cross from Qalandiya checkpoint outside Ramallah, West Bank, into Jerusalem. (Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

The so-called temporary nature of Israels control over the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza has for too long served as a justification for not extending them full political and civil rights.

[tmwinpost]

The Oslo peace process entailed a Palestinian acceptance of the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security, while in return Israel only recognized the Palestinian Liberation Organization as the representative of the Palestinian people. Israel has never recognized Palestine or the Palestinians right to an independent state in the occupied territories. To this day, Israel has never formally recognized the Palestinian peoples right to independence in any internationally binding document.

Beginning in the first half of the 1990s, the Oslo process allowed all parties including the international community, which has never recognized any Israeli sovereignty beyond the Green Line, including in East Jerusalem to invest themselves in the idea of formal separation between Israel and the Palestinians. This support, however, never dictated any rigid or substantial limitations on Israeli expansionism in the occupied territories; settlement growth continued unabated even in the post-Oslo period.

...

22:00

Palestinian Christians and Muslims Unite Against Trumps Jerusalem Call The Wire

We are united  Christians, Muslims, we are one.

A protester carries a Palestinian flag at the end of a demonstration against US President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital opposite to the American embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel December 12, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Nir Elias

A protester carries a Palestinian flag at the end of a demonstration against US President Donald Trumps decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israels capital opposite to the American embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel December 12, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Nir Elias

Jerusalem: Less than an hour after US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israe...

22:00

Gujarats Adivasi Migrants: Unseen and Unheard by Party Manifestos The Wire

An estimated 35 lakh Adivasis in Gujarat seasonally migrate to cities for work but the grand electoral promises of BJP and Congress fail to acknowledge their issues.

Sthalantarit Adivasi Shramik Manchs demonstration at Ahmedabad raising their issues with political parties and the state election commission. Credit: Jagjit Singh

Sharma Bhuriya seems disillusioned with the recently released party manifestos ahead of the Gujarat elections. There is nothing in it for people like me. I have been living on pavements in Ahmedabad for more than 20 years now and have been thrown around like garbage from one pavement to another in constant evictions by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, said the 33-year-old Adivasi migrant who hails from Dahod district of the state.

She lives on the over-crowded pavement outside Asarva railway station, where around 40 adivasi migrant families, employed as construction workers in the city, live. It is extremely difficult as I have to wake up as early as 4 am in the morning, so that I can safely bathe out in the open, said Bhuriya. The Adivasi women migrants lack access to basic sanitation facilities in their settlements. I walk more than a kilometre to access the pay and use Sulabh toilet and spend Rs 20 just to use toilets on a daily basis.

This is not the case of Bhuriya and her family alone. Thousands of Adivasi families seasonally migrate from their villages to seek employment in agricultural farms, factories and construction sites across Gujarat. According to the informal estimates of Sthalantarit Adivasi Shramik Man...

21:45

Poll: 2-to1 Americans Oppose Moving U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem Strategic Culture Foundation

A reliable scientific poll of 2,000 Americans taken during 1-6 November 2017 just a month before US President Donald Trump announced that Americas Embassy will move to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv showed that 63% of Americans were opposed to the move, and 31% supported it. Here was the question, as asked:

21:30

World Is Losing the Battle Against Climate Change: Macron The Wire

French President Emmanuel Macron (C), World Bank President Jim Yong Kim (CenterR), and President of the Comores, Azali Assoumani (4thR), pose with children after the closing speech of the Plenary Session of the One Planet Summit at the Seine Musicale event site on the Ile Seguin in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris, France, December 12, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Etienne Laurent/Pool

Paris: French president Emmanuel Macron delivered a bleak assessment on the global fight against climate change to dozens of world leaders and company executives on Tuesday, telling them: We are losing the battle.

Were not moving qu...

21:16

Watch: What Is the Likely Outcome of Gujarat Elections 2017? The Wire

In a conversation with Karan Thapar, Sanjay Kumar, the director of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies and Prashant Jha, author and associate editor at Hindustan Times, discuss the likely outcome of the Gujarat elections.

The post Watch: What Is the Likely Outcome of Gujarat Elections 2017? appeared first on The Wire.

21:15

Democrats Have a Chance to Revive the Party. Will They Seize It? Strategic Culture Foundation

Last weekend, members of the partys Unity Reform Commission voted on final recommendations for reforming the national party. The commission is the creation of an agreement made by Sanders and Clinton at the 2016 national convention to help heal the deep wounds the primary had left with Sanders supporters.

20:45

Trump, Netanyahu and Mohammad Bin Salman: Destroyers of the Neoliberal World Order Strategic Culture Foundation

The neoliberal world order has been in crisis for some years now, with no signs of recovery. Trump's victory is an expression of a breach of trust between the American people and the national elites.

20:15

Aleppo"s Liberation One Year Ago Anybody Ashamed Today? Strategic Culture Foundation

December 12, 2017, marks the anniversary of the liberation the West called it fall of Aleppo in Syria. What happened is conveniently forgotten today by the West.

20:10

A Case for Delegitimizing the Olympic Games New Eastern Outlook

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Creative Commons.

 Back in May the Russian Olympic Organizing Committee (ROC) issued a statement condemning a call by the head of Germanys Olympic Organizing Committee, Alfons Hormann which called for Russian athletes to be banned from competing in the next two Olympics. After Hormanns statements before a Session of the German Parliaments Sport Committee, the ROC submitted this:

The fundamental principles of Olympism are the autonomy and independence of sports organizations from any outside influence, as well as the inadmissibility of interference in the activities of members of the Olympic Movement, which is reflected in the United Nations General Assembly resolution of October 16, 2014. In this regard the ROC consider the application of the official representative of the German Bundestag as a flagrant violation of the principles of the Olympic Charter and the UN, and is extremely concerned about the attempts of German Parliamentarians to put pressure on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in order to prevent Russian athletes from competing at the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in 2018.

To the point, all of Hormanns grandstanding hinged on the allegations there was a state sanctioned doping program in Russia. Amazingly, IOC President Bachs press conference on the matter did not reveal the fact that the IOC commissioned Schmid Report (PDF) exonerated the Putin government in stating that it was whistleblower and Moscow lab head Grigory Rodchenkov who ran a doping scheme with other collaborators. For many people there runs a familiar current underneath all this, one with Russophobia and bias writing across the epoch of modern German history. No one has so far challenged Chancellor Angela Merkels support for this Olympic ban, an action which may in fact run contrary to German law.

My colleague, researcher Holger Eekhoff shared a paper of his with me the other day detailing how Germany is back to the point where state-funded and tax-subsidized associations are campaigning for their own discriminatory procedural law, which runs counter to the Basic Law. Eekhof refers to retrospectively on account of the nations Nazi past, and his report cites several articles from the German constitution that expressly forbid the kind of activit...

19:45

Iraqi Shia Militias Threaten to Strike US Forces: Assessment and Implications Strategic Culture Foundation

Akram al-Kaabi, the leader of the Iran-backed Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba Shia group, said that President Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was a legitimate reason to attack US forces in Iraq.

16:42

President Putins Visit to Turkey New Eastern Outlook

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On 11 12 December the Russian president Vladimir Putin, as part of his lightning tour of the Middle East also visited Turkey, where he had a private meeting with Recep Erdoan, and also had important and wide-ranging discussions at the delegation level with the most important representative of economic departments and business circles, and the heads of the Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Defense.

The main subject was the transit of gas between Russia and the EU through Turkey, in the light of recent events: in particular the end of the war against DAESH in Syria, and the decision by Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, together with Azerbaijan and Iran, to create their own gas corridor to the EU under the Caspian Sea and through Turkey- bypassing Russia. This route is clearly intended to compete with Russias plan to create a Turkish Stream which would deliver gas to Turkish consumers and which would involve the construction of two branches, each with a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters, along the bed of the Black Sea and then through Turkey to the E.U. (Greece and Bulgaria). The goal is clear: to avoid the unreliable Ukrainian transit route. This is essential from a political point of view, bearing in mind that Kiev uses its role as a transit country to create tension in the already complicated relationship between Russia and the European Union.

It must be admitted that the Syrian war has not turned out very well for Gazprom. Now that Syria has been split up into de-escalation zones and the Kurds and America have obtained control over the eastern part of the country, it is impossible to continue with the main gas pipeline from Iran, through Iraq, in order to transport Russian, and, later, Qatari gas. Considering the fate of the South Stream project, which was not long ago being discussed by the Baltic States, the CIS and Iran, the prospects of the Turkish Stream do not seem very hopeful. The three pipelines to Europe announced in January 2015, which were to have a combined capacity of 45 billion cubic meters, have now been reduced to a single one with a capacity of 15 billion cubic meters, and even that has not yet been finally approved and thus remains under question. The Turkish Stream, assuming it is completed and has the proposed capacity, will play a dominant role in the E.U.s southern gas route and may become the main channel for pumping gas from the region- a region in which we must...

11:02

Cops to call up Dr M over Bugis remark Hornbill Unleashed

The police will call up Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to record his statement that was alleged to have insulted the Bugis community, said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun. He said the police needed some time to complete the investigation on the case and hoped that it could be resolved as soon as []

11:02

If Jakim defames you, lodge police reports and sue, G25 tells NGOs Hornbill Unleashed

G25 spokesperson Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin urged today non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who have been defamed by religious agencies to file lawsuits and complaints with the police. Speaking during her keynote address at the 6th Civil Society Award ceremony here today, in which she addressed Malaysias status as a secular state, Noor Farida highlighted that religious []

11:02

Chong stands by statement Fong submitted MA63, IGC Report have no legal force Hornbill Unleashed

State DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen stands by his recent statement that state legal counsel Dato Sri JC Fong, while representing the state government, in his submission to the Federal Court in the recent case of Keruntum Sdn Bhd vs Sarawak state government, had said that the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and the Inter-Governmental Committee []

11:02

Fong, Chong on collision course Hornbill Unleashed

State legal counsel Dato Sri JC Fong said state DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen could not find the words Malaysia Agreement 1963 and Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report has no legal force in Malaysia in his written submission delivered to the Federal Court on Aug 15 in the case of Keruntum Sdn Bhd vs Sarawak Government []

11:02

S4S an expression of love for ones homeland Co-founder Hornbill Unleashed

Sarawak for Sarawakian (S4S) co-founder Erick Chin says there is nothing wrong with the Sarawak for Sarawakians slogan, which is a call to express their love for their homeland. Speaking at a forum, Road to Referendum at Pustaka Miri recently in conjunction with World Human Rights Day, Chin said S4S intention and love for Sarawak, []

11:01

New books: English teachers must know what to teach, says PAGE Hornbill Unleashed

The Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) has urged the education ministry to ensure all necessary guidance is given for English teachers to use the new imported textbooks. Speaking to FMT, PAGE chairperson Noor Azimah Rahim said she is currently puzzled as to whether teachers know how to teach the new syllabus. We do not []

11:01

Proposal for Kuching City to have only one mayor raised Hornbill Unleashed

The proposal that Kuching City has only one mayor is among matters raised at the two-day City of Unity workshop organised by the Yayasan 1Malaysia (Y1M) or 1Malaysia Foundation which ended today. Y1M chairman Prof Dr Chandra Muzaffar said personally he felt the proposal should be given attention and studied in-depth as it would certainly []

11:01

Portuguese community has until New Year to relocate Christ statue Hornbill Unleashed

The Melaka state government has given a reprieve until the New Year celebration to dismantle the Christ the Redeemer replica, built at the Portuguese Square in Ujong Pasir, here. State Transport, Project Rehabilitation and International Trade Committee chairman, Datuk Lim Ban Hong said the reprieve given to the Kampung Portugis Development and Security Committee (JKKK) []

11:01

Dr M denies Pakatan nominated him as PM candidate Hornbill Unleashed

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad denied today reports that claimed Pakatan Harapan (PH) would appoint him as prime minister should it win the 14th general elections. The PH chairman and Malaysias longest-serving prime minister said his coalition did not make a final decision on the issue during its retreat earlier this month. They have not nominated []

09:57

Kazakhstan: Coal Miners Declare Strike in Plea For Higher Pay EurasiaNet.org - Inside the Cocoon

More than 600 coal miners in Kazakhstans Karaganda region have gone on strike in a demand for higher salaries and an improvement to working conditions.

The scale of the strike is notable for Kazakhstan, where authorities take a dim view toward industrial action and have regularly taken strict punitive action against ringleaders.

On December 11, laborers at four mines owned by ArcelorMittal Temirtau declared that they would refuse to leave the work site at the end of their shift, the Karaganda regional administration said.

Company representatives and regional officials quickly embarked on talks with the striking workers. Law enforcement personnel is said to be at the site.

Labor and Social Protection Minister Tamara Duseinova told reporters that the main demand coming from workers was for a twofold increase to salaries. Duseinova said that minimum salaries at ArcelorMittal Temirtau vary between $620 and $980, depending on the department.

Workers are also demanding medical coverage, an upgrade of their equipment and the lowering of the retirement age to 50. The average retirement age in Kazakhstan begins from 63 for men and 58 for women, although that figure tends to be lower for those working in heavy industry.

The wives of some of the striking workers have reportedly said that their husbands are owned several months worth of unpaid bonuses. They also complained that prices for groceries in Shakhtinsk, the city where ArcelorMittal Temirtau is based, are higher then the rest of the region.

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05:57

Thailand: US Creating Space For Destabilisation New Eastern Outlook

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In late November, the US, Canadian and British embassies along with several other European partners as well as the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Amnesty International, organised what they called the Isaan Human Rights Festival in northeast Thailand.

US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) funded media front, the Isaan Record in its article, Rare human rights event gathers Isaan communities and foreign diplomats, claims (our emphasis):

The 8th Annual Isaan Human Rights Festival brought together 17 communities from across the region, activists, scholars, and international and Thai students. Ambassadors from Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom were in attendance, as well as political officers from Canada, the European Union and the United States. National Human Rights Commissioner Angkhana Neelapaijit also attend the event. 

Hosted by Mahasarakham Universitys College of Politics and Governance, the festival opened a rare space to discuss the human rights situation in the Northeast.

While the US-funded media outfit mentioned funding provided by the Germany-based Heinrich Bll Foundation, it failed to mention other sponsors whose logos were clearly visible in media used throughout the event.

Creating Space for Destabilisation and Conflict 

The foreign-sponsored festival takes place against the backdrop of a currently dormant Thai political crisis. In 2014, the Thai military ousted then Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, sister and publicly admitted proxy of Thaksin Shinawatra, a convicted criminal hiding abroad to evade a jail sentence and who was himself ousted in 2006 in a similar coup.

Since Thaksin Shinawatras ouster in 2006, he has led a campaign of terrorism, street violence, armed insurrection and assassinations. This includes riots in 2009 that saw sections of Bangkok lit ablaze and at least two shopkeepers gunned down by looting Shinawatra supporters. The following year, Shinawatra organised up to 300 heavily armed militants who fought for weeks in the streets of Bangkok against the military, leaving nearly 100 dead and culminating in citywide arson.

The most recent coup was precipitated when S...

03:06

How Trump energizes deniers of Palestinian independence +972 Magazine

Taking their cues from the American president, right-wingers like Bret Stephens argue that the Palestinians dont deserve a state. Heres why theyre wrong.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with US President Donald Trump, in New York. September 18, 2017. (Avi Ohayon/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with US President Donald Trump, in New York. September 18, 2017. (Avi Ohayon/GPO)

President Trump could have made a tremendous statement last week had he recognized the claims of both Israel and the Palestinians to a capital in Jerusalem. Instead, he reinforced Israels already disproportionate advantage in the conflict. Right-wing hawks then took it further, seizing on his statement to revive the dusty arguments rejecting of Palestinian statehood altogether.

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Conservative New York Times columnist Bret Stephens provides Exhibit A, with his decree that Palestinians have not proved sufficiently worthy of a state. To make his case, Stephen...

Tuesday, 12 December

23:18

Trump protests evoke memories of the Second Intifada +972 Magazine

We stayed home from school for more than three months. When we returned, more than half of the class was gone. They say children always pay the highest price.

By Zizo Abul Hawa

Israeli troops clash with Palestinians protesting in Bethlehem again Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, December 8, 2017. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

Israeli troops clash with Palestinians protesting in Bethlehem again Donald Trumps recognition of Jerusalem as Israels capital, December 8, 2017. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

I was nearly 13 when the Second Intifada started. We were in school when Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount. School ended early when the rioting began. The children were told to return home; parents came to pick up their kids. My school was in the center of East Jerusalem, very close to the Old City. My parents were at work and couldnt pick me up, so I decided to go home alone.

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On the way to the central bus station in East Jerusalem, my eyes began to burn and I started tearing up I didnt know why. It was the first time I had experienced tear gas. I started to cry and didnt know...

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