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Saturday, 23 September

00:11

SC Opens Door For Legal Challenges to Appointments Lacking Proper Credentials in Pollution Boards The Wire

The court has set aside an NGT order on the matter saying the tribunal doesnt have jurisdiction, but made it clear that future legal challenges are welcome.

A chimney is reflected in a puddle polluted with chemicals at an industrial area of Surat November 25, 2009. Credit: Reuters/Arko Datta/Files

A chimney is reflected in a puddle polluted with chemicals at an industrial area of Surat November 25, 2009. Credit: Reuters/Arko Datta/Files

New Delhi: In a significant judgment, the Supreme Court bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta today set aside the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order directing state governments to reconsider appointments to the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) and laying down guidelines for such appointments. According to the apex court, the NGT does not have the jurisdiction to make this decision.

However, the bench agreed with the NGT that such appointments should not be made casu...

00:06

Jan Gan Man Ki Baat, Episode 123: Cyber Crimes and JNU The Wire

Vinod Dua discusses the problem of cyber crimes and how Jawaharlal Nehru University has changed.

The post Jan Gan Man Ki Baat, Episode 123: Cyber Crimes and JNU appeared first on The Wire.

00:01

How Effective Is Forest Certification? The Wire

There isnt enough evidence to say if certified tropical forests are better than, the same as, or worse than conventionally managed tropical forests when it comes to people.

FSC certification is not only expanding rapidly, but is also one of the most respected forest certification schemes out there. Credit: Reuters

FSC certification is not only expanding rapidly, but is also one of the most respected forest certification schemes out there. Credit: Reuters

Tropical timber has earned a bad reputation.

When we think of timber from lush, tropical forests, it conjures up images of valuable old-growth trees pillaged by logging companies and illegal timber mafias, ignoring the plight of wildlife and local communities.

But tropical timber does not have to be bad, some experts say.

Tropical wood forms an integral part of many of our daily-use products, like furniture, toilet paper, flooring, construction, and packaging material. And this important resource can be harvested from forests responsibly and sustainably, experts say, ensuring that we meet our future wood needs while conserving forests.

When you speak about tropical forests with anybody, my mom or whoever, its always corruption, its always blood, its always stealing, its always dirty. Nobody wants tropical timber anymore, Paolo Cerutti, a senior scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) who has been working on sustainable forest management in sub-Saharan Africa, told Mongabay. But that is bad because we can harvest the forest in a way that is clean and proper and sustainable.

It is this need for clean timber that gave birth to the...

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Friday, 22 September

23:58

SC Directives on Police Reforms Rejected, Ignored or Diluted by States The Wire

Eleven years after order, none of the states have conformed to the guidelines, says a Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative report.

The CHRI also blasts the central government, saying that it has been a "laggard" in every way when it comes to police reforms. Credit: Reuters

The CHRI also blasts the central government, saying that it has been a laggard in every way when it comes to police reforms. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: Eleven years ago, on this day, the Supreme Court had issued directions to the Centre and state governments to transform their police forces into professional, accountable and efficient service units. However, a recent report shows that compliance remains far from satisfactory with none of the governments enacting laws to adhere to the guidelines.

In fact, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, a non-profit organisation working in the areas of access to justice (police and prison reforms) and access to information for over two decades, has pointed out that while 18 states enacted new police acts and 11 issued executive orders, ostensibly to comply w...

23:54

Trumps Principled Realism Signals Renewed American Imperial Offensive The Wire

Trump-America is American imperial power with the gloves off, the mask of soft power removed.

US President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

US President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

US President Trumps address to the United Nations General Assembly signaled little fundamental change in the USs imperial stance towards the world, despite the America First rhetoric derided by establishment critics as isolationist during and after the 2016 election campaign, including...

23:30

Fact Check: Updating Cold War Myths About Thailand New Eastern Outlook

52342342342Many honest, busy analysts outside established media circles in the United States and Europe are plagued by mythologies stemming from once pseudo-truths they simply lack the time or energy to dig into and finally correct.

Among them are enduring myths about the Southeast Asian state of Thailand and its relationship with the United States. These myths stem from its role during the Vietnam War and are now not only outdated, they are destructive to the truth to a point where they aid rather than impede the very special interests upon Wall Street and in Washington many of these analysts seek to expose and confront.

US-Thai Relations During the Vietnam War  

During the Vietnam War, Thailand hosted US forces on its territory. It contributed a number of its own troops in supporting roles throughout Southeast Asia and conducted its own military campaign domestically against heavily armed Communist militants. It is easy to conclude that Thailand was an eager ally then, and easy to see why many analysts assume this is still the case today.

However, in reality, the history of Thailand is of the only nation in Southeast Asia to avoid Western colonisation. It is also the story of a nation that survived the World Wars by expertly aligning itself amid greater powers, neither significantly contributing to nor suffering from contests of powers between more powerful nations.

During the Second World War, Thailand tenuously aligned with the Japanese. It played no significant role in a war the Japanese ultimately lost. Upon Japans defeat, Thailand would once again balance its relationships evenly among its Asian neighbours and the Western victors of the war.

The Vietnam War was likewise a regional war started by foreign powers. It devastated not only Vietnam itself, but neighbouring Laos and Cambodia as well. Despite escaping the worst of the fighting, Thailand lost over a thousand soldiers and police amid security operations within its own borders. It fought allegedly Communist fighters, based primarily in Udon Thani, coincidentally where the US maintained its intelligence apparatus.

In hindsight of the current so-called War on Terror, where the US uses terrorism both as a proxy force against its enemies and as a pretext and...

23:30

Its Good That TRAI Is Slashing Interconnection Charges, But It Should Do It Faster The Wire

The regulatory body should terminate interconnection usage charges completely by 2019 instead of 2020, encouraging operators to turn the new disruption into an opportunity to meet Digital India goals.

Telecommunication towers are pictured through hanging flower pots at a residential building in Kolkata December 11, 2012. Credit: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri/Files

Telecommunication towers are pictured through hanging flower pots at a residential building in Kolkata December 11, 2012. Credit: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri/Files

The new regulation on interconnection usage charges (IUCs), slashing termination rates by 57%, will have far-reaching consequences on the telecom sector. It will help in bringing down tariff, improving quality of services and in replacing inefficient 2G networks with the latest 4G technology that will help in taking the benefits of the digital economy to the masses. A high IUC disincentivises operators from investing in new technologies, as they earn good revenue just by receiving calls o...

23:00

Has the PMLN Transcended Nawaz Sharif? The Wire

In Pakistans political culture, the ghosts of vanquished leaders prove to be more potent than their live versions.

Credit: Reuters

Just weeks after the historic ouster of Nawaz Sharif from the Prime Ministers Office through a court decision, it already looks like a non-event. The new prime minister was calmly elected and governance became business as usual in no time. There had been no party defections, no noisy internecine fights and no experts revised their assessments of the prospects of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) in the coming general elections. The anxieties about the impending dangers to democracy and the live broadcast hysteria about the system being derailed once again have dissipated too.

So has the PMLN transcended Nawaz Sharif?

The party was a test-tube baby born in the Pakistani establishments political laboratory. It was invested with the best of genes from the rightist ideologues and the rising Punjabi civil business class. It was designed to serve as the antidote to the leftist populist politics of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). And it did serve the purpose. But then it refused to limit its existence to that purpose alone: in the process, it got its own personality.

Sharifs person stood to symbolise the interests of a particular Punjabi class. He was progressive in his role as he wanted those interest...

22:49

Gold Imports: How a GST Loophole is Triggering a Game of Whack-a-Mole The Wire

The lower cost of gold through an unintended loophole triggered increased imports from South Korea. But banning this will only unravel the point of a free-trade agreement.

Credit: Reuters

Credit: Reuters

Editors note: Gold imports from South Korea surged to $339 million between July 1, 2017, and August 3, 2017. In the same period last year, gold imports from the country were only $70.5 million. 

So this story is worth a tell.

India has had this major problem with gold imports. So they introduce a 10% import duty on gold. But then, India also has free trade agreements (FTA) with some countries notably, South Korea. Where they make some refinements to gold, and then export it everywhere.

A free trade agreement means no customs duty. But you cant have zero import duty from South Korea, and then 10% from everywhere else, because then everyone in India will simply import gold from South Korea.

So, India had to do something. What it did was to introduce a 12.5% excise duty on gold. When you import something that has an excise duty there is a countervailing duty (CVD) that applies even if you have no customs duty. This is simple if...

22:20

As Speculation Mounts Over NDTV Takeover, Heres a Look at Top Suitor Ajay Singh The Wire

 SpiceJet boss Ajay Singh, a long-time supporter of the BJP, is a man whose industry and political connections have crisscrossed more than once.

While NDTV has officially denied speculation regarding a possible change of ownership, it has over the last few months gone head-to-head with various government agencies over alleged corporate governance issues. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: SpiceJet boss Ajay Singh, a politically-connected entrepreneur who has worked for and closely supported the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the last two decades, is reportedly considering buying a majority stake in NDTV, an Indian Express report stated on Friday.

The media report comes on the heels of week-long speculation over whether ownership of NDTV which in the last few months has gone head-to-head with vari...

21:24

Alleged Police Encounter in Haryanas Nuh Is Part of Larger Pattern, Finds Fact-Finding Commission The Wire

A team from the Citizens Against Hate collective has documented 11 other alleged police encounters in the region.

The fact-finding committee with Munfaid's father. Courtesy: Citizens Against Hate

The fact-finding committee with Munfaids father. Courtesy: Citizens Against Hate

New Delhi: A fact-finding team looking into the death of 30-year-old Munfaid in an alleged police encounter has not just said that the police is trying to cover up the details of the case, but also that as many as 11 police encounter cases with 15 victims, all Muslim men have been identified in the area since 2010. Munfaid was killed on September 16.

Munfaid had been accused in a rape case and was frequently called by the police to do some work for them, promising to dismiss the case in return, his family has said. On the night before his death, he reportedly told his father and father-in-law that the police had asked him to come Rewari to meet them for some work. His family encouraged him to go, they told the fact-finding team from the Citizens Against Hate collective, hoping the police would stop harassing them. Munfaid mentioned the names of four Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) officers he was going to meet Vikrant, Shakti Singh, Satish and Siddharth. The next day, the family was told that Munfaid had been killed.

According to the team, residents of village Rozkemeo said that Munfaid wasnt alone when he was killed he was accompanied by three friends, who saw him get shot by the police and then fled the scene fearing for their own lives. They have not given...

21:15

Theresa May's European Policy Strategic Culture Foundation

The British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to make a historic speech on the post-Exit relationship between the UK and EU. Of all the places to make such an important and profound speech the choice of Italy, home to one of the most powerful (and deeply corrupted) Christian religions in human history, alongside its peculiar relationship and history with Mussolini's Fascists and the organised crime syndicate of the Mafia is a flamboyant if not very strange and disturbing choice. It was also strange regarding the surprise announcement from 10 Downing Street (during the tussle over the Foreign Secretary's piece in the Daily Telegraph preceded the day before by the Parsons Green terror attack...

20:17

Thousands Rally in Philippines, Warn of Duterte Dictatorship The Wire

Protesters burn a effigy with a skull face during a National Day of Protest outside the presidential palace in metro Manila, Philippines September 21, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Romeo Ranoco

Protesters burn a effigy with a skull face during a National Day of Protest outside the presidential palace in metro Manila, Philippines September 21, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Romeo Ranoco

Manila:  Thousands of Filipinos rallied on Thursday to denounce Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and warn of what they called an emerging dictatorship, in a major show of dissent against the controversial but hugely popular leader.

Politicians, indigenous people, priests, businessmen, and left-wing activists held marches and church masses accusing Duterte of authoritarianism and protesting at policies including a ferocious war on drugs that has killed thousands.

Signs saying Stop The Killings and No To Martial Rule reflected fears that Duterte would one day deliver on his threat to declare nationwide military rule like that imposed by late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The rallies marked the 45th anniversary of the start of that era, remembered by many Filipinos as brutal and oppressive.

Effigies of Duterte were burned, including one which bore both his face and that of late Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

A protester with a toy gun played dead on the...

20:15

Trump"s UN Speech: the Swamp"s Wine in an "America First!" Bottle Strategic Culture Foundation

In his maiden speech to the United Nations General Assembly, President Donald Trump invoked the terms sovereign and sovereignty 21 times. In a manner unimaginable coming from any other recent occupant of the White House, the President committed the United States to the principle of national sovereignty and to the truth that the nation-state remains the best vehicle for elevating the human condition. More, Trump rightly pointed out that these pertain not just to the US and the safeguarding of American sovereignty but to all countries...

19:59

Episode 320 Echoes of WWI: China, the US, and the Next Great War The Corbett Report

[audio mp3="https://www.corbettreport.com/mp3/episode320-lq.mp3"][/audio]In the early 20th century, the worlds dominant superpower looked warily on the rise of a competitor to its supremacy. The machinations of the British to contain the rise of Germany led inexorably to the First World War. Once again in the early 21st century, the worlds dominant superpower is looking warily on the rise of a competitor. Will the American Empires machinations to contain the rise of China lead to the Third World War? Or is the American/Chinese conflict another engineered conflict for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many?

19:47

Suing Citizens, Tech Terror, Foolish Fluoride New World Next Week The Corbett Report

This week on the New World Next Week: the government sues citizens for asking for information; PM May recruits Big Tech in extremist content purge; and yet another study finds fluoride linked to lower IQ in children.

19:45

America Can Never Be Trusted! Strategic Culture Foundation

Time and again throughout its history, America breached treaties and other agreements proving it doesnt negotiate in good faith. Just the opposite!

19:37

The Great Leaders Limits Are Now Drowning out His Governments Strengths The Wire

Opposition parties and leaders may or may not be able to cobble together a coherent counter-narrative, but citizens are beginning to take note of the abuse of public confidence and poll promises.

Narendra Modi

The paucity of talent is no longer made up by the prime ministers rhetorical prowess or his unquestionable dedication to Bharat Mata. Credit: http://www.pmindia.gov.in/

A reader is unhappy with the prime ministers remarks at the dedication of the Sardar Sarovar Dam on Sunday. The dismayed reader writes a letter to the editor (The Tribune, September 20): The remark was vitriolic and not in harmony with the celebratory occasion Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as the head of the largest democracy, should forsake the detestable job of a low-level party hatchet man. For the record, the prime minister had menacingly remarked that he had access to the kacha-chitta of all those who were opposed to the dam. News reports also noted that the prime minister pointedly did not mention Nehru, even though it was Nehru who had laid the dams foundation stone.

Not long ago, there was a time when such cultivated pettiness would have been music to many ears. No longer. Now, it is beginning to jar. There was a time when the country was in need of a catharsis. May 2014 happened. For a while, very many people found themselves dazzled especi...

19:15

Russia Concerned Over US Violations of INF Treaty Strategic Culture Foundation

Russian Foreign Minister has met his US counterpart, Rex Tillerson, twice in New York at the UN General Assembly. The two countries are at odds over an array of issues but the possible violations of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) is a matter of special concern. According to Lavrov, We have suspicions on at least three fronts that the Americans are creating weapons systems which violate or could violate the treaty obligations. The minister also emphasized that Moscow wanted the treaty to be in force provided the US observed its provisions.

18:57

Newton Takes a Close Look at the Slender Line Separating Democracy and Farce The Wire

Newton isnt just political; its also deeply personal, searing with existential angst seldom seen in Hindi cinema these days.

Newton, like so many of us, is an outsider in his own country. Credit: YouTube

Newton, like so many of us, is an outsider in his own country. Credit: YouTube

Quite early in Newton, Indias official entry to the 2018 Oscars, a young government clerk, Newton (Rajkummar Rao), alights from a helicopter and walks towards the heart of darkness, two villages in Chhattisgarh jungles, to conduct a Lok Sabha election. The villages, comprising 76 eligible voters, are torn by the armed conflict between the Naxals and the Indian government. The last election in the area saw 19 deaths. If not for Newton, it probably wouldnt have seen an election this year. (An election commissioner feigned illness at the last moment and dropped out.) Newton, armed with sincerity, wanting to infuse democracy and order in the jungles, cuts a hero-like figure.

Amit V. Masurkar, Newtons filmmaker, prods us to hang on to that thought at least for a bit. He films Newton, enveloped in a gust of wind, from afar: a new man in an old world, who carries with him hope, idealism and an electronic voting machine. But this scene is a bit of an in-joke, because Newton is not a hero. He is certainly the centrepiece of the film, but for someone who perpetually finds himself in a whirlpool not of his own making squaring off against parents to find a suitable wife, warding off callous cynical police officers, putting up with indifferent co-workers Newton is anything but a hero.

Much of Newton unfolds in one day, in a span of a couple of hours, detailing Newtons efforts to conduct a fair and...

18:47

Two Suspects Released by UK Police in Parsons Green Probe The Wire

Passengers wait to for a train at Parson's Green Underground station after it reopened following an explosion on a rush hour train yesterday morning, in London, Britain, September 16, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Peter Nicholls

Passengers wait to for a train at Parsons Green Underground station after it reopened following an explosion on a rush hour train yesterday morning, in London, Britain, September 16, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Peter Nicholls

British police said they have released two men arrested as part of the investigation into last weeks Tube attack in Parsons Green, London, which injured 30 people.

A 21-year-old man arrested in Hounslow on September 16th and a 48-year-old man arrested in Newport on September 20th were released by the police with no further action, the police said in a statement on late Thursday. http://bit.ly/2hnqiem

We have four males in custody and searches are continuing at four addresses. Detectives are carrying out extensive inquiries to determine the full facts behind the attack, the police said.

A home-made bomb went off on September 15th during the morning rush hour on a packed underground Tube train at Parsons Green station, sending flames through the carriage, althou...

18:45

Disruptors Get the Carrot and Incumbents the Stick as TRAI Terminates Interconnection Charges The Wire

While arguments over methodologies and calculations will find its way to the courts, the telecom regulator believes that symmetry in tariffs will bring about symmetry in traffic.

Airtel, Vodafone and Idea have a lot to lose as a result of the TRAIs recent decision. Credit: PTI

Airtel, Vodafone and Idea have a lot to lose as a result of the TRAIs recent decision to reduce domestic termination charges. Credit: PTI

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) this week reduced the domestic termination charges payable by services providers from 14 paise per minute to six paise, effective from next month. The regulator also announced that it will get rid of termination charges altogether, starting from January 1, 2020.

The move is unsurprising. Termination charges have been viewed as a relic of the old order, ill-suited to modern networks when calls can be terminated over data. The regulator for this reason had vowed to review and slash down the charges aiming to not just level the playing field but propel it forward, forcing incumbents to migrate towards next generation ne...

18:44

In South Korea, Daily Stresses Outweigh North Korea Missile Worries The Wire

Students pray during an early-morning prayer session at the Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary (PUTS) in Seoul, South Korea, September 12, 2017. Picture taken on September 12, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

Students pray during an early-morning prayer session at the Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary (PUTS) in Seoul, South Korea, September 12, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

Seoul: Soon after North Korea tested its sixth and largest nuclear bomb earlier this month, You Jae-youn, a 32-year-old South Korean office worker, swiftly put the news behind her to focus on more immediate worries.

We have more than enough to concern ourselves with in our everyday lives. Personally, I worry more about how much its going to cost me to put food on the table (than North Korea), said You, from Sejong city in c...

18:40

Is the Indian Media Failing to Perform a Necessary Activist Role? The Wire

Can journalism and activism usually seen in contradiction to each other overlap without undermining the objectivity of the journalist?

Gauri protest

Protest march in Bangalore for Gauri Lankesh on September 12. Credit: The Wire

The assassination of Gauri Lankesh, editor of the Kannada weekly Lankesh Patrike, on September 5, sparked unprecedented protests among journalists across India. Hundreds gathered at Delhis Press Club to express outrage over her murder. Many expressed surprise that such large numbers of mediapersons (rarely known for such gestures of dissent) showed up that day. A rare expression of solidarity and anger indeed. Some present on the occasion even emphasised the need to take the protest forward, to make it something more than a one-off. The conversations gestured towards a changed reality, one even those who have so far been reluctant to take cognisance of, were forced to recognise.

No doubt, reporters working with small media networks and away from Delhis media glare are more vulnerable than the well-connected journalists in the capital. For instance, earlier this week, 28-year-old Santanu Bhowmik, employed with local cable TV netwo...

18:39

Catalan Leader Presses on With Banned Vote on Secession From Spain The Wire

Protesters carry Esteladas, Catalan separatist flags and Basque flags, during a rally in favour of a referendum on independence from Spain for the autonomous community of Catalonia, in the Basque city of Bilbao, Spain September 9, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Protesters carry Esteladas, Catalan separatist flags and Basque flags, during a rally in favour of a referendum on independence from Spain for the autonomous community of Catalonia, in the Basque city of Bilbao, Spain, September 9, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Madrid/Barcelo...

18:20

BJP, TDP Back Arya Vysya Communitys Battle Against Kancha Ilaiahs Book The Wire

TDP MP T.G. Venkatesh addressed a press conference against the author and said that he should be hanged publicly.

Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd (left), Post-Hindu India by Shepherd. Credit: Facebook, Sage publications

Hyderabad: A recent Telugu translation of a chapter from Post-Hindu India, a book in English written by prominent Dalit and backward caste voice Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd, first published in 2009, has created a huge controversy. There have been protests, police and court cases, anonymous death threats and a split among the free speech support groups. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has officially condemned the author and the book, while a parliamentarian of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) from the Vysya community has sought a change in the laws of the country so the author can be hanged publicly.

Shepherd, who is director at the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy at the Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad, writes in Samajika Smugglurlu Komatollu (Vysyas as Social Smugglers) that the Vysya community, though numerically small in population, has appropriated a huge share of economic resources and that their businesses, ranging from money lending to private enterprises, are exploitative of the lower castes.

The community is up in arms, arguing that it was a non-violent, law-abiding and productive group, contributing to the d...

18:08

Public-Spiritedness as a Way of Putting Fraternity Back Into Development The Wire

Public-spiritedness does not always require self-sacrifice or deep ethical thinking, though ethics, of course, can help.

A homeless boy holds biscuits that he received as alms as he takes shelter from rain in front of a fast food shop in Mumbai November 11, 2009. Credit: Reuters/Arko Datta

A homeless boy holds biscuits that he received as alms as he takes shelter from rain in front of a fast food shop in Mumbai November 11, 2009. Credit: Reuters/Arko Datta

An excerpt from Jean Drze new book, Sense and Solidarity: Jholawala Economics for Everyone, published by Permanent Black in September 2017.

Word has it that most people are self-interested. At least that is what an unsuspecting reader of mainstream economic theory might conclude. The literature makes constant reference to rational self-interest as the prime motivation of economic agents. Of course, there is also a specialised literature on other possible motives, such as compassion and commitment. And even in the mainstream...

18:08

False to Say Yoga Isnt Political: American Scholar Whose Course at Nalanda University Was Cancelled The Wire

I think my discussion of yoga is threatening to the RSS-linked administration, Patricia Sauthoff has said in an interview.

Nalanda University. Credit: Nalanda University Blog

Nalanda University. Credit: Nalanda University Blog

New Delhi: Patricia Sauthoff, an American scholar at the School of Oriental and Asian Studied, London, who taught a course titled History and Politics of Yoga at Nalanda University, which has been discontinued, has said the decision was taken because her discussion of yoga was threatening to the RSS-linked administration.

In an interview with Caravan magazine, Sauthoff has said that while she was first sent a letter offering to extend her contract at the university on June 13, the next week she received another letter rescinding the offer, and she was never given a reason for the withdrawal.

Both the universitys new chancellor, Vijay Bhatkar, and vice chancellor, Sunaina Singh, have close relationships with the RSS. I imagine they felt my course would threaten the RSS-approved narrative of the history of yoga. I also think that looking at their politics within the...

18:00

CIC Pulls up NCW for Not Acting on Alleged Sexual Harassment Charges by Staff The Wire

Information commissioner M. Sridhar Acharyulu held that the National Commission for Women had failed in the discharge of its responsibility towards its women employees.

Information commissioner M. Sridhar Acharyulu criticised the NCW for its handing of a woman employees sexual harassment case. Credit: PTI/Representational Image

Information commissioner M. Sridhar Acharyulu criticised the NCW for its handing of a woman employees sexual harassment case. Credit: PTI/Representational Image

The Central Information Commission (CIC) on Thursday pulled up the National Commission for Women (NCW) for failing in its duty as a responsible employer and its role defined by Section 10 of the National Commission for Women Act, 1990 by not acting on a complaint of sexual harassment filed by an employee from a minority community against a senior officer. The Act states that the NCW should investigate and examine all matters relating to the safeguards provided for women under the constitution and other law and take up the cases of violation of the provisions of the constitution and of other laws relating to women with the appropriate authorities. It has also come to light that another woman employee had also filed a sexual harassment complaint against the same officer.

In his final order, information commissioner M. Sridhar Acharyulu...

18:00

Argentinas Macri Almost Certain to Run for Re-Election, Says Adviser The Wire

Argentina's President Mauricio Macri waits for U.S. Vice President Mike Pence at the Olivos Presidential Residence in Buenos Aires, Argentina August 15, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Argentinas President Mauricio Macri waits for US Vice President Mike Pence at the Olivos Presidential Residence in Buenos Aires, Argentina August 15, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Buenos Aires: Argentine President Mauricio Macri is almost certain to run for re-election in 2019, his top campaign adviser said on Thursday, even as he acknowledged that the leaders market-friendly reforms were unpopular among many poor Argentines.

Jaime Duran Barba, an Ecuadorian who has run campaigns across Latin America and is considered the political guru behind Macris surprise win in 2015, told Reuters on Thursday he did not see a scenario where Macri was not a candidate.

The most likely is for...

17:16

US Companies to Invest in Afghanistans Rare Earth Minerals The Wire

 

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 21, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

US President Donald Trump meets with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during the UN General Assembly in New York, US, September 21, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

US President Donald Trump and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani agreed at a meeting in New York on Thursday that US companies could help develop Afghanistans rare earth minerals, the White House said in a statement.

They agreed that such initiatives would help American companies develop materials critical to national security while growing Afghanistans economy and creating new jobs in both countries, therefore defraying some of the costs of US assistance as Afghans become more self-reliant, the White House said.

The two leaders also expressed their commitment to fully implement Trumps new South Asia strategy to defeat terrorism, the statement said.

(Reuters)

The post US Companies to Invest in Afghanistans Rare Earth Minerals appeared first on...

16:09

The EU Needs A Three-Child Policy And China Should Pay For It! OrientalReview.org

So long as China can succeed in preserving the EUs consumer market strength, Beijing wont have much to worry about its long-term strategy for Eurasia.

The post The EU Needs A Three-Child Policy And China Should Pay For It! appeared first on OrientalReview.org.

15:30

Will an Independent Kurdistan be Created? New Eastern Outlook

546523222Despite the fact that the United Nations, LAS, the United States of America, Russia and the countries sharing borders with Turkey Syria and Iran, as well as all the Arab States, not to mention the central government of Baghdad, have protested in advance, the parliament of Iraqi Kurdistan has approved the holding on September 25 of this year of a referendum on the independence of this region, which has the status of broad autonomy within the country, as legally enshrined in the Iraqi Constitution.

65 out of 68 deputies have spoken in favor of the plebiscite. The authorities of the autonomous region are thus unilaterally willing to carry out the decision to secede from Iraq, despite the strong negative position of Baghdad, which considers the vote on this issue illegal. Prime Minister of Iraq, Haider al-Abadi, has not ruled out the possibility of a military intervention in the event that the planned referendum would lead to an escalation of violence, and has stressed that he will not refuse to enter into negotiations with Erbil. For Iraq, the withdrawal of IK from the Iraqi state could mean not only the further disintegration of the country by its spliting into Sunni and Shiite strongholds, but also the loss of part of the territories occupied by the Kurds in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. This primarily concerns the areas near Mosul and Kirkuk and the Kirkuk oil field, where up to 40% of all Iraqi oil is mined.

The independence of the Kurdish autonomy in Iraq could also lead to invasion by the Turkish armed forces, which have for many years been fighting with Kurdish armed groups within the country as represented by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Kurdish Peoples Protection Units in Syria. The Turkish leader has already...

14:00

Asias Regional Tax Wars Indicate That Its Time to Review Tax Incentives The Wire

Asian countries must take steps to rationalise tax competition and build cooperation on tax matters, both at the regional and the global level.

Global tax

Almost 70% of world trade occurs via multinational corporations MNCs, many with subsidiaries in tax havens. Credit: Reuters

Revelations like the Panama Papers, Bahamas leaks and the recent Azerbaijani Laundromat scandal have seen countries adopting global transparency standards endorsed by the OECD and G20. Asian countries like Indonesia, India, Hong Kong, Singapore and China have agreed to bilaterally share financial information of taxpayers in the beginning of 2018 to combat corporate tax avoidance.

Understanding the problem

Substantial domestic revenue is lost by countries globally as a result of corporate tax dodging practices. Multinational corporations (MNCs) use aggressive tax minimisation strategies to shift their profits to a low tax jurisdiction. This loss of domestic revenues has severe implications on endeavours to safeguard human rights, macroeconomic policies, public institutions and the socio-polit...

14:00

Indias Unique Enigma of High Growth and Stunted Children The Wire

Diane Coffey and Dean Spears Where India Goes: Abandoned Toilets, Stunted Development and the Costs of Caste is a path breaking addition to the literature on child malnutrition and development policy in India.

India malnutrition

In the foreword to the book, Nobel laureate Angus Deaton says that Indian women will probably take 250 years to catch up with British women in terms of their height even if we assume that the latter will grow no taller than what they are today. Credit: Reuters

The history of global health has been marked with a dramatic turnaround starting from around the mid to late 19th century. This period witnessed an unprecedented decline in death rate and a steady increase in the life expectancy of populations across Western Europe and North America. Conventional wisdom for a long time held that the improvement in public health indicators came through because of rising incomes and consequently, rising nutritional levels. However, a number of scholars now agree that the real reason for the rapid advance in the conditions of human life in this period was made possible by the sanitation movement that provided particularly in the growing urban centres of industrialising Europe sewers and clean drinking water to the population. The state played a very important role in the provisioning of these public goods as the markets typically failed to deliver, say for instance universal vaccination or urban sewage systems, owing to what is known as market failures in neoclassical economics. Gradually, the long, arduous and killing phase of infectious diseas...

13:30

The Enduring Powers of Mosuls Rich and Diverse Cultural History The Wire

As Mosul rebuilds, its past is a reminder that Islam is not a rigid rulebook of regulations and prohibitions, but a complex religion that has often embraced many traditions.

A 1932 photograph showing the minaret of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri, Mosul. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

A 1932 photograph showing the minaret of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri, Mosul. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

The Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, built nearly a millennium ago and one of Iraqs most revered religious sites, was destroyed when the ISIS detonated explosives inside it in June of this year.

Founded in the 12th century by one of Islams most famous rulers, Nur al-Din ibn Zangi, in the medieval period the mosque was considered the ultimate in beauty and excellence. It was famous for its soaring, 150-foot minaret, the tallest in Iraq and nicknamed al-Hadba or the Hunchback because it leaned to one side, like an Islamic Tower of Pisa. Its destruction was a terrible blow to the people of Mosul, and for the rest of the world.

I am a scholar of Islamic art, and my research reveals that such acts of deliberate, ideologically based destruction are unusual in Islamic history. Although today Mosul is famous outside of Iraq primarily as a site of conflict, its rich and diverse history forms an important legacy.

What was lost in Mosul?

Mosul was founded in ancient times, on the outskirts of the older Assyrian city of Nineveh. The precise date of the citys foundation is unknown, but at least from the medieval era, it was known a...

13:30

The Decivilising Process of ISIS The Wire

For ISIS militants, unlike Socrates, only an unexamined life is worth living.

The tragic fragility of the human condition is now hostage of a new phenomenon which is the nihilistic pursuit of death by the young militants of the Islamic State. Credit: Reuters

The tragic fragility of the human condition is now hostage of a new phenomenon which is the nihilistic pursuit of death by the young militants of the Islamic State. Credit: Reuters

For centuries, the dignity of mankind was evaluated by the disinterested quest for truth, the creation of beauty and the realisation of excellence. Yet, as humanity lurches back towards fanaticism and barbarity, we would do well to remember that we are all children of share values, either Biblical, Islamic, Christian or Buddhist, African or American which have shaped our traditions and modernities. And yet, today, in the second decade of the 21st century, we are caught in a spiderweb of meaninglessness and thoughtlessness, which has crossed the threshold of our democracies. So the question to ask is: in a world where the only values are money and celebrity, can such a society continue to survive and function and produce meaningful citizens?

It may be that the future of the democratic societies, if there is one, will depend less on financial banking and the pursuit of hedonistic individualism. Unfortunately, the universality of the internet has not promoted the universality of critical reasoning and Descartes was certainly wrong to think that Good sense is the most evenly shared thing in the world. For it is not enough to have a mind, one should know how to apply it. From...

13:00

Why Has the BRICS Failed to be an Effective Force? The Wire

The promise of BRICS was that it would usher in a new approach to development. But after meeting annually for the last nine years theres no sign that the old order has been challenged.

Brazilian President Temer, Russian President Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South Africas President Zuma and Indian Prime Minister Modi. Credit: Reuters/Kenzaburo Fukuhara

Brazilian President Temer, Russian President Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South Africas President Zuma and Indian Prime Minister Modi. Credit: Reuters/Kenzaburo Fukuhara

The formation of the BRICS the bloc made of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa was supposed to be the harbinger for a new approach to global economic governance. The leading emerging markets and developing countries were becoming major players in the global economy. And they expected to play a commensurate governance role.

BRICS leaders have now been meeting annually for nine years. They recently met for the ninth BRICS Summit in Xiamen, China. They have positioned themselves as a force for transforming global economic governance so that its more responsive to the concerns of developing economies. They are seeking a more just and equitable global economy.

The question is: how effective have they been in reforming global economic governance and the fairness of the global economy?

The honest answer is that as a group, BRICS hasnt been an effective force at all. This is for a number of reasons.

Whats not happened

The following examples illustrate the point.

At least formally the G20, which consists of 20 major economies including the five in BRICs, has supplanted the G7, made up of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US, as the premier forum for global economic governance. But the agenda in these meetings is still largely set by the most powerful countries which now include China but not the other BRICS.

The IMF and World Bank have both changed their voting arrangements to give a louder voice to developing economies and emerging economies. This has particularly benefited China, India and Brazil. But BRICS hasnt supported South Africas call for a third African...

13:00

Why Are So Many Young Africans Risking Their Lives to Flee Their Homes? The Wire

Will the G20s new Compact with Africa succeed in combatting poverty and climate change and deter the exodus of African economic migrants?

Young African migrants seek opportunities abroad as the World Bank projects that the worlds extreme poor will be increasingly concentrated in Africa. Credit: Ilaria Vechi/IPS

Young African migrants seek opportunities abroad as the World Bank projects that the worlds extreme poor will be increasingly concentrated in Africa. Credit: Ilaria Vechi/IPS

Sydney and Kuala Lumpur: Not a single month has passed without dreadful disasters triggering desperate migrants to seek refuge in Europe. According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), at least 2,247 people have died or are missing after trying to enter Europe via Spain, Italy or Greece in the first half of this year. Last year, 5,096 deaths were recorded.

The majority including economic migrants, victims of people smugglers, and so on were young Africans aged between 17 and 25. The former head of the British mission in Benghazi (Libya) claimed in April that as many as a million more were already on their way to Libya, and then Europe, from across Africa.

Why flee Africa?

Why are so many young Africans trying to leave the continent of their birth? Why are they risking their lives to flee Africa?

Part of the answer lies in the failur...

12:50

FAKE NEWS IS VIOLENCE! onsite.infoshop

The most violent element in the society is ignorance

                                                                Emma Goldman

 

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We encourage people to use their imagination to make sense out of this sentence.

Please be reminded that past and current administrations use various means to deceive people.

They spread fake news and lies to cover up what is real.

GNP, GDP, infrastructure, and promises of politicians with regard to development are also smoke screen to the hide real situations. But these are less effective compare to killings.

Duterte administration use fake news massively to encourage violence. Illegal drugs are one among serious problems that should be addressed; but it is intentionally blown out of proportion. The exaggerated presentation of drug problem justifies killings. Since Dutertes assumption to office, blood and dead bodies of allegedly drug users an...

10:32

Sarawak not selling power to Peninsular Malaysia Abg Jo Hornbill Unleashed

The state government will not sell electricity from Bakun dam to Peninsular Malaysia, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg. He said he had decided that the electricity from Bakun be used for the state and partly sold to West Kalimantan as what was being done at present. As far as the energy []

Sabah opposition leader Lajim out of bankruptcy, but loses party presidency for now Hornbill Unleashed

After a week of being declared bankrupt, Sabah opposition leader Datuk Lajim Ukin has cleared his outstanding debt of RM185,000 and the status has been lifted as of today. Lajim was also forced to vacate the position of Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah president, and can only be reinstated after the partys annual general meeting next []

10:32

Harapan confident can win four more parliamentary seats Hornbill Unleashed

Pakatan Harapan Sarawak is confident of capturing four more Barisan Nasional (BN) seats this coming general election (GE14). Its chairman Chong Chieng Jen said the four seats would be additional to the six existing seats held by the opposition. We dont want to reveal which four seats yet but it will be in the rural []

10:32

Allegation that Sabah churches prefer opposition is destructive criticism Hornbill Unleashed

The Sabah BN Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) has dismissed an allegation that churches prefer the opposition pact to BN, saying such an opinion is extremely destructive. Speaking to FMT, Sabah BNBBC chairman Abdul Rahim Ismail said the statement implied that BN is unwelcoming of Christians, hence the churches support for the opposition. This cannot be further []

10:32

Tun Dr Mahathir to give talk on Pakatan Harapan programme this Sunday Hornbill Unleashed

Pakatan Harapan chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is expected to attend and give a talk at the Pakatan Harapan Sarawak programme this Sunday from 7pm to 10.30pm. Pakatan Harapan Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen said the programme has been scheduled at the carpark of Everrise supermarket at BDC here. This will be Tun Mahathirs first []

10:32

Academic challenges bishops claim church is non-partisan Hornbill Unleashed

An academician with Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM), Kamarul Zaman Yusoff, has challenged a claim by Sabah Council of Churches (SCC) president Bishop Melter Jiki Tais that the church is non-partisan. If the church is non-partisan, why did the church and its senior leaders involve themselves directly in the launching of books by top leaders of []

10:32

Petra Jaya Hospital contractor gets LAD for project delay Hornbill Unleashed

Public Works Department (PWD) has imposed Liquidated Ascertained Damages (LAD) on the contractor of Petra Jaya Hospital at a rate of RM89,506.85 per day starting from June 10 this year until completion of the project. The construction of Petra Jaya Hospital was supposed to be completed by June 9 this year as per contract. However, []

10:32

Church leaders must be non-partisan or risk dividing people Hornbill Unleashed

The Catholic Church has always been non-partisan when it comes to politics but this does not mean the leaders cannot talk about current developments, said a Catholic prelate. Keningau Diocese Bishop Cornelius Piong told FMT the churchs clergymen act as the leaders who unite the faithful under their guardianship. This is why, in my opinion, []

10:32

Malaysia Airlines says open to options with Boeing despite recent MoU Hornbill Unleashed

Malaysia Airlines Bhd said today that its recent memorandum of understanding (MoU) to acquire 16 new jets from American manufacturer Boeing is still optional. The national carrier also explained that funding for aircraft are planned on a sale-and-operating leaseback or simple operational lease, following media reports yesterday that the company will not be using its []

10:32

Sarawak Museum to close until 2020 for restoration Hornbill Unleashed

The Sarawak Museum, the oldest in the Borneo, will close for about 30 months for restoration works to its building and century-old artefacts, Chief Minister Datuk Abang Johari Openg announced today. It will be closed from October this year and will be open to public in early 2020, he told reporters at a press conference. []

10:31

Minimum wage hike will backfire on job market, say experts Hornbill Unleashed

In light of concerns repeatedly expressed by youth today, that their salaries arent enough to cope with the rising cost of living, some quarters have suggested raising the starting salary for graduates as well as the minimum wage. Industry and economic experts, however, say this would actually backfire on the job market as some businesses []

G25 questions PAS promise Islamic laws wont affect non-Muslims Hornbill Unleashed

A member of the G25 group of prominent Malays today questioned PAS assurances that the enforcement of Islamic laws would not affect non-Muslims, following the partys objection to the Better Beer Festival 2017. Johan Ariffin, who is the former deputy director of the Sabah Foundation, pointed out that when promoting PAS president Abdul Hadi Awangs []

10:31

Bersih starts campaign for advance voting reforms Hornbill Unleashed

Electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 today started a campaign to push for Sabahans and Sarawakians who are working in peninsular Malaysia to be included as part of the advance voting system introduced in the 13th general elections. Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah said that the cost involved for East Malaysians travelling back on Election Day, []

10:31

Malaysian churches urged to help crisis-struck Rohingya Hornbill Unleashed

An umbrella group representing Malaysias Protestant churches urged all Christians today to contribute financially to help the Muslim majority Rohingya. Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM) general secretary Reverend Herman Shastri also expressed support for Putrajayas assistance and collaboration with the United Nations for the Rohingya who have been forcefully displaced from their Myanmar homeland. []

10:31

Bersih pushes advanced voting for Sabah, Sarawak voters Hornbill Unleashed

Electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 has urged the authorities to implement advanced voting for East Malaysian voters living in the peninsula and West Malaysians living in Sabah and Sarawak. Speaking at a press conference at the launch of Bersihs campaign today, chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah said there were over 150,000 registered voters from Sabah and Sarawak []

03:01

Media, Rights Organisations Condemn Tripura Journalist Santanu Bhowmiks Murder The Wire

It is a reckless, inhuman act to silence the voice of free press in the country and an assault on the freedom of press.

The Kerala Union of Working Journalists in New Delhi held a protest against the murder at Kerala House in New Delhi on September 21. Credit: Special Arrangement

The Kerala Union of Working Journalists held a protest against the murder at Kerala House in New Delhi on September 21. Credit: Special Arrangement

New Delhi: Various media and rights organisations have condemned the killing of young television journalist Santanu Bhowmik in Mandai area of Tripura yesterday. Bhowmik was covering a road blockade called by the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) that turned violent.

...

02:31

Even After Sanctions, North Korea has a Lot to Cheer About New Eastern Outlook

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Politics of sanctions is not known to have been an effective source of bringing about political change. This is particularly evident from the way Iran has thwarted the US and EU sanctions in the last decade or so, and this is even more particualr from the way North Kores has been thwarting, notwithstanding the role that the sanctioned countries allies play, the US over its nuclear programme. North Korea has a well-established nuclear infrastructure, and there is seemingly nothing in the air that the country might be tempted to role it back. Nor does the US have any option other than that of imposing sanctions to hurt North Korea directly and its allies indirectly. Still, the US imposed sanctions and even those imposed by the UNSC seem to have done little to convince North Korea of the necessity of rolling back its nuclear programme. On the other hand, the UNSC imposed fresh sanctions, their dynamics and divergent international political interests involved have once again proved that North Korea has little to worry about. Nothing perhaps could better explain this than fresh North Korean missile tests, and the fact that both China and Russia continue to oppose, despite pressure from the US, any move against North Korea that may trigger a regime change scenario, or allow the use of military force.

Notwithstanding the fact that fresh sanctions are harsh compared to the previous ones, this round of sanctions is still far from what the US president, Donald Trump, had been hoping for since the beginning of his presidency. What the US had hoped for included, apart from a complete oil embargo, an asset freeze and travel ban on Kim Jong-un and other specifically designated North Korean officials. The draft resolution also covered additional WMD-related items as well as a provision for regular inspection of North Korean vessels in international waters. While the scenario thus built does not prevent either China or Russia from applying political and diplomatic pressure, as North Korea will still be facing 30% reduction on its crude and refined oil imports, Russia-China duo has also drawn the line, which can be crossed only at the expense of triggering a major international crisis. In nutshell, both Russia and China have limited themselves to a measured application of diplomatic pressure, which explicitly includes, apart from other things, stability in Pyongyang, no regime change, no drastic alteration of the geopolitical chessboard and no massive refugee crisis.

Within this seemingly agreed fra...

01:55

Jan Gan Man Ki Baat: Arun Jaitley and Increase in Gold Imports The Wire

Vinod Dua discusses why Arun Jaitley had to finally admit that the economy has slowed down and why gold imports have tripled compared to last year.

The post Jan Gan Man Ki Baat: Arun Jaitley and Increase in Gold Imports appeared first on The Wire.

01:39

Will The Deep States War on Trump Lead To An Actual Civil War? OrientalReview.org

The reason why the "deep state" and Soros-affiliated Alt-Left groups want to spark such pronounced disorder and chaos in the US is to fuel a Color Revolution

The post Will The Deep States War on Trump Lead To An Actual Civil War? appeared first on OrientalReview.org.

00:40

Modi Government Affidavit on Rohingya Refugees Reverses Indias Long-Held Stand on Non-Refoulement The Wire

The Wire went through Indias statements made at international meetings on refugees to check other references to non-refoulement over the last two decades.

It claimed that while India is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the scope of this multilateral treaty does not extend to the principle of non-refoulement. Credit: Reuters

It claimed that while India is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the scope of this multilateral treaty does not extend to the principle of non-refoulement. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: When the Ministry of Home Affairs, on behalf of the government of India, in its affidavit before the Supreme Court, submitted that India, as a non-signatory to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, was not obliged to adhere to the principle of non-refoulement, this was a reversal of Indias publicly stated position made at various international fora over the years.

Non-refoulement is a principle in international law that stops a country from returning a person to a place where they would be at risk of persecution.

The Supreme Court had...

00:29

China Increases Its Influence Over Afghanistan New Eastern Outlook

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Its hardly a surprise that the United State is not the only state to recognize the geopolitical importance of Afghanistan. Among the other nations deeply involved in this Central Asian state is China. Ever since 2011, when the Heart of Asia summit was launched, China has been making every effort to establish better ties with all nations engaged in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Beijing would organize meeting with its regional partners, including Iran, Pakistan and Russia, while working closely with the quadripartite coordination group that consists of Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States and China itself, as well as the Taliban.

However, over the last three years China has increasingly grown interested in establishing closer ties with Afghanistan more directly. After the withdrawal of the better part of US occupying forces, Beijing sent a group of officials led by Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Kabul. In fact, over the past three years, Beijing would provide more assistance to Afghanistan than it has over the previous thirteen years.

Chinese Interests in Afghanistan

The reasoning behind Beijings motivation has been pretty clear all along. It seeks both a gradual decrease in the number of NATO troops deployed in Afghanistan in order to reduce Washingtons influence and to create a buffer of stability around Chinas national borders. At the same time, officials in Beijing are forced to realize that as long as the situation in Afghanistan remains unstable, NATO and US forces will have a pretext for prolonging their military presence in territory directly bordering China.

In addition, it is of extreme importance for Beijing to ensure a secure implementation of its On Belt, One Road (OBOR) economic initiative, to weaken the positions of various terrorist groups operating in the region, including ISIS. Such groups ensure Central Asia remains a potentially explosive political landscape. This allows terrorists to keep Beijing at all times worried about stability both at home and across the region. Whats worse is that the ever present tension in the Central Asia can potentially jeopardize the promising OBOR i...

00:15

Kyrgyzstan Accuses Kazakhstan of Political Meddling EurasiaNet.org - Inside the Cocoon

Kyrgyzstan is brimming with indignation at what it perceives as the meddling of neighboring Kazakhstan in its upcoming presidential election.
 
On September 19, the office of Kazakhstans President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced he had met for talks in Astana with Kyrgyz presidential candidate and multimillionaire businessman Omurbek Babanov. The meeting was given wide coverage in Kazakhstans media.
 
One particular passage from Nazarbayevs chat with Babanov drew particular attention.
 
I have known you for a long time. You have been doing business and gained great experience. You were head of the government, Nazarbayev said, speaking in Kazakh and referring to Babanovs stint as prime minister from December 2011 to September 2012. I remember all this.
If the Kyrgyz people will throw their support behind a person like this, a person like you, then Kazakhstan will also throw its weight behind that person at any time. And I hope this doesnt offend anybody.
 
Alas, somebody was offended.
 
Babanov is the only credible alternative in the October 15 vote to Sooronbai Jeenbekov, the ruling partys handpicked would-be successor to President Almazbek Atambayev, so the reaction was predictably fiery.
 
Even though the leader of our friend-nation Kazakhstan stated that he does not interfere in the internal affairs of Kyrgyzstan, his words clearly demonstrate Kazakhstans preference as regards the future president of Kyrgyzstan, the Foreign Ministry in Bishkek said in a statement.
 
Driving its point home, the Foreign Ministry explicitly described Nazarbayevs meeting with Babanov as an attempt to influence the choice of the people of Kyrgyzstan.
 
Kazakhstans diplomats quickly fired back with an equally rancorous note.
 

read more

00:00

Punching Below Its Weight: Indias Progress Towards Health-Related SDG Goals The Wire

It is time for India to fully fund and implement its ambitious health policies, and translate them into better health outcomes for its millions. Without health, little else matters.

India is majorly underperforming in health. Credit: Reuters

India is majorly underperforming in health. Credit: Reuters

Last week, The Lancet published a report entitled ...

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23:45

Some of the Best Parts of Autonomous Vehicles Are Already Here The Wire

Consumers with high hopes of driverless vehicles improving safety might be looking past the boring near-term advances that could make a real difference. It happened before more than 60 years ago.

Visitors look at a self-driving car by Google displayed at the Viva Technology event in Paris, France, July 1, 2016. Credit: Reuters

Visitors look at a self-driving car by Google displayed at the Viva Technology event in Paris, France, July 1, 2016. Credit: Reuters

Fully automated cars are still many years away. Amid the government...

23:30

Maneka Gandhi Clashes With NITI Aayog on Replacing Food With Cash Transfers The Wire

The government is finalising a pilot project in line with NITI Aayogs recent suggestion that children and mothers be given cash transfers instead of cooked or uncooked food.

Union minister of women and child development. Credit: PTI

Union minister for women and child development. Credit: PTI

At a conference on under-nutrition organised by the Ministry of Women and Child Development this week, Union minister Maneka Gandhi said that the government is keen to overhaul the Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) and withdraw the provisions of cooked food and rations to children, and pregnant and lactating women, and replace it with cash transfers. She also said the government will shift the focus of the policy from administering food to administering nutrition.

The move is at odds with recommendations by the health ministry, the National Food Security Act and Supreme Court orders. It is, however, in consonance with the NITI Aayogs recent recommendations from a 114 page document,...

23:00

Timeline: Being Rohingya in Myanmar, from 1784 to Now The Wire

As Rohingya people continue to flee Rakhine State and allege widespread persecution, a look at their struggle through the years.

A Rohingya refugee girl collects rain water at a makeshift camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, September 17, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

A Rohingya refugee girl collects rain water at a makeshift camp in Coxs Bazar, Bangladesh, September 17, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

Arakan (now Rakhine State) is a state in Myanmar (the former Burma) adjoining Bangladesh. It is a strip of land along the eastern coast of the Bay of Bengal from the Naf river on the border of Chittagong to the cape Negarise. It lies between the Arakan Yuma range and the Bay of Bengal. It is separated from the rest of Myanmar by the Yuma range running north to south. The total area of Arakan is 13,540 square miles and its population almost 2,000,000. And it is here that politics and violence around the Rohingya and their identity has been playing out for centuries.

Eight century

The Rohingya, a people of South Asian origin, dwell in an independent kingdom in Arakan, known as Rakhine St...

23:00

Centre Announces New Policy to Promote Private Investment in Affordable Housing The Wire

Central assistance up to Rs 2.5 lakh per house made by private builders will be provided to buyers, even if the construction is on private land.

A man rides his cycle rickshaw past newly-constructed residential buildings on the outskirts of Kolkata December 29, 2010. Credit: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri

A man rides his cycle rickshaw past newly-constructed residential buildings on the outskirts of Kolkata December 29, 2010. Credit: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri

New Delhi: With the aim of attracting private players in the affordable housing sector to meet the housing for all target by 2022, the government has unfolded a new public-private partnership (PPP) policy that allows extending central assistance up to Rs 2.5 lakh per house built by private builders, e...

22:11

Interview 1301 New World Next Week with James Evan Pilato The Corbett Report

[audio mp3="http://www.corbettreport.com/mp3/2017-09-21%20James%20Evan%20Pilato.mp3"][/audio]This week on the New World Next Week: the government sues citizens for asking for information; PM May recruits Big Tech in extremist content purge; and yet another study finds fluoride linked to lower IQ in children.

21:48

BJP Leader Slaps Woman For Relationship With Muslim Man, Police Books Boyfriend The Wire

No charges have been pressed against BJP leader Sangeeta Varshney or members of the Hindu Yuva Vahini, who allegedly roughed up the couple.

Sangeeta Varshney slapping a woman. Credit: Video screengrab

Sangeeta Varshney slapping a woman. Credit: Video screengrab

New Delhi: BJP Mahila Morchas Aligarh leader, Sangeeta Varshney, has been caught on camera slapping a woman for being in a relationship with a Muslim man. An FIR has been filed in the case not against Varshney, but the man.

Tujhe itni sharam bhi nahi hai, tu kya zyaada bahi ho gayi? Tujhme itni bhi samajh nahi hi hai ki kaun Hindu hai kaun Musalman hai? (Dont you have any shame, do you think youre that grown up? Can you not even understand who is a Hindu and who Muslim?, Varshney yells at the woman in the video, after slapping her twice.

21:15

Trump"s Was One of the Most Bizarre UN Speeches in History Strategic Culture Foundation

The United Nations General Assemblys annual plenary session has heard a fair share of bizarre speeches by world leaders in the 72-year history of the world organization. U.S. President Donald Trumps speech on September 19, while intemperate and undiplomatic, was not the only rancorous diatribe or the most peculiar oration ever heard within the hall of nations.

20:50

America Is Getting Outclassed by Russian Electronic Warfare Strategic Culture Foundation

The Russian military-industrial complex was successful in showing off the latest technologies during last month's Army-2017 military expo. This international forum, held outside Moscow, showcased hundreds of land, air and sea-based systems, and was attended by hundreds of thousands of visitors. The high-profile event culminated with Russia signing nearly $170 billion rubles ($3 billion) worth of contracts. Among major accomplishments for the Russian defense industry was the delivery to the military of the latest electronic warfare (EW) systemsVitebsk, Krasuha and Moskva.

20:49

Sonia Gandhi Writes to Narendra Modi on Womens Reservation Bill The Wire

Modi Sonia

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (left), Congress party president Sonia Gandhi. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to get the womens reservation bill passed in the Lok Sabha, taking advantage of the BJPs majority in the House.

Gandhi also assured support of her party to the legislation, which she said would be a significant step forward in the empowerment of women. The Rajya Sabha had passed the bill on March 9, 2010.

I am writing to request you to take advantage of your majority in the Lok Sabha to now get the womens reservation bill passed in the Lower House as well, Gandhi said in the letter, dated September 20. She also recalled that the Congress and its late leader Rajiv Gandhi had first mooted the provision for quota for women in panchayats and municipal bodies through Constitution amendment bills.

She said the bills were thwarted by the opposition in 1989, but were passed by both the houses of parliament in 1993.

The post Sonia Gandhi Writes to Narendra Modi on Womens Reservation Bill appeared first on The Wire.

20:17

Trumps UN Reform Plan Is All About The Lead From Behind Strategy OrientalReview.org

President Trump wants to legitimize the use of military force outside of the existing liberum veto-dependent UNSC structure (international law),

The post Trumps UN Reform Plan Is All About The Lead From Behind Strategy appeared first on OrientalReview.org.

20:15

Barbarism and Shame: Why the US Refuses a Korea Peace Treaty Strategic Culture Foundation

The Korean crisis is a powerful lens on American barbarism, past and present. Despite Washingtons self-righteousness and pretensions of virtue, the modern history of Korea is an especially powerful lesson that destroys the American national mythology...

19:54

MEA Speaks of Rohingya Refugees, Rajnath Singh Calls Them Illegal Immigrants The Wire

The external affairs ministry recognises that those fleeing Myanmars Rakhine state are refugees but the home ministry believes they no longer deserve that designation once they are in India.

Rajnath Singh. Credit: PTI

Rajnath Singh. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Union home minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday that Rohingya people in India do not qualify as refugees who have taken asylum, but are, in fact illegal immigrants. Rohingya are not refugees, nor have they taken asylum. They are illegal immigrants, he said.

Singh added that since Myanmar had said it was willing to take back Rohingya people referring to Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyis statement that the country would accept returning people after a due verification process there is no reason for India not to report them.

Those who have been verified as refugees will be accepted without any problems and with full assurance of security and access to humanitarian aid, Suu Kyi had said on Monday.

Myanmar se Bharat ghus aaye, ye Rohingya refugee nahi hain iss sachchai ko hume samajhna chahiye Refugee status prapt karne ke liye ek process hota hai aur inmein se kisi ne iss procedure ko follow nahi kia hai.. (They have entered India from Myanmar. Rohingya are not refugees, we need to understand this reality. There is a procedure to acquire refugee status and none of them have followed that), ANI quoted Singh as saying.


Also read:...

19:51

High Court Cancels Mamata Banerjees Order On Durga Puja Idol Immersion The Wire

Banerjees government restricted idol immersions to 10 pm on September 30, the day of Vijaya Dashami, and banned it completely the next day, which is Muharram.

Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee (left), Durga idol immersion. Credit: PTI, Reuters

New Delhi: The Calcutta high court today cancelled the West Bengal governments decision to restrict Durga puja idol immersions, saying, You are exercising extreme power without any basis. Just because you are the state, can you pass arbitrary order? reported NDTV.

Acting chief justice Rakesh Tiwary said the state administration cannot interfere with the faith of the people and should treat them with equality. People have the right to practice their religious activities, whichever community they may be of, and the state cannot put restrictions, unless it has a concrete ground to believe that two communities cannot live together.

Tiwary said that the government must provide concrete grounds for its decisions. If you dream that something will go wrong, you cannot impose restrictions.

Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjees government had said that the restric...

19:45

Why Trump Should Study Aung San Suu Kyi"s Speech Strategic Culture Foundation

Two speeches by two leaders made headlines this week one by US President Donald Trump, the other by Myanmars head of government, Aung San Suu Kyi.

19:31

Congress Could Have Done a Lot Better, But We Are Better Than the NDA: Rahul Gandhi The Wire

Young Indians need jobs and the Modi governments record of creating them is worse than ours, said the Congress vice president.

Rahul Gandhi at Princeton University. Credit: Twitter/OfficeOfRG

Rahul Gandhi at Princeton University. Credit: Twitter/OfficeOfRG

Eager for a jolt of energy, the moribund Congress party may have found it in Rahul Gandhis star turn in America. During his two-week US tour, the 47-year-old Congress scion has been able to project himself as a man of ideas, aware of the challenges of a chaotically changing, fitfully modernising India. Most of all, he has succeeded in handling himself with poise, easy confidence and wit in front of some of the USs most hard-boiled politicians, policy wonks and negotiators.

Senior White House officials and Congressmen who interacted with Gandhi described him as warm and personable with an understated style that is almost retro in its appeal. Rahul Gandhi may have a different view, but he doesnt leave a sour taste, said a senior White House official. He had all his facts straight. He is an easy guy to talk to.

Both in Berkeley and New York, Gandhi said intolerance was ruining Indias reputation and invoked the age-old Gandhian doctrine of ahimsa or nonviolence to launch an attack on right-wing politics, which he said is the reason behind increasing hate crimes. The...

19:15

Russia Proposes UN Peacekeeping Mission in Ukraine Strategic Culture Foundation

Russia has proposed a draft resolution to the UN Security Council on the establishment of a UN mission that would provide security for Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitors activities in eastern Ukraine. I consider the presence of peacekeepers, or rather people who would provide security for the OSCE mission, absolutely appropriate, and see nothing wrong with it, said Russian President Putin following the BRICS summit in Xiamen, China, on September 5.

19:13

Communal Contest Over Durga Puja and Muharram Processions is Recipe for Disaster in Bengal The Wire

Has communal hatred seeped into the Bengali-speaking middle class psyche?

Durga puja immersion. Credit: Reuters

Durga puja idol. Credit: Reuters

Kolkata: Durga puja is the most popular festival in West Bengal. Politicians of all hues usually suspend their mutual bickering and agitations mid-autumn and focus on public relations in and around puja pandals. Among the traditional rivals, nationalists of the Congress and the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) variety flex their political and financial muscles to put on ostentatious pujas in their paras (neighbourhoods). The old-styled competitive extortion of chanda (donation) has now largely been replaced by contests over corporate sponsorship in Bengals big towns. The Left leaders enjoy inhaling this especially aromatic opium of the masses, but prefer to hang up their boots for a while and man makeshift stalls selling Marxist literature close to the pandals.

This usual seasonal peaceful coexistence is likely to be shattered this time around as the modified BJP is all set to play bull in the china shop. The...

19:08

Storm Maria Smashes Puerto Rico, Leaves a Trail of Destruction Behind The Wire

Damaged electrical installations are seen after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria en Guayama, Puerto Rico September 20, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Damaged electrical installations are seen after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria en Guayama, Puerto Rico, September 20, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

San Juan, Puerto Rico: Miguel Cruz awoke to the descent of Hurricane Maria on his home on Wednesday morning when the massive storm peeled off most of the roof, sent his belongings flying in all directions, but left intact an icon of Jesus hanging above his bed.

Puerto Ricans picking through the wreckage left by Maria after the hurricane devastated basic services on the debt-laden US territory, pitching most of its 3.4 million residents into darkness as night fell.

Crashing into Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, Maria flipped the tops off buildings, knocked out phones and electricity across the island and turned low-lying roads into swollen rivers awash with debris.

I was terrified. I prayed to God that the door and windows wouldnt open, said Sonja Alvarez, 52, who spent 10 hours shut in a bedroom with her family while...

19:07

South Korea Approves Aid to North Korea, North Calls Trump Barking Dog The Wire

South Korean national flags hang on a barbed-wire fence near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas in Paju, South Korea, August 14, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

South Korean national flags hang on a barbed-wire fence near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas in Paju, South Korea, August 14, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

Seoul: South Korea approved a plan on Thursday to send $8 million worth of aid to North Korea, as China warned the crisis on the Korean peninsula was getting more serious by the day and the war of words between Pyongyang and Washington continued.

North Koreas foreign minister likened US Pres...

18:35

Indias Long-Standing Asylum Practices Contradict Modi Governments Stand on Rohingya The Wire

The Rohingya refugees plea offers the Supreme Court an opportunity to bring clarity to the conflict between a statutory vacuum, ad hoc executive policies and binding obligations under international law.

The Supreme Court cannot ignore the history of Indias asylum management practices. Credit: Reuters

India has always adopted a self-contradictory approach towards refugee protection. Thus, while steadfastly refusing to accept any legal obligations, it has allowed persecuted communities to seek asylum, exempting them from the application of domestic laws (like the Foreigners Act and Passports Act).

With the Centre filing its response to the petition challenging the deportation of 40,000 Rohingya, the Supreme Court is now faced with the task of determining the scope of Indias asylum policy, or the rights of refugees and Indias legal obligations towards them. Although the Centre is now citing the lack of a law to justify its deportation order, the Supreme Court cannot ignore Indias asylum management practices that have accorded special humanitarian treatment to refugees as distinguished from other classes of foreigners.

Are the Rohingya illegal immigrants or refugees?

An illegal immigra...

18:32

State Reprisals Targeting Rights Activists at an All Time High: UN The Wire

Delegates arrive for the 34th session of the Human Rights Council at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, February 27, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Denis Balibouse - RTS10K8D

Delegates arrive for the 34th session of the Human Rights Council at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, February 27, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Denis Balibouse

Geneva: A record 29 states, including China, Iran and Saudi Arabia, have retaliated in the past year against citizens who cooperate with the UN, the UN human rights office said on Wednesday.

People communicating with the rights body have been abducted, detained, held incommunicado, or have disappeared, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour said.

Nine of the states named in the report Burundi, Egypt, Rwanda, Cuba, Venezuela, China, India, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Em...

18:28

Kenyas Election Board Faces Criticism From Supreme Court on Poll Verdict The Wire

Supporters of Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta carry placards as they demonstrate outside the Supreme Court in protest of the nullification of Kenyattas victory by the Supreme Court Judges in Nairobi, Kenya, September 19, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Supporters of Kenyas President Uhuru Kenyatta carry placards as they demonstrate outside the Supreme Court in protest of the nullification of Kenyattas victory by the Supreme Court Judges in Nairobi, Kenya, September 19, 2017. Credit: Reuters

...

18:27

Legendary Mole Rescuers Heroes Again on Mexico City Home Turf The Wire

Rescue workers search through the rubble for students at Enrique Rebsamen school after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico, September 20, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Rescue workers search through the rubble for students at Enrique Rebsamen school after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico, September 20, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Mexico City: After earning fame burrowing into piles of rubble in disasters the world over, including the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, Mexicos mole rescue workers are on tragically familiar ground, pulling people from ruins in their home city.

The moles, Topos in Spanish, formed as a volunteer search and rescue group in the aftermath of the devastating quake that struck Mexico City in 1985, saving lives in the working class neighborhood of Tlatelolco where there had been a poor government response.

They became known as fearless...

18:25

Afghan President Ghani Backs Trumps South Asia Strategy The Wire

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a panel discussion at Asia Society in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 20, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Jeenah Moon

Afghanistans President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a panel discussion at Asia Society in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 20, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Jeenah Moon

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Wednesday that US President Donald Trumps strategy to win the war in Afghanistan will work where his predecessors failed because the Afghan army is stronger and Trump wants a regional approach and a harder line with Pakistan.

Ghani also said that former President Barack Obama did not have a partner in Afghanistan, implicitly criticizing former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who frequently disdained US policy and the US-led international military force.

President Trump is not just an individual (but) a team of partners in Afghanistan, Ghani told the Asia Society in New York, where he is attending the UN General Assembly. The Trump administrations strategy has the uniqueness of immense consultations with us.

At the same time, Ghani said, Obamas decision to maintain some US forces in...

18:15

The Congress Still Has a Long Way to Go The Wire

Rahul Gandhis speech at Berkeley has given the Congress a reason to cheer, but theres much to be done if it wants to capitalise on the growing dissatisfaction with the BJP.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi at the University of California, Berkeley. Credit: PTI

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi at the University of California, Berkeley. Credit: PTI

Going by reports coming in from the US, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is making quite an impression there, at least in academic, policy and journalistic circles. There has been none of that glitz and garishness of Prime Minister Narendra Modis 2014 trip, during which he addressed thousands of NRI devotees in Madison Square Garden, but Gandhis low key style, where he has spoken on policy issues, India and China, the social tensions in India and even on why dynasties are endemic in this country, seems to have impressed his audience. He even complimented Modi on his superior communication skills.

Some have said they were surprised at his grasp of issues and his clarity. Why surprised? Because they had been led to believe, by what they had read in the media and heard on the grapevine, that he was a dud and little more than a good-looking scion of a big political family. Gandhi had an explanation for that: his political rivals  the BJP  had a large team of people working full time to create jokes and memes to rubbish hi...

18:11

More Than 60 Years on, Japans Mercury-Poison Victims Fight to Be Heard The Wire

The sister and brother-in-law of Minamata disease patient Jitsuko Tanaka, 64, take care of her as she lies in bed at their home in Minamata, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan, September 12, 2017. Credit: Reuters

The sister and brother-in-law of Minamata disease patient Jitsuko Tanaka, 64, take care of her as she lies in bed at their home in Minamata, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan, September 12, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Minamata, Japan: Shinobu Sakamoto was just 15 when she left her home in the southern Japanese fishing village of Minamata to go to Stockholm and tell the world of the horrors of mercury poisoning.

Forty-five years on, she is travelling again, this time to Geneva, to attend from Sunday a gathering of signatories to the first global pact to rein in mercury pollution.

Sakamoto is one of a shrinking group of survivors from a 1950s industrial disaster in which tens of thousands of people were poisoned after waste water from a chemical plant seeped into the...

18:07

Theresa May Set to Make High-Stakes Brexit Speech The Wire

Anti-Brexit protesters wave flags in front of the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, September 11, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Anti-Brexit protesters wave flags in front of the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, September 11, 2017. Credit: Reuters

London: After months of Brexit talks that have made little progress and deepened rifts in her party, British Prime Minister Theresa May will try this week to put the negotiations on track and reassert her authority.

In a speech in the Italian city of Florence, May will set out on Friday her vision for future ties with the European Union and try to fill an apparent policy vacuum that has left her Brexit team adopting what Brussels regards as wrecking tactics in the talks on unravelling four decades of union.

The 60-year-old leader has deliberately chosen an EU city to deliver the speech so that she can speak directly to the other 27 nations in the bloc, but has her work cut out in seizing back the initiative.

May has been largely quiet on Brexit since her Conservative Party lost its parliamentary majority in a June election that she need not have called, saying little beyond...

18:00

Earthquake Leaves Mexicos Disaster Response System Struggling to Keep Up The Wire

Although basic public services have been restored, economic, commercial and educational activities have come to a halt.

The September 19, 2017 earthquake toppled nearly 50 buildings in Mexico City, and left many uninhabitable. Fire fighters carry out an inspection the day after in an apartment building that is still standing but will have to be demolished, in a neighbourhood in the centre of Mexico City. Credit: Emilio Godoy/IPS

The September 19, 2017 earthquake toppled nearly 50 buildings in Mexico City, and left many uninhabitable. Fire fighters carry out an inspection the day after in an apartment building that is still standing but will have to be demolished, in a neighbourhood in the centre of Mexico City. Credit: Emilio Godoy/IPS

Mexico City: Central Mexico faced Wednesday the challenge of putting itself back together after the powerful 7.1-magnitude quake that devastated the capital and the neighbouring states of Mexico, Morelos and Puebla the day before.

In Mexico City the air smells of dust, destruction, death, panic and hope, brought by the quake, whose epicentre was in Morelos, 120 km to the south of the capital. So far the official death toll is 230, with hundreds of people injured and 44 collapsed buildings in Mexico City.

Everythin...

18:00

Why Do Dravidian Intellectuals Admire a Man So Prickly as Periyar? The Wire

The reason is simple. The national intellectual landscape is verdant. The Dravidian landscape, on the other hand, is an arid desert, and Periyar was the only cactus plant to have bloomed in it.

M. Karunanidhi (front row, third from left) and Periyar (fourth). Source: YouTube

M. Karunanidhi (front row, third from left) and Periyar (fourth). Source: YouTube

P.A. Krishnan is an author in both English and Tamil. He regularly contributes to various journals and magazines.

The Jews are only interested in themselves, and nobody else. They somehow contrive to have the rulers in their pocket, participate in governance and conspire to torture and suck the lives out of other citizens in order that they live (in comfort). These blatantly anti-semitic lines were penned on March 20, 1938, when Hitlers flag was flying high. If you had read them in isolation and if you were familiar with the history of the Nazis, it is likely that you would think they must have been fished out of some sordid pro-Nazi tabloid.

These are the next lines: Are they not comparable to the Brahmins who too have no responsibility but have the rulers in their pocket, have entered the ruling dispensation and been lording over (all of us)? 

This is Periyar E.V. Ramasamy writing in his magazine Kudiyarasu, ...

17:48

Forces to Employ Full Measure to Avoid Collateral Damage, Says Myanmar The Wire

Myanmar Vice President Henry Van Thio addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 20, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

Myanmar Vice President Henry Van Thio addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, U.S., September 20, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

UN: Myanmars vice president told the UN on Wednesday that security forces in his countrys Rakhine State, from which hundreds of thousands of people have recently fled, have been instructed to take full measures to avoid collateral damage and harming innocent civilians.

Violence in Rakhine State erupted on August 25th, when Rohingya militants launched deadly attacks on government outposts, provoking a fierce crackdown by the Myanmar military that has been greeted with widespread international condemnation, including at the annual UN General Assembly this week.

Addressing the assembly, Vice President Henry Van Thio said it was not only Rohingya Muslims who had fled, but members of other minority groups too. He said human rights violations would be dealt with in accordance with strict norms of justice.

At least 420,000 Rohingya Muslims have since fled into neighbouring Bangladesh to escape what a seni...

17:15

Hum Bhi Bharat, Episode 1: Student Politics The Wire

Arfa Khanum Sherwani discusses whether student politics have national implications.

Joining her for this episode are former vice president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University students union Shehla Rashid Shora, Jahnavi Ojha from the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and The Wire Hindis reporter Srishti Srivastava.

The post Hum Bhi Bharat, Episode 1: Student Politics appeared first on The Wire.

17:13

G4 Countries Seek Early Reform of UN Security Council The Wire

Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj addresses the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., September 26, 2016. Credit: Reuters

Minister of external affairs Sushma Swaraj addresses the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York, US, September 26, 2016. Credit: Reuters

UN: Foreign ministers of G4 countries, including India, have called for an early reform of the UN Security Council and expansion of its permanent and non-permanent members.

At a meeting here on the sidelines of the annual General Assembly Sessions of the UN, the ministers of G4 countries Brazil, Germany, India and Japan asserted that such a reform was essential to make the most powerful wing of the UN more representative and effective, reflecting the ground realities of the 21st century.

A joint statement was issued after the meeting attended by external affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Brazilian foreign rel...

16:41

Catalan Government Raided by Spanish Police to Halt Banned Referendum The Wire

Protesters carry Esteladas, Catalan separatist flags and Basque flags, during a rally in favour of a referendum on independence from Spain for the autonomous community of Catalonia, in the Basque city of Bilbao, Spain September 9, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Protesters carry Esteladas, Catalan separatist flags and Basque flags, during a rally in favour of a referendum on independence from Spain for the autonomous community of Catalonia, in the Basque city of Bilbao, Spain September 9, 2017. Credit: Reuters

...

16:40

Zero Role for India in Afghanistan, Says Pakistan Prime Minister The Wire

We dont foresee any political or military role for India in Afghanistan. I think it will just complicate the situation and it will not resolve anything.

Pakistan's former Petroleum Minister and Prime Minister designate Shahid Khaqan Abbasi arrives to attend the National Assembly session in Islamabad, Pakistan August 1, 2017. Credit:Reuters/Faisal Mahmood

Pakistans former Petroleum Minister and Prime Minister designate Shahid Khaqan Abbasi arrives to attend the National Assembly session in Islamabad, Pakistan August 1, 2017. Credit:Reuters/Faisal Mahmood

New York: Pakistan sees zero political or military role for India in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said today, weeks a...

16:34

Aid Shipment to Rohingya in Rakhine State Blocked by Myanmar Protesters The Wire

Rohingya refugees have a dinner at a makeshift shelter near Gundum in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, September 3, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Rohingya refugees have a dinner at a makeshift shelter near Gundum in Coxs Bazar, Bangladesh, September 3, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Sittwe, Myanmar: Hundreds of Buddhists in Myanmar tried to block a shipment of aid to Muslims in Rakhine State where the United Nations has accused the military of ethnic cleansing, with a witness saying protesters threw petrol bombs before police dispersed them by firing into the air.

The protest was testament to rising communal animosity that threatens to complicate the delivery of vital supplies, and came as US President Donald Trump called for a quick end to the violence that has raised concern about Myanmars transition from military rule.

The aid shipment, being organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), was...

16:28

With Modis Skill India Scheme Faltering, Centre Plans to Make It More District-Centric The Wire

Of the 30.67 lakh candidates who had been trained or were undergoing training across the country in June 2017, only 2.9 lakh received placement offers.

An employee works inside an undergarment factory in Kolkata, India, February 29, 2016. Credit: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri/File Photo

An employee works inside an undergarment factory in Kolkata, India, February 29, 2016. Credit: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri/File Photo

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi governments much-touted skilling scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), isnt quite achieving the results the Centre had hoped for. According to a report in the Indian Express, data revealed that of the 30.67 lakh candidates who had been trained or were undergoing training across the country in June 2017, only 2.9 lakh had received placement offers. Thats less than a tenth.

In order to address this issue, the newspaper reported, the government is...

16:06

Convicted Lawmakers Need Not Be Automatically Disqualified From Legislature: Centre Tells SC The Wire

The Centre said convicted MPs or MLAs need not be automatically disqualified from parliament or state legislatures since they can appeal convictions.

Supreme Court. Credit: PTI

Supreme Court. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: The Central government on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that convicted lawmakers need not be automatically disqualified from parliament or state legislatures as they have the right to move an appellate court to stay such a verdict.

A number of lawmakers had been asked to vacate their seats after the Supreme Court ruled in the Lily Thomas vs. Union of India case that a convicted lawmaker automatically stood disqualified. The NDA government, despite this ruling, said that a legislator could approach a court to stay a conviction and remain in their post, the Telegraph reported.

Some convicted legislators from Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh have continued in their posts despite convictions, which was brought to the apex courts notice by NGO Lok Prahari,...

15:30

Lack of Data Continues to Cast Centres River-Linking Plans in Poor Light The Wire

The data on which rivers are running low and which are carrying surpluses is not publicly available. There is also no conceptual clarity of the indicators needed for defining deficit and surplus.

The Ken river as it flows through Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh. Credit: Abhishekkolay/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Ken river as it flows through Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh. Credit: Abhishekkolay/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Bharat Dogra is a freelance journalist who has been involved with several social movements and initiatives.

At a time when efforts are being stepped up to drum up support for the controversial river-linking project, people need to become more aware about some important aspects of this project. In several ways, it seeks to change not just the flow of many of our rivers but to some extent the countrys geography as well.

Such large-scale and irreversible changes should not take place without a broad-based, sincere and well-informed debate among the citizens of the country. However, this is precisely what is not happening, as the authorities have been trying to bulldoze ahead with clearance for one sub-project after another, trying to muzzle all objections voiced by many affected people, eminent persons and independent experts.

The National River Linking (NLR) Project involves the linking of...

15:28

A UN Force For Ukraine: Beware the Trojan Horse New Eastern Outlook

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Russia has proposed that a UN peacekeeping force be placed in Ukraine to protect Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) representatives, who are supposed to be monitoring adherence to the Minsk agreements. But already the problems with the idea have become obvious with the United States and the Kiev regime reacting to the proposal with statements that they want to use the force to restore Ukrainian sovereignty and its territorial integrity.

The objective of the NATO alliance is clear, to use the force as a device to crush the Donbass republics. Russia sees it as a way advance the Minsk agreements, to stop the harassing criticism of the NATO powers that the Russians and Donbass impede the work of the OSCE observers and perhaps to have some control over the OSCE to make sure it is neutral and objective in its mission. For in fact the OSCE is seen by many in the Donbass Republics as a group of spies for the west, not to be trusted.

The Russians seem to think a UN force could be created that would actually be neutral between all the parties to the hostilities, give some assurance to the Donbass and create another layer or buffer between the Kiev forces besieging the Donbass and the Donbass forces resisting that siege. A logical idea it would seem if one were not aware of how UN peacekeeping missions actually work. The trouble with it is that unless such a force is officered by Russians, or nations allied with Russia, no UN force could be trusted. History shows that UN peacekeeping missions can turn into regime change missions, as happened in Rwanda and Yugoslavia.

I will focus on the Rwandan war and the role of the UN there since that is better known to me through the war crimes trials at the Rwanda War Crimes Tribunal. During those trials a lot of the evidence of the real role of the UN in Rwanda was revealed. The situation deserves remembering because the UN force sent to Rwanda in order, supposedly, to keep the peace between the invading Ugandans of the Rwanda Patriotic Front supported by the US, UK, Canada and Belgium, on one side, and and the government of Rwanda on the other, in reality acted as division of the invading forces.

The Canadian UN force commander, General Dallaire, and officers under him, actively helped the invading forces to violate weapons limit agreements, troop deployment agreements, helped them bring into the country arms and artillery for a final offensive, were complicit in the assassination of officials and politicians, were complicit in the...

14:00

Brazils Uncontacted Indigenous Amazonians Must Be Protected The Wire

A history of disease and violence shows that leaving them alone is necessary for their very survival, yet their unique isolation also means they cant participate in the political system.

Credit: Reuters

In a remote corner of far-western Brazil lies the Vale do Javari, home to one of the greatest concentrations of isolated or entirely uncontacted tribes in the Amazon. Unlike indigenous lands elsewhere in the country, which have been colonised and polluted, the Javaris very inaccessibility has kept it largely untouched. But the people who live there remain extremely vulnerable. Recently, illegal gold miners in the region were alleged to have boasted of a brutal mass murder of ten members of an uncontacted tribe.

The allegations emerged a decade after the UN General Assembly adopted its Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) on September 13, 2007. The declaration was a result of decades of tireless campaigning by indigenous activists across the world, yet ongoing horror stories of abuses deep in the Amazon show how far countries like Brazil still have to go.

The UNDRIP affirms indigenous people, as a collective or as individuals, must enjoy the same human rights as everyone else. It also says they must give free, prior and informed consent regarding the use of traditionally held land...

14:00

A Year After Alleged Police Violence, Ahmedabad Meat Trader Still Waiting for an FIR The Wire

Despite a high court order, the local police station refused to file an FIR. The case has now been transferred to a different station.

Ahmedabad: Shabbirhussein Gulamnabi Qureshi, a resident of the Khanpur area, is one of close to 8,000 meat traders based in Ahmedabad. The business has been the prime source of livelihood for the Qureshi community for generations. Qureshi is a distributor who, like many others, buys his stocks from the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation-approved wholesale meat market at Mirzapur.

On the morning of May 21 last year, Qureshi, like on any other day, set off to deliver 120 kg of meat to his buyers Rajubhai at Gomtipur and Safikbhai at Bapunagar. However, police personnel from the Shahpur police station stopped him en route, arrested him and seized his meat on the suspicion that it was beef.

They picked me up at around 7:30 am and kept me at the Shahpur police lock up. In the afternoon, two police constables transported me to the Delhi Chakla police chowki (about one km from the Shahpur police station). One of the police constables called up another police personnel, who was identified as the sub inspector of police then posted at the Shahpur police station. He thrashed me first and then broke a wooden staff on me. After he got tired of beating me, he turned to other two constables and they took turns to hit me. The ordeal lasted about three hours, Qureshi told The Wire.

Mian ko marke punya kama lo (thrash the Muslim man and you will earn blessings), the sub inspector said to the constables while offering them a chance to thrash me, claimed Qureshi.

...

13:45

Life for Rohingya Refugees in Nepal Is Better Than in India and Bangladesh, but Only Marginally The Wire

It isnt enough to be safe from physical violence and state persecution. The Rohingya must be given the right to live and work, no matter where they are.

Rohingya refugee in Nepal

Rohingya Muslim children who live in a refugee camp in the outskirts of Kathmandu in Nepal. Credit: Puja Sen

On September 28, 2012, three Rohingya Muslim families beat a perilous path, crossing three country borders in South Asia, to reach Nepal. Jafar Alam, Amir Hussain and Abu Takir and their wives and children, all from border villages north of Maungdaw in Myanmars Rakhine state, were the first from the Rohingya community to seek refuge in Kathmandu.

Meanwhile, the same year, in India, right wing politicians were stoking up fear against the Bangali migrant in Assam; Pakistan was planning to revoke the refugee status of all Afghans living within its borders; and Bangladesh had decided to shut its borders to fleeing Myanmarese refugees following a fresh spate of violence in the Rakhine state. International attention at the time was riveted on the Syrian refugees. All the host countries both in Europe and South Asia made arguments about the threat to law and order, security and disruption to local culture to justify barring or limiting entry to terrified populations fleeing persecution, war and terror.

Rohingya refugees have been called one of the most persecuted minority in the world...

13:30

Increasing Public Investment Is Crucial to Arresting Indias Economic Growth Slowdown The Wire

Public investments across all industries, with a policy focus on increasing female labour force participation, can go a long way in improving Indias economic growth performance.

Shoppers crowd at a roadside market next to a handcart loaded with apples for sale in New Delhi, India, November 13, 2015. Credit: Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee/File Photo

Shoppers crowd at a roadside market next to a handcart loaded with apples for sale in New Delhi, India, November 13, 2015. Credit: Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee/File Photo

A year ago, the Indian economy was being projected as a bright spot in the global economic landscape. The aggregate growth rate of 7-8% seemed consistent even though domestic private investment levels were low, with a lag in the domestic industrial productivity levels. Over the last year, the strength of Indias macroeconomic fundamentals have seen a significant fall (particularly since the implementation of demonetisation and the GST system), p...

13:30

Can the Worlds Megacities Survive the Digital Age? The Wire

For megacities, its time to start planning for a disrupted future.

Metropoles like Shanghai have survived and thrived in large part because of their massive populations. But what happens when people start to become a liability rather than an asset? Credit: Reuters

Metropoles like Shanghai have survived and thrived in large part because of their massive populations. But what happens when people start to become a liability rather than an asset? Credit: Reuters

Today, megacities have become synonymous with economic growth. In both developing and developed countries, cities with populations of 10 million or more account for one-third to one-half of their gross domestic product.

Many analysts and...

13:00

The Aesthetics of Resistance The Wire

Resistance should be free of uniformity, as much as our polity must be reflective and respectful of our diversity.

Gauri Lankesh was not killed for any one particular reason, but for being a fearless opponent of fascist regimes, irrespective of the subject or occasion, and a woman at that. Credit: Rashmi Sawhney

Gauri Lankesh was not killed for any one particular reason, but for being a fearless opponent of fascist regimes, irrespective of the subject or occasion, and a woman at that. Credit: Suresh Kumar

On September 5, 2017, Gauri Lankesh, activist and editor of the Gauri Lankesh Patrike, was shot dead by two men on a motorbike, outside her home in Rajeshwar Nagar, Bengaluru. The brazenness of her murder sent a sharp stab into the collective consciousness of a society that is increasingly being gagged into passive muteness. Gauri Lankeshs murder was a symbolic act, like an act of terrorism, whose primary objective was to establish a rudimentary if (x) then (y) equation if you criticise divisive Hindutva politics, if you write against the state, if you write in support of the marginalised, if you promote rationalist thought, if you disagree with the normative, then, you will be violently smothered too.

The silencing of independent thinkers, activists, writers, artists, filmmakers indeed, those who leverage influence over society and are in a position to affect change and unsettle the status quo has been a tradition that continues from Socrates time to our own. In the Phaedo, Plato describes Socrates trial by a jury, on charges of...

13:00

Post-Conflict, Colombia Struggles With Justice in Cash for Kills Scandal The Wire

As the post-conflict justice system takes shape in Colombia, there are many individual rights violations and atrocities to be addressed.

Credit: Reuters

As Colombias 50-year armed conflict enters a post-conflict phase, the country is having to face up to the toll it took on millions of lives. There are more than eight million registered victims, and today, Colombia is host to 7.4 million internally displaced people more than anywhere else in the world. Atrocities were committed by all sides, including the government, and civilians were the principal casualties.

As the post-conflict justice system takes shape, there are many individual rights violations and atrocities to be addressed. But the conflicts most emblematic atrocity is the extrajudicial murder of thousands of innocent civilians during the so-called false positives scandal.

After the right-wing paramilitary AUC...

12:07

Suffering Has a Name The Wire

Aung San Suu Kyis response to the crisis at home is starkly duplicitous and false.

Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. Credit: Reuters/Edgar Su/File Photo

Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. Credit: Reuters/Edgar Su/File Photo

Suffering is universal and part of the human condition and life. In history however, suffering is quite specific. Suffering carries a name, sometimes of an individual and often of a community. Suffering has a face, or faces. Today we are witnessing the suffering of isolated groups of individuals who are victims of terror attacks. But we are also witnessing the deep violence against communities that are targeted in the name of racist and religious nationalism. These are forms of historical violence that do not fall within the general idea of universal suffering. It includes the collective plight of people, of refugees and minorities, who face majoritarian violence. These instances are often accompanied by the apathy of the state or its direct or tacit encouragement. These sufferers have a nam...

10:33

Rhetoric on MA63 misses the real issue Hornbill Unleashed

The continuing rhetoric and polemics on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) in Borneo, with an occasional response from Putrajaya, misses the real issue in Sabah and Sarawak: decolonisation. Bingkor assemblyperson Jeffrey Kitingan, a longtime Borneo rights advocate, has called for a new MA63, where Sabah and Sarawak will be equal partners with Malaya in the []

10:32

Sex, beer and our social ills Hornbill Unleashed

I dont have a drinking problem cept when I cant get a drink.  Tom Waits The cancellation of Better Beer Festival 2017 has nothing to do with social ills or any of that other claptrap that Islamists claim is destroying the moral and social fabric of this country. This has everything to do with []

Miri MP leaves fate to PKR, wont give in to other PH parties Hornbill Unleashed

The member of Parliament for Miri, Dr Teo Yu Keng, is leaving it to his party PKR to decide whether he should defend his seat in the coming 14th general election (GE14). However, he said the seat must be defended by PKR and not to be given to any other Pakatan Harapan (PH) party to []

Umno quashes rumours of Selangor coup Hornbill Unleashed

Umno has denied claims that Selangor PKR and PAS assemblymen were to follow Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib in joining the Malay nationalist party, ending speculation on the matter. Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan said that it was pointless to engineer a political coup in Selangor so close to the 14th []

10:32

Nurul Izzah honours Reformasi on anniversary of first Anwar arrest Hornbill Unleashed

PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar has renewed her pledge to the Reformasi movement on the day that marks the 19th anniversary of her father, Anwar Ibrahims dramatic arrest. Nurul Izzah, who is Lembah Pantai MP, told FMT in a statement that the mere fact that Reformasi is still going strong having been adopted in todays []

10:32

Sabah church seeks basis for Allah ban, but govt says its a secret Hornbill Unleashed

A Sabah church today asked the courts to order the government to disclose documents showing why it had banned non-Muslims from using the Arabic word Allah, but the government objected by saying such documents were classified as official secrets. Lim Heng Seng, the lead counsel for the Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) Sabah church, argued that []

10:32

Police have completed 1MDB probe, says IGP Hornbill Unleashed

The police have concluded their investigations into 1MDB and there are no new developments, pending any further instruction issued, inspector-general of police Mohamad Fuzi Harun said. Fuzi told reporters in Kelantan today that any such instruction, if issued, would come from the Parliaments Public Accounts Committee (PAC) or from the federal cabinet. No, no. We []

Suhakam to probe reclaimed land project Hornbill Unleashed

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) will be probing into reclamation works in Teluk Muroh, about 10km from here. The reclamation project, which began last year, drew the ire of fishermen who claimed that it would destroy the environment and their source of income. Gabungan Selamatkan Pantai Warisan Teluk Muroh, led by its pro-tem []

10:32

Church is non-partisan, says Sabah Council of Churches Hornbill Unleashed

Sabah Council of Churches (SCC) president Bishop Melter Jiki Tais has refuted claims that the church is pro-opposition. Melter was quoted by the Borneo Post as saying that he had recently been told of unfounded and unjust remarks that the church was pro-opposition. As a religious body, the church is non-partisan and will continue to []

10:32

Apex court allows EC to pose three questions in voters suit Hornbill Unleashed

The challenge mounted by three Hulu Selangor voters on the Election Commissions (EC) recent redelineation exercise will take longer than expected, as the Federal Court allowed the commission to pose three questions of law. The three voters P Maradeveran, Zahar Rusuli, and Yong Chan Hee found themselves part of the Kuala Kubu Bharu []

10:32

Lawyer Siti Kasim demands Hadi, HarakahDaily say sorry over alleged defamation Hornbill Unleashed

Siti Kasim has sent a letter of demand to Islamist party PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and its online mouthpiece HarakahDaily over reports deemed defamatory to the lawyer. In a copy of the letter dated yesterday sighted by Malay Mail Online, the two parties were given 48 hours to publish an apology and []

10:32

Sabah opposition leader risks losing seat over bankruptcy Hornbill Unleashed

Sabah opposition leader Lajim Ukin risks losing his Klias state seat over a bankruptcy notice linked to an outstanding debt amount of RM160,951.81 with a local bank, according to a local Sabah daily. The Daily Express reported that another local daily had published an Insolvency Department notice attributed to Sabah director Monica Linsua yesterday, raising questions over Lajims []

Let them be syok sendiri, Mat Taib says of oppositions mocking Hornbill Unleashed

Former Selangor menteri besar Muhammad Muhammad Taib is unfazed at the opposition mocking his re-entry to Umno. Let them be syok sendiri (be full of themselves), he said in a text message to Malaysiakini when asked to respond to the reaction to him rejoining Umno. He who laughs first, laughs last (sic), he added. Muhammad []

10:32

False claims hinder perimeter surveys Hornbill Unleashed

Owners of native customary rights land are reminded not to let greed overcome them when asking for their land to be surveyed under the new perimeter survey initiative. Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said they should not make false claims over the boundary of their lands, which had become one of []

10:31

Politicians should stop talking only about politics if they want to win, forum told Hornbill Unleashed

Politicians need to find better ways to engage the youth including not talking only about politics all the time, panellists at a forum said last night. The Youth Perception on Economy, Leadership and Current Issues survey released before the start of the forum found that over 70 per cent of Malaysian youth polled do not []

10:31

Ambiga loses leave to appeal bid over travel ban to Sabah Hornbill Unleashed

Former Malaysian Bar president Datuk S. Ambiga loses her bid to obtain the green light from the Federal Court to appeal over the Sabah State Immigration Departments decision to ban her from entering Sabah in November 2014. Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop, chairing the Federal Court three-man bench, unanimously dismissed Ambigas application []

02:53

Journalist Killed While Covering Violent Clashes in Tripura The Wire

The police has reportedly taken four members of the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura into custody in relation to Santanu Bhowmiks death.

Santanu Bhowmick. Credit: Facebook

Santanu Bhowmick. Credit: Facebook

New Delhi: A journalist working for a local channel, Din Raat, was fatally attacked today while covering a clash between the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) and the ruling CPI(M)s tribal wing, Tripura Rajaer Upajati Ganamukti Parishad (TRUGP), in western Tripuras Mandai area, about 25 km from the state capital Agartala.

According to police, the journalist, Santanu Bhowmik, 28, was covering the road blockade called by the IPFT at Mandai when he was hit from behind and abducted. Police later found him with serious stab injuries and rushed him to the Govind Ballabh Pant Medical College and Hospital in Agartala, where he was declared brought dead.

Since September 19, as many as ten places in Khowai and West Tripura districts, including Mandai, have been under curfew after witnessing violent clashes between the two political outfits. According to media reports, as many as 60 TRUGP cadres were injured by IPFT members on September 19 in about 12 places in these districts.

Reports said police had to resort to baton charge in Mandai on September 20 to disperse a mob which assembled there, violating the Section 144 of the Criminal Penal Code which has bee...

02:22

Muslim and Hindu Clerics Pitch for Temple and Mosque at Disputed Ayodhya Site The Wire

Hindu, Shia and Sunni religious leaders were present at the event held in Ayodhya on Wednesday.

At the communal harmony conference. Credit: Arshad Afzal Khan

At the communal harmony conference. Credit: Arshad Afzaal Khan

Faizabad/Ayodhya: Even as the Muslim Rashtriya Manch, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sanghs Muslim organisation, held an event to pave the way for the construction of a Ram Mandir on the Babri Masjid site, a different way forward emerged from a communal harmony conference held in Ayodhya on Wednesday that saw the participation of senior clerics from both communities.

Clerics at the conference were in favour of solving the Ram Janambhoomi/Babri Masjid dispute through negotiations.

Convenor of the conference Mahant Janmajay Sharan, chief of the Bara Sthan Janki Ghat temple, said, To solve the issue of the Ram Janambhoomi, the senior clerics of both Shia and Sunni communities gathered here. The conference was attended by senior Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawwad and Maulana Fazal E. Mannan, the imam of Tile Wali Masjid of Lucknow.

The formula which I am trying to adopt is a peaceful negotiated settlement of this Ayodhya issue. The Ram Mandir should be built on the site of the Babri Masjid, and the mosque should be constructed a few yards away from the temple but in the same premises, he added.

Jawwad said that groups must...

01:58

What Explains the Recent Bump in Indias Inflation? The Wire

While food, housing and petroleum inflation all played a role, a SBI research report also notes that the inflationary impact of GST may have been slightly more than what was expected.

The initial effect of GST has indeed been slightly inflationary. Credit: Reuters

The initial effect of GST has indeed been slightly inflationary. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: The goods and services tax (GST) regime and a rise in food and housing prices have pushed Indias consumer price inflation to a five-month high in August 2017.

Over the last five months, CPI (consumer price index) inflation has touched a high of 3.36% in August, compared to 2.17% in July 2017 and 2.47% in August 2016.

According to a market note put out by SBI research, the 190 basis points jump in headline CPI inflation over the last two months can be attributed to food (151...

01:54

Jan Gan Man Ki Baat, Episode 121: Make in India and Unemployment The Wire

Vinod Dua discusses Make in India and technology transfer agreements, and job losses due to the economic slowdown.

The post Jan Gan Man Ki Baat, Episode 121: Make in India and Unemployment appeared first on The Wire.

00:39

What If the North Korean Crisis is in the Bag Already? New Eastern Outlook

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What if North Korea is being cut off from world markets to shore up big mining businesses in the west? As crazy as this sounds, one was of explaining the crazy logic and policy moves from Pyongyang is to think outside the box. In a geopolitical world where nothing is as it seems, anything is possible. Could Kim Jong-un just be playing his role in a game of good cop bad cop?

What if scenarios can tell us a lot about todays foreign policy strategies. So, what if North Korean leader Kim Jong-un takes periodic calls from some 007 Spectre character? Its not hard to imagine a sinister figure calling to give the order, Okay Kim, stir up the chickens with some more rocketry like we discussed. Yes, like I said, its a crazy world. But there is some circumstantial evidence if we look into markets.

An article about North Koreas untapped mineral wealth on MENAFN caught my eye this morning. The piece entitled The $10 Trillion Resource North Korea Cant Tap reminded me of something my Dutch research colleague, Holger Eekhof brought to my attention some months ago. Enter a man named Hans Werner Truppel, a German business man convicted in German courts for attempting to provide aluminum tubes to North for the countrys nuclear program back in 2003. This Seattle Times story lays out the voyage of the French cargo ship Ville de Virgo, and black-market business of supplying strategic materials and weapons to North Korea. The story uncloaked a CIA operator named Truppel, owner of a tiny German export company called Optronic, in a village about 85 miles northwest of Munich. Author Mike Chinoy also outlined the clandestine effort to build up North Koreas nuclear capability in his book Meltdown: The Inside Story of the North Korean Nuclear Crisis, but his account frames US and European intelligence communities as the good guy investigators in the case. But this notion was manufactured subterfuge and only for plausible deniability if the US Senate should get involved.

When I asked Eekhof about the connection in between Truppel, the North Koreans, and the US agencies, he pointed out that Truppels wife Elisabeth had managed Optronic while he was in the German prison. Eekhof also pointed me in the direction of Optronics current operations, supplying tem...

00:30

Ethnic Fermented Foods Help Preserve Some Bacteria and Fungi The Wire

The technique involved help keep alive important bacteria and fungi found in Indias northeast, and which would otherwise disappear with time.

Marcha (left) and thiat. Credit: doi:10.1038/s41598-017-11609-y

Marcha (left) and thiat. Credit: doi:10.1038/s41598-017-11609-y

Monika Kundu Srivastava writes for India Science Wire.

New Delhi: Fermented foods from jalebi to dosa are common across India. Scientists are now focusing on them because they also harbour a diverse array of microbes.

A study of starters that are used to prepare ethnic fermented foods in Sikkim and Meghalaya has revealed that they have rich microbial diversity. The study was undertaken to find out the types of bacteria and fungi present in two traditionally prepared starters: marcha and thiat, used to ferment a variety of starchy substances and produce a sweet alcoholic beverage that popular in the two northeastern states.

Marcha...

00:09

Thyssenkrupp, Tata Steel Agree to Forge Europes No. 2 Steelmaker The Wire

Heinrich Hiesinger, chief executive of ThyssenKrupp AG arrives for a news conference in Essen, Germany, September 20, 2017, on the Thyssenkrupp and Indian peer Tata Steel preliminary agreement to combine their European steel operations. Credit: Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay

Essen, Germany: Germanys Thyssenkrupp and Indias Tata Steel agreed on Wednesday to merge their European steel operations in a preliminary deal that would create the continents No.2 steelmaker after ArcelorMittal.

The deal will not involve any cash, Tata Steel said, adding that both groups would contribute debt and liabilities to achieve an equal shareholding and remain long-term investors.

The companies say they need to consolidate to address overcapacity in the European steel market, which faces cheap imports from China and elsewhere, subdued demand for construction and inefficient legacy plants.

We want to avoid our steel team restructuring itself to death, Thyssenkrupp CEO Heinrich Hiesinger told reporters, noting its steel operations would face deeper restructuring needs if they remained part of the group.

No one is able to solve the structural issues in Europe alone. We all suffer from overcapacity and that means that everyone is making the same restructuring efforts, Hiesinger told broadcaster n-tv.

Thyssenkrupp shares rose 3.2%, boosted by hopes that the joint venture will also ease the burden on its balance sheet, which will be freed from 4 billion euros ($4.8 billion) in mostly pension liabilities.

Tata Steel shares r...

00:08

Reliance Plans Major Expansion at Worlds Largest Oil Refinery Complex The Wire

Reliance may expand the capacity at its dual refinery complex in Jamnagar in Gujarat by 30 million tonnes a year to 100 million tonnes per year.

A woman walks past a poster of Reliance Industries installed outside the venue of the company's annual general meeting in Mumbai June 7, 2012. Credit: Reuters/Vivek Prakash/File Photo

A woman walks past a poster of Reliance Industries installed outside the venue of the companys annual general meeting in Mumbai June 7, 2012. Credit: Reuters/Vivek Prakash/File Photo

Mumbai/New Delhi: The Reliance Industries, operator of the worlds largest refining complex, is considering expanding its oil processing capacity by over 40 percent by 2030, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Reliance may expand the capacity at its dual refinery complex in Jamnagar in Gujarat by 30 million tonnes a year to 100 million tonnes per year, ac...

00:04

The police brutality haunting Tel Avivs backyard +972 Magazine

For nearly an entire week in early August, it felt as if Jaffa was teetering on the edge. Enraged over the shooting death of 22-year-old Mahdi Saadi at the hands of an Israeli police officer, hundreds of Arab youth hit the streets for several days of spontaneous demonstrations on one of the ancient port citys main thoroughfares.

Mainstream media ran a story most Israelis have become desensitized to, portraying the youth as Arab rioters burning trashcans, smashing car and storefront windows, blocking roads, and throwing stones at security forces.

The killing catalyzed the citys youth most of them from its poorest neighborhoods to protest years of firsthand police brutality and a growing sense of disillusionment over any potential for change. The headlines missed the real story: the Arab residents of Jaffa saw Mahdis death not as a random killing resulting in a confrontation gone wrong  they saw it as murder.

Mahdi Saadi was killed in the early hours of July 30 when police were called to respond to a shooting an incident on Yefet Street, in the heart of Jaffas mostly-Palestinian Ajami neighborhood. Saadi and a friend, Suleiman, were reportedly driving on a motorcycle in the area. Suspecting that the two were somehow involved in the shooting, police attempted to apprehend them. A chase ensued. Mahdi was reportedly shot between four and six times in his upper body on one of Jaffas backstreets, not far from Army Radio station. A single bullet hit Suleiman, severely wounding him.

At around noon the following day, a few dozen Arab youth gathered around Haj Kahil Square and began burning tires and throwing stones at police, sounding the opening salvo of a week-long standoff between a small group of protesters and large numbers of riot police stationed along Yefet Street, which was immediately sealed off.

00:00

Is Delhi Polices Special Cell Using an Al-Qaeda Recruiter as a Pawn to Vilify Rohingya in India? The Wire

The charges levelled against the British citizen of Bangladeshi origin by the Delhi polices special cell raise grave doubts about the agencys intentions.

Saimum Rahman. Courtesy: CAGE

Saimum Rahman. Courtesy: CAGE

The arrest of Samiun Rahman, a British citizen of Bangladeshi origin, in East Delhi on September 17, came a day before the government in New Delhi told the Supreme Court that the 40,000 Rohingya refugees in its territory constitute a national security threat. The government had submitted its plea in a sealed envelope to the court, so it is not definite whether Rahmans case is included in the list of evidence. Media reports have described him as al-Qaedas key recruiter, although some other reports have been circumspect to name him only as a suspected al-Qaeda militant.

Twenty-eight-year-old Rahman, whose family is still in London, had previously been arrested in Dhaka in September 2014. That time, the Banglade...

Wednesday, 20 September

23:57

Kazakhstan: Children in Hijabs Barred From Schools EurasiaNet.org - Inside the Cocoon

The management of educational affairs in the town of Zhanaozen, in western Kazakhstan, plans to sue the parents of 60 pupils. Girls are unable to attend classes because they wear Islamic dress in violation of the school rules, RFE/RLs Kazakhstan service, Radio Azattyk, has reported.

The childrens parents maintain that as of September 1, schools in Zhanaozen have not been allowing their children to go to classes because they wear headscarves. They have called the school policy a violation of their religious freedoms.

The head of the educational department in Zhanaozen, Tattimbet Zhumagaliyev, said that schools are simply executing orders from the Education Ministry about uniforms. Zhumagaliyev said it is not just girls in hijabs that have been reprimanded, but also students in mini-skirts and with painted fingernails.

But parents say that their children are complying by wearing school uniforms, but just that they are also adding another element in line with their faith.

The issue will now be decided in the courts.

Similar occurrences have taken place in other educational establishments since rules were adopted in October last year to ban the wearing of religious attributes as a way of combating Islamic extremism.

Elsewhere, in the city of Aktobe, a local resident, Guljanat Berdibayeva, whose daughter was not allowed in school in her Islamic clothing, has filed a complaint with the General Prosecutors Office and the presidential administration. Berdibayeva said her aim is to seek the repeal of dictates that she feels discriminate against the children of devout Muslims.

Prosecutors in Aktobe have said they are looking into the matter to see if her complaints have any grounds.

23:43

The beat goes on: The story of Palestines national dance +972 Magazine

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict gets more than its share of attention. And yet, listening more attentively to the narrative of the dabke, Palestines national dance, gives a new angle to resistance and struggle.

By Dana Mills

The Budrus youth dabke troupe performs at the graphic novel launch event.

The Budrus youth dabke troupe performs at the graphic novel launch event.

In July 2015 Palestinian activists in London took to the streets to hold a Day of Rage to commemorate the bloodiest day of the Protective Edge, Israels 2014 war in Gaza one year earlier. In addition to signs and posters, chants and cries, protesters stormed the British Museum and Barclays Bank in London with a dabke flash mob. In 2012, students at Arizona State University commemorating the Deir Yasin massacre in 1948 also danced dabke.

[tmwinpost]

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has had more than its share of coverage. Dance history, however, is not always the first place one goes to find political stories. And yet, listening more attentively to the narrative of the dabke, Palestines national dance, gives a new angle to resistance and struggle.

The dabke is a participatory dance in which people form a line that can be expanded as new dancers join the moving chorus. The movements of the line are led by a lawith, a dancer who leads and initiates changes in the line formation, and who is followed by a chorus. The dance involves movements up and down in space, and includes rhythmic stomping, clapping, and changes of pace. There are breaks created by individual dancers performing solos and the group response to them.

But dabke is much more than just a dance. It is a form of storytelling through movement, and for many, a way to showcase solidarity and cooperation, cultural resistance, and the strength of the human spirit.

The use of dabke is hardly new. During the British Mandate, Palestinians danced the dabke as a statement of resistance to Jewish immigration to Palestine before 1948 (there is evidence of performance of the dabke in 1923 in the village of Nebi Musa during a protest against the arrival in large numbers of Jews), as well as the growing international support for Zionism. After 1948 dabke dances were choreographed into stories of the villages destroyed in the Nakba. Like many other elements in Pa...

23:30

If Only Durga Could Slay the Asura of Politicking The Wire

This years controversy around West Bengal polices order about idol immersion after Durga puja, on Muharram, was uncalled for, because the state has, through decades, celebrated different festivals at the same time.

A man decorates an idol of the Hindu goddess Durga at a pandal, a temporary platform, ahead of the Durga Puja festival in Kolkata September 25, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri

I grew up in a respectable middle class South Calcutta (as it was called then) neighbourhood defined by Harish Mukherjee Road and the very well known SSKM Hospital. The big crossing near our ancestral home had a gurudwara and a mosque facing each other across a wide road.

Plus, police traffic restrictions willed that all immersion processions after any kind of Hi...

23:22

Kannada Author Loses Plea Against Ban on Her Book, SC Dismisses It Without Reasoned Order The Wire

The Karnataka government had banned Mate Mahadevis book Basava Vachana Deepthi in 1998, two years after its publication.

Supreme Court. Credit: PTI

Supreme Court. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: In a surprising denouement, the Supreme Court bench of Justices S. A. Bobde and L. Nageswara Rao, on Wednesday, dismissed Mate Mahadevis appeal against the ban on the sale and circulation of her book, Basava Vachana Deepthi, without a reasoned order.

We are deliberately not giving a reasoned order, said the bench, while abruptly concluding the hearing of the case this afternoon.

Today, the bench heard senior counsel, Basava Prabhu S. Patil, representing the state of Karnataka, the respondent and the advocate representing Mate Mahadevi, Naveen R. Nath.

Patil, while explaining the interplay between Sections 95 and 96 of the CrPC, told the bench that the intention of the author has to be inferred from the nature of publication. He said that it is fallacious to mathematically equate Sections 95 and 96 of CrPC with Section 295A Indian Penal Code.

Relying on case law, he argued that the offence under Section 295A need not be proved, as a prerequisite for action under Sections 95 and 96 CrPC. The government have an opinion, he said, and the remedy for the author and the publisher is before the three-judge bench of the high court which can test its validity.

Comparing this with the...

23:00

Is the Congress Crawling Out of Its Self-Imposed Shell? The Wire

Between university elections, Rahul Gandhis speech in Berkeley and the BJPs defensive attitude, it seems as though the grand old party may be re-emerging as a political alternative.

NSUI members celebrating after students' union election results were announced in Gauhati university. Credit: NSUI/Twitter

NSUI members celebrating after students union election results were announced in Gauhati university. Credit: NSUI/Twitter

Is the Congress re-emerging from its own shadows to challenge the BJPs stronghold over Indian politics? Is everything alright within the BJPs rank and file, especially at a time when the Narendra Modi government is facing criticism from various corners? Or is the growing public concern over issues such as rising prices and the surging unemployment rate pushing the saffron party to rethink its tactics? These are some of the questions which political observers have been asking of late. With the 2019 general elections only a year and a half away, these questions are difficult to ignore.

Three separate but interconnected developments in the second week of September signal that political equations in the country may well be in a state of transition.

Rejection of ABVP in...

23:00

What Amit Shahs Testimony in the Maya Kodnani Trial Means The Wire

Manoj Mitta, author of The Fiction of Fact-finding: Modi and Godhra, and Siddharth Varadarajan discuss Amit Shahs testimony in defence of Maya Kodnani, and the 2002 riots.

Siddharth Vardarajan: Welcome to this Facebook live video at The Wire with Manoj Mitta, author of The Fiction of Fact-finding: Modi and Godhra. Mittas is arguably one of the most comprehensive books to emerge out of the 2002 Gujarat massacre. It is unique because it comes at the end of the process of investigation and prosecution and is essentially a critique of the special investigative teams efforts in probing the Gujarat violence in general, and in particular the manner in which it discharged its duty on the task of ascertaining whether the then chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, along with 60 plus other political and state officials, had a case to answer for when it came to their alleged complicity in the 2002 violence.

The immediate peg for our discussion is the testimony that Amit Shah, the BJP president, gave on September 18 in the trial court for the Naroda Gam massacre case. This was testimony he was asked to give as a defence witness for Maya Kodnani who, at the time of 2002 massacre, was simply a BJP leader. She was elevated to cabinet by Narendra Modi in 2007. Even though there were allegations in the previous five years of her involvement in the Naroda Patiya massacre for which she has since been convicted and Naroda Gam, Modi took her in and she resigned only after she was convicted by the trial court in the Naroda Patiya massacre for playing a central role in directing the mobs and being part of the conspiracy to massacre over 90 people. She was sent to jail and she is out on bail right now. The issue at hand is her alleged involvement in the Naroda Gam case. She had earlier complained to the court that she had been unable to reach Amit Shah, and finally Shah was summoned and then he appeared. There he corroborated her claim, that at two moments in the morning, around 8 to half past 8 and at 11 am, Amit Shah corroborated her claim that she was in the first instance in the assembly building and in the second instance in the hospital with her. Some eyewitnesses say she was at Naroda Gam around those times. So Manoj, start by giving us your assessment  about the significance of Shahs testimony in the context of what she has been saying and in the context of the Naroda Gam case itself.

Manoj Mitta: As you said this is something that happened rather belatedly and since it is in the run up to the Gujarat elections, it has raised eyebrows. It trigg...

23:00

Photo Essay: Batla House Beyond 2008 The Wire

Yes, Batla House is a ghetto. But it is also so much more than that.

A morning scene from Bhatla House. Credit: Nabeela Paniyath/The Wire

A morning scene from Batla House. Credit: Nabeela Paniyath/The Wire

The cityscape is made up of countless neighbourhoods which share physical proximity but are separated along countless lines. How do we differentiate one neighbourhood from another? What makes some spaces the dark underbelly while some the poster images of a city? Questions like these had kept me awake in my hometown in Kannur, but more so, when I moved to Delhi a year ago.

I had only heard of Batla House through a report in a Malayalam local newspaper. I was a high school student and I remember feeling a tinge of fear after reading the stories about the encounter. Living in Kerala, it somehow felt alien to me at that time. Little did I know that this alien neighbourhood would one day become an integral part of my life.

Having just enrolled in Jamia Millia Islamia for my post graduation, my friends and I decided to search for an apartment to stay. It was no coincidence that we found one in Batla House. Getting used to a new city was a painful process and everywhere I went, I felt like an unwelcomed guest. My perception of this neighbourhood too was no different from what the mainstream media had propagated. The long, twisting curves of the congested road somehow resembled a dark snake. The rickshaws, the autos and the cars were like the scales on its skin, each glued to the other. I feared that someday all of it would ram into each other. But to my relief, everything managed to co-exist in orderly chaos.

Slowly,...

20:59

Everything you think you know about Israeli-Palestinian peace is wrong +972 Magazine

Israelis and Palestinians have grown the furthest apart during periods of quiet; it is in times of violence that the two nations have suddenly become flexible in their positions. That defies everything we tell ourselves about prospects for peace, and everything the world has told Palestinians they must do to achieve it. A review of The Only Language They Understand, by Nathan Thrall.

Israeli police fire tear gas at protesting Palestinian youths in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, October 6, 2015. (Flash90)

Israeli troops attempt to disperse protesting Palestinian youths in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, October 6, 2015. (Flash90)

The Only Language They Understand: Forcing Compromise in Israel and Palestine, by Nathan Thrall, Metropolitan Books, 2017, 336 pages.

The year 2012 was particularly noteworthy in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: for the first time since 1973, not a single Israeli was killed in the West Bank. This was also the final year of then-Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyads state-building project, celebrated by the in...

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