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Tuesday, 21 November

20:46

Family of Deceased Judge Claims He Was Offered Rs 100 Crore for Favourable Order in Amit Shah Case "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The late judges sister says in an interview to Caravan magazine that the then chief justice of the Bombay high court also offered her brother a house in Mumbai.

BJP chief Amit Shah and the late judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya. Credit: PTI/Caravan

BJP chief Amit Shah and the late judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya. Credit: PTI/Caravan

New Delhi: In the months leading up to his sudden death three years ago, the judge who was hearing the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case in which BJP chief Amit Shah was the prime accused was allegedly offered a bribe of Rs 100 crore for a favourable judgment.

The sister of Brijgopal Harkishan Loya who presided over the CBI special court in the matter till his death on December 1, 2014  told The Caravan that some weeks before his death, the judge had confided in her about the bribe offer which she alleged had been made by the then chief justice of the Bombay high court, Mohit Shah. This, she said, had also been confirmed to her by Loyas father Harkishan. Shah, she says, also allegedly offered Loya a house in Mumbai. Caravan magazine says it reached out to Mohit Shah for his reaction to this accusation but did not...

18:20

Robert Mugabe Resigns, Ending Four Decades of Rule Over Zimbabwe "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

FILE PHOTO - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe addressing the inaugural session of the World Summit in Geneva, Switzerland December 10, 2003. Credit: Reuters

FILE PHOTO Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe addressing the inaugural session of the World Summit in Geneva, Switzerland December 10, 2003. Credit: Reuters

Harare: Robert Mugabe resigned as Zimbabwes president on Tuesday a week after the army and his former political allies moved against him, ending four decades of rule by a man who turned from independence hero to archetypal strongman.

The 93-year-old had clung on for a week after an army takeover and expulsion from his own ruling ZANU-PF party, but resigned shortly after parliament began an impeachment process seen as the only legal way to force him out.

Wi...

17:42

Will the INF Treaty Be Kept Beyond Its 30th Anniversary? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

As a result of the INF Treaty , by May 28, 1991, 2,692 intermediate- and shorter-range missiles were destroyed: the Soviet Union destroyed 1,846, and the US - 846.

17:37

Jan Gan Man Ki Baat Episode 153: Dynastic Politics in India and Workers Protests "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Vinod Dua discusses dynastic politics across parties in India and protests by workers and farmers against the Modi government.

The post Jan Gan Man Ki Baat Episode 153: Dynastic Politics in India and Workers Protests appeared first on The Wire.

17:14

Dr. Bethunes Children "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Living in the West has the advantage of access to everything from good to bad as long as you have money, but one disadvantage is being somewhat cut off from Chinese literary scene. Thus I was excited when NYT recently talked about a Chinese living in Montreal having his novel translated to English published. His name is Xue Yiwei. He immigrated from China to Canada on a skill visa 15 years ago. He published about 13 works, with 10 in China, and is very popular in China but little known in the West. The recently translated book is called Dr. Bethunes Children, and it excites literary world in the West. While no publisher in China after 7 years of effort dare to publish it because it deals with 2 taboo subjects of CR and TAM, I do hope China will allow it to be published soon. It is time to revisit those events 50 and 38 years later to show confidence and draw lessons from history.
After I read the article, I immediately downloaded the book from Amazon and finished reading it in 1 weekend. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in China or Chinese literature. Unable to get the Chinese edition here in New York, I ordered it from Hong Kong by mail, hopefully I can read it soon.
The author was asked by publisher in China to write a biography of Dr. Bethune as he has access to archives in Montreal. After studying the archives he was unable to write it, but instead wrote a series of letters to Dr. Bethune as one of his millions of children from China. The questions he asked deal with life and death, tragedy and comedy, public persona and private anguish, parents and children, sex and emotion, in other words, philosophical questions eternally asked by philosophers. He constructed 2 characters both ended tragically to symbolize the 2 events, yet he didnt really blame the government directly but treated them as historically inevitable, just as Dr. Bethune must go to China and died there. He skillfully interwoven events and interactions from China to Canada, from 1938 to 1976 to make you feel real. The juxtaposition of his personal struggle against loneliness and Dr. Bethunes loneliness makes it unforgettable. For I, Mr. Xue, and even President Xi are all Dr. Bethunes children, and by inference also Maos children.
Nobel Prize for Literature has been very much a political game. I think only about 10% of the winners in last 60 years since WW2 are worthy the prize, certainly not the Chinese winners. After reading only one book by Xue Yiwei, I think he may truly deserve one.

16:53

Interview 1325 The Indo-Pacific Region on Howe Street Radio "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

[audio mp3="http://www.corbettreport.com/mp3/2017-11-21%20Howe%20Street.mp3"][/audio]James joins Jim Goddard on HoweStreet.com Radio for his bi-monthly round-up of economic, financial and geopolitical stories from around the world. This time around they discuss the new, US-less Zombie TPP; China's shadow banking crackdown; and the US' new penchant for calling the Asia-Pacific the Indo-Pacific.

15:14

Russias Difficult Decision in Syria is to be Discussed with Ankara and Tehran "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

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Its been reported that leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran will meet in Sochi on November 22 to discuss the Syrian conflict, and specifically, settlement matters. This meeting is in no way connected with the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, which is going to be held in the future, even though the exact date remains unannounced.

The upcoming trilateral meeting involves Moscow informing Ankara and Tehran of its new position on the Syrian settlement. This shift became noticeable after the summit in Da Nang, where US President Donald Trump refused to hold a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But the foreign ministers of Russia and the US agreed to issue a joint statement on the situation in Syria, which had no mention of the Astana talks in it. However, Russia, Turkey and Iran have been sponsors of the peace talks that were being held in the capital of Kazakhstan.

But the Russian-American statement says a lot about the Geneva process and the withdrawal of foreign troops from Syria. Namely, Russian, Iranian and Turkish troops. Washington has no intention to leave, even though its troops never had permission to enter Syrias territory, so theyve been operating inside Syria illegally. The only excuse they could have had to be in Syria could be provided by a UN resolution, yet no such resolution has been passed. It must also be remembered that on November 15 the United States announced its intention to create a military base in Syria in territory controlled by the SDF, following the assumption that all of Syrias oil fields will fall under the control of Kurdish militants Washington has been sponsoring.

Its no wonder that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan communicated with President Putin for four hours during his visit to Sochi in mid-November in a bid to clarify the joint US-Russian statement on Syria, asking questions about the stay of Russia troops and the motivation behind Damascus six year resistance against foreign sponsored militants.

Theres yet another aspect of the upcoming meeting economic. While ISIS is on its last legs, the process of rebuilding Syrias economy and infrastructure has started, but there is the question of who will ultimatel...

14:58

Bhopal Gas Disaster Survivors to Use Portraits of Missing Modi, CM in Campaign for Demands "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Through the campaign, survivors are making five demands to Prime Minister Modi and Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

Children with disabilities sit in front of cutouts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

New Delhi: Survivors of the Bhopal gas leak from the Union Carbide factory today (November 21) launched Paanch guhar  a campaign to draw the attention of the prime minister and Madhya Pradesh chief minister to five most urgent issues of rehabilitation, justice and compensation.

The demands include: medical care, social and economic rehabilitation, adequate compensation, punishment of culprits, clean up of lingering poisons in soil and groundwater.

The campaign began with children with congenital malformations born to gas-affected parents sitting in front of cut-outs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Bhopal. These photographs of them seated in front of the portraits was then sent to the two leaders via Twitter, a statement said.

The two portraits of Modi and Chouhan will be carried to different parts of the city that were affected by the December 1984 gas disaster  where the groundwater was poisoned with hazardous waste from the Union Carbide factory. The campaign will continue till the 33rd anniversary of the disaster on December 3.

A large demonstration has been planned for November 30 in Nigam Park in the city, where widows of the...

13:30

Indias Universities Are Falling Terribly Short on Addressing Caste Discrimination "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Physical exclusion and indifference of the faculty towards the plight of marginisalised students is pushing many to suicide, and despite measures being in place, administrations are doing little to address the issues.

A view of the JNU campus. Credit: PTI

A view of the JNU campus. Credit: PTI

On March 13, 27-year-old Dalit student Muthukrishnan Jeevanantham took his own life in a friends room at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus in New Delhi, much in the same way his friend and Dalit scholar, Rohith Vemula, had done in January 2016.

Rajini Krish, as his friends knew him, had documented on Facebook the stories of his struggle as a student facing discrimination. Just a few days before his death, in his last public post, he wrote: There is no Equality in M.phil/phd Admission, there is no equality in vivavoce, there is only denial of equality

The prevalence of caste-based discrimination in Indian universities has been an open secret for decades. While some Dalit student...

12:49

Another Journalist Shot Dead in Tripura "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Sudip Datta Bhaumik. Credit: Facebook

Sudip Datta Bhaumik. Credit: Facebook

Agartala: A journalist was shot dead on Tuesday (November 21) by a Tripura State Rifles (TSR) trooper during an altercation in Bodhjung Nagar in Tripura, police said.

Sudip Datta Bhaumik, a senior journalist with my newspaper, had gone to meet the commandant of the Second TSR at R.K. Nagar after obtaining due appointment from him. But when he reached there he had an altercation with a PSO of the commandant outside the latters office, during which the PSO shot him. Sudip died on the spot, Subal Dey, the editor of Syandan Patrika, told The Indian Express over the telephone.

The body of Bhowmik, a reporter of Syandan Patrika and local television channel Venguard, was brought to Gobinda Ballav Panth Medical College and Hospital for postmortem.

On September 20, a television journalist, Santanu Bhowmik, 28, was killed allegedly by some activists of a party in Mandai, 35 km from here.

(With IANS inputs)

The post Another Journalist Shot Dead in Tripura appeared first on The Wire.

12:30

Confrontation is Not the Best Way to Deal With the Danger of Judicial Misconduct "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Do we really want a scenario where sitting judges are ordering investigations against their fellow judges?

Supreme Court. Credit: PTI

Supreme Court. Credit: PTI

A lot has been said and written in the last week on the crisis at the Supreme Court of India after a petition was filed before it by the Campaign for Judicial Accountability & Reform (CJAR) demanding a court-monitored investigation into the Chief Justice of India (CJI). The petitioners justified their request on the grounds that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered a criminal case and arrested certain people who had allegedly convinced certain litigants that they could manage their case, being heard by a bench headed by the CJI.

While most of the criticism has been directed against the conduct of the judges, it is perhaps also time to speak about the petitioners, their brinksmanship and how they almost opened the door to sitting judges ordering investigations against other sitting judges, in a country where judges already appoint each other.

The CJAR and its role

The CJAR has for long led a fire and brimstone campaign against corruption, lack of transparency and other assorted ills plaguing the higher levels of the Indian judiciary. Thanks partially to the CJARs efforts, it is now possible to at least discuss the issue of corruption publicly.

This is a far cry from the days when certain elements in the higher judiciary would initiate contempt proceedings against anybody who publicly spoke about corruption in the higher judiciary. For example, in 2001,...

12:22

UN General Assembly Against Glorification of Nazism "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

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The Third Committee of the UN General Assembly met on November 16 this year and adopted the resolution on combating glorification of Nazim, racial discrimination and xenophobia, as introduced by Russia, with the support of 125 states. The importance of this international paper has only increased recently. In it, the war on fighting with monuments to honour the fighters against Nazism is contemptable, as declared in separate European countries, which in several states for the past year acquired the nature of a national policy, as well as annual marches to honour the Nazi and their collaborationists. It is noteworthy that only the USA and the Ukraine voted against this international resolution, having demonstrated by this their true attitude to the problem of glorification of Nazism.

In the said resolution, the question is not only about the tales of the past, but about the alarming rise of various extremist groups, resorting to acts of violence against people of a different race, of different religions, immigrants and national minorities, about the modern and very dangerous manifestations of racism, which should be opposed both at the national and international level.

Unfortunately, during recent years in Europe, where the fascist plague was most prolific, attempts and actions became frequent aimed at vandalising and destroying the monuments erected to those who were fighting against the Nazism during World War II, as well as unlawful exhumation and transfer of the remains of such people. The spread of racist and extremist ideas is more and more often justified by the reasons of freedom of expression, which contradicts the responsibilities of the states regarding the main international agreements on human rights, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Glorification of the Nazi movement and the former members of SS organisations cannot be acceptable, including the Waffen-SS declared as criminal by the Nuremberg trials.

In August in Estonia, as the website BaltNews.ee. informs us, with the assistance of the Estonian authorities, the so-called Erna Raid was held for the eighteenth time already, aimed to commemorate the actions of the Nazi long-range reconnaissance group Erna formed by the military intelligence of the Nazi Germany  the Abwehr and acting on the territory of Estonia in...

11:45

Germany"s Government Impasse: End of Merkel Era Is Within Sight "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has suffered a crushing defeat. On Nov.20, she informed the president of her failure to form a coalition government. This is a shock for Germany with its postwar record of government stability and political consensus and the entire Europe as well.

11:38

Sanjay Leela Bhansali No Less Guilty Than Those Threatening Him: Adityanath on Padmavati "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Adityanath claimed the filmmaker was in the habit of playing with public sentiments.

UP chief minister Adityanath. Credit: PTI

UP chief minister Adityanath. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath today alleged that Padmavati director Sanjay Leela Bhansali is no less guilty than those issuing threats to actors and others involved with the film and asserted that if there is any action, it will be against both the sides.

Lashing out at the filmmaker, he said Bhansali was in the habit of playing with public sentiments.

The state government has said it would not allow the movies release till certain controversial portions are removed.

No one has the right to take the law into own hands, whether it is Sanjay Leela Bhansali or anyone else, the chief minister said.


Also read: BJP Leader Adds to Open Threats Against Bhansali, Padukone; Producers Delay Release of Padmavati


I feel that if those threatening (the actors of the film) are guilty, Bhansali is no less guilty, he told reporters here. The chief minister said if there is any action, it will be against both the sides. On threats being issued to eliminate actors, Adityanath said, Everyone should respect the feeling...

11:15

The Saudi System and Why Its Change May Fail "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The Saudi response to the competition of the Iranian system is a move towards more authoritarian rule. This is hoped to allow for more agile policies and responses. But the move breaks the traditional ruling system. It removes the sensible impediments to impulsive foreign policies. It creates the contitions for its very failure.

10:53

Kerala High Court Says IFFI Must Include S Durga in Schedule "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The information broadcasting ministry had earlier removed S Durga, as well as Nude, from the festivals line up despite the jury choosing them.

<em>S Durga</em> director and poster. Credit: Facebook

S Durga director and poster. Credit: Facebook

New Delhi: The Kerala high court has told the organisers of the International Film Festival of India, to be held in Goa between November 20 and 28, that they must include the film S Durga in the line up at the festival. The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had earlier pulled out both S Durga and Nude from the schedule, even though the festival jury had chosen them.

10:45

US Military Fraud Endemic in Overseas Operations "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

When it comes to the US military operating in its overseas locations, the Latin phrase popularized by the Roman poet Juvenal, perhaps wise to the corruption of the Praetorian Guard of his time, comes to mind. Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who watches the watchmen?

10:15

Doomsday Scenarios: the UK"s Hair-Raising Admissions About the Prospect of Nuclear War and Accident "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) has published several reports over the last few years. They discuss geopolitics and related themes, one of which is the likelihood of nuclear war or accident, including what it means for long-term survival.

09:54

White House Asks US Supreme Court to Allow Full Travel Ban "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

FILE PHOTO: A man exits the transit area after clearing immigration and customs on arrival at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, U.S., September 24, 2017. Credit: Reuters/James Lawler Duggan/File Photo

A man exits the transit area after clearing immigration and customs on arrival at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, US, September 24, 2017. Credit: Reuters/James Lawler Duggan/File Photo

Washington: The White House asked the US Supreme Court on Monday to allow President Donald Trumps latest travel ...

09:45

The Theresa May Brexit Showdown "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Mrs. May's survival as UK Prime Minister is to a large extent predicated upon her being able to secure a good divorce deal and transition agreement that satisfies both the Remain and Leave wings of her Party as well as its ardently hard-line Leave grassroots.

09:43

WhatsApp Earnings Leak Shows SEBI Must Monitor Insider Trading on Social Media "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

This new technology presents a challenge but the problem of insider trading is hardly new. The regulator must rise to this new challenge if it is to maintain its reputation for efficiency.

Messages were being circulated in private Whatsapp groups frequented by equity traders. Credit: Reuters

The Securities and Exchange Board of India will investigate possible leaks of company earnings in social media chatrooms after a Reuters investigation documented at least 12 cases of prescient messages about major Indian companies being posted in private WhatsApp groups. This author explains why SEBI should try to create means of observing this medium and others like it.

A recent Reuters news report identifies a dozen messages that accurately predicted Q2 earnings patterns (and a bonus announcement in one case) for specific listed stocks. In each case, the messages were being passed around, just before the results were officially announced. These messages were being circulated in private Whatsapp groups frequented by equity traders. These were all big companies in fact, more than half of the stock concerned are members of the Nifty-50.

WhatsApp, an instant messaging service owned by Facebook, is a popular platform for all sorts of sensitive communications. It is encrypted end-to-end, making it impossible for even the service provider to monitor content.

There are many p...

09:15

In Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtras Sugar Alliance, a Sweet Mixture of Politics and Business "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The two BJP-ruled states working together will give it greater lobbying power and comes at a time when the industry is looking to end volatile, bi-annual supply and demand crises.

Parubai Govind Pawar, a 55-year-old female worker cuts sugarcane in a field in Degaon village in Solapur, in the western state of Maharashtra. Credit: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui/File photo

Two sugar giants the states of Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Maharashtra have struck an alliance in a major development on the farm front that is expected to give a better deal to cane growers and mills.

Although the broad contours of such an alliance are still being worked out, government and industry officials say that is likely that the combined voice will give both states greater leverage when it comes to influencing policy-making at the Centre.

The decision of the two BJP-ruled states, which account for a majority of Indias production of sugar large amount of sugar in the country, to work together for the common cause has come amid projections that the next two years would witness a record production of the sweetener.

UP and Maharashtra are key political...

09:02

To Discuss Brexit Divorce Bill Offer, Theresa May Meets Senior Ministers "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London, November 1, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville /File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Britains Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London, November 1, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville /File Photo

London: Prime Minister Theresa May met with senior members of her ministerial team on Monday to discuss their response to European Union demands for more detail on how much Britain is willing to pay as part of its Brexit divorce package.

The EU told May on Friday that there was more work to be done to unlock the Brexit talks, repeating its...

09:01

Chinese Rights Lawyer Sentenced to Two Years in Jail for Inciting Subversion "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

FILE PHOTO - Police react in front of disbarred lawyer Jiang Tianyong's portrait, during a demonstration, outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong, China December 23, 2016. Credit: Reuters/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

FILE PHOTO Police react in front of disbarred lawyer Jiang Tianyongs portrait, during a demonstration, outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong, China December 23, 2016. Credit: Reuters/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

Beijing: A prominent Chinese rights lawyer was sentenced to two...

08:42

BJP Received 82% of Donations to National Parties in Gujarat: ADR Report "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The saffron party received Rs 80.45 crore as donations in the state between 2011-12 and 2015-16.

Donations the BJP received in Gujarat were also far higher than what the party got in other states. Credit: PTI

Donations the BJP received in Gujarat were also far higher than what the party got in other states. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: A report from the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Gujarat Election Watch has shown that between 2011-12 and 2015-16 in Gujarat, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has received more than four times as many donations from the public as all the other national parties put together.

Donations the BJP received in Gujarat were also far higher than what the party got in other states, the report said, with 10.04% of all donations the party got in that period (a total of Rs 801.675 crore) coming from the state.

08:32

After Military Takeover, Zimbabwes Mugabe Faces Impeachment "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Residents attend a prayer meeting called to celebrate after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was dismissed as party leader of the ruling ZANU-PF's central committee in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 19, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

Residents attend a prayer meeting called to celebrate after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was dismissed as party leader of the ruling ZANU-PFs central committee in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 19, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

Harare: Zimbabwean President Robert Muga...

08:30

HC Pulls up Delhi Government for Discriminating Against Women Inmates "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The Delhi high court asked the state government to reveal the reason behind denying open and semi-open jail facilities to women prisoners.

Sunetra Choudhury profiles the incarceration of 13 people who are either in jail or were at one point of time. Credit: Pixabay

It was pointed out that only Yerwada jail in Maharashtra and some jails in Rajasthan were extending the benefit of semi-open and open prisons to their women prisoners. Credit: Pixabay

New Delhi: In a stark case of gender discrimination, the Delhi high court has pulled up the Delhi government for not extending the benefits of the semi-open and open prison to women inmates in prisons in the capital.

Hearing the matter this past week, the court, which had earlier issued show cause notices to lieutenant governor and principal secretary (home) of Delhi government as also the director general of prisons, Delhi, on a petition questioning deprivation of women convicts from the benefits of these reformist prison systems, questioned the Delhi government counsel about why no reply had been filed in the matter in the stipulated four week period it had allowed.

When the matter was listed in August, the court had directed the Delhi government to explain how and why the discrimination was being allowed to be carried out against the women prisoners. The petitioner, Sunil Kumar Gupta, who now practices in the high court after ser...

08:18

Trump Declares North Korea State Sponsor of Terrorism, Triggers Sanctions "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

FILE PHOTOS: A combination photo shows US President Donald Trump in New York, US September 21, 2017 and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, September 4, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque, KCNA/Handout via Reuters/File Photos

FILE PHOTOS: A combination photo shows US President Donald Trump in New York, US September 21, 2017 and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in this undated photo released by North Koreas Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, September 4, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque, KCNA/Handout via Reuters/...

08:16

Myanmar Hopes to Strike a Deal With Bangladesh to Solve Rohingya Refugee Crisis "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi attends the 13th Asia Europe Foreign Ministers Meeting (ASEM) in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, November 20, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Stringer

Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi attends the 13th Asia Europe Foreign Ministers Meeting (ASEM) in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, November 20, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Stringer

Naypyitaw: Myanmars de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Tuesday she hopes talks with Bangladesh this week will result in a memorandum of understanding on the safe return of Rohingya Muslims who fled to Bangladesh in the past three months.

A military clearance operation launched in...

07:41

P-5 Privileges Breached as Britain Blinks and Indian Judge is Elected to International Court of Justice "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The UK withdraws its candidate, leaving the field clear for Dalveer Bhandari, who had the overwhelming support of the UN General Assembly.

Dalveer Bhandari and Nawaf salam on Lebanon, both now judges of the ICJ (left); Christopher Greenwood of the UK, whose withdrawal from the race on Monday ended the deadlock between the Security Council and General Assembly. Credit: Nawaf Salam/ICJ

New Delhi: In a last-minute move at the United Nations on Monday afternoon EST, Britain withdrew its candidate for the International Court of Justice, leaving the field clear for Indian candidate Dalveer Bhandari to win the requisite majority in both the UN General Assembly and Security Council and be re-elected to the UNs principal judicial organ.

This marks the first time that the UK has not been part of the ICJ since its inception in 1946 and breaks an unwritten rule taken for granted by the big powers and the rest of the world that the five permanent members of the Security Council (the P-5) are guaranteed a seat at the world court.

The news of Bhandaris victory was broken on Twitter almost immediately by Syed Akbaruddin, Indian ambassador to the UN and principal coordinator of Indias ICJ campaign.

07:31

Hands Raised Against Modi Will Be Chopped off, Says Bihar BJP Chief Nityanand Rai "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Rai asked everyone to be proud of Modis achievements.

Nityanand Rai (second from left), with Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Modi at the event. Credit: Twitter/@nityanandraibjp

New Delhi: Bihar BJP president Nityanand Rai, who was speaking at a  function organised by the Vaishya and Kanu (OBC) communities in Patna, said Prime Minister Narendra Modis achievements should be a matter of pride for everybody. He further warned that any finger or hand raised against Modi would be broken or chopped off, reported the Indian Express.

Rai, who is a Lok Sabha member of parliament from Ujiyarpur, spoke of Modis humble background and his journey of becoming prime minister. He said   that everyone should be proud and respect him for this.

Rai said, Unki or uthne waali ungali ko, uthne waale haath kohum sub milkeya to tod dein, zaroorat pari to kaat dein (Any finger or hand raised against the PM, we should get together to either break it or, if need be, chop it off).

When the Indian Express spoke to him regarding his statement, Rai said it was an off-the-cuff statement, something that was not intended to target individuals or opposition parties, &#822...

06:21

Gangsterism, Mob Rule and War "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

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Criminal gangs that run our governments, control our corporations, fabricate our news, invent and reinvent out history and lull us into slavery do so believing humanity to be a form of cattle, no more.  Denying this is insanity.

Their prime methodology is war, this is what gangs do.

Ask anyone across the Middle East and they will say war is coming to Lebanon.  However, there is one problem with this, no one is certain who will be fighting whom?  The divided politics of Lebanon, though puzzling to outsiders and a daily concern to the Lebanese themselves are not a factor.  No one in Lebanon wants war.  Only Saudi Arabia and Israel want war, or so we are told.

Stranger still, classified briefings to key American congressional committees, blame Lebanons Hezbollah for backing ISIS across Africa and even in Afghanistan and Pakistan, notwithstanding the fact that Hezbollah has up to 20,000 fighters engaged in war against ISIS and its US backed surrogates at this time.

Saudi Arabia is blaming Iran for shooting missiles at them from heavily blockaded Yemen, and even more insane is the unending effort to accuse Syria of use of chemical weapons.

The world was supposed to learn a lesson after Bush 43 and Blair cooked up a war on terror after 9/11, might we well say conveniently after 9/11.  Fabricating war crimes, false flag terrorism, staged videos, actors as victims, all of this is not only standard fare, it is and has been the rule of the day.

Thus, we expect the now suspected 60-year marriage of love or marriage of convenience, the jury is out on which applies, between Saudi Arabia and their besties in Israel, to garner their assets, their paid-off politicians in America and Europe, their media assets, and their intelligence agencies, long suspected of backing ISIS and al Qaeda.

We can only wait for what they do next, will it be more staged gas attacks or a mass murder somewhere, anywhere, blamed on Iran or Syria or Hezbollah or perhaps Russia?

As American humorist, Jim W. Dean so often says, You just cant make this stuff up.

Background

Before assigning blame, usually attributed to the halls of...

05:40

Singaporeans will never achieve democracy "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The common but erroneous perception is that with more education and higher standard of living, a society would become more democratic. The belief was totalitarianism and societal advancements work in opposites. Unfortunately this is not true as history shows, and point proven by Singapore. Since independence no doubt the island has progressed economically, but as for democracy, it not only did not take root, and as far as democracy is concerned, it has regressed, not progressed.

And the reasons are obvious. A people cannot want what they do not know. And Singaporeans thanks to their dictators carefully shielding them from any mention of democracy have become today totally ignorant of what democracy even is. The ordinary Singaporean just as another Iraqi or Syrian or Afghan wants a job, food to eat and roof over the heads.  As for democracy, he hasn't heard of it, and as long as he is left alone, quite happy not to have it.

And this is exactly the state of affairs the islands dictators want. Singaporeans have no real rights as an American would have. Singapore police can arrest anyone anytime. But usually they only harass political opponents and criminals. If you are not a criminal or a political dissident, you have no problems at all.

Singapore does have a constitution which is almost the same as that of United States, replete with the rights of man, human rights, free speech and the entire litany. But unlike the United States all that is ignored and the police do whatever they want. But since the police and the Kangaroo judges placed by the rulers only punish anyone who is a critic or a criminal, people don't care whether they have rule or law or not since it doesn't affect them personally.

As a result Singapore today is a very repressive society with no rule of law. But the repression is only used against political opponents. The rule is, as long as you allow the rulers to be as corrupt as they want, you have no complaint of the lack of a free press, or lack of any freedoms, then you can go on with your life uneventfully and quiet. Since the aspirations of the average Singaporean only extends up to his daily upkeep and daily material needs, the dictators can continue in power for another 100 years as long as you accept your humble state.

Unlike the ordinary Singapore who lives this way, there are those, only a handful who may know that a free and independent life without having to live under Big Brother is much more meaningful and rewarding. So the handful, such as Chee Soon Juan and the late JB Jeyaretnam or myself have stuck our necks out to challenge this totalitarian regime for which we have suffered great punishment. And then there are the other handful who are aware but do not think it worthwhile to openly question authority. These people simply leave the island for se...

05:30

Seeking Babasaheb Among His People "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Where can one find Ambedkar? Does it make sense to look for him in the hallowed grounds of academia or in political ideologues?

B.R. Ambedkar. Credit: Ajay Tallam/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

B.R. Ambedkar. Credit: Ajay Tallam/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Our memories are like objects stashed away in an old storehouse, in the hope that they can always be retrieved in the future. Any act of remembering is akin to going through ones accumulated belongings of many years, where the frustration of being unable to locate the intended object is matched by a commensurate joy in making a serendipitous discovery. Reading Ambedkar: The Attendant Details put together by Salim Yusufji at Navayana evokes a similar feeling.

The B.R. Ambedkar we meet here is a collage of multitudinous images refracted through the prism of those whose lives he touched in one way or another: men and women who saw him in the flesh and knew him in many little ways. Like the Tamil writer Bama says in the introduction to this volume, We learn of his love for books, his speed in reading, his fortitude to bear sorrows, and his unceasing hard work. While the many voi...

04:00

Rediscovering Abdus Salam Through a Visit to His Childhood Home "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The home of Nobel laureate Abdus Salam may have been designated a monument by Pakistan, yet he remains alien to the land.

Abdus Salams childhood home. Credit: Aown Ali

Jhang (Pakistan): Tucked away in a quiet narrow street of Mohalla Chain Pura inside the Bab-e-Muhammad neighborhood of Jhang, a small 400 square foot house is designated as a national monument of Pakistan. This is the family house of Muhammad Abdus Salam, the Nobel Laureate theoretical physicist, and where he was born in January 1926.

The gated locality of Bab-e-Muhammad is known as Jhang city. In fact it is the old city of Jhang, which, like old neighborhoods in many other cities of Punjab, is gated and has its particular architecture and lifestyle.

Bab-e-Muhammad leads into a straight lane called Bazaar Noor Shah. Walking a few steps in this cluster of shops, looking over the true picture of life in old Jhang you could ask some passersby or a shopkeeper about Salams house. Turning a left at a Y-junction and walking a few more steps in this direction one arrives at a small house with a tiny inscription on the brown colour main door. The house looks no different than any of the other houses in the area, but it is from this house that a series of knowledge starts, a new page of science begins and the whereabouts of Salam are found.

...

03:30

As Critiques of UN Peacekeeping Missions Grow, Africa Seeks Peace on Its Own Terms "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Indian military doctors attend to a child in Kiwanja, the Democratic Republic of Congo via The Blue Berets. CC BY-SA 2.0

Indian military doctors attend to a child in Kiwanja, the Democratic Republic of Congo via The Blue Berets. CC BY-SA 2.0

United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions are ubiquitous on the African continent despite growing critiques of inefficacy. Peacekeepers work in cooperation with African military troops with increasingly broad mandates including civilian protection, counterinsurgency operations, and counterterrorism, among others. UN peacekeeping missions in places like Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Cte dIvoire have been hailed as successes, yet UN troops ground activities on the ground have been heavily questioned.

Since the first mission in 1948...

01:03

Uggah ill-advised on statement govt will never take peoples land Baru "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

State Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chairman Baru Bian says Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, who he claims to be new to native customary rights (NCR) land issue, may have been ill-advised when he recently said the government will never take the peoples lands from them. From the natives perspective, thousands of acres []

01:02

Sarawaks Penan mapping their way to land rights recognition "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

SARAWAKS last nomadic tribe, the Penan, have again pressed the state government to recognise their customary rights to land and a forest sanctuary they want called Baram Heritage Forest, by presenting to the government a detailed community map 15 years in the making. A group of nine Penan chiefs, led by Ajeng Kiew, a penghulu []

01:02

Penans want Baram Heritage Forest to be established "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A call has been made for Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to continue his predecessor the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satems effort to establish the Baram Heritage Forest (BHF). In making this call yesterday, Komeok Joe, who is Keruan Association coordinator, said this was the wish of the Penan communities in Ulu []

01:01

Tell Pakatan earlier of any problems, Dr M says after Zahid snub "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The government should have informed Pakatan Harapan (PH) of any problems dragging its registration so it could be resolved earlier on, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad urged today. The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman had attempted to see Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi earlier today, but was directed to secretary-general Datuk Seri Alwi []

01:01

No need to table 1MDBs financial statements, Putrajaya tells Parliament "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The financial statements of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) does not need to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat, Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today in a written reply. Najib said the audited statements of 1MDB between 2009 and 2014 had been filed with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM), while []

01:01

Citing sacred patrimony, churches reject unauthorised DBP translation of Bibles "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) expressed today its outrage that the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) can provide an official translation of its holy book in Bahasa Malaysia (BM) which forms part of the sacred patrimony for its adherents.The umbrella organisation representing 90 per cent of churches nationwide condemned the proposal by a legal []

01:01

No need to follow Sarawaks route on rights, Sabah minister says "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A Sabah minister has cautioned his state against copying Sarawaks approach to restore state rights that has been taken away by Putrajaya. Instead, Minister of Special Tasks and chairman of the State Rights Committee Datuk Seri Panglima Teo Chee Kang welcomed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razaks commitment to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63). We []

01:01

Putrajaya to act if petrol, diesel price exceeds RM2.50 for three months "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The government will intervene if pump prices for RON95 petrol and diesel remain above RM2.50 per litre for three consecutive months, the Finance Ministry said today. RON95 and RON97 petrol are currently RM2.38 per litre and RM2.66 per litre, while diesel is retailing at RM2.25 per litre. The ministry said the federal government understood the []

01:01

Deborah Henry: School syllabus needs to be revamped "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The Malaysian education system must improve to allow better opportunities for children to succeed in life, said Fugee School co-founder Deborah Priya Henry. She said her wish during Universal Childrens Day was for children to be given equal opportunities to reach their full potential. Henry said the Malaysian school syllabus needed to be revamped for []

01:01

Zahid: Pakatan needs to resolve DAP, PPBM problems before registration "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Pakatan Harapan (PH) needs to resolve issues with the DAP and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) before it can be approved as a formal coalition, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today. The deputy prime minister said among the issues that the Opposition coalition needs to address includes the final report of the []

01:01

Minister: Putrajaya needs more support for English-medium schools return "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A federal minister said today he backs calls for English-medium schools to be reinstated, but said the federal government will need more support to realise the policy. Minister in the Prime Ministers Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan said he personally believes English schools are vital for human capital growth but feared that the issue []

01:01

With absent MPs, BN almost loses Budget 2018 vote "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The government narrowly won, by just one vote, the debate on a part of Budget 2018 in the Dewan Rakyat today as few Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs were in the House. Media reports said G. Manivanan (PKR-Kapar) called for a division vote when the government was wrapping up the debate on the Supply Bills portion []

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Monday, 20 November

21:06

No institution is safe from the corrupting power of occupation "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The persecution of Breaking the Silences spokesperson is further proof that the states investigative bodies are not only deeply politicized, they are simply uninterested in doing their job.

Illustrative photo of Israeli soldiers arresting a Palestinian man in the Dheisheh Refugee Camp near the West Bank city of Bethlehem. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Illustrative photo of Israeli soldiers arresting a Palestinian man in the Dheisheh Refugee Camp near the West Bank city of Bethlehem. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Between the years 2013 and 2016, Israeli anti-occupation group Yesh Din tracked the polices response to 289 cases of ideological crimes against Palestinians in the West Bank. In each of those cases, the Palestinians filed a complaint with the police; some of them included photographic material, video, and testimonies provided by Israeli civilians or soldiers. And yet, only 20 cases led to indictments. In no less than 183 of them, the police were unable to locate the criminals or find evidence; more often than not, they never truly carried out a real investigation. Of the 45 cases that were opened between 2012-2014 following...

18:31

How Modern Empire Uses "Awards" to Keep Servants Loyal "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

November 21, 2017 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Nineteenth century French military and political leader Napolon Bonaparte once said, "a soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured ribbon," recognising a fundamental aspect of human nature he readily exploited to bolster his now famous campaigns of European conquest.



Human beings value recognition. Today, it drives the addictive nature of social media platforms. Facebook co-founder Sean Parker recently admitted that the ubiquitous social network platform was designed intentionally to exploit this and become "addictive."

In the Guardian's report titled, "Ex-Facebook president Sean Parker: site made to exploit human 'vulnerability'," Sean Parker would describe what he called a "social-validation feedback loop," explaining that:
How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible? It was this mindset that led to the creation of features such as the like button that would give users a little dopamine hit to encourage them to upload more content. 

Its a social-validation feedback loop exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because youre exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.

This social-validation feedback loop utilising the "like" button is merely the most recent innovation in social engineering, and the latest iteration of Bonaparte's "bit of coloured ribbon." 

Keeping Servants Eager and Loyal 

Combining traditional methods and modern innovations in social engineering, modern day empires extend their influence through media, activist, political and business circles around the globe. In addition to boosting modern social media accounts of their handpicked proxies, facilitators and agents, they also maintain an impressive network of organisations that both manage and direct "soft power" efforts as well as reward eager and loyal functionaries.


A relevant and recent example of this was provide...

18:19

How Modern Empire Uses "Awards" to Keep Servants Loyal "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

November 21, 2017 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Nineteenth century French military and political leader Napolon Bonaparte once said, "a soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured ribbon," recognising a fundamental aspect of human nature he readily exploited to bolster his now famous campaigns of European conquest.



Human beings value recognition. Today, it drives the addictive nature of social media platforms. Facebook co-founder Sean Parker recently admitted that the ubiquitous social network platform was designed intentionally to exploit this and become "addictive."

In the Guardian's report titled, "Ex-Facebook president Sean Parker: site made to exploit human 'vulnerability'," Sean Parker would describe what he called a "social-validation feedback loop," explaining that:
How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible? It was this mindset that led to the creation of features such as the like button that would give users a little dopamine hit to encourage them to upload more content. 

Its a social-validation feedback loop exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because youre exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.
This social-validation feedback loop utilising the "like" button is merely the most recent innovation in social engineering, and the latest iteration of Bonaparte's "bit of coloured ribbon." 

Keeping Servants Eager and Loyal 

Combining traditional methods and modern innovations in social engineering, modern day empires extend their influence through media, activist, political and business circles around the globe. In addition to boosting modern social media accounts of their handpicked proxies, facilitators and agents, they also maintain an impressive network of organisations that both manage and direct "soft power" efforts as well as reward eager and loyal functionaries.


A relevant and recent example of this was...

18:00

The Middle East: the Decline of American Might "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

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The Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that the cooperation between Moscow and Tehran and the refusal of mutual payments in US dollars could isolate the USA and repel the American sanctions. The Supreme Leader added, It is possible to cooperate with Russia in dealing with large-scale issues requiring commitment and determination, and to cooperate with it logistically.

In this context, we should not forget that China, a large oil buyer, is the key player in the crackdown on petrodollars. Beijing has already presented a new oil benchmark in CHY (right now, two benchmark contracts for crude oil, WTI and Brent, are traded in USD) and will issue the first South-African future contract by the end of this year. Interestingly, it was announced that any oil exporter who will accept payment in CHY will be able to convert them into gold at the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SHGE) and hedge the currency value of gold at the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE). That is why China needs physical gold and it has been recently buying it on a large scale.

Undoubtedly, all oil exporters, and especially those who have poor political relations with the USA, will profit from this segregation of the Chinese future market. Because any decrease of USD influence diminishes seriously the ability of Washington to wage an economic war on select states. The introduction of the oil future traded in CHY will enable oil exporters, for example Russia, Iran and Venezuela, to avoid sanctions on their oil trade.

Thus, a plan is being commissioned to ruin the United States of America right before our eyes. Reportedly, the dollar, which is a worldwide currency (but not industry or agriculture), constitutes the foundation of American power. It is this world currency that enables the USA to rob the whole world, making its peoples to pay for the overly ambitious desires of Washington. Some time ago, the USD was secured with the gold equivalent, which was later abolished, and now the dollar is, in fact, left without safeguards. The United States forced an agreement upon Saudi Arabia which provided for the USAs military aid to the Kingdom and the protection of its oil fields, though it isnt clear against whom. In exchange, the Saudis committed themselves to executing all their oil sales in USD and to investing their profits in US debt securities. By 1975, all oil-producing OPEC members were forced, under pressure from Washington, to follow suit. Consequently,...

17:00

Will More Youth Follow Suit After Majid Khans Surrender? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The government believes that the return of the footballer, who was emerging as militancys new poster boy, will lead to more surrenders as it mulls a new rehabilitation policy, seeks suggestions from Jammu and Kashmir police.

Majid Khan, 20-year-old ace footballer, who had joined the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, surrendered and returned within a week. Credit: Twitter/ANI

Srinagar: The long-implemented take no prisoners policy in Kashmir is set to be replaced by a new surrender policy for militants.

The arrest of three local militants after a deadly encounter and the surrender of 20-year-old ace footballer Majid Khan, who had joined the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, but returned within a week, is seen as part of the governments initiative for a new rehabilitation policy for militants who want to return to the mainstream.

We are for saving lives, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Munir Khan told media, as he shared the details of the operation in Kund village in Kulgam district. One soldier and one militant were killed in the gun-battle.

The security forces believe these arrests are vital as these youth were fast-emerging as militancys poster boys in South Kashmirs Anantnag d...

16:10

Watch: Mass Anger Against Imposition of NSA on Chandrashekhar "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Massive anger witnessed in several places after NSA was imposed on Bhim Armys founder Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan on November 3. Protests varied from street demonstrations to hunger strikes as people from across the country expressed their solidarity with Bhim Army.

The post Watch: Mass Anger Against Imposition of NSA on Chandrashekhar appeared first on The Wire.

15:29

Mizoram Chief Minister Accused of Not Disclosing His Kolkata Plot in Affidavit to Contest 2013 Assembly Polls "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

LalThanhwala owns land in HIDCOs New Town through chairmans quota.

Mizoram chief minister Lal Thanhawla. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Mizoram chief minister LalThanhawla found himself in a controversy with a voter from his constituency, Serchhip, writing to the Election Commission of India (ECI) seeking action against the veteran Congress leader for deliberately submitting a false affidavit about his unmovable assets in the run-up to the last assembly polls.

Mizoram went to polls in end 2013 and is due for elections in the second half of 2018.

LalThanhawla, who has been the chief minister of the Northeastern state since 2008, filed the affidavit  as per the Supreme Courts 2002 directive to the ECI for any candidate filing nomination papers to contest an election  on November 8, 2013.

In the letter to the ECI, written on November 13, Hriatrenga Chhangte, a Kolkata-based Central government employee and a native of Serchhip, said, the chief minister was allotted a plot of land in Kolkatas New Town prior to filing the election affidavit, but didnt disclose the property in it, thereby attracting section 125A of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951. As per the section, a candidate who, either himself or through his proposer, furnishes false information in his nominat...

15:26

Kashmir The Independence Movement Much More Dangerous Than Catalonias "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

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At the moment everyone is pitching in on the situation in Catalonia as the real story. Having held a referendum on independence, in defiance of the Spanish constitution, the Catalan regional parliament must have expected Madrid to defend that constitution by not recognising the result, re-imposing direct rule to prevent it being enacted and jailing people who advocated doing so. So much can be said in retrospect for self-determination, and so-called European values, as all that is but a moot point by now.

However unsavoury these measures, it is the Spanish governments claimed Constitutional Duty to take them, as was the case in Georgia in 2008. But of course the Central government is spurring separatist sentiment all over Europe and beyond, in countries where such votes can be legally held and then respected with greater ease. We can expect a number of other regions which identify themselves as separate, whether ethnically, politically or historically, to regard the Catalans as martyrs and go down the same path.

Catalonia as a convenient distraction

However Catalonia is also a convenient distraction. Another occupied region is demanding independence Kashmir . If Catalan independence is becoming a hornets nest of problems, these pale into insignificance beside those of Kashmir. This conflict has all the potential to surpass the US-North Korea standoff as a potential disaster you dont want to think about.

Kashmir has been used for years as a means of retaining the regional balance to prevent those problems. But that is precisely why there is now a push to independence. Trapped between regional enemies and great power rivals, it has nothing to lose by trying to go it alone. The only questions are who will decide to support it, whether Kashmir wants that support or not and what harm its nuclear-armed neighbours will do to each other, and the rest of the world, because the locals in this remote region are sick and tired of all of them.

Too many truths to be true

Kashmir is the one place on a political map wit...

14:45

Flagship Governance Programmes: Who Did it Better, UPA-II or Modi Government? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A recent article claimed that the Modi government has significantly improved or tweaked the implementation of various schemes started by the UPA-II administration. But the numbers quoted need to be questioned.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh. Credit: PTI

Note: This is the second part in a five-series rebuttal and examination of how well the Modi governments flagship governance schemes have functioned so far. Read the first part here.

The Wire recently published an article titled Modi May Have Repackaged 23 UPA Schemes But Most of them Are Working Better Now. The authors main thesis is that even if the names of the government schemes have been changed or have been slightly repackaged, the Narendra Modi government is implementing the programmes much more efficiently than the previous government.

Towards the end of the article, the authors chart out a comparison of the performance of various schemes and projects. However, there are deep flaws with this analysis, as pointed out in...

14:29

How Do Birds Survive at High Altitudes? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The bar-headed gooses adaptations work well for occasionally spending short periods of time at high altitudes, but these may have high energy costs.

A bar-headed goose. Credit: Mprasannak/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

A bar-headed goose. Credit: Mprasannak/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

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

Bar-headed geese fly at elevations that would defeat most other birds. They raise goslings in Mongolia and Tibet and, come autumn, they soar high over the Himalayas into the Indian subcontinent. Although they take this the steepest migratory flight of any bird in stages, they cross the lofty mountain range at night in one marathon flight lasting seven hours. Its easier to keep going once you are at that height than to land and take-off again and again. If humans did something similar, go from low to high elevations without a break, theyd suffer from altitude sickness and might even die.

Although it may seem effortless, flying sucks ten- to twenty-times more oxygen than resting. Flying birds gulp air, deriving oxygen to fuel their hard-working muscles. But this critical element is in short supply at high elevations, with only one-third to half the oxygen levels at sea level. Such a low oxygen conditi...

14:29

Family Questions Suspicious Death of Judge Who Heard Sohrabuddin Fake Encounter Case "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Judge who took over the case discharged BJP president Amit Shah without a trial and the CBI has yet to appeal that order.

The late judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya, Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi, and BJP president Amit Shah. Credit: Caravan/Facebook/PTI

Mumbai: Three years after the sudden death of 48-year old Brijgopal Harkishan Loya the special Central Bureau of Investigation judge presiding over the trial of BJP president Amit Shah and several top Gujarat police officers for the encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi  his family has spoken up on the suspicious circumstances in which he died in Nagpur.

Citing interviews with Loyas relatives, an investigative report by Niranjan Takle in the Caravan on Monday has pointed to glaring inconsistencies in the cardiac arrest story. These include:

  • large variations in the precise time of his death
  • the absence of any prior medical history suggesting the possibility of a heart attack
  • why he was taken to hospital in an auto-rickshaw in the early hours of the day
  • the mysterious signature...

14:25

5 Unbelievably Stupid Ideas Governments Actually Tried "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Ask anyone who's ever worked in the public sector: With a never-ending stream of taxpayer money and no competition in sight, governments are a breeding ground for stupid ideas.

In fact, coming up with a list of all the idiocy that governments have inflicted on the world would be an impossible task, so let's just narrow it down to five really stupid government ideas.

14:04

At Upcoming WTO Meet, India and Other Developing Countries to Try and Keep Focus on Doha Agenda "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Developed countries want to include new issues like e-commerce, investment facilitation and government procurement in the discussion.

WTO headquarters in Geneva. Credit: Reuters

WTO headquarters in Geneva. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: Battle lines have been drawn between developed and developing countries over the agenda for the forthcoming WTO ministerial conference at Buenos Aires, with India saying it will oppose discussion on new issues like e-commerce, investment facilitation and government procurement.

If India remains firm on its stand, the upcoming ministerial, to be held from December 10-13, could fail to produce any substantive outcome. But it remains to be seen how far India can fend off the developed worlds pressure on inclusion of new issues in the ministerial agenda.

The experience of the previous WTO Ministerial Conference, Nairobi in 2015, does not inspire much confidence that India would be able to thwart moves to push new issues onto the WTO agenda. There was no unambiguous affirmation on sticking to the Doha agenda at Nairobi, despite India strongly pitching for it.

The ministerial is the highest decision-making body of the WTO and meets at least once every two years to give political direction to the organisation.

As a priority, India wants the WTO to focus discussion on the Doha development agenda, without being distracted by new issues.

The Doha round of WTO negotiations was launched in the wake of the September 11 attack on the twin towers in the US by the Al Qaeda. The exigency of building a wider political consensus for...

14:03

Imphal Newspapers Publish Blank Editorial to Protest BJPs Burning of Daily "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Members of BJPs youth wing set ablaze copies of Poknapham newspaper for publishing disparaging content against the prime minister.

Credit: poknapham.in

Credit: poknapham.in

Imphal: Prominent Imphal-based newspapers, including the daily that was burned down by alleged members of the BJPs youth wing, left their editorial columns blank today in protest.

Copies of vernacular newspaper Poknapham were set on fire by unidentified miscreants in front of BJPs party office at Nityapat Chuthek here on Saturday over alleged disparaging content against the prime minister.

The editorial column has been left blank today in protest against burning of an Imphal-based newspaper by BJP youth wing, the editor of Sangai Express said.

The president of the All Manipur Working Journalists Union (AMWJU), W. Shyamjai, condemning Saturdays incident, told reporters that the act of burning the paper amounts to promulgation of mob culture.

If the parties involved are unable to settle the matter at the level of AMWJU, they can approach the court, he said.

The BJP Manipur Pradesh Yuva Morcha did not discuss the matter with the editors and the publishers of Poknapham, Shyamjai added.

Echoing similar sentiments, A. Mobi, the president of Editors Guild...

14:00

Rohingya Christians Fear the Worst as Police Undertake Verification Drive on MHA Orders "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The exercise runs counter to the spirit of the SCs directions where it had advised the government to ensure there are no contingencies while the case was pending.

In the Rohingya camp at Madanpur Khader, Delhi.

In the Rohingya camp at Madanpur Khader, Delhi.

New Delhi: Despite the Supreme court putting the Centres plans to deport the Rohingyas to Myanmar on hold, the Delhi police has been going ahead with a verification drive to identify various categories of Myanmarese nationals in accordance with an advisory issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on August 8. The action runs counter to the spirit of the SCs directions in the last hearing where it had advised the government to ensure there are no contingencies while the case was pending.

As part of the exercise, the police have been conducting verification of various Myanmarese nationals since November 3, the date that orders for the drive reached the capitals police stations.

In Vikas Puri in West Delhi, at a camp which houses...

13:55

Tajikistan: Marriage Folds Northern Elite Into Presidential Family "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Given the highly regionalized nature of power dynamics in Tajikistan, this weekends marriage between a granddaughter of the president and the son of an influential northern family is worthy of note.

Sources in the northern city of Khujand told EurasiaNet.org that the marriage took place on November 19 between President Emomali Rahmons oldest granddaughter and the grandson of the governor of the Sughd region, Adburahmon Kodiri. In another seemingly symbolic gesture, the ceremony was held at the Arbob Cultural Palace, where Rahmon was in effect first appointed head of state, almost exactly 25 years ago, on November 16, 1992.

On the brides side, the parents are one of Rahmons daughters, Firuza, and Mahmadzoir Sohibov.

Because of the outsized role played by localism in Tajikistan, such marriages between powerful families from different regions are almost unheard of. Most of Rahmons in-laws are from his native south. Indeed, the inexorable post-civil war ascendancy of Rahmons regional kinfolk to positions of power has even given a rise to a Russian neologism coined from the name of the Kulob, a city and district in south namely, Kulyabizatsiya.

This is the first known occasion in recent times in which the presidential family has married such a visible representative of a northern clan.

Sohibov, the father of the bride, does not formally hold a government position, but he is widely believed to wield considerable political influence as an informal senior advisor to Rahmon on key personnel issues and on the allocation of business-related favors. He is also said to have financially lucrative tobacco and jewelry interests of his own. 

read more

13:30

Bas Ab Bahut Ho Gaya Challenging Regressive Attitudes Towards Women "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A movement mobilising youth to address issues to end gender-based violence, particularly violence against women and girls.

Awareness needs to be created about government initiatives that provide care and support for the survivors of violence. Credit: basabbahuthogaya.in

For generations women were alone in their struggle for the right to live a life of dignity and respect, but the movement for change has grown worldwide. We now have a global community of women and men who are calling out harassment, sexism and violence against women and girls (VAWG). While it may seem like incidents of VAWG have shown an increasing trend over the years in India, this is also an indicator of more crimes being reported. Of the total cases registered by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) under crimes against women in 2015, 34% were registered against husband and relatives, 25% against sexual harassment, while 10% were rape cases. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) IV shows the pervasiveness of domestic violence, where over half of men (51%) and women (54%) agreed with one or more reasons that justified wife beating.

VAWG is not only a violation of a womans body and rights but should be seen as a public health concern. Almost 900 girls a day 3,30,000 a year are never born in India because they are not boys. The discrimination against girls is so deeply ingrained that it is a continuum of a life-cycle of violence from sex-selective abortions before birth and neglect during infancy, to being victims of abuse and malnutrition as children. As adolescents they are trafficked or forced int...

13:30

How Long Can Indias Farmers Subsidise the Nation? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The farmers have done their job. The nation has failed to deliver them a decent income in return.

Ravindra Kumar. Courtesy: Author

Ravindra Kumar. Courtesy: Author

Farmers are coming onto the streets across the country in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and now from all states into Delhi. As the agitations intensify and take a national character, it is necessary for the nation to understand what is driving them. Are they asking for the sky, simply for what is due to them?

Take Ravindra Kumar, a bajra farmer from Rewari, Haryana. He produced a good crop of bajra of 20 quintals. As per the governments own estimates, the cost of production is Rs 1,278 per quintal. The government announced a minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 1,425 per quintal. This means that a two-and-a-half acre farmer growing 20 quintals would get a net income of only Rs 2,940 for a whole seasons effort. From this, the government expects him to support an entire households expenses for at least half a year. The story only gets worse. When he sold his crop in early November, Ravindra got a price of only Rs 1,138 per quintal. Not only is this much lower than the governments MSP, it is also lower than the cost of production. So he has a net loss of Rs 2,800 to show for his efforts.

If you think this is outrageous, you are right. What is more outrageous is that the scenario is similar for most crops across the country. Lalithamma, a groundnut farmer from...

13:21

Congress Leader Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi Passes Away at 72 "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

 Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi

Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, who was in a coma since 2008, today passed away at a hospital here.

He was 72.

He had been critically ill since the past one month and succumbed to the illness at 12:10 pm. His family members including wife Deepa Dasmunsi and their son were at his bedside at that time, Apollo hospital authorities said.

The former Union minister had suffered a stroke in 2008 and was hospitalised since then.

Dasmunsi was heading the All India Football Federation when he was taken ill.

The post Congress Leader Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi Passes Away at 72 appeared first on The Wire.

13:17

Government Set to Re-Introduce Transgender Persons Rights Bill, Ignoring Key Recommendations "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A House panel had called out the government on its flawed understanding of transgender persons and asked it to promote and safeguard the rights of the marginalised community.

The social justice and empowerment ministry will re-introduce the Bill in the winter session of the parliament. Credit: Reuters

The social justice and empowerment ministry will re-introduce the Bill in the winter session of the parliament. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: The central government has decided to discard the recommendations of a parliamentary committee report that slammed it on the very definition of transgender used in the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, claiming it was against global norms and violates the right to self-determined gender identity.

The...

12:30

Bihars People Are the Ones Paying for Its Rudderless Government "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Nitish Kumars political flip-flops and rash policy implementation have dragged the state back to pre-2005 days.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. Credit: Reuters

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. Credit: Reuters

Things are virtually back to where they were before Nitish Kumar came to power in Bihar more than a decade ago. On November 24, 2005, Nitish was voted to power with the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The slogan that then caught the imagination of the electorate pushing the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) government out of power was Nitishs assurance of developing Bihar. Yet today, the state has regressed to the situation that existed prior to Nitish taking charge. In fact, it can even be argued that the prevailing situation at least in some respects is far worse than what it was 12 years ago.

If on the one hand there is political uncertainty and arm-twisting by the BJP, there is also the no less worrisome precarious economic situation with a slide in investment. Lets consider the political instability. For the last four years, for apparently no valid reason, Bihar has witnessed political volatility at the top with frequent changes in government. This has contributed to a virtual policy paralysis in the state. No doubt, Nitishs own vulnerability too has increased. Unlike in the past, when the chief minister was comfortably calling...

12:30

Supreme Court Judgment in Medical College Bribery Case Will Remain Under a Cloud "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The court has suggested that any complaint against a judge and investigation by the CBI should not be given publicity, ignoring the fact that public functionaries act under public scrutiny.

Justice Dipak Misra. Credit: Twitter

Justice Dipak Misra. Credit: Twitter

After the days of the Emergency, last week is perhaps the most the Supreme Court of India has been in the public gaze. While the propriety of the Chief Justice of India is being debated, the impropriety of the PIL litigants, Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) and Kamini Jaiswal, has also been widely questioned. Now that the Supreme Court has delivered its judgment on the PIL filed by Jaiswal, one can assess the whole episode with equanimity.

The judgment, in paras 9 and 30, has given justification for the hurried constitution of the constitution bench on November 10. It states that there was variance between the orders passed by the two division benches, which necessitated settling of the law. In the CJAR case, the direction was passed requesting the CJI to constitute an appropriate bench for hearing the matter. The only question that was before the CJI on administrative side was what would be the appropriate bench when a similar case, in the PIL filed by Jaiswal, had been directed to a constitution bench. Had the CJI desired to respect the judicial order of Court No. 2 instead of asserting his administrative authority, there was no constitutional question that needed to be answered. The CJAR matter could have been listed before the bench hearing the similar matter.

It is worth noting that even after the settling of the law by the constitution bench, th...

12:29

What Do You Do When Palaeontology Itself Is Endangered in India? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

There are few researchers and fewer teachers studying vertebrate and invertebrate palaeontology leading some to wonder if Indias story of the evolution of life will continue to be written for long.

A field photograph of the excavated ichthyosaur skeleton in the Katrol Formation near Lodai village, Gujarat. Caption and source: PLOS

A field photograph of the excavated ichthyosaur skeleton in the Katrol Formation near Lodai village, Gujarat. Caption and source: PLOS

There was a lot of excitement when a big fossil was recently discovered in the Kutch region of Gujarat by a team of Indian researchers. However, the very science of palaeontology the study of fossils to trace the evolution of life on Earth could be dying in India. Veterans in the field are concerned that there may not be many fossils being unearthed in the future as there are hardly any openings for a palaeontologist in Indian universities, while the number of students signing up for the subject has also been on the decline.

According to Mahendra Pal Singh, the secretary of the Palaeontological Society of India, about 150 to 200 students pursue a postgraduate degree in palaeontology every year in the country. As for research, only about 15-20...

12:04

Hundreds of Palestinians on the brink of expulsion: We just want to live "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Three hundred Palestinians have been ordered to leave their homes and take with them all their belongings within the next eight days. Where are they supposed to go? The military order provides no answers. In the meantime, they wait for the rain that refuses to come.

By Keren Manor / Activestills.org

Members of the Daragma family stand next to a cinder block built outside their tent, which declares the area an open-fire zone, and this is forbidden for entry. (Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Members of the Daragma family stand next to a cinder block built outside their tent, which declares the area an open-fire zone, and this is forbidden for entry. (Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

They are about to be expelled from their homes but every person I met on our visit to the community of Ein al-Hilweh in the Jordan Valley asked us if there was news of rain. The farmers and shepherds in Ein al-Hilweh and in the neighboring village of Umm Jamal are worried. It is the middle of November, and without water, their herds of cattle, sheep, chicken and other animals are beginning to die of hunger. There is no water to drink. The dry earth does not provide food for pasture. The small community, which is not connected to running water, depends on rain to grow the crops that provide the little food off of which they and their livestock survive....

11:45

President Trump Faces Creeping Coup "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

With economy on the rise and the US not dragged into a costly military conflict, President Trump has a good chance at winning a second term in the 2020 presidential election, sending hostile political operatives and the critical news media into a meltdown.

11:15

How Syrian-Nuke Evidence Was Faked "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

In joining Israel and the White House selling military intervention in Syria, the CIA and international inspectors hid key evidence that would undermine the case, says Gareth Porter in a second part of a two-part series.

11:06

Kenya: Supreme Court Upholds Presidential Poll Result "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta speaks after he was announced winner of the repeat presidential election at the IEBC National Tallying centre at the Bomas of Kenya, in Nairobi, Kenya October 30, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Thomas Mukoya/Files

Incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta speaks after he was announced winner of the repeat presidential election at the IEBC National Tallying centre at the Bomas of Kenya, in Nairobi, Kenya October 30, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Thomas Mukoya/Files

Nairobi: Kenyas Supreme ...

11:00

Is Rahul Gandhi Finally Set to Become Congress President? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The Congresss organisational poll results will be declared on December 19, a day after Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh poll outcomes come in.

Rahul Gandhi. Credit: Reuters

Rahul Gandhi. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: The Congress Working Committee (CWC) on Monday formally initiated the process to elect the next party chief.

According to an article in the Indian Express: Announcing the dates for the election at a press conference in New Delhi, the party said the poll notification will be issued on December 1 and the nomination and scrutiny process will be completed by December 5. The last date for withdrawal of nomination is December 11. Voting, if needed, will be held on December 16 and results will be declared on December 19, the party said.

While reports first said that a CWC unanimously passed a resolution supporting Rahul Gandhi for the post, party members clarified later that no such resolution was past.

Rahul will likely take over the party organisations reins from his mother Sonia, the longest-serving president of the Congress. Sonia was elected to the top post in 1998. Currently a Lok Sabha member from Amethi, Rahul was appointed general secretary of the Congress on September 24, 2007. He was elevated to the post of the partys vice-president in 2013.

The Congresss organisational poll results will be declared on December 19, a day after Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh poll outcomes come in.


Also read:...

10:45

France"s Macron Covers for Saudi Aggression "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Frances invitation to beleaguered Lebanese premier Saad Hariri for him and his family to spend a few days in Paris has been viewed as French President Emmanuel Macron stepping in with deft soft power to resolve tensions between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

10:24

Modi Government Has 24 Hours to Appeal Dismissal of DRIs Charges Against Adani Group "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The matter pertains to the alleged over-invoicing of imports and the sum involved is Rs 5,500 crore.

Undated photograph of Narendra Modi and businessmen Vibhav Kumar Upadhyay (centre) and Gautam Adani on board an aircraft (centre). Credit: vibhav.org

New Delhi: Indias custom intelligence agency has just one day left to decide if it wants to seriously continue investigating matters arising out of its findings that the Adani Group had over-invoiced imports to the tune of around Rs 5,500 crore. This allegation of over-invoicing was levelled by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), which serves as the investigative wing of the Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance.

The DRI had investigated the modus operandi of imports of power generation equipment by three corporate entities in the Adani group: Adani Power Maharashtra Limited, Adani Power Rajasthan Limited and Maharashtra Eastern Grid Power Transmission Company Limited. The DRI issued show-cause notices against the firms more than three years ago, on 15 May 2014, alleging overvaluation of imports to the extent of Rs 5,468 crores. The notice proposed confiscation of imported equipment and the imposition of penalties.

This writer has documented the DRIs investigations into companies belonging to the Adani group for allegedly over-valuing imports of coal from Indonesia and...

10:15

How to Avoid an ISIS 2.0 in Iraq "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

With Mosul and other key cities now liberated from the horrible scourge of ISIS, Iraq stands at a crucial crossroads. Iraqis and Americans have squandered historic opportunities to build a new, stable and prosperous country together before. We must not let that happen again.

09:45

Saudi-Israeli Friendship Is Driving the Rest of the Middle East Together "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The new course of the multipolar world, together with Trumps America First policy, seems to have hit hardest those countries that placed all their bets on the continuing economic and military dominance of the United States in the region.

09:10

India Should Have No Illusions About Trumps Afghan Strategy "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Besides investment and economic aid, it is hard to say what the US expects of India in Afghanistan; despite seeking a more active Indian role, the US continues to engage with China and Pakistan to counter the Taliban.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Donald Trump. Credit: Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Donald Trump. Credit: Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in Manila, Philippines, during the ASEAN-India and East Asia Summits Indias wish to advance the future interests of Asia. But New Delhi should remember that the Indo-Pacific is not just about the US and India cooperating to contain China in East Asia. As the western pillar (rather than the central point, as claimed by some Indians) of th...

08:46

Adityanath Rakes Up Discredited Kairana Exodus to Ask for Votes "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

On the basis of law, we have decided that Kairana-like incidents wont happen again, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister said in Lucknow.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath. Credit: PTI

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath on Sunday (November 20) raked up the discredited BJP bogey on a Hindu exodus from Kairana town while campaigning for the urban local body polls in the state. His government, Adityanath claimed, has established the rule of law in the state so that Kairana-like incidents wont happen again.

Kanoon ke raaj ke adhaar par hum logon ne tai kiya ki aaj pradesh ke andar Kairana jaisi ghatnaon ki punravritti nahi ho sakti (On the basis of law, we have decided that Kairana-like incidents wont happen again), Indian Express quoted Adityanath as saying in Lucknow.

Traders who had migrated from the state following kushashan (misrule) and gundaraj have started coming back. You can see in Kairana, Kandhala and nearby areas. Mafia who were sheltered by the government and had taken over traders shops and establishments, have handed them back to the traders and moved away to escape government action, he continued.

In June 2016, BJP MP from Kairana Hukum Singh had claimed that harassment from the Muslim...

08:40

Seven Months on, Centre Yet to Sanction Prosecution of Former Enforcement Directorate Official "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

J.P. Singh allegedly accepted huge bribes from hawala operators as well as bookies while investigating the Surat hawala racket and IPL betting cases.

Representative image. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: For seven months, the central government has been sitting on a request filed by the CBI for sanction to prosecute the former joint director of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) from Gujarat in connection with a bribery case. According to Indian Express, Ahmedabads J. P. Singh who surpervised the investigation into the Surat hawala racket and IPL betting cases  allegedly accepted huge bribes from hawala operators as well as bookies for not arresting them during the investigation.

Singh also allegedly carried out extortions from traders in Ahmedabad and Mumbai. Besides Singh, his assistant director at the time Sanjay Kumar and some other officials were also linked in the bribery case.

The CBI arrested Singh, a Group A Indian Revenue Service officer, in February 2017, following a petition to the Prime Ministers Office by some of Gujarats businessmen. According to the daily, special director Rakesh Asthana was heading the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the case against Singh and seven months ago, the agency had sought prosecution sanction before...

08:34

Sebastian Pinera Wins First Round of Chile Election "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Chilean presidential candidate Sebastian Pinera speaks during a campaign rally in Santiago, Chile November 18, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Rodrigo Garrido

Chilean presidential candidate Sebastian Pinera speaks during a campaign rally in Santiago, Chile November 18, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Rodrigo Garrido

Santiago: Conservative billionaire Sebastian Pinera will face centre-left Senator Alejandro Guillier in a runoff for Chiles presidency next month, after a first-round vote on Sunday that Pinera won, but with fewer votes than expected.

Both candidates would keep in place the top copper exporters longstanding free-market economic model, but former president Pinera has promised investor-friendly policies to turbocharge growth, while Guillier wants to press on with outgoing President Michelle Bachelets ove...

08:30

The Comical Farce Around the Rasogolla GI "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A government organisation that has no representation from the rasogolla industry decided to claim regional ownership. This is completely illegal and is grounds for setting aside the registration.

The application for registration does not demonstrate how or why the Bengali rasogolla is unique. Credit: Clinton Jeff/Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The application for registration does not demonstrate how or why the Bengali rasogolla is unique. Credit: Clinton Jeff/Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The news that the Bengali rasogolla has been granted the status of a geographical indication (GI) under the Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 has led to a flood of reporting on how West Bengal has won the rasogolla-GI race against Odisha, which also laid claim to being the original home of rasogulla.

Some of this coverage has been rather comical, because this registration is another example of how the Indian government and the GI Registry has fundamentally misunderstood and misapplied the GI registration.

...

08:23

Kyrgyzstan: Outgoing President Pledges to Continue Playing Role in Politics "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Kyrgyzstans president has in his final press conference before leaving office dangled the prospect that he may run for parliament as the list-topping candidate for the ruling Social Democratic Party, or SDPK.

I dont plan to become chairman of parliament or the government, or even a member of parliament, but I will be number one, Almazbek Atambayev said in his most explicit indication so far that he intends to occupy an important role in Kyrgyz political life. It was not wholly clear from the somewhat contradictory remarks whether he intends or hopes to take up a seat in parliament or not, however.

Atambayev is making history by becoming the first elected president in Kyrgyzstan to step aside for another elected successor, Sooronbai Jeenbekov, who is set to be officially sworn into office on November 24. Jeenbekov won elections in a single round last month by exceeding the required 50 percent vote threshold.

There has been much speculation that the countrys unicameral parliament could be dissolved early for snap elections. Following the 2015 vote, the SDPK won the largest bloc of seats in the 120-seat legislature but fell more than 20 deputies short of securing an outright majority, forcing it into a coalition deal. Atambayev has denied there are any plans for an early vote.

Atambayev says he wants to see the SDPK continue to perform its dominant role.

The parliament should be different, and the Social Democrats should show the example of what a deputy should be, he said.

Atambayev said he wanted to see further development of Kyrgyzstans parliamentary system. Following the 2010 revolution that toppled President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, changes to the constitution ostensibly watered down the authority of the head of state, although in practice power continues to primarily be wielded by the presidents office.

read more

08:20

At ICJ, India is Getting a Reality Check on US and the Rest "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Will the US, France and Japan Indias new friends  stand up to be counted and will old friends such as Russia do the needful to get Dalveer Bhandari elected to the ICJ?

Indian candidate Dalveer Bhandari and British candidate Christopher Greenwood. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Indian candidate Dalveer Bhandari and British candidate Christopher Greenwood. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Washington: In terms of the large geopolitical battles currently underway, the election of a judge to the International Court of Justice may seem like a small thing but tellingly, it has pitched India against Britain in a battle royale where loyalties of old friends and new are being tested.

At issue is the last seat in the world court where Indias Dalveer Bhandari and Britains Christopher Greenwood are in a very close fight. Eleven rounds of voting have already taken place in the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and the Security Council (UNSC) without a clear winner. To win, a candidate must get a majority in both chambers.

Bhandari has more than an edge in the UNGA where the worlds small and weak have a voice, whereas Greenwood has been winning in the UNSC where the old order holds sway.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lobbied for Bhandari with various leaders as have other senior Indian officials. It is a time of reckoning. Will the US, France and Japan Indias new friends  stand up to be counted and will old friends such as Russia do the needful?

Britain, the old colonial power has clearly made it a prestige issue, and...

08:20

Defying Pressure to Resign, Mugabe Stuns Zimbabwe "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Residents attend a prayer meeting called to celebrate after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was dismissed as party leader of the ruling ZANU-PF's central committee in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 19, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

Residents attend a prayer meeting called to celebrate after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was dismissed as party leader of the ruling ZANU-PFs central committee in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 19, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

Harare: President Robert...

08:20

Anti-Graft Agency Takes Custody of Indonesia Parliament Speaker "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Indonesia's Speaker of the House Setya Novanto, identified as a suspect in a corruption case, arrives at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) building in Jakarta, Indonesia November 19, 2017 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Picture taken November 19, 2017. Antara Foto/ Rosa Panggabean / via Reuters

Indonesias Speaker of the House Setya Novanto, identified as a suspect in a corruption case, arrives at the Corruption Eradication C...

08:15

Amidst Corruption Probe, Israeli Police Resume Questioning of Netanyahu "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem November 19, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Ronen Zvulun

Israels Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem November 19, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Ronen Zvulun

Jerusalem: Israeli police officers on Sunday questioned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the sixth time in a corruption probe, a police spokeswoman said.

Investigators arrived by car in late afternoon to Netanyahus official residence in Jerusalem where past interrogations have taken place, and disappeared behind security gates.

Police said Netanyahu was questioned for several hours at his residence in an ongoing fraud investigatio...

07:31

China Draws Three-Stage Path to Solve Myanmars Rohingya Crisis "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Rohingya refugees who crossed the border are temporarily detained by Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, November 19, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

Rohingya refugees who crossed the border are temporarily detained by Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) in Coxs Bazar, Bangladesh, November 19, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

Naypyitaw: China has proposed a three-phase plan for resolving the Rohingya crisis, starting with a ceasefire in Myanmars Rakhine State so that refugees can return from Bangladesh, Chinas Foreign Ministry said ahead of a meeting of European and Asian officials in...

07:28

BJP Leader Adds to Open Threats Against Bhansali, Padukone; Producers Delay Release of Padmavati "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The delay comes after CBFC sent the film back because the forms were incomplete even as the makers and actors of the film faced numerous threats of violence.

Bajrang Dal activists protesting against filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali's upcoming film 'Padmavati' in Nagpur, Maharashtra. Credit: PTI/Files

Bajrang Dal members protesting against filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansalis upcoming film Padmavati in Nagpur, Maharashtra. Credit: PTI/Files

New Delhi: The release date of Sanjay Leela Bhansalis Padmavati has been voluntarily deferred, the producers of the film said on Sunday.

The spokesman of Viacom18 Motion Pictures said it had the highest regard for the law of the land and statutory bodies such as the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). As a responsible and law-abiding corporate citizen, it was committed to following the established procedure and convention, it said.

We have faith that we will soon obtain the requisite clearances to release the film, the statement from the producer read.

CBFC chief Prasoon Joshi had on Saturd...

07:24

As German Coalition Talks Fail, Merkels Fourth Term in Doubt "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Katrin Goering-Eckardt of the German Green Party speaks to media after the exploratory talks about forming a new coalition government collapsed in Berlin, Germany, November 20, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Hannibal Hanschke

Katrin Goering-Eckardt of the German Green Party speaks to media after the exploratory talks about forming a new coalition government collapsed in Berlin, Germany, November 20, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Hannibal Hanschke

Berlin: Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday her efforts to form a three-way coalition government had failed, thrusting Germany into a political crisis and pushing Europes largest economy closer to a possible new election.

The pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) unexpectedly pulled out of more than four weeks of negotiations with Merkel...

06:03

How Modern Empire Uses Awards to Keep Servants Loyal "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

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Nineteenth century French military and political leader Napolon Bonaparte once said, a soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured ribbon, recognising a fundamental aspect of human nature he readily exploited to bolster his now famous campaigns of European conquest.

Human beings value recognition. Today, it drives the addictive nature of social media platforms. Facebook co-founder Sean Parker recently admitted that the ubiquitous social network platform was designed intentionally to exploit this and become addictive.

In the Guardians report titled, Ex-Facebook president Sean Parker: site made to exploit human vulnerability, Sean Parker would describe what he called a social-validation feedback loop, explaining that:

How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible? It was this mindset that led to the creation of features such as the like button that would give users a little dopamine hit to encourage them to upload more content. 

Its a social-validation feedback loop exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because youre exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.

This social-validation feedback loop utilising the like button is merely the most recent innovation in social engineering, and the latest iteration of Bonapartes bit of coloured ribbon.

Keeping Servants Eager and Loyal 

Combining traditional methods and modern innovations in social engineering, modern day empires extend their influence through media, activist, political and business circles around the globe. In addition to boosting modern social media accounts of their handpicked proxies, facilitators and agents, they also maintain an impressive network of organisations that both manage and direct soft power efforts as well as reward eager and loyal functionaries.

A relevant and recent example of this was provided by the New York City-based...

04:30

A Tribute to Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi, Pakistans Renaissance Man "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Apart from a few semi-official celebrations, there have been no commemorations for Qasmi in the centenary of his birth. Why such neglect for someone who when alive was regarded as the greatest Urdu writer?

Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi. Credit: The Qasmi family

In her tribute to Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi, the popular Pakistani poetess Noshi Gilani begins:

We are alive

Alive in the age of Nadeem

It has become fashionable of late at literary festivals and functions to say that the demise of Intizar Hussain marks the end of an era for Urdu literature. This scribe has himself heard and read literary critics proclaim that Intizar was the most complete Urdu writer of all time, taken to mean that he dabbled in such diverse literary forms as short stories, novels, reportage and plays. Also present in this overgenerous sweeping statement is a bias in favour of those Urdu-speaking writers who have somehow achieved a place on this hallowed pedestal owing to their experiences of Partition, specifically migration from India to Pakistan.

I am simply making this point because 2016-2017 is being celebrated as the birth centenary year of Qasmi, who perhaps might have an equal or better claim to being our renaissance man, given that he excelled in poetry (some aficionados consider him a rival of Faiz Ahmad Faiz in that department), short stories, column writing and a novella. In addition, unlike Intizar, Qasmi left a living legacy in terms of writers and poets whom he insp...

04:00

The Sordid Story of Colonial Policing in Independent India "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

What is needed is not just reforms in the organisation structures of centralised police and paramilitary forces but some rethinking to update criminal laws.

The criminal justice system is on the brink of a collapse under the Narendra Modi government. Credit: File photo

An independent fact-finding commission report recently found glaring gaps in the way police handled the brutal lynching of Pehlu Khan, a Muslim farmer who was beaten to death by self-styled gau rakshaks in Rajasthans Alwar earlier this year. This was one of the most highlighted cases in a series of lynching incidents that have taken place in the last three years, the killing of Mohammad Akhlaq being the other one.

In a number of reports, it was pointed out in both the cases that the police motivated doctoring of the...

03:30

The Anguish Caused by Enforced Disappearances in Pakistan "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

There are officially at least 1,400 unresolved cases of enforced disappearances in Pakistan, as noted by the International Court of Justice in 2016.

A woman holds a placard during a protest outside the National Press Club on the International Day of Enforced Disappearances | Tanveer Shahzad via Herald

A woman holds a placard during a protest outside the National Press Club on the International Day of Enforced Disappearances | Tanveer Shahzad via Herald

Marvi Sario would update her Facebook page at least twice every day for nearly three months that her father, Hyderabad-based activist Punhal Sario, was missing. A 20-year-old school teacher, Marvi would upload photos of her father and write posts in Sindhi and Roman Urdu. At times, these posts were aggressive, but on other occasions, they would be desperate pleas for the early release of her father, who was picked up by plainclothesmen on August 4, 2017.

My father is diabetic. He was not carrying his medicines when he was taken away. We are worried if he has access to his medicines. We have no idea how he is doing, Marvi said in a phone conversation that took place before he was released. The next two months brought more misery. Marvis only brother she also has four younger sisters was admitted to a government hospital for a mental illness and later suffered a heart atta...

03:30

The World Is Losing the Battle Against Child Labour "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

While the general numbers for child labour dwindled from 162 million to 152 million since 2013, in rural areas the number grew: from 98 to 108 million.

The IV Global Conference on the Sustained Eradication of Child Labour, held in the Argentine capital, concluded with an urgent call to accelerate efforts to eradicate this major problem by 2025, a goal of the international community that today does not appear to be feasible. Credit: Daniel Gutman/IPS

Buenos Aires: The IV Global Conference on the Sustained Eradication of Child Labour,  which drew nearly 2000 delegates from 190 countries to the Argentine capital, left many declarations of good intentions but nothing to celebrate.

Child labour is declining far too slowly, in the midst of unprecedented growth in migration and forced displacement that aggravate the situation, said representatives of governments, workers and employers in the Buenos Aires Declaration on Child Labour Forced Labour and Youth Employment.

The document, signed at the end of the November 14-16 meeting, recognises that unless something changes, the goals set by the international community will not be met.

As a result, there is a pressing need to Accelerate efforts to e...

01:02

Teenager detained over alleged Facebook threat against Sarawak chief minister "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Police detained a teenage boy on suspicion of posting a threat against Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg on Facebook today. Sarawak Criminal Investigation Department chief Datuk Dev Kumar said the suspect, aged 14, was taken to the Kuching district police headquarters by his father at 2.30 pm after receiving news that []

01:02

Pan Borneo Highway, catalyst for new leap in Sabah and Sarawak, says PM "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Najib Razak said he believed the Pan Borneo Highway project would be the catalyst for a new leap to the demography and socio-economy of Sabah and Sarawak encompassing a higher quality of life, the development of a new economic corridor and the opening of new opportunities for the local communities. The Prime Minister said it []

01:02

Sarawak govt proposes longhouse, village chiefs to set up community firefighters "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The Sarawak government has proposed that longhouse and village chiefs in the state establish community fire-fighting teams in their respective areas. Sarawak Local Government Ministry Assistant Minister Datuk Dr Penguang Manggil said the setting up of such teams was needed as a preventive measure for fire particularly in the rural areas, such as in Marudi []

01:02

Najib explains federal government stand on Malaysia Agreement "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Najib Razak said today the federal government has no intention and right to take anything that rightfully belongs to Sabah and its people as provided for in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63). The Prime Minister said that if anything had been taken inadvertently, it must be returned. This is our struggle. It is not the []

01:02

Shafie Apdal: Let Sabah, Sarawak Christians use Allah "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) president Shafie Apdal today said the BN-led government should let Christians in Sabah and Sarawak use the word Allah in their worship and make sure it is not misinterpreted to the detriment of Muslims. Speaking to Christian leaders during a gathering here, Shafie said he had held the view even when []

01:01

PM: Christians in Sabah, Sarawak can use Allah "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said the Appeals Courts decision on the use of the word Allah does not affect Christians in Sabah and Sarawak. Najib said the contents in the 10-Point Agreement decided by the federal cabinet on the matter would be maintained for the two states. recently when the Appeals Court made its []

01:01

Anticipating RoS troubles, Wan Azizah moots PPBM using Pakatan logo "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) members can contest under the Pakatan Harapan ticket should the Registrar of Societies (RoS) fail to recognise the opposition party before the 14th general elections, Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said.The coalition president said PPBM was part of the Opposition pact and therefore would not be neglected should such []

Sunday, 19 November

23:07

Six Jury Members Ask Smriti Irani to Review I&B Ministry Veto Over Films Chosen for IFFI "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The films were removed without any intimation, discussion or recourse to the jury which has the final say according to the Indian Panorama regulations, they said.

Hari Vishwanath, Satarupa Sanyal, Ruchi Narain, Suresh Heblikar, Sachin Chatte and Gopi Desai. Credit: YouTube, rubiq.in

New Delhi: The ongoing controversy over information and broadcasting minister Smriti Z. Iranis decision to arbitrarily drop two films from the Indian Panorama section of the upcoming International Film Festival of India (IFFI) without consulting the jury that selected them has taken a new turn with six members of the panel writing to the minister to officially express their concern and urge her to reverse her decision.

The letter, signed by jury members Hari Vishwanath, Satarupa Sanyal, Ruchi Narain, Suresh Heblikar, Sachin Chatte and Gopi Desai said, We write this letter to you to voice our concern with regard to the issue of the exclusion of feature films Nude (directed by Ravi Jadhav) and S Durga (directed by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan) from the Indian Panorama section, and the necessity of finding a solution to the issue at hand as the issue has more far reaching implications for the sanctity of the system put into place after years of work by the ministry.

Vishwanath, Sanyal, Narain, Heblikar and Desai are prominent film directors while Chatte is a film critic.

Expressing distress that the films were removed without any intimation, discussion or recourse to the jury which has the final say according to the Indian Panorama regulations, they further said, all our written correspondence to DFF (Directorate of...

20:46

You are all traitors: The political persecution of Breaking the Silence "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

That the minister of justice can singlehandedly launch an investigation against the anti-occupation group is a symptom of the decline of the rule of law and creeping authoritarianism within the Green Line.

By Joshua Leifer

Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked next to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, at the ceremony for opening a new year of justice in Tel Aviv, on August 30, 2016. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked next to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, at the ceremony for opening a new year of justice in Tel Aviv, on August 30, 2016. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

It is not often that the justice minister of a country personally demands the investigation of a political adversary to prove they did not commit a crime. But that is precisely what happened last week in the absurd case of Dean Issacharoff, the spokesperson for Israeli anti-occupation group Breaking the Silence. The state prosecutor announced last Thursday that the investigation into Issacharoffs claim that he badly beat a Palestinian during a protest in Hebron in 2014 had concluded due to ...

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