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Tuesday, 26 September

13:52

Kyrgyzstan: Foreigners May Be Allowed to Buy Real Estate "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Parliament in Kyrgyzstan this week began considering changes to the law that would allow foreign citizens to freely build and buy property. 

The proposal, which was brought before parliament on September 25, is intended to promote outside investment.

This fix is intended to patch up a kink in the law that has in effect deprived non-Kyrgyz citizens the ability to acquire residential property in the country. Prior to 2013, foreign citizens and companies were able to buy or receive property on condition they received permission from a special state committee. Following a change to the rules that year, foreigners no longer required permission, but with the abolition of the committee, there was no procedure in place to regulate the transaction.

The draft bill proposes allowing foreigners to buy real estate so long as they have a permanent residence permit or an investor visa. One provision does, however, envision certain restrictions, such as sale of property to stateless persons or in near-border areas, on the basis that this could leave the country open to threat from terrorist and extremist groups.

Uzbekistan has already adopted similar rules for its capital city, Tashkent, although theres a catch. Foreigners and non-residents of Tashkent can buy real estate in the capital as long as it is worth at least $150,000. 

Until July, only officially registered residents of Tashkent and people who moved to the capital to work for the government were able to buy property. 

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12:45

Three Israeli Guards Gunned Down by Palestinian at West Bank Settlement "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Israeli soldiers guard near the scene where a police spokeswoman said a Palestinian gunman killed three Israelis guards and wounded a fourth in an attack on a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank before himself being shot dead, September 26, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Ammar Awad

Israeli soldiers guard near the scene where a police spokeswoman said a Palestinian gunman killed three Israelis guards and wounded a fourth in an attack on a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank before himself being shot dead, September 26, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Ammar Awad

Har Adar, West Bank: A Palestinian man with security clearance to work at a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank opened fire at a checkpoint on Tuesday, killing two Israeli security guards and a paramilitary policeman.

The assailant, who was armed with a pistol and also seriously wounded a fourth Israeli, was shot dead, police said.

The incident was unusual in that the 37-year-old man had been issued an Israeli work permit a process that entails security vetting unlike most of the Palestinians involved in a wave of street attacks that began two years ago.

A police spokeswoman said the gunman approached Har Adar among a group of...

12:45

Facebook Adds Fuel to the Fire of Anti-Russian Frenzy "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, his company will submit to US congressional investigators the contents of 3,000 political ads bought by entities linked to the Russian government to sway the 2016 US election. The statement was made after the damaging revelation that shadowy buyers bought the ads and targeted them at US users between 2015 and 2017. Under pressure from Congress, in particular, Mark Warner, Vice Chair of Senate Intelligence Committee, to do more to prevent the use of Facebook for election manipulation, Zuckerberg said he supported the investigation by the Congress.

12:44

Mexico in Three-Day Countdown to Search for Earthquake Survivors "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A member of a rescue team gestures as he searches for survivors, in the rubble of a collapsed building, after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 25, 2017. Credit: Reuters

A member of a rescue team gestures as he searches for survivors, in the rubble of a collapsed building, after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 25, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Mexico City: Rescuers are unlikely to find any more survivors of Mexicos earthquake still buried in the ruins and will cease operations to find them at the end of Thursday, the emergency services chief said.

Tuesday marks one week since the 7.1 magnitude quake struck around lunchtime, killing 326 people, damaging 11,000 homes, and leading to a outpouring of civilian volunteers to aid and comfort the victims.

Luis Felipe Puente, c...

12:18

Modis Reheated Electricity Scheme Wont Fix Meter Reading or Electrification Standard Problems "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Free electricity connections for the poor have been part of the Centres electrification programme since the UPA regime, though the prime minister has tried to sell it as new.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at the launch of Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana or Saubhagya, to supply electricity to poor households, in New Delhi on Monday. Credit: PTI/Vijay Verma (PTI9_25_2017_000226A)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at the launch of Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana or Saubhagya, to supply electricity to poor households, in New Delhi on Monday. Credit: PTI/Vijay Verma

The new scheme announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday to provide power connections to four crore households that lack access to electricity is basically a repackaging of the UPA regimes Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) and looks aimed at creating a new vote bank for the NDA ahead of the 2019 general elections rather than address the countrys energy poverty.

The RGGVY, now subsumed under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), too provides for free connections to below poverty line (B...

12:15

The Inconvenient Kurds "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Except for the State of Israel and the Kingdom of Jordan, there isnt one state in Western Asia that is viable inside its present borders at a 20-year horizon. All the powers with interests in the region want to kick the problem down the road, and that is why the whole world (excepting Israel) wants to abort an independence referendum to be held by Iraqs eight million Kurds on Sept. 25. If Iraqs Kurds try to convert the autonomous zone they have ruled for a quarter of a century into a fully independent state, the Iraqi state probably will collapse, Turkey likely will invade northern Iraq and Syria, and Iran will join Turkey in military operations against Kurdish-led forces in Iraq.

12:11

Farmers Rights Activist Akhil Gogoi Arrested Under National Security Act "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Gogoi was accused by the state police of instigating the public to take up arms against the government at a rally held in Moran town near Dibrugarh on September 12.

KMSS leader and farmers rights activist Akhil Gogoi. Credit: PTI

KMSS leader and farmers rights activist Akhil Gogoi. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Farmers rights activist Akhil Gogoi was rearrested by the Assam police on September 25 under the National Security Act (NSA).

On September 13, the state police slapped the charge of sedition on Gogoi, president of the influential Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), and thereafter arrested him from his Golaghat residence. Gogoi, a vocal critic of the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Assam, was accused by the state police of instigating the public to take up arms against the government at a rally held in Moran town near Dibrugarh on September 12.

Opposing the Modi governments decission to grant citizenship to Hindu Bangladeshis residing in the state, non-implementation of the 1985 Assam Accord by the central government and dearth of constitutional safeguards to protect the rights of t...

12:01

Trump Travel Ban on More Solid Ground as Top Court Cancels Hearing "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he boards Air Force One in Morristown, New Jersey, U.S. September 24, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Aaron P. Bernstein

US President Donald Trump waves as he boards Air Force One in Morristown, New Jersey, US September 24, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Aaron P. Bernstein

New York: The Supreme Court signalled on Monday it may dismiss a challenge to President Donald Trumps controversial travel ban after the White House announced tailored restrictions on eight countries that legal experts said stand a better chance at holding up in court.

The high court cancelled oral arguments scheduled for October 10 to decide whether or not a March 6 executive order that temporarily blocked travel from six Muslim-majority countries was discriminatory.

That ban expired on Sunday. The president replaced it with a proclamation that indefinitely restricts travel from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea. Certain government officials from Venezuela will also be barred. The new ban, Trumps third, could affect tens of thousands of potential immigrants and visitors.

Tru...

11:45

The Rise of "Alternative for Germany" "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

With the Federal German Parliamentary elections coming to a close something quite remarkable has just happened in post-WWII Germany. For the first time since 1949 when the Bundestag was created after the defeat of the Nazi regime, and free and fair elections were held, the Christian Democrats and their sister party the Christian Social Union suffered their worst result while a nationalist grouping known as the Alternative for Deutschland (Alternative for Germany) has made a stunning electoral and political break through becoming the third largest party and significantly this 2017 German Parliament will contain for the very first time since the days of the 1930s overt German nationalists.

11:32

International Federation of Journalists Urges India to Protect Its Journalists "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The statement from the international group mentions three Indian journalists killed in September as well as several cases of threats and violence.

Journalists in Mumbai protest the murder of Gauri Lankesh. Credit: PTI

Journalists in Mumbai protest the murder of Gauri Lankesh. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Three Indian journalists were murdered in September, including one who was killed while covering a protest that turned violent. In addition, several journalists and media organisations have received threats due to the work they do. Taking note of all of this, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), a group of journalists from across the world that promotes press freedom, has urged the Indian government to institute measures to ensure the safety of journalists around the country.

Gauri Lankesh, the editor of Kannada tabloid Gauri Lankesh Patrike, was shot dead at her home in Bengaluru on September 5. The investigation into her murder has revealed significant similarities with the murder research scholar M.M. Kalburgi including the...

11:30

Chelsea Manning Says She Was Denied Entry Into Canada "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

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

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

Toronto: Chelsea Manning was turned back at the Canadian-US border because she was convicted of espionage for passing information to Wikileaks, the former US intelligence analyst said on Mond...

11:15

The False Promise of Macron"s Labor Reforms "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Give him credit for consistency at least. Amid all the equivocations shaping his career, French President Emmanuel Macron has remained singularly committed to the cause of remaking labor law to favor employers. Since his Socialist predecessor, Franois Hollande, appointed him economy minister in 2014, the former investment banker has repeatedly argued that France must reform its labor code along pro-business lines in order to boost job growth. And on August 31, his recently elected government unveiled a long-awaited proposal to do so.

10:56

Will the Fiscal Stimulus Package Put the Indian Economy Back on Track? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Fiscal policy is a potent instrument that must be used to alleviate the unemployment crisis, but first, supply-side constraints need to be systematically united.

A cashier stacks Indian currency notes inside a bank in Chandigarh, India, November 19, 2016. Credit: Reuters/Ajay Verma/Files

I vividly recall watching an interview with Paul Krugman in which he remarks that being a macroeconomist soon after the 2008 global financial crisis was like being an undertaker during a famine business was good. As a teacher of the subject, I cannot but agree, even though it sounded rather insensitive to the victims of a famine. Until the crisis, macroeconomics was more like a course on economic history; most Keynesian theories seemed relevant to the Great Depression of the 1930s. It was difficult to satisfy the students constant demand for real world examples and contemporary ones at that. Then came the crisis and everyone was eager to study macroeconomics what went wrong, how would the world overcome it. But as the US and the world, including India, slowly recovered from the crisis (at least the visible economy), the enthusiasm to study recessions and depressions once again began to recede, at least in the classroom.

The economic slowdown in India before the 2014 elections was seen as an aberration attributable to corruption and poor governance of the UPA government. Then came...

10:50

Turnout High as Iraqi Kurds Defy Threats to Hold Independence Vote "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Women show their ink-stained fingers during Kurds independence referendum in Sulaimaniyah, Iraq September 25, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Alaa Al-Marjani

Women show their ink-stained fingers during Kurds independence referendum in Sulaimaniyah, Iraq September 25, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Alaa Al-Marjani

Erbil/Sulaimaniya, Iraq: Kurds voted in large numbers in an independence referendum in northern Iraq on Monday, ignoring pressure from Baghdad, threats from Turkey and Iran and international warnings that the vote may ignite yet more regional conflict.

The vote organised by Kurdish authorities is expected to deliver a comfortable yes for independence, but is not binding. It is designed to give Masoud Barzani, who heads the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), a mandate to negotiate the secession of the oil-producing region.

Turnout among 5.2 million eligible voters was 78%, the Kurdish Rudaw TV station said, and vote-counting had started. Final results are expecte...

10:40

President Trump"s "Military First" Policy "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

According to The New York Times, the Trump administration is preparing to dismantle key Obama-era limits on drone strikes and commando raids outside conventional battlefields. The changes would lay the groundwork for possible counterterrorism missions in countries where Islamic militants are active but the United States has not previously tried to kill or capture them. The reduction of restrictions would apply to commando raids and drone strikes outside of conventional battlefields. However, the new plan would still require higher-level approval to start conducting strikes or raids in new countries under country plans that would be reviewed every 12 months.

10:32

Karnataka High Court Judge, Who Had Once Ordered Ishrat Jahan Probe, Resigns "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Justice Jayant Patel resigned after he was denied elevation as the Karnataka high court chief justice and transferred to the Allahabad high court instead.

Judge Patel was the senior-most puisne judge in the Karnataka High Court. Credit: PTI

Judge Patel was the senior-most puisne judge in the Karnataka high court. Credit: PTI

Ahmedabad: Karnataka high courts most senior judge Jayant Patel, who had ordered a CBI investigation in the controversial fake Ishrat Jahan encounter case in Gujarat, resigned on Monday, reportedly for not being elevated as chief justice.

Justice Patel, the senior-most puisne judge of the Karnataka high court after the chief justice, sent his resignation letter to chief justice S.K. Mukherjee.

It is believed Justice Patel, who was acting chief justice of the Gujarat high court before being posted to Bengaluru, resigned in a huff over his transfer to the Allahabad high court, where he would be the third most senior judge.

In fact, the Gujarat high court bar association had even raised the non-appointment of Justice Patel with the collegium and called it shocking. This was when he was transferred as a judge in the Karnataka high court after being an acting chief justice.

Justice Patel had not only ordered a CBI investigation in the controversial fake encounter case of Ishrat Jahan but had also monitored the probe, which included looking into the role of officials of Intelligence Bureau.

He was sworn in as a judge of Karnataka high...

10:30

UN Secretary General Guterres to Brief the Security Council on Myanmar "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, US, September 19, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

UN: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will publicly brief the Security Council on Thursday on violence in Myanmar, which he has described as ethnic cleansing, after seven countries on the 15-member body requested the meeting.

Sweden, the US, Britain, France, Egypt, Senegal and Kazakhstan requested the meeting.

In preparation for Thursdays...

10:25

Britains Labour Shifts on Brexit, Proposes Staying in Customs Union "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

British Labour Party politician, Keir Starmer, Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, speaks during an interview outside BBC television studios in London, September 3, 2017. Credit: Reuters

British Labour Party politician, Keir Starmer, Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, speaks during an interview outside BBC television studios in London, September 3, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Brighton, England: Britain could stay in a customs union with the European Union after leaving the bloc if Labour win power, the main opposition party said on Monday, putting pressure on Prime Minister Theresa Mays divided government over Brexit.

Labours Br...

10:20

Past Continuous: What Lies Behind BJPs Deification of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

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

Narendra Modi and Rajnath Singh pay tribute to Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. Credit: PTI

Narendra Modi and Rajnath Singh pay tribute to Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. Credit: PTI

On September 25, the BJP celebrated the grand finale of the year-long celebration of Deen Dayal Upadhyayas birth centenary. The birth centenary of any individual provides opportunity, depending on the persons sphere of contribution, to comprehend and evaluate their contribution to human, societal, scientific, academic and creative development.

When the anniversary or centenary of a political leader or thinker is being celebrated, it is an occasion to appreciate her or his contribution in furthering a political ideology or organisation. A previous column has even taken note of watershed anniversaries of books that monumentally impacted development of political and economic thought.

Celebrations of Upadhyayas centenary had begun even a year before the Narendra Modi government came to power when most Indians had little idea of who he was. Four years down the line, comprehension among people about the extent to which Upadhyaya contributed to nation building is debatable. Yet, as a former journalist and currently a key member of the BJPs Central Committee on...

10:15

Meet the Rural Artisans Behind Kolkatas Striking Durga Puja Pandals "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Designing and building the temporary pavilions that house the deity during West Bengals biggest annual festival remains the preserve of rural artisans chiefly farmers and folk artists.

Gouranga Kuilas pavilion art for a puja in Kolkata. Credit: Gouranga Kuila/VillageSquare

Gouranga Kuilas pavilion art for a puja in Kolkata. Credit: Gouranga Kuila/VillageSquare

In the run up to Durga Puja, many farmers of Bengal swap their sickles with bamboos and ropes. The hands of the very people who till land and sow crops turn into hands of craftsmen, giving shape to some of the most stunning puja pandals of the states biggest festival.

Starting August, the sight of men at work on structures of bamboo and cloth is commonplace. These pandal makers come in hordes to the city from various parts of Bengal, mainly from Paschim and Purba Medinipur, the hub of handicraft and cottage industry, and other districts including Nadia and North and South 24 Parganas, among others. In Medinipur alone, there are an estimated 100 pandal-making groups, also called decorators, who have made a name for themselves, according to leading pandal artist Gouranga Kuila.

Work on the pandal usually starts six to eight months ahead of Durga Puja, right after the contracts are signed in January-February. However, it is only the last one to two months before the puja that work takes on a frenetic pace when the pandal is put together at the site with people working three shifts a day.

The pandals are temporary pavilions that house the deity. A large numb...

10:00

#TakeAKnee, Take a Bow: How American Sport Is Rekindling Dissent Against Trump "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Not since the days of the Black Power movement have we seen collective mobilisation by sportspersons of this magnitude against an oppressive regime.

Colin Kaepernick hits it outta the park. Credit: edrost88/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Colin Kaepernick hits it outta the park. Credit: edrost88/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Priyansh is a freelance sports writer.

Huntsville, Alabama. The latest theatre to witness the absurdity that is Donald Trump. It is no longer astounding that his politics is defined by racism. But it is deeply worrying that the hatred President Trump spews is getting viler by the day, probably informed by the desperation of his embattled administration. Sample the latest bile.

Wouldnt you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, Get that son of a b***h off the field right now, out, hes fired! Trump continued: You know, some owner is going to do that. Hes gonna say, That guy disrespects our flag, hes fired. And that owner, they dont know it. They dont know it. Theyre friends of mine, many of them. They dont know it. Theyll be the most popular person, for a week. Theyll be the most popular person in the country.

There was more. Tweets, as usual. The white supremacist masquerading as President of the United States continues his show. He does not like the tag, though. Only a few days ago, the White House demanded the sacking of a female sports presenter, Jemele Hill, from ESPN for calling Trump a...

09:50

Schoolchildren Caught in Vortex of Communal Politics in Bengals Nakasipara "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Communal tension has resulted in the defiling of religious places, attacks by Hindus and Muslims, and the destruction of and damage to properties.

BJP public meeting in Nakasipara. Credit: Twitter

BJP public meeting in Nakasipara. Credit: Twitter

History textbooks in schools across India tell students how the Battle of Plassey of 1757 was a watershed moment, heralding British rule in the country. In that historic battle, Bengals last Muslim sovereign, Siraj-ud-Daulah, was defeated by the East India Companys forces, led by the crafty Lord Robert Clive. History books tell us that faction-ridden generals and courtiers betrayed the nawab, leading to his defeat.

Plassey or Palashi (as the site is known in Bengali), is not far off from Palashipara and Nakasipara in Nadia district the area that the BJP-RSS combine has turned into a zone of conflict and tension.

The deceit and bloodshed that marked the Battle of Plassey 260 years ago seems to have returned once again to the site. Marked by political overtones, the area is rapidly turning into a communal cauldron. School students have been turned into pawns in this war. The traditions of tolerance in Nadia the home of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, icon of Bengals Bhakti movement that drew a large numbers of Muslims into its fold, appears to be fast vanishing from this area.

On September 15, communal tension spread to several villages having mixed religious populations, covering two police stations and two assembly constituencies. Though won by the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), the BJP had fielded candidates in both constituencies. This has to be seen in Bengals broader current political perspective. All electoral indic...

09:48

European Ambassadors to US Back Iran Nuclear Pact "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

German Ambassador to the United Nations Peter Wittig speaks to the media after a U.N. Security Council meeting in New York February 4, 2012. Credit: Reuters

German Ambassador to the United Nations Peter Wittig speaks to the media after a U.N. Security Council meeting in New York February 4, 2012. Credit: Reuters

Washington: The ambassadors to Washington from Britain, France, Germany and the EU all strongly backed the international nuclear agreement with Iran on Monday, as long as Tehran continues to comply with the pact.

US President Donald Trump is weighing whether the 2015 deal serves US security interests as he faces a mid-October deadline for certifying that Iran is complying with the pact, a decision that could sink an agreement strongly supported by the other world powers that negotiated it.

We agree that the demise of this agreement would be a major loss, David OSullivan, the European Unions envoy in Washingt...

09:45

Even in School, More Than Half the Worlds Children Arent Learning: UNESCO "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

According to the report, 56% of all children will not be able to read or perform simple math by the time they reach adolescence.

This includes school going children noted the UNESCO Report. Representational image. Credit: Reuters

This includes school going children noted the UNESCO Report. Representational image. Credit: Reuters

UN: Six out of ten children in the world are not achieving basic proficiency in reading and mathematics, a new report by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) shows.

The numbers, which estimate 617 million children in the world, includes 387 million who are primary school age and 230 million adolescents of secondary school age. These numbers mean that more than one half, or 56% of all children, will not be able to read or perform simple math by the time they reach adolescence. Similarly, adolescents readying to enter the workforce are lacking necessary education and skills.

This snowballing effect has serious implications for the future of achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, which aims to achieve equality in quality education to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

The staggering numbers, however, hide vast regional differences. For instance, one out of three children in this age group, who are unable to com...

09:30

Forget Countdowns Climate Catastrophe Has Started in the High Mountains of Asia "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

If the world manages to keep warming by the centurys end below 1.5 C an extremely ambitious target over a third of the ice volume in Asias high mountains will still be lost.

The Machapuchare peak in the Annapurna Himalaya in Nepal. Credit: gorkhe1980/pixabay

The 7-km high Machapuchare peak in the Annapurna Himalaya in Nepal. Credit: gorkhe1980/pixabay

T.V. Padma is a freelance science journalist.

Glaciers in the high mountains of Asia, including the Himalaya, are in danger of melting due to global warming. Climate scientists have already established this much. But exactly how much area of ice is likely to be lost has not yet been quantified until now. New research estimates that 28-43% of the glacier mass will be lost by the end of the century, with conservative projections of limiting global warming to 1.5 C over pre-industrial levels.

A team of scientists from Utrecht University and a research organisation named FutureWater, both in the Netherlands, and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Nepal, have reported that a global temperature rise of 1.5 C over pre-industrial levels will lead to a warming of about 2 C in the high mountains of Asia (HMA).

Their estimates are based on detailed computer modelling, and factored in one of th...

09:15

At BJP National Executive Meet, Line Between Government and Party Blurs "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The extended national executive meet showcased what will likely be the BJPs strategy as the 2019 general poll nears.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and other senior leaders at the partys national executive meeting in New Delhi on Monday. Credit: PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and other senior leaders at the partys national executive meeting in New Delhi on Monday. Credit: PTI

Conventionally, the national executive meet is attended by the top leadership of the party. But this year, nearly 2500 members of the saffron party, including 13 chief ministers and all BJP MLAs, MLCs and MPs, attended. The BJP called the event an extended national executive meet. The scale of the event had led many...

09:10

Times of India Takes Down a Story the BJP Finds Embarrassing, Again "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The TOI report was not only embarrassing for the Modi government at Centre, but also for Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje.

times of india, crop insurance, paid newsNew Delhi: A story carried by the Times of Indias Jaipur edition criticising the Narendra Modi governments Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana on September 14, 2017 was taken down from the newspapers website within hours of publishing.

The story by Rosamma Thomas reported how the scheme, which was hailed as a safety shield for farmers, has turned out to be just another way of the government taking Rajasthans hapless farmers for a ride.

Launched in 2016, Modi governments scheme has so far largely benefitted the insurance companies, which, thanks to high premiums and unpaid claims, logged profits of nearly Rs 10,000 crore till April, according to the office of the Comptroller and Auditor general (CAG) and the non-government Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

The deduction was made without warning. The bank had no clue about what I had sown. Moreover, Rs 1,718 has been deducted as inspection charges though no one came for inspection. To top it [all], the premium has been deducted when the crops were safe and beyond the risk period. My crop was uninsured for 80% of the cro...

09:03

Indian Economy to Grow at 7% in 2017 and 7.4% in 2018, Says Asian Development Bank "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Labourers work at a construction site in Beijing, China July 20, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Jason Lee/Files

Labourers work at a construction site in Beijing, China July 20, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Jason Lee/Files

Manila: Developing Asia is on track to grow faster this year and next, the Asian Development Bank said on Tuesday, buoyed by a pick-up in world trade and Chinas expansion, but it flagged risks from tightening US monetary policy.

Developing Asia is expected to grow by 5.9 and 5.8% in 2017 and 2018, respectively, the Manila-based lender said.

That is unchanged from its July estimates, but higher than the 5.7% forecast it gave for both years in its Asian Development Outlook (ADO) released in April.

China is expected to grow 6.7% this year and 6.4% next year, the ADB said, unchanged from its July estimates.

Growth prospects for developing Asia are looking up, bolstered by a revival in world trade and strong momentum in PRC (China), ADB Chief Economist Yasuyuki Sawada in a statement after the bank updated its 2017 outlook.

Sawada said developing Asia should take advantage of favourable short-term economic prospects to invest in infrastructure, imp...

08:50

Rupee Crashes to Six-Month Low on Growth Worries "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The rupee was at 65.3275 to the dollar after falling to 65.3550, its lowest since March 24.

 A cashier displays the new 2000 Indian rupee banknotes inside a bank in Jammu, November 15, 2016. Credit: Reuters

A cashier displays the new 2000 Indian rupee banknotes inside a bank in Jammu, November 15, 2016. Credit: Reuters

Mumbai: The rupee weakened to its lowest in six months as concerns over weak economic growth and uncertainty over the governments implementation of reform measures hit foreign investor sentiment.

The rupee was at 65.3275 to the dollar after falling to 65.3550, its lowest since March 24, on corporate dollar purchases and dollar outflows from equity markets, said dealers. The Indian currency had ended at 65.12 on Monday.

The benchmark BSE index fell 0.5%, while the broader NSE index was 0.4% lower.

There is panic among foreign investors on fiscal stimulus and growth, said one dealer at a foreign bank.

Indias economic growth slowed to a three-year low of 5.7% in the June quarter, prompt...

08:49

Ranchi Civic Body Resorts to Public Shaming, Fining Open Defecators "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

At least ten people were made to hand over their lungis as punishment. Their clothes were returned only after they pledged not to defecate in the open again.

At least ten people were made to give their lungis to the

At least ten people were made to give their lungis to the enforcement teams of RMC as punishment for defecating in the open. Representative image. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: With the October 2 deadline for making urban areas open defecation free (ODF) inching closer, the Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) has resorted to unique measures like shaming the offenders by making them hand over their clothes to deter them from defecating in the open.

According to an Indian Express report, while at least ten people were made to give their lungis to the enforcement teams of RMC on Sunday (September 24), those caught defecating in the open on Monday were picked up from the spot, dropped off some distance away, asked to pledge to never defecate in the open again and then made to walk back home.

The corporations crusade is a part of its Hall...

08:33

Sexual Harassment Incident Created by Outsiders With Vested Interests, Says BHU VC "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The vice chancellor also said that the use of force by the police on Saturday night was against criminals and not girl students.

Banaras Hindu University (BHU) vice chancellor Girish Chandra Tripathi. Credit: Twitter/ANI

Banaras Hindu University (BHU) vice chancellor Girish Chandra Tripathi. Credit: Twitter/ANI

New Delhi: Rejecting claims of police resorting to lathi charge on female students, Banaras Hindu University (BHU) vice chancellor (VC) Girish Chandra Tripathi said on Monday that force was only used to drive away anti-social elements who were setting university properties on fire, and were hurling stones and throwing petrol bombs.

Protests broke out after the university failed to act when a first-year hostel resident was molested and grabbed by three bike-borne men just outside the BHU campus on Thursday evening. Students ave been protesting outside the VCs residence and several female students were injured when the police allegedly used force to remove them.

Speaking to the Indian Express, Tripathi claimed that the incident of sexual harassment at the centra...

08:26

Tajikistan: Anti-Graft Officials Snared in Elite Rumble are Sentenced "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Tajikistans highest court has over the past few weeks been convicting former top officials in the nations anti-corruption agency in cases that look to be not so much about graft as elite infighting.

Last week, RFE/RLs Tajik service, Radio Ozodi, reported that Khurshed Jabborzoda, who had served as an officer with the Agency for State Financial Control and Combating Corruption before moving to the General Prosecutors Office, was sentenced by the Supreme Court to seven years in jail on charges of accepting especially large bribes, fraud and other related offenses.

Jabborzoda was reportedly detained in June on the basis of information provided by previously arrested associates. He worked in the anti-corruption agency until to moving the prosecutors office two years ago, Radio Ozodi reported on September 22.

Three days earlier, it was reported that the Supreme Court had sentenced the head of the investigative department, at the anti-corruption agency, Firuz Holmurodzoda, to 15 years in jail. Firdavs Niyozbadalov (AKA Firdavs Abdugafforzoda) , an investigator and son-in-law of former MP and secretary general of the National Security Council, Amirkul Azimov, was jailed for 13 years. The agencys former head of investigations for Dushanbe, Amirsho Sultonzoda, got nine years. Others got slightly less severe sentences.

This is just the latest wave of convictions against leading figures in a state body that is indelibly associated in many peoples mind with the son of President Emomali Rahmon and current mayor of Dushanbe, Rustam Emomali. Emomali, who is often spoken about as a potential successor to his father, only left his job as head of the anti-corruption agency to take up the mayors post at the start of this years.

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08:25

Mexico Unlikely to Find More Earthquake Survivors, Says Emergency Chief "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A member of rescue team (R) holds a megaphone next to his team mates as they search for survivors, in the rubble of a collapsed building, after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 25, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Nacho Doce

A member of rescue team (R) holds a megaphone next to his teammates as they search for survivors, in the rubble of a collapsed building, after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 25, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Nacho Doce

Mexico city: Mexico will search another three days beneath the rubble for possible survivors of the September 19th earthquake even though it is unlikely rescuers will find anyone alive, the countrys chief of emergency services said on Monday.

Luis Felipe Puente, the coordinator of Mexicos Civil Protection department, also told Reuters that the government has instructed prosecutors to investigate newly constructed buildings that collapsed in the quake for code violations, including a school where 19 children and seven adults died.

I can say that at this time it would be unlikely to find someone alive, Puente said in an interview, referring to 43 missing people being sought at four disaster sites in Mexico City.

The 7.1 magnitude qu...

07:57

Puerto Rico in Trouble After Hurricane, Debt Must Be Dealt With, Says Trump "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A woman looks for valuables among the damaged belongings on the street after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico September 24, 2017. Credit: Reuters

A woman looks for valuables among the damaged belongings on the street after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico September 24, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Washington: US President Donald Trump said on Monday Puerto Rico is in deep trouble after being hit by Hurricane Maria and that its billions of dollars of debt to the Wall Street and banks must be dealt with.

Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure and massive debt, is in deep trouble, Trump wrote in a series of posts on Twitter.

Its (sic) old electrical grid, which was in terr...

07:55

Any Claim of Declaring War on North Korea Absurd, Says White House "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects a long and medium-range ballistic rocket launch drill in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 30, 2017. Credit: Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects a long and medium-range ballistic rocket launch drill in this undated photo released by North Koreas Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 30, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Washington: The White House has rejected claims that the US has declared war on North Korea, asserting that any suggestion in this regard is absurd, even as the two nuclear powers engaged in a war of words again.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was r...

07:53

Sharif to Appear Before Accountability Court Today "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Nawaz Sharif. Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

Nawaz Sharif. Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

Islamabad: Pakistans ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif will today appear before a court in Islamabad to face the corruption references filed against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the Panama Papers scandal.

The accountability court in Islamabad, which is hearing the corruption cases against the Sharif family, last week summoned Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar to appear before it on September 26.

It is pertinent to mention that the Sharif family had skipped a court hearing on September 19 to defy the cases.

Sharif, who returned to the country yesterday, is likely to be accompanied by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders, including federal ministers, at his first appearance before the accountability court.

Heavy security arrangement have been made around judicial complex in view of the hearing.

Sharif was in London from August 31 to be with his ailing wife, Kulsoom, who is undergoing treatment for throat cancer.

Sharif, 67, decided to return after consultations with senior party leaders including his younger brother and Punjab province chief minister Shahbaz Sharif in London, party officials said.

He had stepped down after the Supreme Court disqualified him on July 28 from continuing in his office for dishonesty and ruled that corruption cases be filed against him a...

07:43

North Korea Bolsters Defences After Flight by US Bombers, Rhetoric Escalates "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A North Korean flag flies on a mast at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva October 2, 2014. Credit: Reuters

A North Korean flag flies on a mast at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva, October 2, 2014. Credit: Reuters

Seoul/New York: North Korea has been boosting defences on its east coast, South Koreas Yonhap news agency said on Tuesday, after the North said US President Donald Trump had declared war and that it would shoot down US bombers flying near the Korean peninsula.

Tensions have escalated on the Korean peninsula since North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3, but the rhetoric has reached a new level in recent days with leaders on both sides exchanging threats and insults.

North ...

07:38

Crimea, Kosovo, Catalonia, Corsica and Kurdistan "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Just three years after a citizens referendum returned Crimea to Russia, from which it had been separated for sixty years, the people of Catalonia, Spains largest province, will vote to leave that country.

And just as the international community has decreed that the Crimean referendum was a fake, Spains Prime Minister felt compelled to declare that the vote couldt possibly take place, that it would be illegal, that independence, in his words, could only be a pipe dream for the countrys richest province.

Clearly, national governments dont like losing land and people, however when it suits the international community, some communities are permitted to become independent. In 1999, after NATO destroyed Yugoslavia, whose constituent republics were inhabited mainly by diverse groups of Slavs, after a prolonged crisis that culminated in a referendum, the Albanian majority in Kosovo, which had been part of Serbia, was granted statehood.

Almost twenty years have passed since then, and the world is coming to a different frame of mind. Russia and China have become an item, leading other major non-western countries to form the BRICS, drawing Brazil, India and South Africa into an alliance that spans the globe, while local independence movements signal a move toward decentralization.

The European Union, about which much criticism is heard, pioneered the idea that problems should be solved at the lowest possible level, to which it gave the name of subsidiarity. This has encouraged unemployed college graduates across Europe to reinvent themselves in abandoned rural villages, creating cyber versions of sixties communes.

As citizens around the world invest themselves in politics close to home, they are increasingly aware that the big picture requires a different kind of leadership from the one that purports to represent the idea of democracy. Taking its cue from ancient Greek city-states, the Western world evolved into parliamentary systems that partly diluted the power of kings to make war on each other: those of the people who had the means and could take time away from earning a living, ultimately got to sit in august chambers and argue over whose constituencies should be favored in any given issue, leaving the silent majority to hope their ideas might prevail in a future ballot.

In recent years, electronic communication has enabled minority po...

06:59

How Hot will the Year 2017 be? A War of Words, or the Countdown has Begun? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

4534232Quite recently, we discussed the North Korean response to the UN sanctions resolution, noting that from the North Korean side, the raising of the rates was minimal. However, this was only sufficient until a new round of retaliatory moves, which, in the authors view, increased the likelihood of a conflict on the Korean peninsula by another five percent.

The highlight of the program was a speech by Donald Trump on September 19, 2017 at the UN General Assembly, which had a rhetoric that at times resembled a sermon before a pogrom. The scourge of our planet today is a small group of rogue regimes that violate every principle on which the United Nations is based. They respect neither their own citizens nor the sovereign rights of their countries.  If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumphThe United States has great strength and patience. But if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.  The leadership of this country was described as a gang of criminals responsible for the starvation of millions of people in their country while torturing, killing and harassing many others, and Kim Jong-un himself was named a rocket-man, who is participating in a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.

The hype was great, including the question: Is Trump the leader that the global community currently needs? However, in actuality, during an interview with CNN that was conducted earlier, US Permanent Representative to the UN Nikki Haley spoke along the same lines: The UN Security Council has practically exhausted all possibilities for influencing Pyongyang, and if North Korea continues behaving recklessly, the US shall be forced to defend its allies, and the North Korean regime will be destroyed. And, even earlier, there were statements about unprecedented fire and fury

Such harsh statements are a very troubling sign. Firstly, if the North Korean statements that run along the we will bury you lines are traditionally perceived as propaganda rhetoric, the American ones are indeed pulling on a real threat. At the same time, such threats from the rostrum of the United Nations formally indicate that this destruction will take place with the approval of the international community. Sec...

05:30

Modi Governments Stance on Slaughter Proves It Doesnt Really Care About Cows "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

What India is witnessing today is not about cow protection, but a devious convergence of the interests of the state, religion and big business.

Slaughter is required to balance the cycle of production, disposal and replacement of domestic farm animals in farmer livelihoods. Credit: Pixabay

Slaughter is required to balance the cycle of production, disposal and replacement of domestic farm animals in farmer livelihoods. Credit: Pixabay

Three of the 11 demands of protesting farmers from Sikar district, Rajasthan, who virtually brought the entire state to a grinding halt between September 1 and 13, concerned their right to trade in cattle: the withdrawal of restrictions on sales of bovines in animal markets, reduction in the age of sales of calves and cows, and total protection for everyone involved in the trade and transportation of animals. The farmers were protesting the fallout of a series of legal restrictions on trade and transportation of animals, culminating in the...

05:10

Faulty Policies Are Curbing Hearing-Disabled Childrens Access to Cochlear Implants "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

In the implementation of government schemes providing cochlear implants for children with profound hearing disabilities, profits trump the interests of patients.

An employee picks microphones as she works in the production facility of Phonak hearing devices of Swiss hearing aid maker Sonova at the companys headquarters in the village of Staefa east of Zurich, September 5, 2012. Credit: Reuters/Michael Buholzer

The rapid rise of medical science in the modern era has been based on the premise of sharing its benefits for human collectivity. However, both science and public health take a beating when access to health technologies is curbed for profits. Unfortunately, in the implementation of the central and state government programs providing cochlear implants for children born with profound hearing disabilities, we see ripe examples of how profits trump patients interests.

According to the National Sample Survey (...

05:00

Colombias FARC Keeps Famous Acronym as It Breaks New Ground "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

It is uncertain to what extent the peace deal will be fulfilled, but the resilience of the Colombians raises hope for the future.

A FARC rebel waves a peace flag during the final act of abandonment of arms in Mesetas, Colombia, June 27, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Jaime Saldarriaga

For the past year or so, Colombia has been steadily implementing the terms of the peace agreement that earned President Juan Manuel Santos a Nobel Peace Prize. The final step of the process is the transformation of former guerrilla fighters into a new political party to enable them to participate peacefully in parliamentary politics.

The insurgent organisation was called the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia Peoples Army, or FARC-EP by its Spanish initials. One of the questions surrounding this historic event was whether this name would survive the groups transition into a political party. The question became a trending topic with FARC leaders even...

04:32

Questions in Copenhagen Questions For Corbett #037 "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

[audio mp3="http://www.corbettreport.com/mp3/qfc037-lq.mp3"][/audio]James Corbett answers questions from the audience after delivering his presentation, "Echoes of WWI: China, the US and the Next 'Great' War" to the Open Mind Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark on September 16, 2017.

04:30

Remembering the Unfinished Work of Papiya Ghosh "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Ghoshs work remain relevant as the world grapples with issues of communitarian and identity politics, refugees, and conflicting ideas of nationhood and belonging.

Papiya was a cosmopolitan intellectual whose research seamlessly and continuously transcended geo-cultural boundaries. Credit: Papiyaghosh.com

Papiya Ghosh was a cosmopolitan intellectual whose research seamlessly and continuously transcended geo-cultural boundaries. Credit: Papiyaghosh.com

Whenever one hears the famous historian E.H. Carrs remark about history being an unending dialogue between the past and the present, one is reminded of an untiring historian, Papiya Ghosh (1953-2006), who did not live to see the traction her works could potentially generate. Her nuanced understanding of the past, and how the past interacted with the present, together with her socially-relevant research canvas Bihar, Muslims, Partition, communalism, diaspora, nationhood, refugees, citizenship continues to keep her alive in so many ways.

The making of a historian

Why did Papiya choose such areas of research? The answer perhaps mostly lies in her negotiations with the world of her parents and their experiences. Born on October 8, 1953, in Dumka, Santhal Parganas (a tribal area now in Jharkhand), in a family of bureaucrats, she grew up listening to real-life stories of wars, violence, nation building, Partition, and of the marginalised, dispossessed and minorities. Her father, Ujjal Kumar Ghosh, who had also studied history at Patna University, did a short stint in the army during the Second World War (1939-45), which saw him in action in Quetta, Pakistan, and Myanmar. He would share with Papiya insights related to the brutaliti...

00:51

SimplyInfo.org Fukushima Update; September 25, 2017 "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A number of individual events have taken place recently. We review them here. Communities rebuilding after the 3-11 earthquake have

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Monday, 25 September

19:01

Amazing China "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The 6 episodes of Amazing China are now available on YouTube. I havent visited China for 2 years now, yet the speed of transition described in this video series caught me by total surprise. I do hope CGTN will translated it to different languages and broadcast them. It probably will cost a lot less than those short video montages shown in Times Square and much more effective.
Coming the month before the convening of 19th Party Congress, it described what China has accomplished during the last 5 years and the bright future of China Dream. It fills me with a sense of optimism contrasting with the pessimism I feel of U.S. after the election of Trump. The events of last 8 months only confirmed my pessimism. As a Chinese American I cant be indifferent to what is happening in U.S., no matter how it will benefit China, I do wish U.S. well.
Of course we expect that the videos will sing paean of party secretary Xi Jinping. Yet, when we contrast his eloquent speeches over the years when hes not at the top with the vulgarity and illiteracy shown by Trump, one cant but wonder so called Democracy can produce such trash as leader of the so called Free World. One quote by Xi when he was party secretary of Zhejiang province and repeated at Davos is instructive, We aspire for gold and silver mountains, yet we want green mountains and green waters, for they are the real gold and silver mountains..

17:01

On German Tranquility and Missionary Zeal "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

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Germans love their tranquility. I can attest to that having lived in the land of Oom-pah where wine and beer fests churn up robotic glee and civic togetherness. And the election charade for Angela Merkels fourth term is a good example of just how much people are willing to sacrifice in order to get their fix of Shangri La.

A story entitled Angela Merkel: Germans embrace predictability and stability ahead of vote at abc.net.au tells us that most Germans just want their beer, pretzels, and Angela Merkel piloting Germany over the rest of the EU some more. Okay, the last part is what I am telling you as an analyst whos lived in Germany for a decade. The point is, Merkel stands for the globalist world as it is today a steaming pile of crises of one kind or another. The problem with re-electing Angela Merkel for Europe, is that nothing will change for the Germans in the short term, and that nothing will change any time soon for countries less fortunate. Merkel is the symbol of what is all wrong about Germany and the EU. The European Union experiment cannot succeed if one country is favored above all others. In short, the euro zone cannot go forward if Germany is part of it. This should be abundantly clear for everyone paying close attention. The Australian piece continues, citing a German Octoberfest reveler:

I think in Germany, everybody feels good, Sebastian Tebbel says.

Thank God Natalie Nougayrde over at The Guardian interrupted Merkels Munich beer hall putsch with Germany wont lead the free world. It barely looks beyond its own borders, an opinion piece that gets down to the business of profiling the German psyche Merkel must protect them. The French expert frames Merkel and the Germans she panders to so:

The German campaign has paid very little attention to Europe, not to mention the world beyond it. It has practically dispensed with the question of how the country should relate to realities beyond its borders: the global shifts at work, how to define its role in a changing environment, how to strategically prepare for the future, and the external impacts that may lie in store.

But...

16:29

Activist Teesta Setalvad Detained in Varanasi, Released After Ten Hours "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The civil rights activist was told by the police that she had been arrested without being told the charges, and kept in custody for more than ten hours.

Teesta Setalvad. Credit: Facebook

Teesta Setalvad. Credit: Facebook/Teesta Setalvad

New Delhi: Renowned civil rights activist Teesta Setalvad was reportedly detained in Varanasi, hours after she was first held by the Uttar Pradesh police on Monday morning. Setalvad, who has often found herself in the Sangh parivars line of fire for her fiery anti-communal activism, told The Wire that she was first detained at the citys airport while headed to attend a youth training camp organised by the Samajwadi Jan Parishad, a political party, and deliver a valedictory speech on communalism and education.

She was later released a little after 7 pm.

Her detention assumes significance as Varanasi, also the Prime Minister Narendra Modis constituency, has been in the news for the last two days because of a lathi charge by the UP police on protesting students from the Banaras Hindu University (BHU). The students were protesting against the university administration for failing to act on a sexual abuse complaint by a woman student. The students have alleged that the university authorities, instead of bringing the culprits to task, tried to shift the blame on the student for being out of the hostel in the evening, at around 6 pm, before curfew.

Speaking to The Wire, Setalv...

16:12

Media Bol, Episode 16: Police Crackdown on BHU Students "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Urmilesh discusses the police crackdown on protesting students at the Banaras Hindu University with senior journalist and executive editor of MediaVigil Abhishek Srivastava and senior TV anchor Amrita Rai.

The post Media Bol, Episode 16: Police Crackdown on BHU Students appeared first on The Wire.

15:49

Citing Doubts on Denial of Consent, High Court Acquits Farooqui in Rape Case "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Judge sets aside conviction of writer-director, saying he doubted whether the incident took place without the victims consent and if it did whether Farooqui could discern/understand the same.

Mahmood Farooqui. Credit: ANI

Mahmood Farooqui. Credit: ANI

New Delhi: The Delhi high court today acquitted Mahmood Farooqui, co-director of Bollywood film Peepli Live, in a rape case involving a US researcher.

Justice Ashutosh Kumar set aside the trial court order which had awarded a seven-year jail term to Farooqui after convicting him for the  rape of a 30-year-old American researcher at his south Delhi residence in March 2015.

The high court directed that Farooqui, who is presently in jail, be released immediately.

Farooqui had challenged his conviction and the sentence given by the trial court.

In giving Farooqui the benefit of the doubt, the judge, inter alia, cited his wifes statement that he suffered from bipolar disorder and argued that what constituted the grant or denial of consent was not always clear.

In a key paragraph of his judgment, Justice Kumar wrote:

Instances of woman behaviour are not unknown that a feeble no may mean a yes. If the parties are strangers, the same theory may not be applied. If the parties are in some kind of prohibited relationship, then also it would be difficult to lay down a ge...

15:48

The Jewish tent just became even smaller "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The defunding of an Israel program with a progressive, human rights framework is an affront to all progressive Jews around the world.

By Rebecca Arian

Palestinian, Israelis and diaspora Jews at the Sumud Freedom Camp, Surara, West Bank, May 19, 2017. (Gili Getz)

Palestinian, Israelis and diaspora Jews at the Sumud Freedom Camp, Surara, West Bank, May 19, 2017. (Gili Getz)

Last week, the Jewish Agency announced it would be cutting funding to Achvat Amim (Solidarity of Nations), a program offering participants the opportunity to live in Israel and volunteer with organizations dedicated to fostering human rights and coexistence. The Jewish Agencys decision resulted from participants protest activity in Palestinian areas in the West Bank earlier this year. This move is just one of countless examples of mainstream Jewish institutions setting the parameters of the Jewish tent, marking opposition to Israels military occupation as its boundary.

[tmwinpost]

The Jewish Agency cited safety concerns as its reason for defunding the program, but Sara Eisen, Masas spokeswoman, also claimed that the programs leaders acted irresponsibly. She stated that once program activity veers into outright political activity, it crosses a line. However, Masa runs programs and activities that take place in Israeli settlements, yet their decision to defund a program whose participants voluntarily visited a Palestinian area suggests they have no issue with either the safety of participants who visit the West Bank or political activityas long as that political activity fits within a right-wing framework.

I was the very lucky recent recipient of both the Dorot Fellowship in Israel and the NIF/ Shatil Social Justice Fellowship, but before I was accepted into these programs, I aggressively pursued opportunities to live in Israel and engage in human rights work. As an American Jew, countless opportunities were available to me through Masa, yet before Achvat Amim, there werent any programs that would have connected me to the human rights work I sought to engage in. More importantly, I didnt feel comfortable participating in Masa programs as a Jew who openly opposes Israels occupation and military policy.

...

15:47

PM Modi Constitutes Economic Advisory Council, Bibek Debroy to Head It "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Terms of reference of the EAC would be to analyse any issue, economic or otherwise, referred to it by the prime minister and advising him thereon, an official statement said.

Headed by NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy, the EAC includes NITI Aayogs principal advisor Ratan Watal as its member and economists Surjit Bhalla, Rathin Roy and Ashima Goyal as part-time members. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today constituted a five-member Economic Advisory Council (EAC) which will analyse economic and other issues, an official announcement said.

Headed by NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy, the EAC includes NITI Aayogs principal advisor Ratan Watal as its member and economists Surjit Bhalla, Rathin Roy and Ashima Goyal as part-time members.

The five-member council consists of economists of high repute and eminence, said an official statement.

Terms of reference of the EAC would be to analyse any issue, economic or otherwise, referred to it by the prime minister and advising him thereon, the statement said.

It will also address issues of macroeconomic importance and present its views to the prime minister, it said, adding This could be either suo-motu or on reference from the prime minister or anyone else.

Its terms of reference also includes attending to any other task as may be desired by the prime minister from time to time, the statement said.

The post...

15:30

Student With Thalassaemia Wins Legal Battle Over Medical College Seat in Delhi "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The Delhi high court has ordered the state-run Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University to grant Digant Jain, who cleared two rounds of counselling, admission in a medical college.

Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University campus. Courtesy: University website

Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University campus. Courtesy: University website

New Delhi: The Delhi high court has directed the government-run Guru Gobind Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIPU) to admit in its medical course a student suffering from thalassaemia on the basis of the new Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.

The Wire had earlier reported how GGSIPU had taken the decision to not grant admission to Digant Jain in August this year, despite the Supreme Court...

15:10

Mapping the Sounds of Protest from Around the World "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

From Trump and Brexit to Black Lives Matter, people are recording protests around the world to create a new soundtrack of dissent.

People protest against US President Donald Trump in Miami, Florida, US, November 11, 2016. Credit: Reuters/Javier Galeano

In Canada, a casserole protest features the rhythmic clanging of pots and pans. In Hungary, the protest is relatively silent and has more ambient noise than raised voices. On Piccadilly Unite for EU march, protesters chant EU, we love you among other anti-Theresa May chants. In Los Angeles, supporters keep up a steady chant of Trump grabs pussy, we grab back.

The sounds of protest have never been louder. In the past few years, people have taken to the streets to voice their dissent against pertinent political and social issues, from global warming to Brexit. But these sounds are also varied and now they are being documented and archived in an online interactive sound map, titled...

15:00

CIC Pulls up Child Rights Protection Body for Refusing to Reveal Basic Information "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The Central Information Commission said the questions raised before the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights were in public interest.

The denial of information by the NCPR has raised doubts about the transparency of the organisation. Credit: PTI

The Central Information Commission (CIC) has called into question the conduct of the chief public information officer (CPIO) and of a consultant and an adviser at the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), for denying information to an appellant, Ajit Kumar Singh, about the the number of complaints received by the panel, the decisions in the cases where the accused were found guilty and the relief that was granted to them.

While the NCPCRs mandate is to ensure that all laws, policies, programmes and administrative mechanisms are in consonance with the child rights perspective as enshrined in the constitution of India and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the denial of information by the commission has raised doubts about the transparency of the organisation.

The CPIO, G. Suresh, in his reply on May 17, stated that the information sought by the appellant was not disclosable as per exemption under section 8(1)(j) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.  However, the central information commissioner, M. Sridhar Acharyulu, held, The NCPCR uses a privacy exception to refuse entire information en bloc. No effort is done to provide information which could have been disclosed on their own under Section 4(1)(b). The CIC further clarified that except the name of the child, nothing could be denied.

Consultant, adviser misguiding NCPCR...

14:45

Despite the Hype, States Dont Have Enough to Spend on Welfare Schemes "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The much-touted increase in budgetary allocations to states has been offset by less talked about decreases on other counts.

A paramedic distributes free medicine provided by the government to patients inside a ward at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) in Chennai July 12, 2012. Credit: Reuters/Babu/Files

A paramedic distributes free medicine provided by the government to patients inside a ward at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) in Chennai July 12, 2012. Credit: Reuters/Babu/Files

Several reports on the shocking lack of essential supplies in hospitals, poor infrastructure in nutrition and healthcare centres, and delays in due payments to employees and workers in various welfare schemes have raised the question whether state governments have adequate resources for meeting essential commitments towards the social sector and weaker sections of society. The amount of resources available to state governments for this is suppos...

14:30

Merkels Fourth Term in Office Wont Be an Easy One "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Anxiety runs high over international tensions and there is a fear that Germanys economic security is under threat.

Christian Democratic Union CDU party leader and German Chancellor Angela Merkel reacts after winning the German general election (Bundestagswahl) in Berlin, Germany, September 24, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Christian Democratic Union CDU party leader and German Chancellor Angela Merkel reacts after winning the German general election (Bundestagswahl) in Berlin, Germany, September 24, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Angela Merkel will continue as chancellor of Germany. But following an election that saw the rise of smaller parties most notably the far right her fourth term will probably be an eventful one in ways she would not wish for.

The Union parties (Merkels CDU and sister party CSU) finished in top place with just under 33%. They did nevertheless lose almost 9% over thei...

14:22

Why is Israel still denying the kidnapping of Yemenite children? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Between the years 1948 and 1952, thousands of babies, children of mostly Yemenite immigrants to the newly-founded State of Israel, were taken away from their parents. After decades of being silenced, it is time to look those parents in the eye and say: you were wronged. This is not a tall order, it is the bare minimum.

By Racheli Said

Israelis protest over the Yemenite children affair, Jerusalem, June 21, 2017. (Activestills.org)

Israelis protest over the Yemenite children affair, Jerusalem, June 21, 2017. (Activestills.org)

The facts behind the Yemenite childrens affair are clear for all to see. Hundreds of testimonies by parents of children who disappeared tell a similar story: the children were taken away from their parents, often by force, and some of them never returned. Parents were not allowed to make decisions or receive medical information regarding their children. The death notices they received from hospitals were never backed by medical explanations, documents, or bodies. Parents who demanded to see their dead child were aggressively sent away.

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The racist nature of these deeds is clear as well. Approximately 70 percent of families affected were Yemenite immigrants to Israel; 96 percent were of Mizrahi origin. Moreover, the racist policies toward the parents never even disguised themselves as anything but. Separating babies from the families and revoking the rights of the parents to make medical decisions was a matter of policy, not private initiative.

So why cant Israelis today recognize that the Yemenite children affair took place?

Recognizing the affair means recognizing that the same mechanisms that look out for the benefit of the child are the same ones that prevent Israeli LGBTQs from adopting. They are the same ones that remove children of certain ethnic groups from their homes. They are anything but neutral.

Recognizing the Yemenite children affair undermines the image of the first days of the State of Israel as a period full of good intentions. The military censored publishing information on the kidnappings, while parents who demanded to see their children were met with the long arm of the law. These were not mishaps, but deliberate decisions.

...

14:16

Blow to Armys Claim as Police Probe Finds Kashmiri Human Shield Had Voted "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Farooq Ahmad Dar says justice will only be served if those who tied him to an army jeep are punished.

Farooq Ahmad Dar tied to an army jeep on April 9. Credit: Video screengrab

Farooq Ahmad Dar tied to an army jeep on April 9. Credit: Video screengrab

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir polices investigation into the Budgam human shield case has conclusively established that the victim, Farooq Ahmad Dar, did in fact cast his vote on the day of the Srinagar by-polls, April 9, before he was tied by an army major to the bonnet of a jeep and paraded through several villages for nearly five hours.

Corroborating the claims of 26-year-old Dar, a shawl weaver from Chill village, the investigation report notes that he was on way to his home from Gampora village, where he had gone to attend a condolence meeting at a relatives house, when he was picked up by an army detachment in Utligam village.

Dar, the report, said was accompanied by his neighbour Hilal Ahmad Magray, a witness in the case.

During investigation it came to the fore that Farooq Ahmad Dar has cast his vote at polling booth installed at his native village (and) after casting vote (on April 9) he left, along with...

13:37

How RSS Efforts to Prove Deen Dayal Upadhayayas Murder Was Political Came Undone "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The Bharatiya Jana Sangh fudged evidence in order to blame its leaders murder on a conspiracy, but Justice Chandrachud saw through these efforts.

Deendayal Upadhyaya greeting well-wishers. Screen grab from YouTube/Deendayal Upadhyaya | Jeevan Darshan, a film directed by Vinay Samaksh

Deen Dayal Upadhyaya was elected president of the Jana Singh in December 1967. On February 10, 1968, in the evening, he left Lucknow for Patna by the Sealdah Express. The train left Varanasi at about 1.40 am and, after stopping at Kashi for about five minutes, it steamed into Mughalsarai at about 2.10 am. But Upadhyaya was not on the train. Ten minutes later, his dead body was found lying near a traction pole 748 feet from the end of the platform of Mughalsarai station on which the train halted. He was clutching a five-rupee note in his hand. The last time anyone saw him alive was at Jaunpur, shortly after midnight.

One M.P. Singh, who travelled in the adjoining cabin of the same coach, saw someone enter Upadhyayas cabin at Mughalsarai and walk off with his file and bedding. This man he identified in court as Bharat Lal. Together with one Ram Awadh, Bharat Lal was charged with murder and theft. Both were acquitted of the capital charge, while Bharat Lal alone was convicted of the theft of the belongings of the deceased. He appealed to the Allahabad high court. The sessions judge remarked in his judgment that the offence of murder not having been proved against the accused, the problem of truth about the murder still remains.

Over 70 MPs demanded a commission of inquiry to ascertain this truth. The government of India promptly a...

13:02

Is the Kurdish referendum a bluff or the real deal "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

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The countdown to the Iraqi Kurdish referendum has begun and the battle lines are drawn. Barzani Is pushing full steam ahead, stating that he sees no other option. Baghdad has taken a legal stance, which is of no concern whatsoever for the Kurds despite their having agreed to the Iraqi constitution.

President Abadi was the first to mention possible military action, but with the important caveat of there being Kurdish military violence against those in the Kurdish region, especially Kirkuk, opposing the referendum. This would not be the first time that a war was started to protect a minority.

Look what happened with the crazy Neo-fascists in Ukraine, who crowed from the podium of their Parliament, the Rada, that they planned to ethnically cleanse Ukraine of all Russians. That country is now a crippled Western puppet, with the standard of living much worse due to looting by its criminal oligarchy class, one supported by the US.

All were blind, or in denial, to the disaster that loomed before them, and of course, none of them will accept responsibility for any of it. This government unaccountability is growing into the biggest national security issue that all citizens face, which includes more countries falling under the control of these criminal oligarchies, where they become un-prosecutable.

Do we have a similar situation to Ukraine looming in Iraq? Can Baghdad really risk a civil war with the Peshmerga while it is still fighting ISIS after a long and devastating war? Where will the retreating ISIS fighters from Deir Ezzor in Syria retreat to but to Iraq, to express their bitterness in defeat by engaging in a never ending terror bombing war which still plagues Iraq?

Iraq finally joins Syria to defend their border

The Iraqi army is pushing toward the Al-Bakumal crossing to close that back door, at least on ISIS convoys being able to cross over, carrying arms and equipment to reinforce the surviving ISIS units there. The SDF Kurds announced they are pivoting north of Deir Ezzor, westward, to clear ISIS from the east side of the Euphrates to the Syrian border, all non-Kurdish territory, and which just happens to have one of the richest oil fields in Syria. The US and SDF are engaged in a war of aggression on Syria, replacing ISIS as the tool to accomplish that.

...

12:45

Trump Fails to Understand North Korea Existential Fears "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Donald Trumps bombastic rhetoric aimed at North Korea is evidence that neither he nor his administration grasp the historic paranoia of the North Korean government. The fear in Pyongyang that North Korea will become a ceded territory in a big power agreement has been a factor since the days of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung. This existential threat also formed the policies of Kim Il Sungs successors his son Kim Jong Il and his grandson, the present leader, Kim Jong Un.

12:15

The Killing of History "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

One of the most hyped events of American television, The Vietnam War, has started on the PBS network. The directors are Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.  Acclaimed for his documentaries on the Civil War, the Great Depression and the history of jazz, Burns says of his Vietnam films, They will inspire our country to begin to talk and think about the Vietnam war in an entirely new way.

12:03

BHU Files FIR Against 1,000 Students for Arson, Two Policemen Removed Over Lathi Charge "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A number of students and two journalists were injured in a lathi charge by the police on Saturday night, after which the chief minister asked the divisional commissioner to file a report.

An injured student after police allegedly beat them up during a clash at Banaras Hindu University late Saturday night. Credit: PTI

An injured student after police allegedly beat them up during a clash at Banaras Hindu University late Saturday night. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: After large-scale student protests against the administrations alleged victim shaming and inaction in a molestation case and a police lathi charge on students, the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) has registered an FIR against 1,000 students for arson on Monday. Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh government removed three additional city magistrates...

11:45

A Failing Empire: Russia and China's Military Strategy to Contain the US "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Looking at the global political landscape over the last month, two trends are becoming more apparent. The infamous military and economic power at Americas disposal is declining, whereas in the multipolar field, an acceleration has occurred in the creation of a series of infrastructures, mechanisms and procedures to contain and limit the negative effects of Americas declining unipolar moment. This series of three articles will focus firstly on the military aspect of these ongoing changes, then the economics at play, and finally, how and why smaller countries are transitioning from the unipolar camp to the multipolar field.

11:15

My Threats Are Bigger Than Your Threats "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Not since Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev banged his fists and waved his shoe at the UN in 1960 has a world leader made such a spectacle of himself as President Donald Trump did this past week at the world organization.

10:50

Lets Talk (Right) About Eman Ahmed "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The highly publicised treatment in a Mumbai hospital of an Egyptian woman with a rare disorder that caused her to gain weight raises ethical issues for the medical profession, and the media.

Saifee Hospital, Mumbai. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Saifee Hospital, Mumbai. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Note: This article was originally published on April 30. It is being republished in light of Eman Ahmeds death. 

Despite a rash of news reports, do we know who Eman Ahmed Abd El Aty really is? We know that she is a 36- or 37-year-old Egyptian woman whose body, as the result of a rare genetic mutation, gained excessive weight, and that she has been receiving treatment in Mumbais Saifee Hospital since February 2017. However, given the number of reports in which she herself has been the subject, her voice is conspicuous only by its absence. This is a problem.

We know from research that insensitive or stigmatising news reports of obesity can increase negative societal stereotypes and stigma towards people who have obesity, Rebecca Puhl, deputy director of the Rudd Centre for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut, told The Wire. Its likely that when people who themselves might be struggling with weight read such reports, they are also potentially at risk for internalising negative societal stigma and self-b...

10:45

Hysteria Over Zapad-2017 Exercise: West"s Setback in Information War "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Zapad-2017, a strategic Russian-Belarusian military exercise, held on September 14-20, was an event to hit headlines this month. Some Western officials, experts and media outlets whipped up hysteria, inventing stories about Russia using the training event as a cover for aggression...

10:35

Mukul Roy Resigns From Trinamool Congress "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Roy, whose relationship with the leadership has been strained of late, said he would give an explanation on why he was leaving the party.

Mukul Roy. Credit: ANI

Mukul Roy. Credit: ANI/Twitter

Kolkata: Senior Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy announced his resignation from the party today.

Roy said he would quit the partys working committee today and resign as Rajya Sabha MP as well as from the partys primary membership after Durga Puja.

I was one the signatories when the party was founded. I am announcing with a heavy heart that I will resign from the partys working committee today. And after the Durga Puja festival, I will resign from the Rajya Sabha and also from the primary membership of the party, Roy said at a press conference.

Roy, whose relationship with the leadership has been strained of late, said he would give an explanation on why he was leaving the party and why he was forced to do so after Durga Puja.

The TMC, the ruling party in West Bengal, had last week censured Roy for allegedly hobnobbing with BJP leaders and said it was keeping a close watch on him.

Asked whether he would join the BJP in days to come, Roy said, Whatever I have to say. I will say it after Durga Puja. But I would like to mention that people of Bengal dont like political controversies during Durga Puja,.

Once the second-in-command in the TMC after chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Roy was absent from an event to unveil the Durga Puja edition of the TMC mouthpiece, Jago Bangla, on September 19.

Banerjee and the entire TMC top brass,...

10:11

At Chinas Upcoming Party Congress, Will Xi Jinping Further Consolidate His Powers? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Xi Jinping has a keen understanding of the importance of reform. This is likely to serve him well.

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a meeting at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, January 18, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Denis Balibouse

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a meeting at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, January 18, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Denis Balibouse

On October 18, the Communist Party of China (CPC) will begin its 19th congress. Like all previous meetings of the CPC congress, this one too will be tightly scripted; many decisions especially around the line-up of new leadership have already been taken in meetings in the months leading to the formal inaugural. Some of the work will be done through a plenum a week ahead of the congress.

The one result we do know is that Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC, president of the Peoples Republic and supreme commander of its military, has made grade for a second term. What the analysts will be looking for is w...

09:49

Not Just Congress, BJP and Regional Parties Play Dynasty Politics Too "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Political families exist across the country and in many parties. And until Indian democracy matures, the people will have to put up with such dynasties.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje, Telangana chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao. Credit: PTI

India may boast of being the worlds largest democracy, but in reality, it has turned into a dynastic democracy.

As a political commentator aptly put it, While the US is known for its presidential democracy and Britain for its parliamentary democracy, India should be known for its dynastic democracy.

Whether such a description is good or bad is a different matter altogether. What is for certain, however, is that at the Centre and in the states, one family or the other is playing dynasty politics, with their footprints growing over time.

Apologists argue that if children of lawyers and doctors can follow their parents footsteps into a career, why should one object if the progeny of politicians take up the same trade.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi posed this question at a recent talk at the University of Berkeley in the US, sending his detractors up in arms. Information and broadcasting minister Smriti Irani even...

09:29

Cambodias Opposition Rallies for Leader Kem Sokhas Release "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A banner of opposition leader and President of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Kem Sokha is seen during a news conference in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, September 25, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Samrang Pring

A banner of opposition leader and President of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Kem Sokha is seen during a news conference in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, September 25, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Samrang Pring

Phnom Penh: Cambodias main opposition party on Monday put up banners around the country calling for the release of its detained leader Kem Sokha in a challenge to the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen, which has accused him of treason.

Kem Sokha, the leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), was arrested on September 3rd and charged with plotting against the state.

Western countries and human rights groups have condemned the arrest and said it raises severe doubt over whether next years general election can be fair. In the ballot, Hun Sen could face his greatest electoral test of more than three decades in power.

The partys banners, which have a picture of Kem Sokha waving from a vehicle during the last election campaign in 2013, called for the leaders immediate and unconditional release.

Hun Sen has said the opposition must d...

09:18

Japans Abe Expected to Announce Snap Poll Amid Worries Over North Korea Crisis "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe exits the podium after addressing the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 20, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe exits the podium after addressing the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 20, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz

Tokyo: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected on Monday to announce a snap election for next month to take advantage of improved ratings and opposition disarray, despite criticism that he is creating a political vacuum amid worries over North Korea.

Abe will hold a news conference at 6 p.m. (0900 GMT), Jiji news agency reported, after meeting party executives and will likely put pledges to spend on education and child care, stay tough on North Korea and revise the constitution at the forefront of his campaign.

Abe, whose ratings have risen to around 50% from around 30% in July, is gambling that his ruling bloc can keep its lower house majority even if they lose the two-thirds super majority needed to achieve his long-held goal of revising the post-war pacifist constitution to clarify the militarys role.

A weekend survey by the Nikkei business...

09:05

BJPs Renaming Spree Revives Controversy over the Midnight Death of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Did Upadhyayas mysterious death have something to do with the factional tussle within the Jana Sangh? Why did his body go unnoticed for hours at the Mughal Sarai station yard?

Deen Dayal Upadhyaya

Mughal Sarai station (left), Deen Dayal Upadhyaya (centre) with M.S. Golwalkar (left) and Atal Behari Vajpayee (right). Credit: PTI, YouTube

This article was first published on August 21, 2017, and is being republished on September 25, 2017, Deen Dayal Upadhyayas birth anniversary.

There are at least 16 educational institutions and hospitals named after Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS) leader Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. We also have innumerable local roads and housing complexes in his honour. Last week, the Assam government decided it would open over a dozen educational institutions in his name. Three welfare programmes initiated by the Modi government have the prefix DDU. Thus the Union cabinets decision to rename Mughal Sarai Deen Dayal Upadhyaya station is just another addition to the existing long list. The move however will have an unintended consequences. It will revive many old ghosts. What was Upadhyayas special connection t0 Mughal Sarai? How did he become a shaheed (martyr) to deserve the stations renaming? The ruling party and its government...

08:38

Modis Promise of a New India Looks Shaky Amid Economic Chaos "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

With the ripples of demonetisation and a poorly-designed GST spreading economic distress, voters will assess the promise of Narendra Modis New India in due course.

People associated with the BJPs ideological parent, the Sangh Parivar, have also started expressing concern over Indias economic trajectory. Credit: PTI

People associated with the BJPs ideological parent, the Sangh Parivar, have also started expressing concern over Indias economic trajectory. Credit: PTI

Suddenly, the BJP is feeling besieged by news of economic distress all around. After a badly botched up demonetisation exercise, we are seeing an equally botched up implementation of the GST which has sent small businesses into a tailspin, exacerbating the decline in output and employment seen during the months after demonetisation.

Trading companies were de-stocking before the start of the GST regime on July 1, 2017, in the hope that they would buy up fresh stocks under the new tax system. But given the messy implementation, analysts say the re-stocking process is quite slow and firms would rather wait for the GST system to stabilise before going full swing again. And mind you, all this is happening just before the festive season. This is bound to impact GDP growth in the second half of 2017. As predicted by many, inflation too has...

08:30

As Death Toll Touches 320, Mexicans Turn to Church "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Residents pray for victims at a makeshift altar, in an area that used to be a textile factory before it was destroyed in an earthquake, in Mexico City, September 24, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Carlos Jasso

Residents pray for victims at a makeshift altar, in an area that used to be a textile factory before it was destroyed in an earthquake, in Mexico City, September 24, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Carlos Jasso

Mexico City:  Mexicans packed churches on Sunday to pray for the victims of the countrys deadliest quake in 32 years as rescue teams searched against the odds for any survivors trapped under rubble since Tuesdays tremor shook Mexico City and nearby states.

As another aftershock jolted southwestern Mexico on Sunday, the death toll from Tuesdays 7.1 magnitude earthquake climbed to 320 people. With thousands of buildings damaged, survivors slept on the street outside their homes and estimates of the cost of the earthquake ran as high as $8 billion.

Many have been traumatized by the second major quake to strike Mexico City in their lifetime after a devastating 1985 tremor killed an estimated 10,000 people.

In the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the national shrine of the majority Roman Catholic country, thousands of people gathered to pray.

I came to ask God for strength for those who lost l...

08:25

Shrugging Off Threats, Iraqi Kurds Vote in Historic Independence Referendum "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A woman casts her vote during Kurds independence referendum in Erbil, Iraq September 25, 2017. Credit: Reuters

A woman casts her vote during Kurds independence referendum in Erbil, Iraq September 25, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Erbil, Iraq: Voting started on Monday in an independence referendum organised by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, ignoring the threats of the Kurds neighbours and fears of further instability and violence across the Middle East.

Polling stations opened their doors at 8 am and should close at 6 pm. The final results should be announced within 72 hours.

The vote, expected to deliver a comfortable yes for independence, is not binding and is meant to give Massoud Barzanis KRG a mandate to negotiate secession of the oil producing region with Baghdad and neighbouring states.

We have been waiting 100 years for this day, said Rizgar, standing in a queue of men waiting to cast a ballot in a school in Erbil, the KRG capital.

We want to have a state, with Gods help. Today is a celebration for all Kurds. God...

08:13

Quake Relief Reaches Rich Mexicans, But the Poor Feel Abandoned "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

While hundreds of volunteers stand ready to help in the wealthy neighbourhoods of central Mexico City, the same cannot be said for the outskirts and surrounding villages.

Rescue workers and volunteers walk past signs reading

Rescue workers and volunteers walk past signs reading We are an example to the world, I want to become a Mexican when I grow up, and Mexico will not fall among other quotes, after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 24, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Edgard Garrido

Mexico City: Relief supplies and volunteers are piling up at rescue sites in upscale districts of Mexico City following Tuesdays deadly earthquake in a show of solidarity that has contrasted with the governments struggle to get aid to people most in need.

In the wealthy neighborhoods of Roma and Condesa in the centre of Mexico City, volunteers by the hundreds stand ready to help dig for survivors who may be trapped beneath the rubble. In recent days, however, they have...

08:06

After Hurricane Maria, Battered Puerto Rico Hospitals on Life Support "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Nurses and patients are seen at the Medical Center, in San Juan, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Nurses and patients are seen at the Medical Center, in San Juan, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. Credit: Reuters

San Juan, Puerto Rico: Puerto Ricos medical services are in critical condition in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

The strongest storm to hit the island in decades has left hospitals flooded, strewn with rubble and dependent on diesel generators to keep the neediest patients alive.

The precarious shape of the islands medical facilities is adding to the misery and devastation of this US territory, whose 3.4 million residents are American citizens. For some, the only option is to evacuate to the US for treatment.

Among them is Cheira Ruiz and her baby girl Gabriellyz, who was born two weeks ago with a serious heart defect. The newborn was admitted to the Centro Cardiovascular de Puerto Rico in the capital shortly before Maria slammed into the island last Wednesday, but it was impossible for doctors to operate in such precarious conditions.

Gabriellyz was among the first infants cleared to take a medical flight out of Puerto Rico since the storm. Her parents, who live tw...

08:00

Kushner Used Private Email Account for White House Business: Politico "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Senior advisor Jared Kushner waits for a joint news conference by U.S. President Donald Trump and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 25, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Senior advisor Jared Kushner waits for a joint news conference by US President Donald Trump and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the White House in Washington, US, July 25, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Washington: US President Donald Trumps son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, has used a private email account alongside his official White House account to exchange messages with other administration officials, Politico reported on Sunday.

Politico said the emails included correspondence about...

07:59

After NEET, Only Two From Tamil Nadu Government Schools Make It to Public Medical Colleges "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Last year, 30 students made the cut.

Protests against the NEET in Tamil Nadu after the death of S. Anitha. Credit: PTI

Protests against the NEET in Tamil Nadu after the death of S. Anitha. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: After the introduction of the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to medical colleges, which has seen staunch opposition from Tamil Nadu, only two students from state government schools have cleared the test this year to be admitted to the states 22 government medical colleges. Last year, 30 students from government schools made it into state-run medical colleges, Indian Express reported.

According to the newspapers, 109 students from Namakkal, a district with among the highest-scoring students in the state board exams, have been able to get into government medical colleges this year. Last year, this number was 957.

Before NEET was imposed, several experts had expressed apprehensions that the uniform test across the country favoured those who had studied the Central Board of Secondary Education syllabus rather than those who had gone through the state boards, and was unfair when the primary education system was uneven and varied. The data from Tamil Nadu on those who cleared the NEET this year, the Indian Express report says, only adds to those questions....

07:59

Nuclear Weapons in the South of the Korean Peninsula? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

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Against the backdrop of the sixth nuclear test, calls for getting ourselves a bomb are increasingly heard in the RK. This may be alluding to either the resuscitation of its own nuclear project or, going the much easier route, the deployment of US tactical nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula in order to create a strategic balance of power. We have repeatedly written about these sentiments
, as a result of which the lawmakers from the conservative party Free Korea actually included the call for nuclear weapons for the country on the partys political agenda, and the young colonels among the South Koreans with dreams of seeing the country having its own bombs are very common.

Let us recall that the US withdrew its tactical nuclear weapons from the RK in 1991. The South Koreans attribute this to the fact that at that time, Seoul and Pyongyang had adopted the Joint Declaration of South and North Korea on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. However, in actual fact, the US simply changed its strategy, putting its stakes on more long-range means of delivery, so that the territory of the DPRK remained completely within its nuclear range.

A new round of hype was provoked by the news that on August 30, in Washington, during a meeting of the defense ministers Seung-yon Mu and James Mattis, the representative of the RK raised the issue of the possibility of the redeployment of US tactical nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula. This was immediately noted, as the proposal ran counter to the statements made by the top leadership of Seoul, which constantly stressed the importance of the nuclear-free status of the peninsula.

...

07:59

Angela Merkel Wins Fourth Term as German Chancellor "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Merkels conservative bloc won 32.9% of the vote, down 8.6 points from the 2013 election, hitting its lowest level since 1949.

Christian Democratic Union CDU party leader and German Chancellor Angela Merkel reacts after winning the German general election (Bundestagswahl) in Berlin, Germany, September 24, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Christian Democratic Union CDU party leader and German Chancellor Angela Merkel reacts after winning the German general election (Bundestagswahl) in Berlin, Germany, September 24, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Berlin: Germanys Angela Merkel turns to the complex task of sounding out partners in a potentially fragile coalition after securing a fourth term as chancellor in Sundays election even though her conservatives bled support to the far-right.

Damaged by her handling of the 2015 migrant crisis, Merkels conservative bloc won 32.9% of the vote, down 8.6 points from the 2013 election and hitting its lowest level since 1949.

However, hers was still the biggest parliamentary bloc and Europes most powerful leader stressed that as the strongest party, her conservatives have the mandate to form the next government.

There cannot be a coalit...

07:53

One Woman Killed and Several Wounded by Masked Gunman at Nashville Church "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The scene where people were injured when a gunman opened fire at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., September 24, 2017. Credit: Reuters

The scene where people were injured when a gunman opened fire at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, in Nashville, Tennessee, US, September 24, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Nashville: A masked gunman killed a woman in the parking lot of a Tennessee church on Sunday morning and wounded six worshipers inside the building before shooting himself in a scuffle with an usher who rushed to stop the attack.

The shooter, identified as Emanuel Kidega Samson, 25, walked into Nashvilles Burnette Chapel Church of Christ wearing a ski mask and opened fire, Metropolitan Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron told reporters.

As the church usher grappled with the suspect, he was struck in the head with the gunmans weapon before the suspect fired and wounded h...

07:36

Russias Kurdish-Turkish Pipeline To The EU Makes Moscow The Mideast Mediator "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Moscow steadily works to replace the leadership void that the US is leaving in the Greater Middle East.

The post Russias Kurdish-Turkish Pipeline To The EU Makes Moscow The Mideast Mediator appeared first on OrientalReview.org.

06:32

Hindustan Times Editors Exit Preceded by Meeting Between Modi, Newspaper Owner "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

An internal email also shows HT is distancing itself from the Hate Tracker, a key initiative of Bobby Ghoshs that the BJP and its supporters were unhappy with.

Reading between the lines. Credit: Gayatri Krishnamoorthy/Flickr C-BY-2.0

New Delhi: Hindustan Times (HT) proprietor Shobhana Bhartias decision to announce the abrupt exit of Bobby Ghosh as editor was preceded by a personal meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and objections raised by top-level government and Bharatiya Janata Party officials to editorial decisions taken during Ghoshs tenure.

The government insists the meeting was confined to Bhartias efforts to secure Modis participation in a flagship HT event. But sources in the newspaper say that in the run-up to that meeting, she faced sustained objections from senior ministers to aspects of HTs political coverage, to Ghoshs own views expressed on social media, and to the fact that he does not hold Indian citizenship. One of these minsters had even hinted at escalating matters to Modi.

Ghosh, a journalist and editor with extensive worldwide experience, joined HT in May 2016 after successfully running Quartz and TIME magazine. His 16-month stint is widely seen as having perked up the 90-year-old newspaper, even if some of his editorial initiatives notably the Hate Tr...

05:30

Significant Chunks of Indias FDI Inflows are Aimed at Distressed Corporate Assets "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Nearly 50% of the $44 billion that came in as foreign direct investment inflows in 2016 went towards brownfield projects.

Corporate debt raiders have also flocked to India over the last two years. Credit: Reuters

Corporate debt raiders have also flocked to India over the last two years. Credit: Reuters

Mumbai: India has seen strong foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows under the NDA government even as domestic private investment continues to remain muted. This situation has baffled many. But unfazed by that, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has claimed credit for FDI surge, citing it as an endorsement of his governments overall economic policy.

An analysis of FDI data however reveals that big chunks of inflows have been used to buy distressed assets of Indian companies. These are companies struggling with overleveraged balance sheets. The data therefore shows that a significant chunk of Indias FDI inflows arent boosting Modis flagship Make-in-India initiative.

For example, nearly 23% of the $44 billion in FDI that India received in 2015 went into brown-field projects. This figure rose to 48%  in 2016.

The trend continues in 2017. Nearly 36% of the $7.6 billion that flow...

05:15

My Film Newton Is Not Cynical at All: Amit Masurkar "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

In Naxal-controlled villages, if people vote, they are seen as government agents, if they dont, they are called Maoist sympathisers.

Amit V. Masurkar. Credit: Facebook/Sunil Borkar

On September 22, 2017, Amit V. Masurkars Newton  a satire centered on a young government clerk sent to conduct elections in Chhattisgarhs Naxal-controlled villages released in around 350 screens in Indian theatres. Earlier in the day, he received a call from a journalist, asking to confirm whether Newton had been selected as Indias official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards. Masurkar didnt have an answer he hadnt heard of the news.

It remains to be seen whether Newton qualifies for the ultimate journey from Mumbai to Los Angeles but the film has travelled across the world over the last few months, premiering at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival, in the Forum section, where it won the International Confederation of Art Cinemas award, and subsequently screening at the Tribeca Film Festival and the Hong Kong International Film Festival (where it won the jury prize). On the heels of its theatrical release, and its selection as Indias Oscar entry, came a mini-controversy speculations of similarity between Newton and a 2001 Iranian film, Secret Ballot. Masurkar wont comment on it, except to say it is baseless.


Also read: Newton Takes a Close Look at the Slender Line Separating Democracy and Farce...

04:45

Vietnams Poorest Worst Hit by Typhoon Disasters "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Although widespread evacuations prevented a higher death toll, the impact on the regions most vulnerable people will be extensive and lasting.

Vietnamese soldiers work at a damaged building after the Doksuri storm passed through Ha Tinh province, Vietnam September 16, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Kham

Six people lost their lives when Typhoon Doksuri smashed into central Vietnam on September 16, the most powerful storm in a decade to hit the country.

Although widespread evacuations prevented a higher death toll, the impact on the regions most vulnerable people will be extensive and lasting.

Government sources report that more than 193,000 properties have been damaged, including 11,000 that were flooded. The storm also caused...

04:30

The GST Regime is Damaging, Not Helping, Indias Crafts Sector "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Already struggling to survive and compete with cheaper machine-made goods, the added burden of GST compliance will decimate self-employed artisans.

The cost of GST non-compliance is doubled when the formal economy refuses to buy from the local crafts industry. Credit: Meeta Mastani

The cost of GST non-compliance is doubled when the formal economy refuses to buy from the local crafts industry. Credit: Meeta Mastani

The transition to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime was sold as a reform that would transform Indian industry for the better. Two months later, the plight of craftspeople across India tells a different story.

Yograj lives and works in Kaziwala village in the district Bijnor of Uttar Pradesh. He makes small hand-made wooden items like juda pins which sell for about Rs 25 each. I live in Delhi and work with rural and semi-urban artisans like Yograj, providing them with design and marketing support. I connect them to urban markets directly, and also sell via a network of retail spaces I am a part of. His average bill with me each time is for about Rs 8,000. Over the year, his total billing with me is about Rs 50,000. His total annual turnover is Rs 1,80,000. He is part of a group of nine people. They are also training six young men in their kind of wood working skills. They work in their own homes and most of their profits are their own wages.

The new GST regime has made criminals of people like him and me. Artisans who sell across state lines with a turnover unde...

02:23

Police rapes a girl in Takhar, Women are sold in Faryab "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

November 7, 2006 -- According to a report from the Northern Province of Takhar, tens of people staged a demonstration to protest rape of a girl by police in the Dasht-e-Qala district of this province. Also it is reported that selling of women has become very common in Faryab province in north of Afghanistan and each woman is sold up to 50,000 Afghanis (around US$1,000).

Sanobar, 11-years-old girl is abducted and raped by warlords (with photos) "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

November 5, 2006 -- Sanobar, an 11-years-old daughter of Gulsha, an Afghan widow, has been abducted, raped and then exchanged with a dog by warlords in Aliabad district of Kondoz province in North of Afghanistan.

WomanKind: No real change for Afghan women "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

October 31, 2006 -- An international women's rights group says guarantees given to Afghan women after the fall of the Taleban in 2001 have not translated into real change. Womankind Worldwide says millions of Afghan women and girls continue to face systematic discrimination and violence in their households and communities.

Social problems behind women's suicide in Helmand "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

October 23, 2006 -- According to Women Affairs Department ill-treatment, domestic disputes and economic problems are behind the increasing incidents of women committing suicide in the southern volatile Helmand province, also known as centre of poppy cultivation. The officials said about 18 to 20 women, most of them young girls, had committed suicide during this year in the province. Of the 20 only four girls took their lives in the last month.

Stone Age still lingers on in Bamyan, many live in caves "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

October 18, 2006 -- Those living in caves near Buddha statue in the central Bamyan province have not enough stuff to offer to their honourable guests at this special day of the year, contrary to people serving their guests with dry fruit and sweets in other parts of the country. Of the total 3,000 caves at sides of Buddha statue, about 300 of the families are living in the caves.

Millions face hunger in Afghanistan as drought worsens, warns aid group "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

October 18, 2006 -- 6.5 million people are likely to suffer chronic food insecurity due to the lack of rainfall this year, Christian Aid said.

Afghan Women Commit Suicide by Fire "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

November 18, 2006 -- Blood dripped down the 16-year-old girl's face after another beating by her drug addict husband. Worn down by life's pain, she ran to the kitchen, doused herself with gas from a lamp and struck a match. Desperate to escape domestic violence, forced marriage and hardship, scores of women across Afghanistan each year are committing suicide by fire. While some gains have been made since the fall of the Taliban five years ago, life remains bleak for many Afghan women in the conservative and violence-plagued country, and suicide is a common escape.

30 killed as two warlords clash in Herat "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

October 18, 2006 -- Fighting between two rival factions has killed about 30 people in Shindand district of the western Herat province of Afghanistan, the provincial police said on Monday.

22 civilians die in southern Afghanistan offensives by NATO "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

October 18, 2006 -- NATO air strikes in southern Afghanistan's Kandahar province killed nine civilians and wounded 11 others Wednesday, the provincial governor said. NATO said an operation was believed to have caused "several" civilian casualties.

Protesters for Jawzjan governor resignation "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

November 16, 2006 -- About 400 residents of the northern Jawzjan province Thursday in a protest rally urged Juma Khan Hamdard to quit his position as governor. Mohammad Rasul, one of the protesters, told Pajhwok Afghan News: "We don't want the governor, he belongs to Hezb-i-Islami party and is also involved in drug-trafficking."

Interview of Truth Radio in Canada with a RAWA activist "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

October 8, 2006 -- Bryan Farnum and Bob Walberg Producer Truth Radio interview RAWA member on the current issues of Afghanistan

02:02

Dr M ready to reach out to BNs anchor in Sarawak "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad indicated that he was prepared to reach out to Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu Sarawak (PBB), which is instrumental to BNs hold in Sarawak. I would like to talk to them. Whether they would like to talk to me or not, I dont know. Everybody seems to be very shy nowadays. []

02:02

Mahathir: Msia peaceful until crook, thief and robber came along "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Pakatan Harapan chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad said relatively speaking, Malaysia was a peaceful country until a crook, thief and robber showed up. Mahathir said Malaysians love their country as it gave the people a good life, although it is true that we may not be so close as to go hugging one another. He said []

02:02

Seeking new deal, Dr M pins Swak rights woes on Najib and father "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A day before Dr Mahathir Mohamads arrival in Sarawak, the states minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah told Sawakians that it was during the former prime ministers stewardship of 22 years that the states rights were eroded. However, Mahathir still received a rockstar welcome with around 10,000 people showing up at a ceramah in Kuching where []

02:02

Anwar wants us to step out of his shadow, says Nurul Izzah "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

For almost two decades, Anwar Ibrahim has been the oppositions bedrock, a political titan who had cast a long shadow over those opposed to BN. It is a shadow that his party PKR has struggled to step out of, even in his long absence due to imprisonment over sodomy charges. Reverence for Anwar had even []

02:02

Kit Siang tells Sarawak to walk the talk on Msia Agreement "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The Sarawak government must uphold the Malaysia Agreement allowing citizens to enter the state for political activities, if the state hopes for its rights to be similarly upheld under the same agreement. It is very clearly set out that legitimate political activity is permissible, that there should not be any banning of any Malaysians from []

01:45

Filioquism in Palamas, Aquinas & Augustine Jay Dyer "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A reply to various so-called Orthodox and Roman Catholic apologist attempts to reply to my essay. Ultimately these attempts fail because they do not understand hypostatic properties and the orthodox distinctions of will, nature, person and operation. As a result, both faux Orthodox and Roman Catholics congeal into a mass lump of heretical perennialism, as generic as their generic theism.

Stream Audio Here


Sunday, 24 September

21:57

The Iran "Nuclear Deal" Leads to War, Not Peace "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

September 25, 2017 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - The so-called Iran "nuclear deal," officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was hailed as "historic" when the United States among other nations became a signatory of it. Then US President Barack Obama, attempted to make convincing statements regarding America's commitment to the deal.


However, America's rhetoric compared to its actual actions diplomatically, militarily, and geopolitically told two different stories.

US Was Waging Proxy War with Iran when the Deal was Signed 

The deal was created in 2015, 4 full years since the United States engineered a destructive proxy war in Syria - one of Iran's closest and most crucial regional allies. By 2015, the United States had already committed to direct military intervention in Syria, occupying Syrian territory, directly arming, funding, and providing air support for militants seizing Syrian territory, and even constructing military bases within Syria's borders.

By 2015, the United States was revealed to have poured billions of dollars into arming militants ranging from Kurdish groups in Syria's northeast, to militants aligned to Al Qaeda and even the so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS) in northern and southern Syria.


While US President Barack Obama posed as conciliatory toward Iran, the US was steeped deeply in not only a proxy war against Syria, but ultimately a proxy war aimed directly at Iran.

According to years of US policy papers, dismantling Iran's allies in Syria and Lebanon were crucial prerequisites toward eventually undermining and overthrowing the government and political order in Iran itself.

In 2009, US corporate-financier...

18:30

Palestinians and Israelis mark interfaith new year in East Jerusalem "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Over 150 people hold a joint feast in honor of the Muslim and Jewish new years in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where Israel is working tirelessly to replace Palestinians with settlers.

Over 150 Palestinians and Jews mark both the Jewish and Muslim New Years with an interfaith dinner in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, September 21, 2017. (Orly Noy)

Over 150 Palestinians and Jews mark both the Jewish and Muslim New Years with an interfaith dinner in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, September 21, 2017. (Orly Noy)

This year, the Jewish New Year lined up with the Muslim New Year, an event that takes place once every 33 years. In honor of the double-holiday, the residents of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah decided to hold a joint new years feast for Jews and Muslims outside the Shamanseh family home, from which they were evicted by settlers two weeks ago.

[tmwinpost]

The struggle over the fate of the home may have come to an end for now, but the struggle against Israels policies of dispossession in the neighborhood, which have reared their head after a respite and now threaten dozens of families in Sheikh Jarrah, continues unabated. Palestinian activists and residents continue to arrive at the Shamanseh home every evening, making clear they are not going anywhere. [Read more on the evictions in She...

18:00

The Latest Forum on the South China Sea in Russia: In Search of a Road Map "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

IVR774

On September 18, Moscow hosted the third international scientific conference on the South China Sea, organized by the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. This was a milestone for the international scientific forum, which brought together prominent geopolitical experts studying this region from such states as the UK, Singapore, Australia, India and even Mexico. The discussion held at the forum centered around the tangle of contradictions existing in the South China Sea region, with experts trying to propose a road map that would lead to mutual peace and cooperation.

Those present at the forum have come to the conclusion that the tensions in the South China Sea have reached a new, even more dangerous level, evolving from a regional conflict that could be largely attributed to Chinas expansion into the South China Sea and its territorial disputes with ASEAN states, into a global conflict, that is being driven by a face-off between Beijing and Washington.

The experience of the two previous forums held in 2013 and 2015 has proven that opinions expressed by international experts from states in no way directly involved in the conflict are extremely beneficial in ones attempts to find a way to resolve the conflict. Previously, proposals were made to formulate new rules of engagement for all parties engaged in the South China Sea dispute in a bid to achieve deescalation. The opinions voiced at the two previous forums received a wide response in the region and were soon used by most regional players in their attempts to create a conflict-free road map.

Dmitry Mosyakov, Professor, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Director of the Centre for Southeast Asia, Australia and Oceania and the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences would discuss the pivotal aspects of the now evolved conflict in the South China Sea. In particular, he pointed out that the transition of the conflict into a direct confrontation between China and the United States gives a new quality to the existing global confrontation, which explains why the dispute is now being covered internationally by virtually every large media organization. One shouldnt overlook the fact that this latest transition changes the entire political architecture within the region.

...

16:01

Pakistan Envoy Passes off Gaza Teen as Kashmiri Girl, Misquotes Arundhati Roy "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

sushma unga arundhati roy
New Delhi:
Exercising her right to reply after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj lashed out at Pakistan for supporting terrorism, Pakistani envoy to the UN Maleeha Lodhi attacked India for killing hundreds of women, children and men in Kashmir.

In her address to the 72nd UN General Assembly session on Saturday, Swaraj had accused Pakistan of waging a war against India and said a country that has been the worlds greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity became a champion of hypocrisy by preaching about humanity from this podium.


Also Read: Losing Sight in Kashmir: Amnesty Report Highlights Trauma of Pellet-Gun Victims


She was referring to Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasis speech on Thursday wherein he accused India of state-sponsored terrorism and violating human rights.

Exercising Pakistans right to reply, Lodhi held up a photo of a battered girl to show an example of Indian brutality a...

15:38

The Iran Nuclear Deal Leads to War, Not Peace "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

4523423423The so-called Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was hailed as historic when the United States among other nations became a signatory of it. Then US President Barack Obama, attempted to make convincing statements regarding Americas commitment to the deal.

However, Americas rhetoric compared to its actual actions diplomatically, militarily, and geopolitically told two different stories.

US Was Waging Proxy War with Iran when the Deal was Signed

The deal was created in 2015, 4 full years since the United States engineered a destructive proxy war in Syria one of Irans closest and most crucial regional allies. By 2015, the United States had already committed to direct military intervention in Syria, occupying Syrian territory, directly arming, funding, and providing air support for militants seizing Syrian territory, and even constructing military bases within Syrias borders.

By 2015, the United States was revealed to have poured billions of dollars into arming militants ranging from Kurdish groups in Syrias northeast, to militants aligned to Al Qaeda and even the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) in northern and southern Syria.

While US President Barack Obama posed as conciliatory toward Iran, the US was steeped deeply in not only a proxy war against Syria, but ultimately a proxy war aimed directly at Iran.

According to years of US policy papers, dismantling Irans allies in Syria and Lebanon were crucial prerequisites toward eventually undermining and overthrowing the government and political order in Iran itself.

In 2009, US corporate-financier sponsored geopolitical policy think tank, the Brookings Institution, would publish a 170 page report titled, Which Path to Persia?: Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran (PDF), in which it proposes several options, including having Israel attack Iran on Washingtons behalf. The report states (emphasis added):

...

15:22

The Time Machine: Durga the Demoness and the Protector "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

This week, the Time Machine looks at the mythology surrounding Durga and traditions of goddess worship.

Credit: PTI

Generations of children in Kolkata have grown up watching Durga vanquish Mahishasura on Doordarshan, early in the morning, every Mahalaya complete with the sonorous chanting and ridiculously bad visual effects. Its all part of getting into the pujo feel.

Consequently, the mythology is all too familiar and almost set in stone. Mahishasura a shape shifting demon engages in some tapasya, asking the divine Brahma for powers of invincibility, specifically that he will never suffer defeat at the hands of a man. He starts out looking fairly austere, with rosary and a dreadlocked bun atop his head.

Meanwhile in heaven, a bunch of rather timorous looking Vedic devas, Indra, et al, quake in their sandals, so to speak. The demons trance will not be broken. Even when they send an apsara down to earth to tempt him out of his tapasya, the apsaras powers of seduction fail entirely. Mahishashura bats not an eyelid, such is his concentration.

Eventually, Brahma grants his wishes (because for some reason, universe-creating omnipotent deities somehow lack the power to say no), unleashing doom on his own heavenly kind.

Gloating over his newly...

15:15

Illusory Sense of Agency Has a Deeply Important Social Purpose "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Many neuroscientific studies confirm that the brains automatic pilot is usually in the driving seat, with little need for us to know whats going on.

The Sharklets (blue shirts) play the Eagles in a Future League American football youth league match in Beijing, China, May 26, 2017. Credit: Reuters

The Sharklets (blue shirts) play the Eagles in a Future League American football youth league match in Beijing, China, May 26, 2017. Credit: Reuters

I am trying to concentrate on writing this piece, but my two grandchildren in the room next door have stopped making paper aeroplanes and started arguing. You kicked me, yells Freya. Her brother Ben insists it was an accident. I didnt mean to, he cries.

Why should this be an excuse, I wonder? The pain is the same in either case.

But Freya is more concerned with Bens intention than the pain. You did it deliberately, she says. But did Ben hit her on purpose? How do we know, and why should it matter?

We humans like to think of ourselves as mindful creatures. We have a vivid awareness of our subjective e...

15:12

Theres no beautifying Israels treatment of Palestinian children "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The central problem at the heart of Israels half-century old military court system is clear: these courts will never reflect the interests of the defendants, but rather that of the regime of occupation.

By Sarit Michaeli

Israeli border police officer chases Palestinian children during land day demonstration in Damascus gate, East Jerusalem on 30 , March 2014 Land Day is held on the anniversary of March 30, 1976, when Palestinian villages and cities across the country witnessed mass demonstrations against the state's plans to expropriate 2,000 hectares of land in Israel's Galilee region. In coordination with the military, some 4,000 police officers were dispatched to quell the unrest. At the end of the day, six Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed by state security forces.

Israeli border police officer chases Palestinian children during land day demonstration in Damascus gate, East Jerusalem, March 30, 2014.

Israeli occupation apologists masquerading as protectors of Palestinian children in military detention? Few displays of alternative facts should shock us these days, but somehow an upcoming event by the Israeli right-wing group NGO Monitors at the UN Palais De Nations in Geneva comes close. Under the Orwellian title Protecting Childr...

15:10

TRAIs Order on Interconnection Charges is Full of Holes "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The regulator has abandoned an approach suited to India. Is it any wonder that its decision has sparked allegations of being skewed in favour of one company?

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's headquarters in New Delhi. Credit: PTI

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of Indias headquarters in New Delhi. Credit: PTI

The interconnection regime is really quite simple. If a call originates in network A and terminates in network B, then network A has to pay network B for the work done in terminating the call. This is called the mobile termination charge (MTC). The recent downward revision of this charge by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) is the subject of considerable controversy.

Trais decision is: (a) lower MTC from 14 paise to 6 paise; and (b) mandate that MTC shall be zero from January 1, 2020. It has been reported that the first decision bestows a benefit of  ~ Rs 5,000 crore on Jio and an equivalent loss on the other major operators. The second decision is also entirely in favour of Jio.

...

15:00

Mexicos Deep Inequality Exposed by Twin Earthquakes "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The World Bank lists Mexico as the 15th most powerful economy in the world, but its wealth has not trickled down to the southern states.

Rescue workers arrive to Juchitn, Oaxaca, which was almost completely destroyed in Mexicos September 7-8 earthquake. Credit: Reuters

Rescue workers arrive to Juchitn, Oaxaca, which was almost completely destroyed in Mexicos September 7-8 earthquake. Credit: Reuters

Early in the morning on September 16,, priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang the bell of his church in the small town of Dolores, near Guanajuato, Mexico. His parishioners gathered round, and he urged them to revolt against Spains two-year-old Napoleonic government.

Hidalgos call to arms, which later became known later as the Grito de Dolores (Cry of Dolores), triggered the Mexican War of Independence. Every September 15, the president of Mexico takes to the balcony of the National Palace in Mexico City to...

14:37

Abortion, Contraception and Pregnancy: How Womens Bodies Became a Battlezone "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Womens reproductive rights are under attack across the globe.

Erin Aniker

Womens reproductive rights are under attack across the globe. Sophie Cousins investigates the challenges women face in accessing abortion and contraception in two very different countries India and the USA.

Outside, the mid-morning heat is stifling. Its not humid like the bustling metropolises of Mumbai or Kolkata; here in New Delhi its a dry heat, the type of heat that exhausts you, made worse by a thick layer of dust which sticks to your face and stings your eyes.

On the maternity ward inside the hospital at Jamia Hamdard University all the metal gurneys are taken, some with sheets, some without.

Many women are curled up on their sides, their arms embracing the tiny babies theyve recently given life to. Their mothers and mothers-in-law crowd the otherwise sparse room with laughs of joy and excitement.

A few women, however, are not here to give birth. Vidya*, aged 18, is one of them. She arrived at the hospital yesterday with her mother. Shes two months pregnant, and unmarried a huge taboo in India.

India legalised abortion in 1971 when it passed the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, but an abortion cant be performed solely on the womans request. The procedure is allowed if her physical or mental health is under threat or the child that would be born would have such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.

...

14:30

Life After MH370 Is the Distillation of Grief Into a Pure and Elemental Homage "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

In Life After MH370: Journeying Through a Void, K.S. Narendran has decided to banish melodrama and focus on what happened, and what ought to be done next.

The Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 went missing three years ago, on March 8 2014. Credit: Reuters

The Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 went missing three years ago, on March 8 2014. Credit: Reuters

The ebb and flow of grief lends the narrative a distinct quietude. As though bereft of tears, or embarrassed by them, the narrator has decided to banish melodrama and focus on what happened, and what ought to be done next. The still voice of Life After MH370: Journeying Through a Void is that of a bereaved husband, a loving but helpless father, a worried son and son-in-law. It is also the voice of an unlikely activist one who finds solace and coherence in the collective questioning of communities grappling with the same tragedy.

...

14:29

Why India Struggles to Predict the Weather Over Its Lands "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

India has a lot to lose if it doesnt make better sense of its weather, especially for its farmers. But the nodal meteorological department has been dealing with a unique set of problems.

The rain comes down over Jamonia Johar, Madhya Pradesh, in July 2013. Credit: tataimitra/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

The rain comes down over Jamonia Johar, Madhya Pradesh, in July 2013. Credit: tataimitra/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Ankur Paliwal is a journalist. He mostly writes about science, health and the environment.

In mid-July this year, a group of farmers in Anandgaon village in Beed district of Maharashtra filed a police complaint against the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). They accused the department, which forecasts weather, of misleading them. Around that time, Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathan, a farmers body in Maharashtra, threatened to lock up IMDs office in Pune. If IMD cannot forecast accurately, it is better we shut down this department instead of keeping such white elephants, Yogesh Pande, spokesperson of the farmers body, had said.

In early June,...

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