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Sunday, 25 February

04:00

Year One of Adityanath Rule: Joblessness, Communal Violence and Dying Children "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The BJP-led Uttar Pradesh government has failed to live up to its promises to the farmers or those on healthcare and law and order, and only seems to be committed to Hindutva.

File photo of Yogi Adityanath, chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. Credit: PTI

On a chilly January morning in Lucknow this year, VVIPs and security personnel at 5 Kalidas Marg, the official residence of the Uttar Pradesh chief minister, woke up to an unusual sight quintals of potatoes lying on the road in the high security zone. Similar scenes could also be witnessed outside Raj Bhavan, the official residence of UP governor and the Vidhan Sabha building of the state.

Apparently, farmers who were unhappy with the declaration of Rs 487 per quintal minimum support price for their potato harvest (they were demanding Rs 1,000/quintal) had dumped the crop in front of the VVIP residences to show their anger. As the flabbergasted administration came into action and heads started rolling with the suspension of five policemen, UP agriculture minister Surya Pratap Shahi tried to do damage control, saying it was a conspiracy to defame the Adityanath government.

The UP police eventually succeeded in capturing the culprits of this fiasco, and put the blame squarely on people linked to the Samajwadi Party, but the incident was significant as it marked one departure. Yogiji, the hot favourite of the UP electorate, had started losing popularity and facing the ire of the farmers, who controlled the electoral destiny of the state; that too within less than a year of his coming to power....

04:00

Grime Artists Cannot Be Ignored Any Longer "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Grime MCs like Stormzy are framing their position within the socio-political context of present-day Britain and their messages can no longer be ignored by mainstream.

The cover of Stormzys studio album Gang Signs & Prayer. Credit: Stormzy/Facebook

At the Brit Awards grime artist Stormzy won both best British male and best British album. But it was his acutely insurgent performance at the close of the live BBC broadcast that really got people talking.

Amid the usual glitz, glamour and perfect lifestyles portrayed at such events, Stormzy delivered a powerful and passionate verse that built up to a direct challenge to Theresa May:

Yo Teresa May, wheres the money for Grenfell?
What, you thought we just forgot about Grenfell?
You criminals and youve got the cheek to call us savages
You should do some jail time, you should pay some damages

This is not the first time Stormzy has exploited a media platform to state his position on the Grenfell disaster, which claimed the lives of 71 people in June 2017. At Glastonbury festival last summer he criticised the May governments response to the tragedy, while he also featured on the Grenfell charity single.

...

03:30

In Photos: Discovering the True Meaning of Pluralism While Travelling Through Pakistans Tharparkar "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

In the rest of Pakistan, the Thar region is often shunned and ignored as the other.

A local chai dhaba on the Tharparkar highway

A local chai dhaba on the Tharparkar highway

It came as no surprise that I found myself completely oblivious to what Thar had to offer. The images I had of the other turned out to be a mere fragment of my own imagination.

I had heard stories of inter-religious harmony and pluralism bequeathing the region and always wondered, why has this become such an exception? Why does the rest of Pakistan choose to treat this sense of diversity as exotic? And why has one side of the border chosen to estrange itself from Thar while the other has embraced it? I wanted answers.

The quest began some 1,500 km away from my hometown, Rawalpindi, which used to be home to over 350 mandirs before Partition, but now has only one. I hoped this long journey to the desert wasnt going to be a repeat of an illicit memory of the past. Hindus forgotten and disowned, in the land o...

02:30

Visva Bharati University in the Eye of Another Storm "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

President Kovinds decision to renege on VCs appointment is yet another instance of government meddling in educational institutions.

Visva Bharati. Credit: University website

Visva Bharati. Credit: University website

President Ram Nath Kovinds unprecedented decision to retract the appointment of Swapan Kumar Dutta as head of Santiniketans Visva Bharati University comes at a time when apprehensions of government meddling in higher educational institutions are rapidly gaining ground across the country. The president is the visitor and the prime minister is chancellor of the Visva Bharati University, founded by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.

Kovinds retraction comes after the Ministry of Human Resource Development asked him to reconsider his earlier approval to Duttas appointment, reported the Indian Express.

Towards the end of last year, the president had received a panel of three names forw...

01:00

Gone Too Soon: Actress Sridevi Passes Away; Bollywood Pays Tribute "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The actress was in Dubai with her family to attend her nephews wedding.

Credit: Instagram/sridevi.kapoor

Mumbai: Veteran Bollywood actress Sridevi, who had an illustrious career spanning over four decades, passed away in Dubai. She was 54.

According to the family sources, the actor, wife of producer Boney Kapoor, reportedly died due to cardiac arrest late in the night in Dubai. She had gone there, along with her family, to attend her nephew Mohit Marwahs wedding.

While some of the family members returned from Dubai after the wedding, Sridevi, Boney and Khushi stayed back.

A versatile actor, Sridevi made her Bollywood debut in 1978 with Solva Sawan.

...

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Saturday, 24 February

17:59

Saakashvili Deported But His Deeds Follow Him Everywhere "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

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During Cold War times we were all very aware of the Domino Theory. This was the idea that the democratic states would fall like dominoes do when pushed, as the Communist states took them over one by one. Such a lesson was not lost on those working in such organizations as NED, National Endowment for Democracy who thought, albeit naively, that they had down pat the play book for colour revolutions.

Like most things from Cold War times, the Domino Theory has not disappeared. It has simply been taken over by the US. Former Soviet allies, glad to be free, have been taken into the US orbit one by one. But the game has also become more complicated: when one line of dominoes is set falling, it sets another one off, and so on ad infinitum until every sudden move sets off so many lines you cant follow each one with your eye, and some lines have to be left to fall before anyone can stop them.

You would expect things most closely associated with the US to be part of the domino game. It is therefore hardly a surprise that US golden-boy-turned-international-embarrassment Mikheil Saakashvilis latest exploits put him at the junction of two lines of dominoes which are now toppling simultaneously. Firstly, there is the line of countries which have kicked him out of their territory. Secondly there is the line of countries the US wants to keep under control by testing their loyalty.

Having failed to provoke a second comeback coup in Georgia and had his Ukrainian citizenship revoked, Saakashvili had popped up in several places. He gave a news conference from Hungary with his family, claiming to have settled there, and then tried to cross back into Ukraine from Poland, being shepherded over the border by alleged supporters.

Now he has been deported back to Poland by the Ukrainian authorities, despite the fact those same authorities gave him instant Ukrainian citizenship and made him Governor of Odessa not so long ago. In response he has flown to the Netherlands, on the basis of his wifes nationality, with no idea how long he will stay or what he will do there, a strange situation for a senior...

16:15

Spring Gala, Race, and Cultural Brain Washing "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

During the recent spring gala on CCTV1, one episode portraying friendship between China and Africa caused some backlashes mostly from liberals and America educated Chinese students on whether China was insensitive or was racism. To me its instructive that actually it shows the U.S. centric view on culture and the brain washing or propaganda that most are unaware.
To be abhorrent of blackface argument one must know its history rather than accept it without understanding and then condemn it. In U.S., especially South, mixing of blacks and whites in social settings were discouraged if not unlawful until late 1950s. There were separate bathrooms for different races, blacks have to move to the rear of buses in public transportations. Vaudeville shows using black faces to portrait black characters to avoid hiring real black actors. So use of black faces in movies, especially better paying roles by whites were normal. Othello were played by white actors in the movies until 1995. Paul Robeson was the only exception playing Othello in theatres before 1960. This is why black face is a symbol of discrimination in U.S.. It was different in Europe where black singers and actors perform with acclaim. In Africa, white men playing black doesnt exist and certainly is a cause for laughter than insult.
Of course some Chinese in U.S. being under constant cultural brain washing also inherit the same narrative of viewing blacks as lower class. preferring white as a standard of beauty, social class, and intelligence. As for China herself, the preference of whiter skin has everything to do with class. Those working in the field under the sun have darker skins than those indoor or under parasols.
China as Xi stated want to contribute to a better world and help African countries to be developed by building up their infrastructures. West can only seen from their own perspective that everything has to do with profit motive, so China must has ulterior motive. As anyone who knows Journey to the West, that monkey king is a positive character and not like in West a derogatory term of subhuman. Furthermore it was revealed it was played by a Chinese actor. As for the black woman she need to be fluent in Mandarin to convey the meaning of the skit. It certainly would be more racism to be portrayed by someone who is black speaking in halting Chinese.
Its unfortunate those liberals brainwashed in U.S., and taking offense in anything Chinese government trying to do, whether aiding Africa, eliminating poverty at home, or fighting corruption from their lens of so called phony human rights.

15:15

Protests Continue at TISS Over Cancellation of Aid for SC, ST, OBC Students "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

While the issues around student aid have been raised for more than a year now, the last four days have seen large-scale protests at all TISS campuses.

A board announcing the students' decision to boycott classes and field work at TISS Mumbai. Credit: Special arrangement

A board announcing the students decision to boycott classes and field work at TISS Mumbai. Credit: Special arrangement

Mumbai: What began as the struggle of some students belonging to marginalised sections of society studying at the premier Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in 2016 has now become a large-scale protest. A number of the institutes students have called for a complete boycott of lectures and field work.

The students union-backed protest began simultaneously on February 21 at all four TISS campuses Mumbai, Tuljapur, Hyderabad and Guwahati against the institutes decision to stop student aid to those belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) from 2016 onwards. Saturday was the fourth day of the protest.

At the beginning of the 2017 academic year, the TISS administration had suddenly announced th...

14:30

When Bollywood Reached Out to Support Martin Luther King "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

In 1965, the president of an organisation that screened Hindi films in the US wrote to Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy, donating all proceeds from the premier of a movie to the movement.

Martin Luther King Jr at a civil rights march. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Martin Luther King Jr at a civil rights march. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

In 1965, Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy received a letter from Films of India, a Los Angeles-based organisation that screened Hindi films in the US. In the letter, Ram Bagai, president of Films of India and a former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, expressed support for the US civil rights movement. Bagai offered to donate all proceeds from the New York premiere of the movie Do Aankhen Barah Haath (Two Eyes, Twelve Hands) to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the organisation King and Abernathy headed.

This letter,...

14:29

Appoint Expert Committee to Probe Functioning of Multinational Accounting Firms: SC to Centre "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

It seems that the MAFs are complying with statutory provisions and policy frameworks only in form and not in substance, the bench said.

The committee will have to submit its report within three months of being constituted. Credit: PTI

The committee will have to submit its report within three months of being constituted. Credit: PTI

The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Centre to constitute within two months a committee of experts in order to look into the functioning of the multinational accounting firms (MAFs) in India. This committee would have to submit a report on the issues highlighted by the court within three months thereafter.

The bench comprising Justice A.K. Goel and Justice U.U. Lalit was hearing an appeal demanding investigation against MAFs and Indian chartered accountancy firms (ICAFs) having and arrangement with such MAFs, for breach of Code of Professional Conduct under the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949. This appeal had been clubbed with another petition demanding similar reliefs. The issue raised in both matters was:

Whether the MAFs are operating in India in violation of law in force in a clandestine manner, and no effective steps are being taken to enforce the said law. If so, what orders are required to be passed to enforce the said law.

...

14:15

Episode 331 Why Economists Are Always Wrong "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

[audio mp3="https://www.corbettreport.com/mp3/episode331-lq.mp3"][/audio]The state of affairs in economics is not just embarrassing, it's downright perplexing. Economics is a science, right? It must follow some ironclad laws of the physical universe then, mustn't it? But somehow we always end up asking the same question: Why Are Economists Always Wrong?

13:30

Watch: 360 View of Allahabads Indian Coffee House "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Sixty years after it first opened its doors to the people of Allahabad, the Indian Coffee House is as popular as ever.

 Produced in collaboration with ICFJ-Google fellow Royden DSouza.

The post Watch: 360 View of Allahabads Indian Coffee House appeared first on The Wire.

13:30

Wide Angle Episode 23: West Has Failed, Eurasia Is the New Status Quo "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Maya Mirchandani interviews Sergey Karaganov, dean of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs at Moscows Higher School of Economics, about Russian intervention in Syria, US-Russia relations, future of Eurasia and more.

Watch all episodes of Wide Angle here.

The post Wide Angle Episode 23: West Has Failed, Eurasia Is the New Status Quo appeared first on The Wire.

12:58

Yuan-priced Futures Can Be the End of the Petrodollar Age "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

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The diminished reliance on the US dollars is one of the major trends of international geopolitics. A lot of media attention has been paid to steps taken by the BRICS states, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to decrease their dependence on American currency. Both the BRICS states and a number of other international players have repeatedly voiced their concern over the design of the modern global economic architecture that was imposed on the rest of the world by the United States. The whole structure of this global economy simply ignores the growing influence of new emerging markets. Because of Washingtons relentless desire to remain a global hegemon, imposing its will on other countries, the US dollar remains an instrument of economic suppression. The creation of the Euro, the rapid rise of the Chinese economy, and the intentions of a number of countries of the former USSR,  the Middle East and Asia to switch to regional currency settlements have transformed the US dollar in a measuring instrument, thus undermining its status as a mandatory transaction currency.

Russias and Chinas gold reserves against the dollar domination

The traditional transaction scheme, in which all financial operations are processed by London and a number of Swiss banks is losing its relevance these days as new centers of gold trade are emerging, primarily in India, China and South Africa. Suffice to say that Moscow and Beijing have already signed a memorandum on the development of mutual trade in gold. According Singapore -backed financial expert Ronan Manly, the gold reserves accumulated by China and Russia are a part of their strategy to move away from international trade denominated in US dollars. Manly is convinced that should those states show that they are holding more gold combined than the US, this would deal an enormous blow to the US dollar and to the position of the US within the global economy.

While all these initiatives can not immediately render the US dollar obsolete, one has to remember that China has been building its financial system for years and shows no signs of stopping.

The existing Western sanctions along with threats of new sanctions are forcing Chin...

12:30

Meet the Man Who Translated Guru Nanaks Japji Sahib Into Kashmiri "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Assadullah Asad, a retired government servant, has been self-publishing books both original and translated to try and popularise a lost culture.

Asadullah Asad. Credit: Majid Maqbool

Assadullah Asad. Credit: Majid Maqbool

Srinagar: Assadullah Asad, 65, a resident of Borwah village in central Kashmirs Budgam district, started writing and translating Persian poetry soon after he retired from a boring job in the planning and statistics department in 2008.

He wanted to make some Persian literature accessible in the local Kashmiri language. Since 2008, Asad has written and self-published seven books, including one of the first Kashmiri translations of the Sikh holy scripture Japji Sahib. For this, he was appreciated and facilitated by the Sikh community in Srinagar on January 5, which is Gurpurab, the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh.

The organisers had then called Asads translation a big proof of our (Kashmiri Sikhs and Muslims) brotherhood.

...

12:21

Meghalayas Most-Wanted Militant Shot Dead in Encounter With Police "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Sohan D. Shira. Credit: Twitter

Sohan D. Shira. Credit: Twitter

Shillong: Security forces today shot dead Meghalayas most-wanted militant and self-styled chief of the outlawed Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) in an encounter in East Garo Hills district, the police said.

The encounter of Sohan D. Shira, who carried a reward of Rs 10 lakh on his head, came after NCP candidate Jonathone N. Sangma was killed in an IED attack, suspected to be carried out by the GNLA in the same district on February 18.

Following Sangmas death, counter-insurgency operations had been stepped up in poll-bound South and East Garo Hills districts.

Acting on inputs regarding probable movement of some armed GNLA cadre in Dobu area, counter-insurgency forces were pressed into service, a senior police officer involved in the operations told PTI.

He said the encounter took place around 11 am in Achakpek village near Dobu, in which Sohan was killed.

East Garo Hills deputy commissioner Ram Kumar said inquest on the body of the slain militant was on and necessary formalities would follow.

...

12:00

Watch: Private Hospitals in India Making Profits up to 1737% "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A study by the drug price regulator has said that major beneficiaries of profits from inflated prices have been hospitals, not patients or manufacturers.

The post Watch: Private Hospitals in India Making Profits up to 1737% appeared first on The Wire.

11:45

Two US Warships Enter the Black Sea: a Policy of Testing Russia"s Resolve "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The US appears to be going to any length to turn the Black Sea into a real hornets nest, as if it were not already involved in enough conflicts in remote regions. This policy of testing Russias resolve could backfire like it did in 2014.

11:42

NE Dispatch: Arunachal CM Accused of Sexual Assault; 114 Candidates in Nagaland Polls Millionaires "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A round-up of whats happening in Indias Northeast.

Arunachal chief minister Pema Khandu. Credit: Twitter/@PemaKhanduBJP

Arunachal chief minister Pema Khandu. Credit: Twitter/@PemaKhanduBJP

Arunachal Pradesh: Chief minister accused of sexual assault; NCW refuses to act on the womans complaint after CJMs court dismisses allegations

A woman from Dorzeling village in Arunachal Pradeshs West Siang district has accused the state chief minister Pema Khandu of sexually assaulting her along with two others in 2008.

According to local media reports, she alleged that Khandu, along with two others Phurpa Lama Thumpeeen Tashi and Dorjee Wangchu first drugged her at the circuit house in Tawang after luring her there on the pretext of offering a job, and thereafter gangraped her.

Belonging to a powerful political family of Tawang, Khandu, son of former state chief minister Dorjee Khandu, is an MLA from Mukto constituency in Twang district and went on to become the state chief minister in July 2016.

According to a complaint filed with the N...

11:14

Where"s the Beef Stroganoff? Eight Sacrilegious Reflections on Russiagate "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The fact that so many Democrats and Democratic Party-affiliated groups and media organs are helping spread this conspiratorial and xenophobic madness is yet another reminder that the radically regressive Republicans and the deplorable dollar Democrats are two wings of the same bird of [corporate and imperial] prey (Upton Sinclair, 1904) both lethal, murderous, plutocratic, and authoritarian in their own different ways.

10:56

Nepotism Row Erupts as Mehbooba Muftis Cousin Named Executive Officer of Khadi Board "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Many have also questioned the handing over of the selection process to an outside agency when the state has its own recruitment bodies.

Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti. Credit: PTI

Srinagar: On any given day, a selection list issued by the J&K Khadi Village and Industries Board (KVIB) would have gone unnoticed in the state, but the selection of chief minister Mehbooba Muftis cousin Syed Aroot Madni as the executive officer has set tongues wagging.

The allegations are loud and shrill that the selection process was politically motivated to handpick Muftis cousin, thereby ignoring merit.

J&K Khadi Village Industries Board is a statutory body established with the aim to encourage, organise, develop and regulate khadi and village industries in the state.

Thirty-seven-year-old Syed Aroot is the son of Sartaj Madni, maternal uncle of Mehbooba and vice president of ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The junior Madni figures in the selection list at serial number 02 for the post of Executive Officer (EO), a gazetted position. As per the selection list, he has been awarded 75.75 marks....

10:45

Western Lies about Lies over Syria"s East Ghouta "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Western governments, their corporate news media, and even the United Nations chief Antonio Guterres are once again playing a disgusting, emotive propaganda game over the Syrian war.

10:14

The Censorious Left"s Latest Mania: "Decolonizing" Everything "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

At North Michigan University, students can discover how to decolonize their diet. That means learning about where the common foods and ingredients come from, what a decolonizing diet is, and how they can incorporate the diet into their daily lives.

09:49

Backstory: Diamonds Are Created Under Pressure, so Too Investigative Stories Involving Diamonds "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A fortnightly column from The Wires public editor.

Nirav Modi

Nirav Modi. Credit: Nirav Modi Jewels/Facebook

The full dimensions of Indias largest banking scam are yet to come into view with even its current price tag Rs 114 billion appearing somewhat modest. Already there is the talk of an additional liability of Rs 3,000 crore (With 2013 and 2017 the Key Dates in Nirav Modi Scam, Congress and BJP Cant Pass the Buck, February 17). As that super-capitalist Henry Ford is once said to have observed, It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.

For those Indians who have never, and never will in a hundred generations, own a Rolls Royce Ghost (Nirav Modis preferred set of wheels), the sums estimated to have simply vaporised through some extremely swift moves in this fraud could induce hallucinations. Yet, it is the money that belongs to them 99%of the countrys population that ultimately bails out the banks that bails out the scamsters, who quite possibly bail out politicians in search of handsome electoral wins and the enduring affection of the 99%.

This chain of causality can only be broken if regulatory agencies and the media perform the function of the chowkidar, to borrow an evocative expression used by Prime Minister Modi to mean the Ultimate Guar...

07:30

If Modi Believes the Palestine-Israel Tangle Can Be Solved Peacefully, Why Not India-Pakistan Too? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Instead of heeding the RSS chiefs war cry, India should re-open talks with Pakistan in keeping with the spirit of Modis call in Ramallah for peace between Israel and Palestine.

After Narendra Modi took over as prime minister, India's relations with Pakistan have deteriorated. Credit: Reuters

After Narendra Modi took over as prime minister, Indias relations with Pakistan have deteriorated. Credit: Reuters

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat has claimed that his...

07:22

Armenias Black Sea-Persian Gulf Corridor Plans Risk Antagonizing Russia "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

It could end up being attractive to Iran and India if they decide to play hardball with Russia in response to its newfound balancing relations with their Israeli and Pakistani nemeses and thus take steps to cut it out of the North-South Transportation Corridor with Europe.

The post Armenias Black Sea-Persian Gulf Corridor Plans Risk Antagonizing Russia appeared first on OrientalReview.org.

07:09

CBI Books Delhi Jeweller Over Rs 390 Crore Oriental Bank of Commerce Loan Scam "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The banks complaint accused Dwarka Seth International of cheating it with the help of corrupt officials and letters of credit, very similar to the Nirav Modi-PNB scam.

New Delhi: Another alleged fraudulent loan scam, involving nearly Rs 390 crore, has emerged in the jewelry sector.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case against a Delhi-based jeweller on a complaint from government-owned Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC).

However, as the complaint below shows, the CBI appears to have swung into action nearly six months after the bank complained.

The lender has alleged the firm, Dwarka Das Seth International, cheated the bank with the help of some of its officials, using Letters of Credit (LCs) a banking instrument similar to those used by a group of companies belonging to Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi to allegedly defraud Punjab National Bank of Rs 114 billion. An LC is an obligation accepted by a bank to make a payment if specified criteria are met.

07:08

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Compels Us to Examine Our Own Flaws "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Martin McDonaghs latest is primarily about people let down by their own selves and seems to inquire, What does it mean to live a good life?

A still from Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Seven months ago, Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) lost he...

06:18

Two Arrested, Five Taken Into Custody Over Alleged Murder of Adivasi Man in Kerala "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

One of those taken into custody for questioning has been linked with the local sitting MLA, N. Shamsudheen.

The state government has ordered a magisterial probe into the murder of Madhu. Credit: Twitter

The state government has ordered a magisterial probe into the murder of Madhu. Credit: Twitter

Kozhikode: Kerala police on Friday arrested two persons in connection with the death of Madhu, an Adivasi youth whose death sparked widespread outcry in the state, and took five others into custody for questioning.

Madhu, 27, died in a police vehicle after being violently attacked by a mob that accused him of being involved in a minor theft.

Photos of Madhu and some of his alleged attackers have surfaced on social media, inviting public outcry. One among them is of a man later identified as Ubaid, a local youth who is seen taking a selfie with a disheveled Madhu and another man in the background. In the photo, Madhus arms are tied up.

Responding to the outrage over his death, the state government on Friday ordered a magisterial probe into the inci...

06:10

The Coming of First Northern War in Syria "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

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With war into its sixth year, it is by far clear to all the actors involved in the Syrian conflict that Syrias Assad is not going home now. But then this war was never about one person only; it was more about changing fundamentally the Middle Easts geo-political landscape in favour of the Wahabbi centre of power and rid the region of a common enemy of the US, Israel and Wahabbism: Iran. And the way the war in Syria progressed throughout these years and the way this has changed the geo-political landscape to the orchestrators disadvantage means that this war in not going to end any time soon. A mere restoration of Syrian territory and sovereignty wouldnt do that either, for the real target of the US-Saudi nexus, Iran, remains strong, in fact much stronger than it was before the beginning of this war. Therefore, now that Russia and its allies have succeeded in voiding imperial agenda of regime change in Syria, the US still has no intention of withdrawing. Instead, it is now demanding from Russia to distance itself (its interests) from that of Iran in Syria, and thus allow some space for the US and its regional allies, Saudia and Israel, to push back Iran from Syria and limit its influence. This is hardly any doubt that this is a sure-short recipe of new conflict in the region.

The US, on its part, has already started to build up pressure. This is evident from the video the Pentagon released in the second week of February, showing its fighter jets destroying a Russian tank, giving a message to Russia about the imperative of staying clear of the next fight-in-the-making in Syria in which Israel is taking the lead, evident from its last weeks air attacks and the consequent downing of one its jets. There is no doubt that Israel has the US backing against Iran. And there is hardly any doubt that the momentum for an armed conflict isnt being built. Its most recent manifestation came from James Mattis on February 12 when he defended Israels right to self-defence. He said:

Israel has an absolute right to defend itself, and I think thats what happened yesterday..They dont have to wait until their citizens are dying under attack before they actually address that issue. So when Syria, which has made no excuse for what theyre doing alongside Iran, when they are providing throughout for Iran to give weapons, including more sophisticated weapons, to the Lebanese Hezbollah, Israel has an absolute right to defend themselves. It is interesting that everywhere we...

05:00

As Mumbais Iconic Strand Book Stall Shuts Shop, Its the Personal Touch That Will Be Missed Most "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

As yet another bookstore succumbs to the realities of the new literary order, its clear the world today has no time for small, intimate places that worked like a balm for the soul.

The Strand bookstore. Credit: The Wire

Some years ago, I visited one of those chain bookstores vast, well lit, pleasantly designed which are supposed to be mainly book shops but also sell DVDs, jigsaw puzzles, pens, video games and backpacks. These stores are full of eager helpers and it was one of those I approached. I asked him where I could find To Kill a Mockingbird.

Sure sir, he answered with enthusiasm and began rummaging in a section labelled crime.

I tell this story not to ridicule or mock but just to point out the hazards of not having staff that intimately knows what it sells. They are hired for their presentability and for a sum of money that is economical in every way, but rarely because they are well-read. A salesperson in a bookshop is not seen to be a job with much of a future. And the corporation that owns these chains doesnt really care they just want to keep the goods (books, DVDs and puzzles) moving.

But Strand Book Stall in the business district of Fort in Mumbai is the exact opposite. Its small and packed with books from top to bottom. There is categorisation of sorts, but generally one just browses from one section to the other, taking a chance on what could be find; serendipity is part of the joy. The staff is well informed and can quickly find a book, or promise to get it in a couple of days. And of course, there was T.N. Shanbagh.

But on 27 F...

05:00

US Imposes More North Korea Sanctions, Donald Trump Warns of Phase Two "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announces fresh North Korea-related sanctions in a bid to further isolate Pyongyang, in the press room at the White House in Washington on Friday. Credit: Reuters

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announces fresh North Korea-related sanctions in a bid to further isolate Pyongyang, in the press room at the White House in Washington on Friday. Credit: Reuters

Washington/Seoul: The US said on Friday it was imposing its largest package of sanctions to pressure North Korea to give up its nuclear missile programme, and President Donald Trump warned of a phase two that could be very, very unfortunate for the world if the steps did not work.

In addressing the...

04:40

A Chronicle of the Crime Fiction That is Adityanaths Encounter Raj "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

In the last ten months, the UP police has conducted four encounters a day. The Wire met the families of 14 people killed in these incidents.

Collage of victims of police encounters in Uttar Pradesh.

Shamli (Uttar Pradesh): On October 8, 2017, the day Furquan showed up unexpectedly at his home, his sons, aged 12 and 10, could not recognise him. They hadnt seen him in seven years as he had been locked up in the Muzaffarnagar jail as an undertrial in a case involving a village brawl.

Furquan, who was 33, worked at a local bandsaw machine unit before he was arrested in Titarwada village of Shamli district. We did not have the money or a guarantor to get him released so we were surprised that he was out,says Nasreen, his wife. The villagers informed her that a week back, the police came to the village to negotiate a settlement with the complainants in Furquans case. That is how he was released.  Two weeks later, on October 23, 2017, he was shot dead by the police in an encounter.

The police claimed he was involved in a large number of dacoities in Saharanpur, Shamli and Muzaffarnagar. I want to ask two things, says Nasreen. One, when he was in jail for seven years, how come he was also part of these dacoities? And two, why did the cops negotiate his release on the...

04:30

When Citizens Set the Budget: Lessons from Ancient Greece "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Politicians assume that voters cannot face the financial truth. To democracy experts this is just wrong. Involving voters results in better budgets as shows history from ancient Greece.

File 20180215 131000 kd97z6.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Pamphlets for participatory budgeting processes in New York , a system that dates back to ancient Greece. Credit: Daniel Latorre/Flickr, CC BY

Today elected representatives take the tough decisions about public finances behind closed doors. In doing so, democratic politicians rely on the advice of financial bureaucrats, who, often, cater to the political needs of the elected government. Politicians rarely ask voters what they think of budget options. They are no better at explaining the reasons for a budget. Explanations are usually no more than vacuous phrases, such as jobs and growth or on the move. They never explain the difficult trade-offs that go into a budget nor their overall financial reasoning.

This reluctance to explain public finances was all too evident during the global financial crisis.

In Australia, Britain and France, centre-left governments borrowed huge sums in order to maintain private demand and, in one case, to support private banks. In each country these policies helped a lot to minimise the crisiss human costs.

Yet, in the elections that followed the centre-left politicians that had introduced these policies refused properly to justify them. They feared that voters would not tolerate robust discussion about public finances. Without a justification for their generally good policies each of these government was defeated by centre-right opponents.

In most democracies there is the same underlying problem: elected representatives do not believe that voters can tolerate the financial truth. They assume that democracy is not good at managing public finances. For them it can only balance the budget by leaving voters in the dark.

For decades, we, independently, have studied democracy today and in the ancient past. We have learned that this assumption is dead wrong. There are more and more examples of how involving ordinary voters results in better budgets.

In 1989, councils in poor Brazilian towns began to involve residents in setting budg...

04:30

Could Kamal Haasans Party Launch Mark the Beginning of an Axis Which Will Challenge BJP in 2019? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Arvind Kejriwals presence at Haasans party launch and positive responses from Pinarayi Vijayan and Chandrababu Naidu suggest possibilities of new political alignments.

Kamal Haasan with Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal during the launch his political party in Madurai. Credit: PTI

The launch of actor Kamal Haasans new party Makkal Needi Maiam (MNM) this week may, in itself, not be a marker of immediate electoral signific...

04:00

As SC Benches Fight Turf Battles, Precedents and Conventions Suffer "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

In the Supreme Court, a battle is being fought over judicial discipline and institutional integrity.

Supreme Court. Credit: Reuters

Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: On Thursday, two benches of the Supreme Court, one presided by Justice Arun Mishra and another by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, requested the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra to consider, whether a larger bench has to decide the correctness of the decision rendered by a three-judge bench on Wednesday, February 21, in a land acquisition matter.

Their reference to the CJI has plunged the apex court into a fresh controversy involving their due adherence to precedents and conventions, even as the court is struggling to recover from the aftermath of the January 12 press conference of the four senior-most judges, where they expressed their extreme discomfort with the listing of sensitive matters by the CJI before preferred benches.

In order to understand the latest controversy, we need to explain the sequence of events, and the issues involved.

The chain of events

On Wednesday, February 21,...

04:00

Coral Reefs at Risk of Dissolving as Oceans Get More Acidic, Finds Study "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Ocean acidification will threaten sediments that are building blocks for reefs.

A man snorkels in an area called the Coral Gardens near Lady Elliot Island, on the Great Barrier Reef, northeast of Bundaberg town in Queensland, Australia, June 11, 2015. Credit: Reuters/David Gray/File Photo

Oslo: Coral reefs could start to dissolve before 2100 as man-made climate change drives acidification of the oceans, scientists said on Thursday.

Acidification will threaten sediments that are building blocks for reefs....

04:00

Debate: The Fifteenth Finance Commission is Vital for Economic Equality Within the Indian Union "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

It would be utterly unjust to expect that better off states be rewarded with more central revenues in addition to their already increased state tax revenues.

While some of the terms of reference of the 15th FC should be ironed out, the advantages of India as a political and economic union should not be so easily dismissed. Credit: PTI

While some of the terms of reference of the 15th Financial Commission should be ironed out, the advantages of India as a political and economic union should not be so easily dismissed. Credit: PTI

For fans of schadenfreude, Britains brexit shambles has provided much fodder over the last eighteen months or so. As the members of the campaign to leave the European Union are beginning to find out, the task of leaving an economic and political union is immense with unforeseen problems cropping up every other day. All the promised dreams of increased revenues and independence are evaporating the in the face of the harsh realities of what promises to be a messy divorce.

It is in this context that one must appreciate the somewhat apocalyptic claims made by R.S. Nilakantan in his article on the fifteenth finance commission in The Wire.

The claim made, broadly, is that the fifteenth commissions proposal to use the 2011 Census figures as the basis to allocated union tax revenues will adversely affect the ability of Tamil Nadu and Kerala to provide an effective welfare state for th...

03:30

Assam Governments Reluctance to Check Pilferage of Coal in Ledo-Margherita "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

With coal thieves hand-in-glove with the police and administration, the plunder of coal in the four mines around Ledo-Margherita has been an open secret in Assam for a long time.

Credit: Rajeev Bhattacharyya/The Wire

On 12 February, Assam industries and commerce minister Chandra Mohan Patowary informed the assembly that a CID probe has been ordered into the smuggling of coal from the mines at Ledo-Margherita on the eastern flank of the state bordering Arunachal Pradesh. The government swung into action only after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) cracked the whip late last month ordering an inspection of the affection zone and appropriate action if the allegations were proved true.

That the BJP-led government in Assam has been reluctant to check the racket is revealed by an earlier report of the CID which was submitted to the state home department in January last year. The department initiated a probe after a complaint by the general secretary of the BJP branch in Margherita Krishna Kumar Saikia.

The Enquiry Officer has come to know during the discreet enquiry that the illegal transportation of coal has been going on for last many years and it is still continuing with support from the police, local politician, some officials of Coal India Ltd, etc, said the report which was compiled by additional superintendent of police Nirmal Baishya.

The report identified the mining areas of Ledo, Lekhapani, Tirap and Tipong in Margherita Circle of Tinsukia district as being...

03:30

Seychelles Preserves Swathes of Marine Territory in Debt-for-Nature Deal "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Seychelles gave details on the first 210,000 square kilometre area to be conserved, limiting activities like fishing, oil exploration and large-scale development in the most fragile habitats.

A general view of Seychelles beach February 29, 2012. Credit: Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah/File Photo

Victoria: The island nation of Seychelles designated some of its fragile coastal areas for protection from commercial fishing, oil exploration and development this week in return for a novel deal relieving it of part of its sovereign debt.

The Indian Ocean island, rich in underwater reefs and postcard-perfect beaches, defaulted on its debt in 2008 and clawed its way back to prosperity with assistance from the International Monetary Fund.

Since then, government officials have been searching for ways to preserve their environment without endangering financial stability.

...

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Friday, 23 February

17:19

What Would an "America First!" Security Policy Look Like? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Republicans are hardly the zealous guardians of the public purse they would have Americans believe. While quick to trash their partisan opponents for making free with taxpayers money, they are no less happy to do the same at least when its called national defense.

16:19

Five Years Later, Will India Finally Be Getting a Lokpal? Centre Tells SC Yes "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

While hearing a petition filed by NGO Common Cause, the government told the Supreme Court that the process to appoint a Lokpal has begun and that a crucial meeting will take place on March 1.

Anna Hazare displays a mock torch to his supporters on the fourth day of his fasting at Ramlila grounds in New Delhi on August 20, 2011. Credit: Reuters/Parivartan Sharma

New Delhi: The long wait that India has undergone in anticipation of a Lokpal may soon be coming to an end. The Centre...

16:01

Jan Gan Man Ki Baat Episode 201: Private Hospitals in India Are Making Profits up to 1737% "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Vinod Dua discusses a study conducted by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Agency (NPPA) of the bills of four major private hospitals following several cases of overpricing.

The post Jan Gan Man Ki Baat Episode 201: Private Hospitals in India Are Making Profits up to 1737% appeared first on The Wire.

15:47

"IndyWatch Feed Asia"

February 23, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - At the end of December 2017 the Western media reported "widespread" protests sweeping Iran. Narratives indistinguishable from the US-engineered "Arab Spring" in 2011 flooded headlines and social media regarding a "popular uprising" spurred first by alleged economic grievances before protesters then began making demands echoing the US State Department regarding Iran's internal domestic affairs as well as its foreign policy.


The protests were in fact so indistinguishable from the now admittedly US-engineered "Arab Spring" that still-fresh disillusionment regarding the fate of nations like Libya and Syria likely played  a role in blunting the efficacy of the protests in Iran.

Western Propaganda Outlived Actual Unrest 

An article in Politico titled, "Why the Iranian Uprising Wont Die," in an attempt to qualify and promote the West's narrative regarding the Iranian protests would claim:
...Iranians were enraged as they struggled to feed their children while their government spent billions on its foreign adventures in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. While Iran was made poor, the regime became richer. While Iranians suffered, the regimes allies became powerful and prosperous.
Yet when Politico published the article on January 7, 2018, written by RAND Corporation analyst Alireza Nader, the protests had already since "died."

Politico's article wasn't the only one published days and even weeks after the protests had already ended - indicating that the Western media had prepared weeks - even months of propaganda to fuel Iranian unrest within information space as US-backed opposition groups attempted to fuel it on the ground.

Despite preparations that US policy papers indicate were years in the making - which included not only the creation of opposition fronts and armed militant groups within and along Iran's borders but the encirclement of Iran itself by US military bases includ...

15:16

Democracy vs Regime Change "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

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Frenzy over Russian alleged meddling in the 2016 election has replaced rational discourse in the American media. The emotion displayed is similar to that which would follow a military attack, as if none of those expressing indignation were living on the same planet upon which the US has repeatedly visited such acts.

A senior Democratic congressman, Jerold Nadler, actually compared Russian alleged mischief to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, to the surprise of anchor Chris Hayes, who departed from his usual cool by asking him: Do you really believe that? Nadler shot back that the US is defined as a demo-cratic country, thus Russian meddling was the equivalent of breaking our democracy. To which Hayes felt compelled to admit that it was, after all, an attack on our soil..

Having internalized the myth that the US brings demo-cracy to the world by military means, intelligent Americans now suggest that the activities of a foreign power involving bots and other electronic tools is equivalent to a kinetic attack even though there are no fatalities! (They also appear to have confused the Communist mantra that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun, with the idea that democracy does likewise when the gun is in foreign hands.)

The other complaint regarding Russias meddling is that it has divided Americans and caused them to lose faith in their democratic system. But how can they have faith in the American system when it condemns Americans to being light years behind the rest of the developed world in terms of their security, both military and civilian? After the worst mass school shooting, Paul Ryan, the Republican who runs the House of Representatives ruled out new legislation on guns demanded by the soon-to-be- adult high school students who survived the ordeal.

Progressives wonder why so many low-income voters cast their ballots for the right, as in the election of Donald Trump, discounting the colossal amounts of money devoted to convincing workers of ideas like Trade unions deprive you of your individual rights. An article in the current issue of In These Times...

15:00

The Modi Government Is Hiding Information About Black Money Inside a Black Hole "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The finance ministry and a national public finance institute under its control have refused to give copies of research reports on black money sought under the RTI.

The SIT on black money must be opened to greater public scrutiny. Credit: Reuters

The SIT on black money must be opened to greater public scrutiny. Credit: Reuters

During his reply on the motion of thanks to the address of the president of India in the Lok Sabha on February 7, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi compared his governments efforts to curb corruption and flush out black money with the...

15:00

Mexico Saw 29,000 Murders Last Year Can Soldiers Stop the Bloodshed? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Exactly 234,966 people have died in Mexicos 11-year drug war. Now the government wants to deploy soldiers to criminal hot spots, a move many fear will just increase violence and weaken the police.

Murder rates in Mexico have spiked since the military was first sent in to fight organized crime in 2006. Credit: Henry Romero/Reuters

Mexicos war on drugs has left 234,966 people dead in the last 11 years. In 2017 alone, the country saw some 29,000 murders, the highest annual tally since such record-keeping began in 1997.

For years, incensed Mexicans have demanded that President Enrique Pea Nieto now in the final stretch of his six-year term take action. Recently, lawmakers from his Revolutionary Institutional Party proposed a controversial solution: Put Mexicos military on the streets to fight crime.

Desp...

14:48

Northern Ireland Abortion Laws Violate Womens Rights, Says UN Body "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A UN committee also found that the UK breaches the rights of women in Northern Ireland by unduly restricting their access to abortion.

Women gather for a protest in support of legal abortion in Northern Ireland in central London in June 2017. Credit: Reuters/Marko Djurica/File Photo

Geneva: The UK violates womens rights in...

14:42

Chinas New Anti-Graft Super Ministry Adds to Concerns About Suspects Rights "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

In March, to oversee the fight against corruption, Chinas parliament is expected to establish the National Supervision Commission.

A member of security personnel stands guard at headquarters of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China in Beijing on February 10. Credit: Reuters/Jason Lee

Beijing: A new super-ministry set to deepen Chinese President Xi Jinpings war on graft and extend it to all state employees is likely to undermine years of work by Chinese legal re...

14:30

Home Ministry, IB Target Kashmirs Singham for Seditious Writings in Media "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The MHA wanted IPS officer Basant Rath disciplined for writing columns dangerously critical of government policy but the J&K government chose to promote him instead.

Inspector General of Police (Traffic) Basant Rath, right, during a traffic inspection in Jammu on Tuesday. Less than a fortnight into his new assignment, Rath has been trying to manage traffic in Jammu that is drawing applause and brickbats for his flamboyant work style, with some comparing him to the wildly popular protagonists in Bollywood movies like Singham and Dabangg. Credit: PTI .

New Delhi: At a time when non-state actors are attacking the freedom of expression of students...

14:30

Family of Slain Budgam Faith-Healer Alleges Police Cover-up, Says He Was Not Mentally Challenged "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Had the forces guarding the Air Force station fired warning shots even on his legs, maybe he would have survived, say his sons, who have called for an impartial inquiry.

Habibullahs picture on his sons mobile phone. Credit: Majid Maqbool

Soibugh, Budgam: The family members of 65-year-old Syed Habibullah, a resident of Astanpora, Soibug area of central Kashmirs Budgam district shot dead on the midnight of January 19 outside the Indian Air Force station in Budgam after he crossed the security fence and came close to the station perimeter wall have contested police claims that the elderly man was mentally challenged. Habibullahs sons said their father was mentally stable, except for some general weakness due to old-age related health issues since last year.

As per the police statement released soon after the incident, at around midnight one yet to be identified individual entered the security zone area at Air Force station Budgam. He crossed the security fence and came close to the station perimeter wall, the statement said, adding, despite repeated warning from the sentry the individual did not stop. The sentry fired some warning shots in air but the individual did not stop. The sentry fired towards him.

The police statement went on to add that spot examination revealed that the individual of about 50-55 years of age who appears to be mentally challenged has died in the incident, further pointing put that the person was not...

14:30

Neanderthals, Not Modern Humans, Were Europes First Painters "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

New analysis from Spain provides the strongest evidence yet that Neanderthals had the cognitive capacity to understand symbolic representation, a central pillar of human culture.

A colour-enhanced hand stencil from the Maltravieso Cave, made by a Neanderthal is seen in Pasiega, Spain in this photo obtained February 21, 2018. Credit: Univeristy of Southampton/Handout via Reuters

London: The worlds oldest known cave paintings were made by Neanderthals, not modern humans, suggesting our extinct cousins were far from being uncultured brutes.

A high-tech analysis of cave art at three Spanish sites, published on Thursday, dates the paintings to at least 64,800 years ago, or 20,000 years before modern humans arrived in Europe from A...

14:21

Russia In Lebanon: Anti-Zionist Agenda Or Pro-Israeli Pivot? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

There is no way that Russias expanded military-energy presence in Lebanon is against Israels interests, but is actually to its regional advantage in the sense that it seeks to replace Saudi Arabias recently declining role in the country and therefore counterbalance Iranian influence.

The post Russia In Lebanon: Anti-Zionist Agenda Or Pro-Israeli Pivot? appeared first on OrientalReview.org.

14:18

Sunjuwan Attack Triggers Communal Tension in Jammu "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The attack on an army camp has fuelled a sense of insecurity around the perceived changes in the areas demographics .

Army officers during the Sunjuwan attack. Credit: PTI

Army officers during the Sunjuwan attack. Credit: PTI

Jammu: Three terrorists who attacked an army camp in Sunjuwan, Jammu city, on February 10 most likely stayed in a shed a few metres from the rear side of the camp, though the police is yet verify this. After the attack, security forces noticed graffiti on the wall of the shed: Go India Go Back.

Such graffiti may pop up in some parts of Kashmir but is unimaginable in Jammu city, which is 300-km south of the Valley and the political and ideological base of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The police was quick to paint over the Gos in black, so the graffiti now r...

14:10

Assault on Delhi Chief Secretary: Police Raid Kejriwals Residence to Recover CCTV Footage "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted asking if the police would similarly raid BJP president Amit Shah in connection with the judge Loya death case.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. Credit: File photo

New Delhi: In its investigation into the alleged assault on Delhi chief secretary Anshu Prakash at chief minister Arvind Kejriwals residence, the Delhi police on Thursday raided his bungalow and seized the CCTV footage of the cameras installed t...

13:34

For Many in Rural UP, Ration Cards Are Still Out of Reach "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Miles away from the fancy investors summits and the capital city, the states most basic concern remains as unaddressed as ever.

Credit: Khabar Lahariya

I first went to get my ration quota online in 2015, it was sometime in May. I was told I would get my card by July. Then in 2016, I was told it was cancelled. I was asked to apply for it afresh in May since systems were being transitioned, so I did. Nothing happened through the rest of the year either servers were not working, or something else was wrong.

In a nutshell, Neelam, from Banda towns Bijli Kheda colony in Bundelkhand, describes how the last year panned out for her while navigating through the jungle of red tape that surrounds the making of a ration card. Ab 2018 aa gaya hai, hum phir aa gaye hain. (And now its 2018, and Im back here again), she concludes.

Her need isnt an ordinary one, though if you go by the numbers game, then it is perhaps the most ordinary of all. In India, if you are part of the below poverty line (BPL) population, then your ration needs are meant to be addressed urgently; the government provides it to you at subsidised rates, or free of cost. Your ration card the singular access point to avail the ration, is meant to be processed and issued at once, hassle-free. However, the picture on the ground tells an entirely different story.

As Naniya of Piparhari village in Naraini block of Banda district shares, Ive spent days and days crying and pleading with the pradhan. He asks me, ...

13:30

Asphyxiated by Politics, Secularism Gasps for Breath: Can the Supreme Court Rescue It? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Secularism has been reduced to a prosthetic limb as implicit attacks on it have become more direct and visible with the BJP even calling it the biggest lie played on Indian citizens.

Secularism is intrinsic to Indian constitutional identity. Credit: Reuters

Secularism is gasping for breath and politics is asphyxiating it through peddling of soft Hindutva by Congress and hard Hindutva by BJP. Five days after the Supreme Court heard the Babri Masjid mattera Ram Rajya Rath Yatra backed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) from Ayodhya to Rameshwaram was flagged off to mobilise support for building a grand Ram temple at Ayodhya.

13:00

Netanyahus downfall is nothing to celebrate "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Netanyahu needs to go, but progressives are mistaken if they think that the end of his rule will halt Israels rightward march. 

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the opening ceremony of the inauguration of the new emergency ward at the Barzilay hospital, in Ashkeon. February 20, 2018. (FLASH90)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the opening ceremony of the inauguration of the new emergency ward at the Barzilay hospital, in Ashkeon. February 20, 2018. (FLASH90)

The myriad corruption scandals engulfing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have, on a near daily basis, been growing and spreading like cracks in a windshield. True or not, the the question of if King Bibis reign is coming to an end feels like it has officially been supplanted by predictions about when the house of cards will come crashing down.

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Even more dizzying is how we are becoming privy to corruption, attempts to corrupt, and general malfeasance in nearly all of the institutions that comprise a democratic state as we know it.

In the past few weeks and months we have learned how politicians, regulators, and oligarchs conspired to shape the news we are fed by the biggest and most influential news outlets, confirming our worst fears about the state of journalism in Israel. Th...

13:00

Adityanath Claims UP Govt Gave Farmers Rs 80,000 Cr. Fact: It Gave 1/6th That Amount "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Fact-checking five claims made by the UP CM on direct benefit transfers, ease of doing business, riots, dues paid to sugarcane farmers and hours of power supply to farmers.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath. Credit: PTI

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath. Credit: PTI

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, in a television interview, talked about his governments performance over the last ten months, ahead of the investors summit held on February 21 and 22, 2018. We fact-checked five claims made by the UP chief minister on direct benefit transfer (DBT), ease of doing business rankings, riots, dues paid to sugarcane farmers and hours of power supply to farmers of which two are unclear, one false, one true and one partially true.

1. Claim: In the last ten months, UP government has disbursed over Rs 80,000 crore to farmers via direct benefit transfer.

12:56

Pakistan Placed on Terrorist Financing Watchlist by Global Watchdog "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Pakistans last-minute efforts to avoid being placed on the list, which included taking over bodies linked to a powerful Islamist figure, proved insufficient.

A helicopter flies past a Pakistans national flag. Credit: Reuters/Akhtar Soomro/Files

Islamabad: A global money-laundering watchdog has placed Pakistan back on its terrorist financing watchlist, Indian media and a diplomatic source said on Friday, in a likely blow to both Pakistans econo...

12:38

Punjab National Banks Move to Have PwC Probe Nirav Modi Scam Sparks Concern "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Questions over the audit firms spotty record in India have been raised in light of the move to have it investigate the Rs 11,000 crore PNB scandal.

The logo of accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: Punjab National Bank, currently reeling from the Rs 11,000 crore Nirav Modi scam, has reportedly tapped audit and consultancy firm PwC to conduct a probe into the fraud.

A report in The Economic Times on Friday notes that the auditor will examine the workings of the alleged fraud and help the bank build a case against jewellers Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi.

According to the report, PwC will specifically look at how th...

12:30

The Army Chief Ignored a Crucial Reality: AIUDFs Political Trajectory Has Been on the Decline "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

General Bipin Rawat is perhaps not fully aware of the nature of Indian politics, where parties frequently change gear and shift sides.

The general has failed to take into account that AIUDF president Badruddin Ajmal had lost the 2016 assembly election in his own constituency. Credit: PTI

In suggesting a possible link between Assams All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and planned immigration, General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff, has ignored a crucial reality.

The general has failed to take into account that AIUDF president Badruddin Ajmal had lost the 2016 assembly election in his own constituency to Wajid Ali Chaudhary, a Muslim candidate, fielded by the Congress. He has also ignored the fact that that the AIUDF, which performed badly in the 2016 polls, was voted out of power.

The AIUDFs performance stood in contrast to that of the Congress and its 15 Muslim nominees, all of whom won their seats. It should also be noted that the two Muslim candidates fielded by the BJP were also successful in winning their seats that year. The AIUDFs results were somewhat unusual especially considering that the organisation had given tickets to more Muslim candidates than the Congress had.

One should not forget that in 2016, Badruddin Ajmal, the perfume baron-cum-politician lost the Muslim dominated Dhubri seat by a margin of over 14,000 votes. What is more: his constituency falls in the region having a sizeable population of Bengali-speaking Muslims and not Assamese-spea...

12:00

Simultaneous Elections or Centralisation of Power? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The proposal for synchronised polls strikes at the heart of the constitution, as it requires making major changes to the federalism governing Centre-state ties and expanding the powers of the president.

With the new OBC Bill, the authority to grant reservation will rest with parliament. Credit: PTI

The proposed plan for synchronised polls are not important, the sweeping changes that will be required in the Constitution are. Credit: PTI

The prime minister loses no opportunity to speak about the need for simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. The president spoke about it as well in his address to parliament in end January.

With the drumbeats building up, it is time to dissect this proposal. It is a dangerous one. If pushed through, it will tinker with the basic structure of the constitution, alter the balance of Centre-state relations, further centralise powers, give more powers to the president and thereby modify the Indian parliamentary system for the worse.

Elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies were, in...

11:45

Moldova Embraces NATO: Fools Rush In Where Angels Fear to Tread "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Moldova seldom hits media headlines but the situation there is another example of creeping NATO expansion. The US is in the process of establishing its military presence there to make American soldiers and Russian peacekeepers watch each other through gun sights.

11:27

UN Says 40 Sexual Abuse Accusations Received in Last Quarter of 2017 "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A UN logo is seen on a glass door in the Assembly Building at the UN headquarters in New York City September 18, 2015. Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar/Files

United Nations: Forty allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse were made during the last three months of 2017 against UN peacekeeping missions, agencies, funds and programmes and implementing partners, the world body said on Thursday.

Of the 40 accusations, 15 were reported from peacekeeping operations, 17 came from UN agencies...

11:15

Rogue State "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

What is this country we are asked to love? This might once have been an easy question to answer. National identity was built around a range of institutions, considered to represent the national interest. Rebellion against them was characterised as treason. But one by one, these institutions have been subverted from within. Look to the top to see treachery at work.

11:00

Rajasthan Farmers Protest Against Rajes Half-Hearted Attempts at Loan Waiver "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Backtracking on earlier assurances of complete loan waivers, the ones announced are only on short-term loans taken by small and marginal farmers from cooperative banks.

A farmer leader addressing the agitating farmers at the Tatiyawas Toll Plaza in Chomu. Credit: Shruti Jain

A farmer leader addressing the agitating farmers at the Tatiyawas Toll Plaza in Chomu. Credit: Shruti Jain

Jaipur: Despite a massive crackdown, thousands of farmers protested against the Vasundhara Raje-led governments budget announcement in various parts of the state capital on Thursday (February 22). The protests were held under the leadership of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS).

In order to deter the agitating farmers from staging a mahapadav (mass sit-in) around the Rajasthan state assembly, the entry points of the capital were sealed and farmers leaders, including veteran Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Amra Ram who was leading the protest were arrested on Tuesday (February 20) under Section 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

On their way to the state capital to stage the protest, about 179 people from Chomu, Kala Dera, Jhunjhunu, Nagaur, Bikaner, Sriganganagar, Hanumangarh...

10:45

US Aggression in Syria an Imperialist Blueprint "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Syrias prolonged conflict and misery going into its eighth year is no accident. It is by design. American imperialist design.

10:38

Gujarat Home Minister Continues Hate-Mongering, Says Butchers, Bootleggers Didnt Vote for BJP "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

I (will) tell you who did not vote for us. It was those butchers who were angry at us for introducing a tough anti-cow slaughter law.

Gujarat home minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja. Credit: Facebook

New Delhi: Speaking in the Gujarat assembly on Thursday, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja said that the BJPs tally in the state assembly elections last year was restricted to 99 seats because butchers. bootleggers and those opposing the proposed triple talaq bill didnt vote for the party.

In the elections held last December, the BJP retained power for a sixth term in the state, though with a reduced number of seats. The Congress won 77 seats in the 182-member house.

Speaking on the motion of thanks to governor O.P. Kohli on the first day of the Budget session, Jadeja, Gujarats minister of state for home, said, I (will) tell you who did not vote for us. It was those butchers who were angry at us for introducing a tough anti-cow slaughter law. It was bootleggers who were angry because the BJP government has introduced a tough prohibition law.

Many school owners were unhappy because we brought a law to cap their fees. Those who were angry with the BJP gover...

10:30

In West UP, Where Dalit Movements Are on the Rise, RSS Plans Mega Meet to Instil National Pride "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat will address the congregation of about 3.1 lakh swayamsevaks this Sunday in Meerut on 650-acre land owned by the UP Housing Development Board.

Stage under construction for the RSS mega meet in Meerut. Credit: Munish Kumar

The massive stage under construction will have a cut-out, 200 feet in length, 100 feet in width, and 35 feet high, depicting a scene from the epic Mahabharata where Krishna is seen offering advice to Arjuna. Credit: Munish Kumar

On either side of a freshly paved road, heavy land-levelling machines are at work to flatten out 650 acres of land. A massive under-construction stage can be seen in the distance on one side of the road, and an array of saffron flags as far as the eye can see on the other. We are in Meerut. This is the site of Rashtroday, what the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is calling its biggest ever event, to be held on February 25.

The event, according to the RSS, will see a congregation of 3.1 lakh swayamsevaks (RSS volunteers) from the 14 districts that form Meerut pranth (province). The RSS had op...

10:15

Moscow Begins Crypto-Elections Testing: Thumbs Nose at US "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The irony is so thick youd think it was made from ballistic jelly. But, thats exactly whats needed to contain this shot across the election-tampering bow the Russians just pulled off.

09:55

Papers of Predatory Journals May Soon Be Available in Indian Languages "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The OMICS Group, a potential, possible or probable predatory publisher, has signed an MoU with the Adityanath government to setup a centre to translate its papers into Indian languages.

The OMICS Group was sued in September 2016 by the US Federal Trade Commission. Credit: Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The OMICS Group was sued in September 2016 by the US Federal Trade Commission. Credit: Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

New Delhi: Predatory journals in India ones that will publish anything in exchange for an often substantial fee  are likely to expand their reach with their papers soon being published in Indian languages as well.

The science editor at The Hindu, R. Prasad, wrote in a blog post on February 22 that Hyderabad-based OMICS Group, which claims to publish over 700 peer-reviewed journals, has collaborated with the Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government to form a 1,000-seat facility at Noida to translate its papers into Indian languages.

According to Prasads post, Srinubabu Gedela, the CEO of OMICS Group, recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Uttar Pradesh government for the same.

The OMICS Group...

09:53

Multiple Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Prominent Skeptic Lawrence Krauss Come to Light "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The allegations including trying to force a woman into sex, grabbing a womans breast in public and telling a female employee he will buy her birth control pills so she doesnt go on maternity leave.

Lawrence Krauss. Credit: Arizona State University website

Lawrence Krauss. Credit: Arizona State University website

How many times must a man be accused of sexual harassment before people even begin to believe its true?

Many, many, many, a recent BuzzFeed News article on celebrity rationalist and atheist Lawrence Krauss has shown (again).

Krauss, a theoretical physicist, is a well-known name in the skeptic community a group that rejects all forms of belief that do not rely on science, reason and evidence. A professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University, he is also the founder director of the Origins Project, created to explore humankinds most fundamental questions about our origins....

09:48

Worlds Last Remaining Wild Horses Arent All That Wild After All "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

An examination of the genomes of dozens of ancient and modern horses concluded that Przewalskis horse descended from horses domesticated in northern Kazakhstan some 5,500 years ago.

A herd of endangered Przewalski horses are seen at the Takhin Us National Park in the south-west part of ongolia, July 16, 2012. Credit: Reuters/Petr Josek/Files

Washington: It may come as a disappointment to equine enthusiasts, but a new genetic study has found that no truly wild horses still exist and that a population inhabiting Mongolian grasslands actually is a feral descendant of the earliest-known domesticated horses.

Przewalskis horse, now...

09:45

Is the CIA So Bad that Even When It Tells the Truth It Adds-In Lies? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The February 17th New York Times article is deceptive not merely on account of its holier-than-thou admission of the CIAs supposedly past history of badness and its presumption of todays Russia being almost as bad as was the Soviet Union. Actually, the article includes several other lies.

09:00

Indias System of Cracking Down on Corporate Fraud is Designed to be Self-Defeating "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

There is a clear pattern in the way corrupt businessmen and pliant auditors are allowed to go scot free.

Will we ever see the services of some top bankers being terminated and some promoters, auditors, consultants being sent to jail in India? Credit: Wikimedia Commons

We should all be thankful to Punjab National Bank (PNB). It has finally made the elephant dance. While there are attempts to shift the blame to mid-level employees and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), this is largely a part of the bigger game plan for the business to continue as usual while some noise is made in the short-run to allay the publics fears and concerns.

This is a good time to remember that some statistics are more frightening than the size of the PNB scam.

In India, every four hours, one bank staffer is held for fraud. Between April 2013 and December 2016, all commercial banks, including private ones, lost Rs 66,066 crore on account of 17,504 frauds. Between January 2015 and March 2017, 5,200 bank staffers were punished for fraud. The bigge...

08:17

"IndyWatch Feed Asia"

IR4534231211

At the end of December 2017 the Western media reported widespread protests sweeping Iran. Narratives indistinguishable from the US-engineered Arab Spring in 2011 flooded headlines and social media regarding a popular uprising spurred first by alleged economic grievances before protesters then began making demands echoing the US State Department regarding Irans internal domestic affairs as well as its foreign policy.

The protests were in fact so indistinguishable from the now admittedly US-engineered Arab Spring that still-fresh disillusionment regarding the fate of nations like Libya and Syria likely played  a role in blunting the efficacy of the protests in Iran.

Western Propaganda Outlived Actual Unrest 

An article in Politico titled, Why the Iranian Uprising Wont Die, in an attempt to qualify and promote the Wests narrative regarding the Iranian protests would claim:

Iranians were enraged as they struggled to feed their children while their government spent billions on its foreign adventures in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. While Iran was made poor, the regime became richer. While Iranians suffered, the regimes allies became powerful and prosperous.

Yet when Politico published the article on January 7, 2018, written by RAND Corporation analyst Alireza Nader, the protests had already since died.

Politicos article wasnt the only one published days and even weeks after the protests had already ended indicating that the Western media had prepared weeks even months of propaganda to fuel Iranian unrest within information space as US-backed opposition groups attempted to fuel it on the ground.

Despite preparations that US policy papers indicate were years in the making which included not only the creation of opposition fronts and armed militant groups within and along Irans borders but the encirclemen...

07:19

My Child Died of Dengue. From PM to CM, Ive Tried Every Government Office for Help "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Amid cases of high costs and deaths in private hospitals like Fortis, Medanta and Max, two fathers have come together to seek accountability.

Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon. Courtesy: PractoFortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon. Courtesy: Practo

Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon. Courtesy: Practo

 

New Delhi: Vasundhara Raje is considered the bahu of my district Dholpur in Rajasthan. Yet, if we had a proper functioning health facility in our district, we wouldnt have had to go to Gwalior and then to Medanta hospital in Gurgaon, says Gopendra Singh Parmar, father of Shaurya Prathap.

Seven-year-old Prathap died of dengue last November, while admitted to Medanta hospital. His family was handed a bill of Rs 16 lakh.

Parmar is an insurance agent and says the costs have sunk his family into financial distress. He breaks into tears at a press conference in Delhi, and says later that his wife has gone...

06:33

Nandan Nilekani to Assist Government on IT Infrastructure for New Health Insurance Scheme "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

We have consulted Nilekani, we want to build an Aadhaar-like model for the schemeHe has agreed to help us, a NITI Aayog official said.

Nandan Nilekani. Credit: PTI

Nandan Nilekani. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Tech billionaire Nandan Nilekani will assist the government in developing IT infrastructure for the mega National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), which seeks to cover ten crore families, a senior NITI Aayog official has said.

The IT infrastructure for the healthcare scheme will be of a huge scale, as was required for Aadhaar, and will have to be scaled up gradually in view of the massive range of the programme, the official said.

Former UIDAI chairman Nilekani the brain behind the Aadhaar is also a member of the Goods and Services Tax return simplification committee.

We have consulted Nilekani, we want to build Aadhaar-like model for the scheme (NHPS)He has agreed to help us, the official said.

The premium on insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh for every eligible household under the NHPS has been pegged at around Rs 900-1,000 per family annually, lower than the earlier estimate of Rs 1,000-1,200.

Under the funding arrangement, the Centre will provide 60% funds, while the remaining money would have to come from the states.

In case of spe...

06:01

CBI Arrests Rotomac Owner Vikram Kothari, Son "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The agency has said that the two were not cooperating with the investigation into the alleged loan default.

Vikram Kothari. Credit: Facebook

Vikram Kothari. Credit: Facebook

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday arrested Rotomac owner Vikram Kothari and his son Rahul, both directors in the company, for alleged default on loan repayments to the tune of Rs 3,695 crore, officials said here.

Kothari, who was called at the agency headquarters here for questioning, and Rahul were not cooperating in the investigation that led to their arrest, they said.

A consortium of seven nationalised banks has given bank loans worth Rs 2,919 crore from 2008 onwards Rotomac Global Pvt Limited from 2008 onwards, the CBI FIR has alleged.

The amount swelled to Rs 3,695 crore, including the accrued interest, because of repeated defaults on payment, the officials said.

The CBI has initiated the action on the complaint of Bank of Baroda, which was a member of consortium led by Bank of India, which had approached the agency fearing that Kothari may flee the country like Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi.

Meanwhile, the Income Tax Department has issued a show cause notice to the group stating as to why prosecution should not be launched against them for alleged tax evasion.

The principal exposure of the banks...

04:35

Amateur Astronomer Points His Camera at the Sky, Stumbles Onto a Supernova "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

When Victor Buso was photographing the night sky in September 2016, he had a one in 10 million chance that hed capture a supernova. The universe made sure he took it.

An artist's impression of the star KSN 2011d going supernova. Credit: NASA Ames, STScI/G. Bacon

An artists impression of the star KSN 2011d going supernova. Credit: NASA Ames, STScI/G. Bacon

When a heavy star burns out with a giant explosion, its a supernova. Astronomers have observed supernovae but havent caught many of them in the moment of their birth itself. More specifically, we dont have any records of the first few hours of a type IIb supernova explosion where the progenitor star first loses a large part of its outer layers before blowing up.

Fortune amended this gap in 2016.

On a calm and clear night in September that year, Victor Buso, an amateur astronomer and astrophotographer, was testing a camera he had mounted on his telescope in Rosario, Argentina. He pointed his setup at NGC 613, a spiral galaxy over 65 million lightyears away, and took a series of pictures. Each short had 20 seconds of exposure over 90 minutes, from 1:30 am to 3 am local time. Buso didnt realise what hed managed to get on camera until later: the first ever visible-light images of a supernova shockwave.

The first 20 minutes of Busos observations show a quiet sky to the galaxys south. After 45 minutes and some 40 photos into Busos sequence a supernova erupts i...

04:00

Why Its So Difficult to Make Sense of Trumps Foreign Policy "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Donald Trump doesnt have one foreign policy he has several, and they all clash.

Trump actually revels in the chaos his tweets create. Credit: Reuters/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

Under Donald Trump, trying to predict, dissect and understand the USs attitude to the world has become almost impossible not that plenty of observers arent giving it a go. Tellingly, theyre all coming to different conclusions.

Some see a spiral into outright chaos, citing the strain on crucial alliances, Trumps strange embrace of Vladimir Putin, and his reckless rhetoric, which sometimes gets to the point of...

Thursday, 22 February

18:34

Hundreds of asylum seekers march to desert prison to protest deportations "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Hundreds held in Israels desert detention facility march to nearby Saharonim Prison after seven asylum seekers were transferred and imprisoned there indefinitely  for refusing to leave the country. 

By Oren Ziv / Activestills.org

Asylum seekers protest outside Holot against Israel's deportation plan. February 22, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills)

Asylum seekers protest outside Holot against Israels deportation plan. February 22, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills)

Hundreds of asylum seekers detained in Holot, Israels desert detention facility for African asylum seekers, marched to nearby Saharonim Prison on Thursday after seven asylum seekers were imprisoned there for refusing to be sent an unnamed country in Africa, widely presumed to be Rwanda, as part of a voluntary deportation program. The demonstrators chanted We are refugees not criminals, We are human beings, Bring back our brothers, Stop the deportations, and We are not for sale.

Israel is giving Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers an impossible choice: leave for a third country where they are not guaranteed any legal status, or be imprisoned in Israel indefinitely.

...

17:30

Palestinian man dies following beating by IDF soldiers "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A video published Thursday shows soldiers beating 33-year-old Yasin al-Saradih during a raid in the West Bank city of Jericho. Military sources say the beating was likely the cause of death.

Video published on social media Thursday appears to show IDF soldiers beating to death a Palestinian man during an arrest raid in the Palestinian city of Jericho, which according to the Oslo Accords is supposed to be under full Palestinian security control.

The video shows the man, 33-year-old Yasin al-Saradih, running in the direction of soldiers while holding an object resembling a lamp or a stool, before one soldier appears around a corner and attempts to shoot at him. More and more soldiers then appear and beat Saradih, which continues as they drag him away which can be seen on another camera feed.

[tmwinpost]

The army initially accused Saradih of attempting to steal the soldiers weapon, but changed its story after video of the incident was published. Several reports in the Israeli media, citing military sources, say that an autopsy pointed toward the beating as the cause of Saradihs death and that he had not suffered any gunshot wounds.

The scene is reminiscent in many ways of the case of Elor Azaria, who was convicted of executing a disarmed and incapacitated Palestinian attacker in the Palestinian city of Hebron in March 2016. In that case, the initial reporting was simply Soldier stabbed, assailants killed. Everything changed a few hours later when video of the execution-style killing was published by BTselem volunteer Imad Abu Shamsiyeh.

In 2014, not even video of the sniper execution of two Palestinian teens at a protest in the West Bank town of Beitunia was enough to convince the Israeli establishment that a murder had taken place. It took several more camera angles, an autopsy, and a forensic examination of the bullet that killed Nadeem Nawara before his killer, Ben Deri, was put on trial. And even then, Deri was ultimately allowed a plea deal for negligent manslaughter.

...

13:56

A bizarre end to the trial of Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

By the time a verdict is handed down in her case, Dareen Tatour will have lost over two-and-a-half years of her life to prison and house arrest.

By Yoav Haifawi

Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour (left) and her supporters speak to Attorney Gaby Lasky inside the Nazareth court, February 18, 2018. (Yoav Haifawi)

Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour (left) and her supporters speak to Attorney Gaby Lasky inside the Nazareth court, February 18, 2018. (Yoav Haifawi)

Like a cartoon character who runs over a cliff but continues to run in the air, or Achilles who thought he could pass the tortoise easily, but each time he got close, the turtle moved a bit further away, so is the trial of Dareen Tatour, a poet who has been detained since October 2015 defying gravity, looking like it will never end.

After the last witness testified back in April 2017, Judge Adi Bambiliya-Einstein decided that the parties should submit written summaries within three months. In September, Tatours defense attorney, Gaby Lasky, asked to present new evidence, and the issue was brought before the judge on November 15. On that occasion, the judge accepted a request by prosecutor Attorney Alina Hardak to supplement the written summaries with oral closing arguments. After several postponements, the court scheduled the hearing for Sunday, February 18.

The prosecutions extra show

The prosecution submitted 43 pages of written summaries....

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