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Friday, 24 November

18:21

Militants Kill More Than 230 at Mosque in Egypts North Sinai "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

With more than 100 people wounded, no major terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack just yet.

A highway in northern Sinai in Cairo. (Image is for representational purposes only). Credit: Reuters

A highway in North Sinai in Cairo. (Image is for representational purposes only). Credit: Reuters

Cairo: Militants killed more than 230 people at a mosque in Egypts North Sinai on Friday, detonating a bomb and gunning down worshippers in the deadliest attack in the countrys modern history, state media and witnesses said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility, but since 2013 Egyptian security forces have battled a stubborn Islamic State affiliate in the mainly desert region, and militants have killed hundreds of police and soldiers.

State media showed images of bloodied victims and bodies covered in blankets inside the Al Rawdah mosque in Bir al-Abed, west of El Arish, the main city in North Sinai.

Worshippers were...

18:13

Trump Would Be a Fool to Arm Ukraine "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

In short, Trumps advisers have to deceive him into thinking that arming Ukraine wont have the destabilizing and provocative effect that it is very likely to have, and they have to make him think that Ukraine will pay for something that it cant really afford and that hawks in Congress want to give away.

16:44

Episode 324 Data is the New Oil "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

[audio mp3="https://www.corbettreport.com/mp3/episode324-lq.mp3"][/audio]In this follow up to Why Big Oil Conquered the World, James further explores the concept of technocracy. If "Data is the New Oil" then what does that tell us about the 21st century oligarchy and the world that they are creating? And, once we understand the technocratic prison they are creating, how do we escape it? Don't miss this important episode of The Corbett Report podcast.

16:38

Interview: Shashi Tharoor On the Padmavati Controversy And Freedom Of Expression "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

In an interview with Karan Thapar for The Wire, Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor talks about the Padmavati controversy and Congresss view on freedom of expression.

The post Interview: Shashi Tharoor On the Padmavati Controversy And Freedom Of Expression appeared first on The Wire.

16:24

Understanding Soft Power: Western Journalists Use Bangkok For Regional Agitation "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

November 24, 2017 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - The so-called Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand (FCCT) is located in downtown Bangkok and includes the regional offices of many of the United States' and Europe's largest media organizations. It also includes a large, swank clubhouse complete with a restaurant and bar, where events are held.


The FCCT on its website offers a lengthy, self-aggrandising and somewhat incoherent explanation as to what function it actually serves, claiming:

The FCCT moved into a penthouse floor with access from a corridor already filling up with foreign media offices. The Maneeya today houses AsiaWorks, the BBC, ABC, ITN Channel 4, NBC, InFocus, Al Jazeera and the Financial Times, among others. This guarantees the FCCT constant journalist traffic, imbuing it with the feel of a genuine press club. It has a good bar and decent enough kitchen but makes no pretensions to emulating the grandeur of its counterparts in Hong Kong or Tokyo - nor the fakeness of the "FCC" in Cambodia, a bar and restaurant with one of the best views in Asia but no hacks. 
In reality, it is a regional hub where US and European lobbyists and agitators, posing a journalists, coordinate events, programmes and propaganda campaigns targeting not only Thailand itself, but Thailand's Southeast Asian neighbours.

Image: FCCT aiding in political stunt on behalf of ousted regime.
It was a...

16:23

Understanding Soft Power: Western Journalists Use Bangkok For Regional Agitation "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

November 24, 2017 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - The so-called Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand (FCCT) is located in downtown Bangkok and includes the regional offices of many of the United States' and Europe's largest media organizations. It also includes a large, swank clubhouse complete with a restaurant and bar, where events are held.


The FCCT on its website offers a lengthy, self-aggrandising and somewhat incoherent explanation as to what function it actually serves, claiming:

The FCCT moved into a penthouse floor with access from a corridor already filling up with foreign media offices. The Maneeya today houses AsiaWorks, the BBC, ABC, ITN Channel 4, NBC, InFocus, Al Jazeera and the Financial Times, among others. This guarantees the FCCT constant journalist traffic, imbuing it with the feel of a genuine press club. It has a good bar and decent enough kitchen but makes no pretensions to emulating the grandeur of its counterparts in Hong Kong or Tokyo - nor the fakeness of the "FCC" in Cambodia, a bar and restaurant with one of the best views in Asia but no hacks. 
In reality, it is a regional hub where US and European lobbyists and agitators, posing a journalists, coordinate events, programmes and propaganda campaigns targeting not only Thailand itself, but Thailand's Southeast Asian neighbours.

Image: FCCT aiding in political stunt on behalf of ousted regime.
It was...

16:00

Western Journalists Use Bangkok For Regional Agitation "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

744

The so-called Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) is located in downtown Bangkok and includes the regional offices of many of the United States and Europes largest media organizations. It also includes a large, swank clubhouse complete with a restaurant and bar, where events are held.

The FCCT on its website offers a lengthy, self-aggrandising and somewhat incoherent explanation as to what function it actually serves, claiming:

The FCCT moved into a penthouse floor with access from a corridor already filling up with foreign media offices. The Maneeya today houses AsiaWorks, the BBC, ABC, ITN Channel 4, NBC, InFocus, Al Jazeera and the Financial Times, among others. This guarantees the FCCT constant journalist traffic, imbuing it with the feel of a genuine press club. It has a good bar and decent enough kitchen but makes no pretensions to emulating the grandeur of its counterparts in Hong Kong or Tokyo nor the fakeness of the FCC in Cambodia, a bar and restaurant with one of the best views in Asia but no hacks. 

In reality, it is a regional hub where US and European lobbyists and agitators, posing a journalists, coordinate events, programmes and propaganda campaigns targeting not only Thailand itself, but Thailands Southeast Asian neighbours. 

The FCCT claims that by hosting the armys spokesman the next week, the FCCT is doing something right by playing an impartial and unbiased role. Those familiar with Thai politics and the absolutely biased nature both events were spun in favour of the ousted Shinawatra regime and the interests in Washington, London and Brussels sponsoring him, and at the cost of the new governments credibility, know otherwise.It was at the FCCT, the club proudly boasted, that former education minister and political lieutenant of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Chaturon Chaisaeng held a press conference to grandstand while turning himself into the military after the 2014 coup. It was organised specifically to have the cameras of the Wests biased media mac...

15:35

Delhi Metro Sees Sharp Fall In Ridership After Recent Fare Hike "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

While 80,000 people stopped using the transit system following the May hike, that figure has jumped to 3.2 lakh after the October fare increase.

While dips in passenger traffic, the steep plunge this time may take longer to stabilise. Credit: Reuters

While dips in passenger traffic, the steep plunge this time may take longer to stabilise. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: For the second time in 2017, ridership on Delhi Metro has witnessed a sharp decline following a fare hike. While its average daily ridership had fallen to 25.7 lakh in June following a fair hike, down by about 0.8 lakh from the May figure of 26.5 lakh, in October daily ridership plummeted sharply to 24.2 lakh from 27.4 lakh in September following another increase in fares.

The latest data on Metro ridership has been obtained by news agency PTI through a right to information (RTI) query. The RTI response revealed that the Delhi Metro lost over 3 lakh commuters per day due to the sharp increase in fares which had also triggered a war of words between the Arvind Kejriwal government and the Centre.

The 11% fall in the month of October may indicate that a lot of regular passengers have now taken to other modes of transport, both public and private, in the wake of the fare increase and this may have been a major contributing factor in the higher pollution witnessed in Delhi during October-November 2017.

The 218-km network currently has s...

15:01

Why Is Big Media Silent On the Chilling Story Of a Judges Death? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Four days after a chilling investigative report The Caravan, most media houses have shied away from reporting on the story.

Siddharth Varadarajan, founding editor of The Wire, and Akhil Kumar discuss the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Kauser Bi encounter case, allegations from judge Loyas family of foul play in his death and the silence of big media on the case.

The post Why Is Big Media Silent On the Chilling Story Of a Judges Death? appeared first on The Wire.

14:33

Myanmar and Bangladesh Strike a Shameful Deal on Rohingya Refugees "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Returning Rohingya people to the hands of their persecutors violates international law and raises fundamental questions about the protection of those fleeing the most heinous crimes and abuses.

A woman walks among debris after fire destroyed shelters at a camp for internally displaced Rohingya Muslims in the western Rakhine State near Sittwe, Myanmar May 3, 2016. Credit: Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun/Files

A woman walks among debris after fire destroyed shelters at a camp for internally displaced Rohingya Muslims in the western Rakhine State near Sittwe, Myanmar May 3, 2016. Credit: Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun/Files

Many Rohingya people who have fled the ethnic cleansing in Myanmar are now living as refugees in Bangladesh. And now, th...

14:30

Renaming Dyal Singh College After Vande Mataram Is at Odds With the Founders Philosophy "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

While the college in Delhi named after Dyal Singh Majithia has fallen victim to pseudo-nationalism in secular India, the same institution in Lahore in Pakistan continues to be known as Dyal Singh College.

Dyal Singh College. Credit: Twitter/@jamesparker_web

Dyal Singh College. Credit: Twitter/@jamesparker_web

Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, one of Indias best-known 19th-century philanthropists, must surely be turning in his grave (to use a clich) at the turn of events in the college that was named after him. The governing body of Delhis Dyal Singh (Evening) College has decided to rename the institution Vande Mataram Mahavidyalaya.

The new development makes a mockery of the founders slogan Gather ye the wisdom of East and West  that is enshrined in the college emblem.

Even as the change of name awaits final approval from Delhi Universitys vice chancellor, pressure has begun to mount on college authorities to retain the original name.

Of course this should not to be too surprising; lately we have seen an acceleration in the culture of changing names of cities and roads across India.  Educational institutions too now seem to be imbibing that culture.

What seems to be contributing to the growing row is the prestige attached to the name of the colleges founder, Majithia. In academic circles, Majithia is known as one of the greatest sons of Punjab, besides having the reputation of being a visionary scholar, nat...

14:27

Palestinians in Jabal al-Baba protest Israeli expulsion order "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The small village is located in E1, an area in which the U.S. and Europe have long demanded Israel not build new settlements, because doing so would cut the West Bank in two.

Representatives of the Palestinian Authority and Bishop Atallah Hanna from the Greek Orthodox Church took part in the protest by residents of Jabal al Baba against their expulsion. November 23, 2017 (Oren Ziv/Activestills)

Representatives of the Palestinian Authority and Bishop Atallah Hanna from the Greek Orthodox Church took part in the protest by residents of Jabal al Baba against their expulsion. November 23, 2017 (Oren Ziv/Activestills)

Around 100 demonstrators  joined the Palestinian community of Jabal al-Baba on Thursday, November 23, in the E1 area of the West Bank adjacent to the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim, to protest a new Israeli-military order that would displace the entire community. On November 16, members of the community received the military order to leave their homes and take with them all of their belongingsthe first step in the eventual demolition of their homes. Thursday was the day they were supposed to leave, according to the order.

The West Bank...

14:12

The Nation-State: Post-Mortem "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Balkanization of Europe is part of a larger geopolitical divide-and-control scheme, both by the EUs Cultural Marxist-Globalist elite and the US unipolar strategists.

The post The Nation-State: Post-Mortem appeared first on OrientalReview.org.

14:00

Electoral Bond Scheme Being Pushed Through Under a Veil of Secrecy, Alleges RTI Activist "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

According to Venkatesh Nayak, the new system is being implemented without talking to stakeholders and will make political funding even more opaque.

Now a private corporation will be able to make donations from the first day without starting commercial operations, let alone earning profits. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: Though the scheme to issue electoral bonds was announced by finance minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech in February this year, the Ministry of Finance, the Election Commission of India (EC) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have all claimed to be unaware of the plan in their replies to queries filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

RTI activist and programme coordinator at Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative Venkatesh Nayak, who had filed the plea, has stated that electoral bonds were the big idea floated in the Union Budget to change the way donations were made to political parties.

The government amended three laws relating to elections, income tax and the RBI to create this new method of making monetary donations to political parties. Briefly explained, anybody will be able to buy electoral bonds in the form of bearer bonds from a designated commercial bank for any sum of money and donate it anonymously to a politica...

13:45

Congress Questions Gadkari Over Dealings of Private Secretarys Firm "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Senior leader Jairam Ramesh alleged that the work IFGE had done with departments under Gadkaris control was a violation of rules that govern the conduct of civil servants.

Road transport minister Nitin Gadkari. Credit: Reuters

Road transport minister Nitin Gadkari. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Friday (November 24) raised questions over the alleged involvement of road transport minister Nitin Gadkaris private secretary, one Vaibhav Dange, in a company called Indian Federation of Green Energy (IFGE) and called it a violation of the rules governing civil servants.

Earlier in the day, The Hindu published a report based on Registrar of Companies (RoC) documents, which showed that Dange floated IFGE (a Section 8 company, which would mean it operates as a not-for-profit organisation) in October 2014 with a 50% stake.

The report also alleges that IFGE either raised or invited funds, including from government departments and state-owned entities and was involved in organising conferences and seminars on various topics in partnership with departments and PSUs under Gadkaris control.

During the press conference on Friday, Ramesh alleged that currently a conference is being organised by IFGE and Gadkari...

13:30

Hum Bhi Bharat, Episode 10: Rahul Gandhi as Congress President "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

In the tenth episode of Hum Bhi Bharat, Arfa Khanum Sherwani discusses the appointment of Rahul Gandhi as Congress president with senior journalists Neerja Choudhary and Jaishankar Gupta.

The post Hum Bhi Bharat, Episode 10: Rahul Gandhi as Congress President appeared first on The Wire.

13:30

Indian Practices Could Mitigate Negative Impact of Livestock Rearing on Climate Change "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A recent report from Oxford University indicts grazing livestock as a whole, without going into how certain such practices could actually change things for the better.

Cows graze on land cleared of most trees for cattle pasture in deforested areas of the Amazon rainforest in Amazonas State, Brazil on June 2, 2017. Credit: Thomson Reuters Foundation/Chris Arsenault

Cows graze on land cleared of most trees for cattle pasture in deforested areas of the Amazon rainforest in Amazonas State, Brazil on June 2, 2017. Credit: Thomson Reuters Foundation/Chris Arsenault

Grazed and Confused?,...

13:26

S&P Affirms Indias Rating at BBB-Minus With Stable Outlook: Reports "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Vehicles drive past the commercial towers in Gurugram on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, November 23, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

Vehicles drive past the commercial towers in Gurugram on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, November 23, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

Mumbai: Standard & Poors is stuck with its BBB-minus sovereign rating and stable outlook for India, TV channels reported on Friday citing unidentified sources, a week after rival Moodys upgraded the countrys rating.

The decision, if confirmed, would contrast with Moodys Investors Services decision on November 17 to upgrade Indias credit rating to Baa2 from Baa3, one notch higher than S&Ps current rating, citing progress on economic and institutional reforms.

An S&P spokesman...

12:40

Centre Defends Rakesh Asthanas Appointment as CBI Special Director in SC "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The NGO Common Cause has petitioned against Asthanas appointment on the grounds of lack of integrity.

Rakesh Asthana. Credit: PTI

Rakesh Asthana. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Attorney General K.K. Venugopal today brushed aside the challenge to the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as the Central Bureau of Investigations special director on the grounds of lack of integrity. Asthanas record as additional director, CBI is outstanding, Venugopal told the Supreme Court.

The AG told the bench of Justices R.K. Agrawal and Abhay Monohar Sapre that the FIR, filed by the CBI in connection with a corruption case on account of which Asthana was sought to be excluded by the selection committee, does not name him. The Supreme Court, he said, should look into the process of selection rather than the merits; there was no dissent in the meeting of the selection committee which recommended his appointment, he emphasised.  The secretary, Department of Personnel and Training, also agreed, Venugopal pointed out.

Nobody says that the FIR should not be investigated or taken to its logical end. But nobody knows how long the investigation would take and therefore, the career of the police officer against whom there has not been a single adverse report so far should not suffer, he said.

Venugopal told the court that as additional director, Asthana has been handling many high-profile cases, including the fodder and coal scams, and he has been found eminently suitable for the post of special director.

Venugopal scoffed at...

11:45

US Military to Stay in Syria Even After Islamic State Defeat "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The US is invited to become a party to the multinational negotiation effort but it links the military presence to a settlement process. With Islamic State gone, the war-torn country earning for peace faces the prospect of becoming a battlefield for war against Iran.

11:18

US-DPRK: The Treacherous Withdrawal from the NPT "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

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The reason for this series of articles was US President D.Trumps famous saying that Being nice to Rocket Man hasnt worked in 25 years and peaceful dialogue cannot neutralize the aggression of the DPRK. Similar statements have been made by South Korean right-wingers. Thus, on October 26, the Chairman of the Free Korea opposition party Hong Jung-Pyo, speaking to reporters in the United States, stressed that Washingtons North Korea policies for the past 25 years had been unsuccessful, and there was no point in pursuing them any further.

However, let us see how nice the Americans have been and how true is the idea that since 1992, all attempts to resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula have broken down in the face of North Korean treachery. We shall review each individual case in this story, while at the same time, we will not delve deep into history, for example by recalling how in 1958, the US deployed its tactical nuclear weapons in the Republic of Korea. Let us only note that at that time North Korea, despite having no nuclear weapons, was in US nuclear sights. This contradicts the thesis that a non-nuclear country should not be a potential target for the use of nuclear weapons. In addition, the deployment of nuclear weapons on the peninsula breached the armistice of 1953, where the deployment of new types of weapons was also prohibited by paragraph 13 (e).

In the early 1990s, discussions began in the United States about whether there was a nuclear programme in North Korea and, if so, how successful it was. The topic of North Korean nuclear weapons was accompanied by reflections on the mental health of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. The first was deemed to be senile, while the second a young paranoic, and the existence of nuclear weapons in their hands was the worst possible threat to the world. At the same time, journalists constantly wrote about North Koreas refusal to cooperate, although between May 1992 and February 1993, Pyongyang authorized six inspections of the facility in Yongbyon through the IAEA.

For the United States and its allies the first phase of nuclear c...

11:15

Denying the Imperium of Death "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The tens of thousands of American deaths from drug overdoses are a measure of the hopeless desperation left behind by the soul-starving socio-economic system of late-stage capitalism, writes poet Phil Rockstroh.

10:54

Former Bombay HC Judge Asks for SIT Probe Into Mysterious Circumstances Surrounding Judge Loyas Death "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Justice B.H. Marlapalle has written to the current chief justice of the court, asking her to take steps to urgently address the allegations.

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

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

New Delhi: A former Bombay high court judge, Justice (retired) B.H. Marlapalle, has written to the current chief justice of the court urging a probe into the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of Brijgopal Harkishan Loya in December 2014.

With his letter to Justice Manjula Chellur about the allegations of foul play in the death of the special CBI judge who at the time was presiding over the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case in which BJP chief Amit Shah was the prime accused Marlapalle has joined other members of judiciary to speak out against the...

10:45

Lebanon in the Crosshairs "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

If the United States climbs into bed with the Israelis and Saudis and commits to take down Iran it will wind up having to do the hard fighting in a war that could be unwinnable in any conventional sense.

10:15

The Rise and Fall of Turkey"s Erdogan "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Erdogan and Turkish politics is at a crossroads. Erdogans dalliance with Vladimir Putin was the red line for the West. The dalliance has turned into a tight embrace lately and breaking loose may inflict great pain on Erdogan. Moscow holds the Kurdish card and has influential lobbyists in Turkeys Islamist elite.

09:57

Both Party and Patidar Leaders Unhappy With Congresss List of Candidates in Gujarat "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Though the party brought out an amended second list of candidates, certain sections remain disgruntled.

Hardik Patel (left), Rahul Gandhi. Credit: Reuters

Ahmedabad: The Congress party released its first list of candidates announcing, 77 contestants for the Gujarat assembly polls, late on November 19. The list came amidst confusion around a fake list making the rounds on social media. The Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee later filed a complaint against the fake list.

The party has repeated 14 of its MLAs in its first list. There are 23 Patidar leaders, two Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convenors, 12 Koli Patels, three Muslims, 11 ST and seven SC candidates.

The party has fielded Indranil Rajguru, the richest MLA of the state, against chief minister Vijay Rupani from Rajkot West. Earlier, Rajguru had contested and won from the Rajkot East constituency. Shaktisinh Gohil has been fielded from the Mandvi constituency in Kutch. Gohil, who hails from the Saurashtra region of Gujarat, had contested and won from Abdasa, Kutch in 2012. Pradyuman Jadeja will contest from Abdasa this time.

From the Bhavnagar West seat, Dilipsinh Gohil of the Congress will fight against state BJP chief Jitu Vaghani. Arjun Modhwadia, former leader of the opposition, will contest from the Porbandar constituency against Babubhai Bokhiria, sitting BJP MLA and minister of water resources, agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries and cow protection.

Sitting MLA Paresh Dhanani has been fielded from Amreli again, and he is up against BJPs Bavku Undhadh, a strong Patidar leader who has been winning from the Lathi...

09:45

How the West Is Adopting the Worst Practices of the Post-Maidan Ukraine "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

One could say that all the people mentioned in EVTT report are pretty lucky since some of them like President Trump and Professor Cohen have been called other names in the mainstream media comparing with which the useful idiot definition sounds like a compliment.

09:34

The Deceptive Charm of Lit Fests in Times of Curbed Dissent "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

At a time when writers and artists are being persecuted for their work, festivals piggybacking on the name of literature are ironically at their height.

Actress and social activist Shabana Azami and lyricist Prasoon Joshi at Jaipur Literature Festival in Rajasthan. Credit: PTI

Actor and social activist Shabana Azami and lyricist Prasoon Joshi at Jaipur Literature Festival in Rajasthan. Credit: PTI

These are the best of times. These are the worst of times. These are days of fear. These are days of hope. This Dickensian contradiction is best reflected in the irony of our times. These are the days when a film is being banned by chief ministers even before going through its contents, and a kind of mob justice has begun only on the basis of rumours against the artists who have acted in the film and are supporting it. Bounties of Rs 5 crore are being announced for the heads of actresses and directors. This bully-bulldoze-ban culture is no exception these days. Authors and...

09:21

To Challenge Modi, Rahul Gandhi Must First Put the Congress House in Order "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

It still remains to be seen whether the Gandhi scion can emerge as a formidable opponent to the ruling BJP and Prime Minister Modi.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. Credit: Reuters

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. Credit: Reuters

Its not surprising that Rahul Gandhi will most likely be elevated to the position of Congress president next month. What, however, remains to be seen is whether he has the mettle to take on the challenge posed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and whether he can turn out to be an effective adversary to Modi in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

As a political commentator put it, Rahul is a child of entitlement. He is set to inherit the familys political legacy. Therefore, his elevation to the post of party chief comes as no surprise, much less as a shock. But doubt still hangs over his political acumen and ability.

Notwithstanding that Rahul is now making waves in poll-bound Gujarat, the question is whether the Gandhi scion has the dedication, determination and political depth to challenge Modi at the national level.

His partys performance in the last Lok Sabha polls does not give much confidence in this regard. The Congress, as we are aware, performed abysmally in that critical election.

At the same...

08:30

To Keep the Hindu Vote-Bank Intact, the Hunt for New Enemies Begins at Home "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The Hindu vote-bank has to be constantly reminded of the dangers and threats from Muslims, at home and abroad. Credit: PTI

The Hindu vote-bank has to be constantly reminded of the dangers and threats from Muslims, at home and abroad. Credit: PTI

Since mid-October, our collective political energies have been consumed by a crowded poll schedule and governmental priorities and personnel stand seriously distracted by the coming Gujarat election. Indeed, we had barely finished with Himachal Pradesh early this month when we plunged headlong into the Gujarat battle. Next on the calendar is the Karnataka duel, then the skirmishes in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and then, the mother of all battles, the 2019 Lok Sabha vote. Admittedly, electoral contests are central to a democratic arrangement and its legitimacy. Electoral victories garner a mandate for the winners to govern. So winning each and every electoral contest acquires an urgency and justification of its own; a victory at any cost becomes the only preoccupation.

It can be readily conceded that politicians have to get themselves elected before they can become administrators and statesmen or reformers or transformative leaders. Win by hook or crook and then proceed to govern in an enlightened and wise mode.

Yet, every electoral contest carries with it a moral hazard: will a palpably liberal exercise produce ill-liber...

08:16

Flynns Lawyers Cut Talks With Trump Legal Team: New York Times "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

FILE PHOTO: White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn speaks at the White House in Washington, U.S. on February 1, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn speaks at the White House in Washington, US on February 1, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria/File Photo

Washington: Lawyers for Michael Flynn, President Donald Trumps former national security adviser, have told Trumps legal team they can no longer discuss a probe into Russian meddling in the US election, indicating Flynn may be cooperating with the investigation, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

Flynn, a retired army general, is a central figure in a federal investigation led by Special C...

08:08

Ireland: Government on Verge of Collapse Ahead of EU Brexit Summit "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Ireland's Prime minister Leo Varadkar arrives for the EU Social Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth in Gothenburg, Sweden November 17, 2017. TT News Agency/Jonas Ekstromer/via Reuters

Irelands Prime minister Leo Varadkar arrives for the EU Social Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth in Gothenburg, Sweden November 17, 2017. TT News Agency/Jonas Ekstromer/via Reuters

Dublin:  The Irish government was on the verge of collapse on Thursday after the party whose votes Prime Minister Leo Varadkar depends on to pass legislation said it would seek to remove the deputy prime minister in a breach of their cooperation agreement.

The crisis comes three weeks ahead of a European U...

07:50

Sudan Is Indispensable To Chinas Silk Road Vision For Africa "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Sudan and Pakistan are the crucial mainland-maritime interfaces for the Silk Road strategy which is expected to form the basis of Chinas South-South integration in the emerging Multipolar World Order.

The post Sudan Is Indispensable To Chinas Silk Road Vision For Africa appeared first on OrientalReview.org.

07:43

Haryana: Nine Acres of Prime Land Given to Gita Gyan Sansthanam for Research Centre "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

President Ram Nath Kovind is going to lay the foundation stone for the research centre tomorrow.

Plan layout of the Gita Research Centre model. Credit: Youtube

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party-led state government in Haryana has given nine acres of land in Kurukshetra to Gita Gyan Sansthanam, to develop a Gita Research Cenre an academic and meditation centre, a library and an auditorium, reported the Indian Express.

Construction of the auditorium and library is already underway, and President Ram Nath Kovind is going to lay the foundation stone of the research centre on Saturday, besides inaugurating a fortnight-long International Gita Jayanti event.

The Indian Express has accessed records revealing that in 2015, six acres of land on the road leading to Brahma Sarovar in Kurukshetra, in possession of the Kurukshetra Development Board (KDB), was given to Sri Gyananandji Maharaj-led Gita Sansthanam at Rs 5 lakh per acre on an annual lease of 99 years. Official government records have pegged the lands value at Rs 50 lakh per acre then. The current price is estimated to be Rs 6 crore per acre.

The governor of Haryana, who is the ex-officio chairman of KDB, has also leased additional three acres of adjoining land to the Gita Sansthanam in December 2016. The Sansthanam presented the project plan to KDB and requested the governor for the a...

07:26

Three Muslim Clerics Beaten up in Train in UPs Baghpat "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The attackers wanted the victims to remove their head scarves, said an eyewitness.

Attacks on train passengers belonging to a particular community have been reported with frequency in the recent past. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Three Muslim clerics were allegedly beaten up by unidentified persons in a moving Delhi-Shamli passenger train in Uttar Pradesh, police said on Thursday.

Thirty-year-old Gulzar, 25-year-old Israr and 21-year-old Abu Bakr, who boarded the train at Delhi on Wednesday night after visiting Hazrat Nizamuddin, were on their way to their village in Baghpat district when they had a tiff with some youth, superintendent of police, Baghpat, Jaiprakash Singh said.

According to an eyewitness, the attackers said they wanted to remove the head scarves which the victims were wearing, the Indian Express reported.

A report in NDTV quoted one of their attackers allegedly shouting, Why do you wear a rumaal (scarf)?

On receiving information about the scuffle, villagers g...

07:22

Emmerson Mnangagwa to Be Sworn in as Zimbabwes President Today "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Supporters of Zimbabwe's former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa await his arrival in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 22, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Mike Hutchings

Supporters of Zimbabwes former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa await his arrival in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 22, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Mike Hutchings

Harare:  Emmerson Mnangagwa will cap a stunning political comeback when he is sworn in as Zimbabwes president on Friday, bringing the final curtain down on the 37 year rule of Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe, 93, who had led Zimbabwe from independence in 1980, stepped down on Tuesday after the army seized power and the ruling ZANU-PF party turned against him.

The worlds oldest serving head of state resigned as parliament began a process to impeach him, sparking wild celebrations in the streets. His sudden fall had...

07:17

Ryan School Murder: Conductor Alleges Police Tortured Him, Gave Him Electric Shocks "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

They gave me electric shocks to extort a confession. They also used to give me an injection saying it will help me bear the pain and sleep.

Ryan International School bus conductor Ashok Kumar in Gurugram on Thursday. Credit: PTI

Ryan International School bus conductor Ashok Kumar in Gurugram on Thursday. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Ashok Kumar, the bus conductor who was arrested in the Ryan International School murder case and released on bail on Wednesday (November 22), has alleged that he was tortured and forced to confess by the Gurugram police while in custody.

According to a report in The Hindu, the 42 year old has said that he was beaten, hung upside down and given electric shocks to force him to confess to the murder of seven-year-old Pradhyuman Thakur. They gave me electric shocks to extort a confession. They also used to give me an injection saying it will help me bear the pain and sleep, the newspaper quoted Kumar as saying. He also said that he was in a semi-conscious state the entire time he was in custody, so cannot remember when exactly he was given the injections. Kumar has been running a high fever for a week now and is suffering from severe body and chest pain, the newspaper reported.

...

07:10

Kyrgyzstan: New President Takes Office in Historic Handover "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Kyrgyzstan has a new president. And this time it is not because the country has been roiled by revolution.

Sooronbai Jeenbekov, 59, was formally sworn into office on November 24 at the presidential Ala-Archa residence, formally bringing a close to Almazbek Atambayevs tenure. It is the first time in the countrys history that one elected president hands the reins of power over to another leader chosen by plebiscite. 

In his inauguration speech, Jeenbekov pledged that he would fight corruption and continue the policies advanced by his predecessor.

The country cannot develop until the authorities are transparent. An untrammeled fight against corruption has begun and all conditions are in place for the sanitizing of society. The people have begun to place great faith in the authorities, because sooner or later, a thief must be put in jail, he said.

Atambayev in turn wished Jeenbekov a contended time in power and summed up his presidency.

I did not achieve a lot of what I had planned. And I was only really allowed to worked in peace in the most recent years, so forgive me if I did not live up to some peoples expectations. I tried to be honest with the people, with God and with my conscience, he said.

Jeenbekovs first act in office was to bestow Atambayev with the Ak-Shumkar Order, the countrys highest state award.

read more

06:05

Roots of Saudi Purge Lie in Washington "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

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It was Jared Kushners un-announced visit to Saudi Arabia only days before Saudi Arabias night of long knives that appears to have set the stage for the great purge in Saudi Arabia, leading to the emergence of Muhammad Bin Salman (MBS) as the kingdoms most powerful leader. There is hardly any doubt that MBS is poised to take over as the new King, and there is hardly any doubt that the US is not only facilitating this take over by supporting it but also set to profit from it by selling weapons worth billions of dollars and by receiving Saudi investments in the US. In addition to it, by embracing MBS as the new king, the US, under president Trump, hopes to consolidate alliance against Iran and use the kingdoms own rivalry with Iran to its own advantage. As such, notwithstanding the EU anti-purge rhetoric, the political economy of the purge and MBS consolidation is such that international opposition stands little to no chance of leaving any meaningful impact, let alone reverse the revolution.

This is pretty evident from the way the US president has backed up the purge. Even while he was on his very important maiden tour of Asia, the president wasted no time in using twitter to express his support. I have great confidence in King Salman and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, they know exactly what they are doing Some of those they are harshly treating have been milking their country for years!, he stated in unambiguous terms in one of his many tweets.

But that wasnt that. That the US support for the purge is part of the larger US strategy for the region, particualr vis--vis Iran, became evident in the White Houses statement of November 8, 2017. The statement, underscoring Saudi Arabias narrative on Irans involvement in Yemen said, The United States welcomes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabias statement exposing the Iranian regimes support for Houthi militias, including the supply of illegal arms such as ballistic missiles. We condemn the Iranian regimes activities and stand with Saudi Arabia and all our Gulf partners against the Iranian regimes aggression and blatant violations of international law. Expressing their support for Saudi Arabias war on Yemen, the statement said further that the US will continue working with other like-minded partners to respond to these attacks and expose the Iranian regimes destabilizing activities in the region.

One is tempted to ask how does Saudi Arabias war on Yemen and Iran coincide with the US support for MBS pur...

04:41

Making Sense of the Middle East "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

So what was the Saudi purge about, exactly? And what does Yemen have to do with this? And how about the South Pars oilfield? And what does all of that have to do with the price of tea in China? Confused? Well, youre not the only one. Join James and Ernest Hancock on this special commercial-free edition of Declare Your Independence for a breakdown of the latest turmoil in the middle east and what this means for the future of the world.

04:30

Interview: Jharana Jhaveri on Coca-Cola, CBFC and Independent Filmmaking in India "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

I am not making comfortable films, I am raising issues that affect the lives of millions of people.

Jharana Jhaveri with Arundhati Roy. Credit: Facebook/Jharana Jhaveri

Jharana Jhaveri with Arundhati Roy. Credit: Facebook/Jharana Jhaveri

New Delhi: On November 24, 2004, at about 2:30 pm, a congregation gathers in Mehdiganj, off the Grand Trunk Road, about 40 km from the temple town of Varanasi. The protesters, all residents of the village and nearby Ballia, raised their fists in the air in tandem with slogans that went like this:

Pani chori bandh karo,
Bandh karo bandh karo

Makhan aur dudh ki jagah me
Nahi chahiye Pepsi Cola
Nahi chahiye nahi chahiye

Vikas hamara adhikar hai
Kisi ki baap ki nahi hai
Nahi hain nahi hai

(Stop stealing water now
Stop it now

In the land of butter and milk
No need for Pepsi Cola

Progress is our right
Not anyone elses)

Soon, the state was seen unleashing its brutal power on the gathering to silence them the voice of protest against the global beverage giant Coca-Cola. Police batons fell mercilessly on the sloganeering men and women, old and young. Some ran, some fell down a melee ensued.

A 2.5-hour film, Charlie and the Coca Cola Company, documente...

04:30

Youth Empowerment Is Crucial For Africa to Root Out Modern Day Slave Trade "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Todays victims may not be in iron fetters, but most are poverty-stricken and forced to migrate for work, believing it presents an opportunity to change their lives and support their families.

04:00

In India, Accessible Phones Lead to Inaccessible Opportunities "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

There is some evidence to show that issues such as caste may have been overlooked or oversimplified while designing government programmes like Digital India.

The Indian government has propelled two programmes  Digital India and the National Digital Literacy Mission  to facilitate the goal of a digitally empowered society. Credit: PTI

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) play a central role in contemporary economy by emboldening skill learning and opening new resources and networks.

The Indian government has propelled two programmes Digital India and the National Digital Literacy Mission to facilitate the goal of a digitally empowered society, where the digital divide is to be overcome with increased access to ICTs and the internet. The intentions behind these programmes arise from well-accepted notions that ICTs facilitate greater participation in the development process, especially in metropolitan regions such as Bangalore. Given that ICTs have pervaded life and work in urban India over the last 15 years, this optimistic outcome, especially for the urban poor, ought to have materialised. However, our ongoing research at Azim Premji University, on the complicated relationship between subaltern castes and ICTs in peri-urban Bangalore, holds reservations about this.

For over a year, our research has tried to understand...

03:30

The Teacher-Student Relationship in Our Universities Is in Jeopardy "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

In an emotionally charged environment, suspicion is normalised, everything takes a political turn and even an unintended mistake by an otherwise well-meaning teacher is turned into a scandal.

Students at the Delhi University campus. Credit: Reuters

Students at the Delhi University campus. Credit: Reuters

A university supposedly a temple of higher learning cannot escape the ugliness that surrounds our existence. We are a product of the caste prejudices and sexual violence that we, as a part of the intelligentsia, condemn. Stories of victims of caste discrimination and sexual harassment have been surfacing more and more in universities lately. It seems that as teachers, we have lost our moral grounding.

Universities are increasingly becoming a war zone, filled with doubt, grievance committees and surveillance machineries. Even though I know that a university is not a solitary island and that in a caste-ridden and patriarchal society, asymmetrical power relations operate through diverse forms of sadism and exploitation, something keeps haunting me. Is there nothing beautiful and life-sustaining left in the teacher-taught relationship? Is it possible to create a community of learners if we normalise negativity with our harsh realism and refuse to believe that no legal machinery and social media campaigning can replace the power of love, care and trust?

Understanding the darkness surrounding universities

However, before I speak of these lost ideals, I wish to understand the darkness surro...

01:03

Minister insists that Bengoh Dam is stable "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Sarawak Utilities Minister Stephen Rundi Utom has insisted that the newly completed Bengoh Dam in Sarawak is structurally sound and stable. Speaking to FMT, he brushed aside a Sarawak Report article suggesting that the dams structure is weak. The article was based on materials provided by still and video cameramen who managed to get past []

01:02

ERP simulation at Bengoh Dam planned for next April "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A simulation of emergency response plan (ERP) for villagers affected by the Bengoh Dam in the unlikely event of a disater is scheduled for April next year. This was revealed by a Kuching Water Board (KWB) engineer during a briefing held at the KWB site office near the dam yesterday. KWB is managing and operating []

01:02

Sarawak scores RM104b of investments for SCORE "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Over RM104 billion has been invested by the private and public sectors in the economic development corridor area, the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), as of the end of last year. Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said today the total includes the RM33.64 billion already invested in the Samalaju Industrial []

01:02

Pan Borneo Highway: Immigration issues with Brunei to be solved next year "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Immigration issues related to the Pan Borneo Highway that passes through Brunei are expected to be solved before the Malaysia-Brunei Annual Leaders Consultation next year. In fact, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said Malaysias proposal to establish a new route from Bandar Seri Begawan to Limbang in Malaysia was well accepted by the Sultan []

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Thursday, 23 November

19:56

End of Syria War Nears as Sochi Meeting Unites Iran, Russia, Turkey "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Meanwhile, a gathering of hardline anti-government Syrian groups met in Riyadh and persisted in the demand that Assad leaves power.

A three-way summit on Wednesday between the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey has produced decisive steps toward ending the bloodshed in Syria. Credit: Reuters

Sochi (Russia): The Syrian civil war appears to be all but won by the government of President Bashar al-Assad after the presidents of Russia, Iran and Turkey adopted a joint declaration agreeing to cooperate in deescalating tensions, restoring normalcy and protecting the sovereignty of the war-ravaged country, Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters on Wednesday after a trilateral summit in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi.

The document defines priorities for further cooperation of Russia, Turkey and Iran, which have the upper hand in Syrian issues, and sets concrete tasks for the future, Putin said, adding that the talks between the three heads of state were held in a constructive and businesslike manner.

In a joint statement, the three leaders called on the Syrian government and moderate opposition to participate constructively in the planned congress, to be held in the same city on a date they did not specify.

The congress will look at the key questions on Syrias national agenda, Putin told reporters at the summit, sitting alongside Rouhani and Erdogan. First of all, that is the drawing-up of a framework for the future structure of the state, the adoption of a new constitution, and, on...

18:53

Cheap dignity of the Ukrainian revolution "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The confessions of Georgian snipers highlight an awkward truth about the Euromaidan.

The post Cheap dignity of the Ukrainian revolution appeared first on OrientalReview.org.

18:19

Explained: Why many on the Left are furious at new Labor leader Avi Gabbay "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

From vowing never to join forces with Arab political parties to saying theres no reason to remove settlements, Labors new leader has alienated many on the Left in recent months. His latest move, supporting the deportation of asylum seekers, is different.

By Joshua Leifer

Head of the Zionist Union party Avi Gabbay with Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Head of the Zionist Union party Avi Gabbay with Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Last July, Avi Gabbay was elected chairman of the Labor party on the promise to return the party to power. Since then, Gabbay has staked out positions considerably to the right of Labors traditional base, leaving many on the Left frustrated, even devastated. Labor gained ground in the 2015 elections because it cast itself as the anti-Netanyahu; now, Labor voters worry, Gabbay is turning into Netanyahu.

[tmwinpost]

Gabbay was always an unconventional choice for Labor. A former head of the Israeli telecom giant Bezeq, Gabbay was among the founding members of Moshe Kakhlons center-right Kulanu party, and even served as minister in the current government, resigning in May of 2016 to protest the appointme...

18:00

Demise Of The Petrodollar Has The Potential To Reshape The Geopolitical World "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

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In the early 1970s President Richard Nixon instigated two changes that had profound effects. The first of these was taking United States off the gold standard; i.e. henceforth US dollars would no longer be convertible to Gold. Ordinarily this might have been expected to have significant ramifications for the value of the US dollar.

Deleterious effects however, were avoided by another equally profound change. Nixons National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger negotiated an agreement with Saudi Arabia that henceforth all oil(initially from Saudi Arabia but rapidly extended to all OPEC) countries would be traded only in US dollars, the birth of the so called petrodollar.

It was a classic mafia style arrangement. In exchange for Saudi Arabias agreement to the sole use of the dollar for oil transactions, the US underwrote Saudi Arabias security thereby ensuring the continuity of one of the worlds most corrupt and repressive regimes.

Also unknown at the time, the US and Saudi Arabia entered an arrangement whereby Islamist terrorist groups (as long as they were Sunni) would be financed by Saudi Arabia and armed by the Americans and then used in pursuit of US geopolitical goals. Operation Cyclone, begun under the Carter administration in the 1970s was an early forerunner of this tactic, but it has been refined and utilized in different formats in a wide number of countries ever since.

The objective was always fundamentally the same: to undermine and if necessary replace governments that were insufficiently compliant with US geopolitical aims. As and when necessary, US troops and their coalition allies would be inserted into the target countries. The destruction of Afghanistan (2001 and continuing) Iraq (2003 and continuing) Libya (2011 and continuing) are only three of the better-known examples.

The huge financial cost of these military and geopolitical ventures did not impose a proper price upon the US because of the hegemonic role of the US dollar. The US, in effect, had their multiple wars of choice paid for by other countries as the dollars role in world trade created a constant demand for US Treasury bonds.

The role of the US dollar also permitted the US to impose sanctions on recalcitrant countries. The selective nature of the sanctions, always directed toward a US geopolitical or commercial advantage, were clearly an instrument of repr...

17:40

Insolvency Amendment: Will Barring Defaulters Limit Competitive Bidding? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A new ordinance will rightly stop a majority of defaulting promoters from bidding for their own stressed assets, but may result in lower revenue for lenders.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: The government has finally tweaked the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) to bar dubious promoters from bidding for their own assets on sale as part of the corporate insolvency resolution process.

This comes after hectic, open lobbying by industry captains like Sajjan Jindal  whose companies are preparing to bid for stressed assets. Jindal has been urging authorities to keep wilful defaulters out of the bidding race for their assets which are likely to be auctioned soon.

The assets of a dozen big corporates including Essar Steel, Bhushan Steel, Bhushan Steel and Power and Monnet Ispat could soon be put up for auction as part of insolvency proceedings. These companies, which together account for a quarter of the...

17:01

Allow Indian Diplomat to Accompany Kulbhushan Jadhavs Wife, Mother to Meeting, Pakistan Told "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Pakistan foreign office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said on Thursday that the Indian request is under consideration.

File photo of former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage. | Photo Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Responding to Pakistans offer of arranging a meeting between former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav and his wife, India has asked that his mother be allowed to meet him too and has also demanded that an Indian diplomat be present in the meeting.

This April, a Pakistan military court imposed the death sentence on Jadhav, claiming that he was a serving Indian officer who had been involved in espionage and terror attacks. India strongly denied Pakistans allegation, noting that Jadhav had already retired from the Indian navy. The International Court of Justice has stayed the execution of the sentence.

On November 10, Pakistan offered to allow Jadhavs wife to visit him during his incarceration. About a week later, India gave its official reply to Islamabad.

In its first official statement on the latest twist in the Jadhav saga, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said...

16:25

Jan Gan Man Ki Baat, Episode 155: EVM Tampering and Judge Loyas Case "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Vinod Dua discusses reports of EVM manipulation in Uttar Pradesh and allegations of foul play in the December 2014 death of judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya.

The post Jan Gan Man Ki Baat, Episode 155: EVM Tampering and Judge Loyas Case appeared first on The Wire.

16:20

The Sochi Summit Concluding Remarks "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Russia-Turkey-Iran summit on Syria in Sochi

The three-party Sochi summit on Syria, between Russia, Iran and Turkey has not even started and many countries have already decided the future fate of that country and have rushed to declare that terrorism in Syria has been almost completely defeated. This has led to many telephone conversations between the Russian leader and the presidents of USA and Egypt, the King of Saudi Arabia, the Prime Minister of Israel, etc.

However, if America is at least taking part in the war in Syria, what can we say about Egypt? It is true that Washington is supporting the Kurdish separatists the SDS against Damascus and every now and again allowing DAESH militants to flee from Russian, Syrian and Iranian forces, through the ranks of its allies, and hide in the desert. As for Israel, it has a real influence on the situation in Syria but is not participating in the political negotiations aimed at regulating the conflict in Syria. And Saudi Arabia is not taking part in the talks either in Astana or in Sochi but it is actively stirring up the situation in Syria and Lebanon, dragging Israel into a military engagement against the Iranian army and Hezbollahs positions there.

And yet there are still a number of premature declarations that the war is Syria is almost over. Can that really bethe caseYesDAESH has almost been defeated in SyriaAlmostEven though it is still strong and still growlingMost of all, hundreds of militants are still driving around the Syrian desert in machine-gun-carrying cars carrying out regular attacks on Syrian army positions. Recently they even brought down a Syrian Air Force plane.

There can only be one conclusion: that DAESH is not yet defeate...

15:51

Why rebuild homes in the U.S. while destroying homes in Palestine? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The Jewish Federations of North America support disaster relief at home but human rights abuses in Israel/Palestine. Why dont they see the contradiction?

by Elias Newman

Inside a Houston home flooded by Hurricane Harvey (Elias Newman)

Inside a Houston home flooded by Hurricane Harvey (Elias Newman)

I arrive to the same scene each daydrenched clothing, scattered photo albums, a small mountain of moldy furniture. It has been more than two months since Hurricane Harvey devastated the Houston area, but the relief efforts will continue well into 2018 to repair over 200,000 water-damaged homes. The 80% of local homeowners without flood insurance are applying for government aid through FEMA, yet these funds are only enough to buy building materialsthey dont include the cost of labor.

Religious groups and nonprofits, like the Jewish organization where I currently volunteer, help fill the gap by providing free debris removal to homeowners in need. Our support comes from private foundations and individuals, including donations and volunteers sent from Jewish Federations throughout the United States.

[tmwinpost]

As I wander through the collapsing home...

14:43

Exclusive: Justice A.P. Shah Says Suspicious Death of Sohrabuddin Case Judge Needs Probe "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Speaking to The Wire, the former chief justice of the Delhi high court feels it is absolutely necessary to order an enquiry as the allegations can stigmatise the judiciary. 

New Delhi: Former Delhi high court chief justice A.P. Shah on Thursday became the first senior member of the judiciary to speak out about the allegations of foul play in the December 2014 death of Brijgopal Harkishan Loya, the special CBI judge presiding over the trial of BJP president Amit Shah and several top Gujarat police officers for the encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi.

Apart from referring to the grievances of Loyas family members regarding the suspicious circumstances of his death, Justice A.P. Shah also expressed concerns regarding allegations of corruption as the late CBI judge was allegedly offered a bribe of Rs 100 crore for a favourable judgment in the weeks and months running up to his sudden demise, ostensibly because of cardiac arrest.

It is necessary that the chief justice of the high court or the Chief Justice of India himself should look into this material and decide whether to order an enquiry, because if these allegations are not investigated it causes serious stigma on the judiciary, Justice Shah told The Wire in an exclusive interview at this residence here.

Justice Shah strssed the need to maintain the confidence of the people in the integrity of the judiciary. Calling Loya an honest and upright judge, he added, Not enquiring into the allegations made by the family would send a very wrong signal to the judiciary, particularly the lower cadre.

In an implicit reference to the medical college bribery scam, he said that there have been several self-inflicted wounds on the judiciary recently and such matters should be investigated to maintain the confidence of the public in the judiciary. He further added that, In such cases where prima facie material is available to investigate, it is absolutely necessary to order an enquiry. The judiciary is the tallest institution of the country and peopl...

14:10

Calculating cost of a flat before possession should be stopped "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

real estate

By Taazakhabar News Bureau

In most foreign Countries a Flat is sold after completion. There is no booking amount and there is no payment linked to various stages of construction. In India, it is other way round. A promoter raises money not only from the prospective Home Buyers but also from the Banks. The Banks make money during the heyday of a Project and once the Project is declared Insolvent, the Banks become the Secured Creditors entitled to receive their stake from the insolvency proceedings.

According to Col T. P. Tyagi, Chief Convenor, CONRWA (Confederation of NCR Resident Welfare Associations) and CoRWA President of the Flat Owners Federation Ghaziabad a project becomes insolvent owing to either the active connivance or passive silence of the Banks. Every Developer submits its monthly progress report containing the stages of construction before receiving loan from the Bank and hence the Bank is well aware of the HEALTH of the Project. If a Project has fallen sick it is primarily due to the lack of foresight of the Bank Officials but in spite of that, the BANK is considered as the secured creditor. It is for this reason that projects about ten lakh crore have become NPA.  On the other hand the Home Buyer is on the receiving end both ways. He has to pay the EMIs and also the installments to the Developer and in spite of that he is considered as the unsecured creditor entitled to get the share of the insolvency proceedings, if at all, left behind after meeting the claims of the Banks, Government and the Workers.

Recently the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Urban Development Durga Prasad Mishra wrote to the Ministry of corporate affairs to include the Home Buyers as secured creditor. But this will not suffice.

The Insolvency rules were framed in India when the Real Estate Projects were almost nil and hence they should be changed at the earliest. More than 17000 ongoing projects are still in currency for which the Completion certificate has not been taken in about 28 Major Cities of the Country.

Real Estate accounts for about 3.5 Lakh crore per year and about 10 Lakh new Home Buyers join the fray every year. It is therefore necessary to take in to account the sufferings of the Home Buyers on priority, particularly in the case of On Going Projects. Why a Developer should be allowed to raise funds from the Home Buyers since he is already getting funds from the Bank.

It is go...

14:05

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

The American Congress has more than once urged the US to not only withdraw from the 1987 treaty, but also to arm American NATO allies that are not INF signatories with new ground-launched cruise missiles, in order to retaliate against Russia.

The post Will the INF Treaty Be Kept Beyond Its 30th Anniversary? (II) appeared first on OrientalReview.org.

14:00

Lets Not Demonise Britain Over the ICJ, India Wants to Be Elite Too "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Nationalist chest-thumping is for lightweights and losers. India is neither.

Sushma Swaraj and Ravi Shankar Prasad. Credit: Reuters/PTI

Sushma Swaraj and Ravi Shankar Prasad. Credit: Reuters/PTI

There has been unbridled exultation in India after the election of Dalveer Bhandari to the International Court of Justice. Ravi Shankar Prasad, the countrys law minister, was moved to Tweet Bharat Mata ki Jai!

The normally...

13:57

Tripura Newspapers Print Blank Editorials After Killing of Journalist Sudip Datta Bhowmik "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Bhowmik was shot dead on Tuesday by a Tripura State Rifles trooper during an altercation.

Sudip Datta Bhaumik. Credit: Facebook

Sudip Datta Bhowmik. Credit: Facebook

New Delhi: While the court of the chief judicial magistrate in Agartala has sent both constable Nandalal Reang and commandant of the 2nd battalion of Tripura State Rifles (TSR) Tapan Dabbarma to a ten-day police remand on the charge of gunning down journalist Sudip Datta Bhowmik, newspapers in Tripura, on November 23, published blank editorials to protest the killing.

On November 21, 48-year-old Bhowmik, a crime reporter with the Bengali newspaper Syandan Patrika, had gone to meet the commandants office in the battalion headquarters R.K. Nagar area of Agartala as per a prior appointment. Bhowmik reportedly had been writing about corruption charges against commandant Debbarma.

The media fraternity in the state expressed shock at the murder. A large group of agitated journalists in the capital city burnt the press jackets given by the state government after the killing of journalist Santanu B...

13:30

Ratko Mladis Conviction and Why the Evidence of Mass Graves Still Matters "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

For the Srebrenica investigations, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia conducted exhumations at 23 sites, while a further 20 mass graves were probed to confirm that they contained human remains.

Former general Mladi during proceedings in January. UN ICTY, CC BY

Former general Mladi during proceedings in January. Credit: UN ICTY, CC BY

Ratko Mladi has been convicted of genocide and persecution, extermination, murder and the inhumane act of forcible transfer in the area of Srebrenica in 1995. He was also found guilty of persecution, extermination, murder, deportation and inhumane act of forcible transfer in municipalities throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, and of murder, terror and unlawful attacks on civilians in Sarajevo.

In addition, the former Bosnian Serb army general was convicted for the hostage-taking of UN personnel. But he was acquitted of the charge of genocide in several municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992.

The events that occurred in and around the Srebrenica enclave between July 10-19 1995, where an estimated 8,000 Bosnian Muslims, mostly men and boys, lost their lives, are well documented. These atrocities, culminating in the biggest single mass murder in Europe since the Second World War, not only resulted in a tremendous loss of life and emotionally scarred survivors, it also left behind a landscape filled with human remains and mass graves.

Forensic investigations into the Srebrenica massacre assisted in convicting Mladi, who stood accused for his involvement in implementing and orchestrating the forcible transfer and eventual elimination of the Bosnian Muslim population from Srebrenica. For the Srebrenica investigations, between 1996 and 2001, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) conducted exhumations at 23 sites, while a further 20 mass gr...

13:30

In Final Leg of Campaign in Gujarat, Its Modi Versus Rahul "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

With a likely erosion of BJP votes due to anti-incumbency effect and a fraction of Patel vote going to the Congress, both parties appear to be neck and neck at the current stage.

BJP supporters at a rally. Credit: PTI

BJP supporters at a rally. Credit: PTI

As electioneering intensifies in Gujarat, the question being asked is whether the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will be able to hold on to its votes or will the Congress make a dent in the saffron partys support base. There are no easy answers, but electoral statistics indicate that the BJP has consistently garnered more than 40% of the popular vote in the state since 1995. In the context of the first-past-the-post system that is followed in India, this is highly significant. Dubbed as the winner-takes-all system, such a high percentage of votes translates into the winner getting two-thirds of the total number of seats.

Little wonder, then, that since 1995, the BJP has consistently won more than 115 seats out of the 182 in the Gujarat state assembly contests. In 1995, the first time the BJP came to power in the state, the party won 121 seats and 42.51% of the popular vote. In the next election in 1998 (it was a mid-term election after internal troubles in the BJP led to a full-blown crisis and a government in the interim by a breakaway faction led by Shankar Sinh Vaghela), the BJP won 117 seats with a vote share of 44.81%. The vote percentage of the BJP...

13:12

Thanksgiving 2017 "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The Trench Boys
Thanksgiving is a good time to reflect on all the blessings in life, and I have many.

I'm thankful for landing in a career that I find fulfilling and exciting with opportunities to learn new things and meet new people.  This year my job took me to Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Saipan, Tinian, Rota, Guam, Rapa Nui, mainland Chile, and the United Nations to advocate for ocean protections.  I continue to work at the intersection of science and community to drive policy, and increasingly I am able to fold art and culture into this equation.  The people who surround me are inspiring, untiring, and committed to making this world a better place.

I received recognition from my peers and colleagues for my work this year (in trophy form), which I have found to be mostly humbling and embarrassing.  When I was younger I hungered for recognition, but these days I'm more comfortable with it being given to others.  I'm never the smartest or hardest working person in any room, and any credit I get belongs to the people I work with more than anything.  Honestly, the best part about winning an award is being nominated by your friends.

I've got a great wife and together we share an amazing marriage.  Life is always entertaining and exciting with Edz around.  I enjoy sharing our mundane moments on social media with the hashtag #ConversationsWithMyWife.  The feedback I get is that you enjoy them, too. 

We had a bit of a health scare back in March, so I'm thankful for modern medicine and health insurance this year.  I've never really needed it until this year, and I'm glad we had access to it.  The doctors and nurses at the George Washington University Hospital saved Edz' life. I was on Easter Island when she went to the hospital, and rush as I tried, it took me nearly two days to get back to Washington, DC.  In my absence, Delegate Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan really showed what a class act he is and how much he cares.  He was at the hospital when Edz woke up from surgery -- her only family in the city -- and was there when my mom arrived from...

12:08

SC to Hear Fresh Plea to Stall Release of Padmavati Outside India "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Deepika Padukone as Padmavati.

Deepika Padukone as Padmavati.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today (November 23) agreed to hear on November 28 a fresh plea seeking a direction to makers of the Bollywood film Padmavati not to release it outside India on December 1.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A. M. Khanwilkar and D. Y. Chandrachud said it would hear on Tuesday the plea that alleged that the makers of Padmavati misrepresented facts before the court with regard to censor boards approval on releasing songs and the promo.

We will take it up on Tuesday. You (advocate) file a writ petition, the bench told advocate M. L. Sharma who mentioned his fresh plea for an urgent hearing.

Sharma alleged that grave damage will be done to social harmony if the movie is allowed to be released outside India.

He also sought criminal prosecution of the makers of the movie for allegedly misrepresenting facts that the songs and promos were cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

Earlier, the apex court had dismissed his plea seeking to delete certain alleged objectionable scenes from movie.

The bench had observed that the CBFC has not yet given certificate to the movie and the apex court cannot injunct a statutory body from doing its duty.

The counsel for one of the respondents had earlier told the court that the films promo was released and it has got the requisite CBFC approval.

Sharma had approached the c...

12:07

EC Grants Ruling AIADMK Faction Two Leaves Symbol, Says Tamil Nadu CM "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

File photo of AIADMK supporters. Credit: PTI

File photo of AIADMK supporters. Credit: PTI

Chennai: Tamil Nadu chief minister E. Palaniswami today said the Election Commission (EC) has allotted the two leaves symbol to the unified AIADMK led by him and his deputy O. Panneerselvam.

However, the EC is yet to make an official announcement in this regard.

Palaniswami described the development as a welcome step and the happiest day for the party. The AIADMK workers broke into celebration by bursting crackers and distributing sweets in front of the party headquarters here.

The development is a setback to the deposed party leader V.K. Sasikala, who is currently serving her term in a Bengaluru jail in a disproportionate assets case, besides her nephew and sidelined deputy general secretary T.T.V. Dhinakaran.

Palaniswami told reporters here that their faction had provided all the necessary documents and affidavits to prove that it had the rights to the symbol, given its majority strength in various party fora.

The issue has been lingering since April in the aftermath of the announcement of by-polls to the R.K. Nagar assembly constituency here.

However, the April 12 by-election was cancelled days ahead on allegations of the use of money power and malpractices.

The EC had then frozen the AIADMK party name and its symbol after the different factions had staked claim over it.

Panneerselvam, who first revolted against Sasikala, later merged his faction with the one led by Palaniswami after the latter rebelled against her.

The post...

12:02

Kyrgyzstan: Notorious High-Ranking Customs Official Fired "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A notorious high-ranking customs official in Kyrgyzstan has been fired in a dramatic personnel reshuffle that comes weeks after Kazakhstan complained about the volume of contraband goods flooding in from its southern neighbor.

Prime Minister Sapar Isakov signed the order to dismiss Customs Service deputy chairman Rayimbek Matraimov on November 23, noting that the officials action did not comply with government policies.

Matraimov, who is known popularly (and tellingly) by his nickname Rayim Million, has long wielded substantial influence in the south of the country, which is a conduit for vast amounts of imported wares arriving from China. 

From 2005 to 2015, he held multiple positions in Customs Services southern offices. Over the course of his career, he repeatedly faced accusations of corruption, including from members of parliament. 

Matraimovs life in customs began in the mid-1990s, when he worked as a driver for the former deputy head of the service, Muratbek Malabayev. From there, he quickly made his way up the greasy pole.

Following the 2010 revolution, he was booted out of the Customs Service by the then-governor of the southern Osh region, Sooronbai Jeenbekov, who is to be inaugurated as president on November 24. But he was reinstated very shortly afterward. Former General Prosecutor Azimbek Beknazarov, who has fallen out with the elite now running the country, claims Matraimov paid $400,000 to regain his job. In 2015, Matraimov was promoted to the post from which he has now been fired.

read more

11:50

P. Chidambaram on Rahul Gandhis Leadership and Padmavati Controversy "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

In an interview with Karan Thapar for The Wire, former finance minister P. Chidambaram talks about the Padmavati controversy, Rahul Gandhis leadership and the upcoming Gujarat elections.

The post P. Chidambaram on Rahul Gandhis Leadership and Padmavati Controversy appeared first on The Wire.

11:45

Recent Events in Libya: Unaddressed Challenge to International Security "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

An international effort is indispensable to prevent Libya from becoming a second Syria. NATO is responsible for the turmoil in the country since 2011 and it would be logical for the alliance to contribute to the search for a negotiated settlement of the conflict.

11:29

How a Rice Variety Bred by an Industrious Maharashtra Farmer Was Pirated "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A plant-breeder painstakingly selected plants for resowing their seeds, a common good, to arrive at a distinct and stable variety only to see it wind its way into the hands of a private agent.

Dadaji Ramaji Khobragade. Credit: NIF

Dadaji Ramaji Khobragade. Credit: NIF

Grown over a million acres of farmland, the HMT rice variety developed by Dadaji Ramaji Khobragade, a small cultivator and self-trained plant breeder has brought a measure of prosperity to a few hundred thousand farmers in Maharashtra and neighbouring states.

Khobragade, now 78 years old, is from a predominantly Buddhist-Dalit village called Nanded, in Nagbid tehsil of the eastern Chandrapur district of Maharashtra. The temperature there had crossed 40 C in early April this year. His HMT rice, grown here since the late 1980s, is a mildly fragrant fine-grain variety with good cooking quality, and a flavour reminiscent of the traditionally popular Kolam rice.

When the market needed a name, the HMT watches were popular at the time and it was the first thing that came to mind. The consumer preference for HMT rice soon earned it a price twice that of the rice varieties grown earlier by local farmers. HMT was also well-suited to the agro-ecological conditions in much of the region.

I knew Dadaji and of his claim to fame. But stepping inside his village house, I did not expect to find the walls of the small front room crammed with awards, certificates and photographs of felicitation ceremonies, including one...

11:28

Vladimir Putin held a meeting in Sochi with President of Iran Hassan Rouhani and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The talks were devoted to the Syrian settlement process, taking into account the joint work in the Astana format. The participants in the meeting discussed further steps to ensure the long-term normalisation of the situation in Syria.

11:25

Modi Government Cuts Planned Funding for National Health Mission By Almost 20% "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Patients and their attendants wait outside the Out Patient Department (OPD) at a government-run hospital in New Delhi, India, November 22, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Saumya Khandelwal

Patients and their attendants wait outside the Out Patient Department (OPD) at a government-run hospital in New Delhi, India, November 22, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Saumya Khandelwal

New Delhi: India has approved a three-year budget for its flagship public health programme almost 20% lower than what the health ministry said was needed, according to sources and previously unreported government documents reviewed by Reuters.

The federal finance ministry in August renewed the National Health Mission with $20 billion of funding...

11:15

Mohammad bin Salman and the New Balance of Power "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

In the best case, a new balance of power will emerge in the Middle East, freezing out the Sunni non-state actors as well as Irans marauding Revolutionary Guard Corps, and allowing the countries of the region to attend to their economic future.

10:58

Watch: After Mugabe, What Next for Zimbabwe? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Will Emmerson Mnangagwa, a ruthless leader who carried out Mugabes policies for nearly four decades, turn out to be a better leader than his predecessor? 

Ninety-three-year-old Robert Mugabe resigned as president of Zimbabwe on November 21, ending 37 years of rule. The resignation was a result of a military coup triggered by infighting within the ruling party ZANU-PF.

Emmerson Mnangagwa has been chosen as the next president of Zimbabwe. But will Mnangagwa, a ruthless leader who carried out Mugabes policies for nearly four decades, turn out to be a better leader than his predecessor? 

The post Watch: After Mugabe, What Next for Zimbabwe? appeared first on The Wire.

10:45

Ex-British PM Gordon Brown: My Life, My Excuses over Iraq War "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Browns political legacy is a rather dull affair, more in the shadows of the times that surrounded his time in government. With so little to acclaim, its not surprising that Brown should now seek to whitewash Britains and his own personal responsibility in the illegal war on Iraq.

10:20

Video and Technology for Human Rights Documentation at COCONET "IndyWatch Feed Asia"


Video has been utilized for human rights documentation and advocacy for quite some time now and its power and impact seem to continuously grow. We now know that there are about 1.5 billion registered users visiting YouTube every month. Thats a huge number for an audience which is increasing day by day. But aside from the numbers, video has also acted as a catalyst for events that bring about social change such as the Arab spring, or has helped propagate another war.

One of the related sessions at COCONET 2017 (a Southeast Asia digital rights camp that was recently hosted by us at EngageMedia and partners) was Video and Technology for Human Rights Documentation. The session was delivered by Prakkash from WITNESS and Yerry Borang from our organzation who explained how activists, journalists, and human rights advocates can maximize the benefits of using video and technology in their work.

With HD, DSLR and hidden cameras becoming cheaper and more affordable, it becomes increasingly feasible for advocates to use video in their work. Its also become more common and handy to use drones for advocacy, whether to be used as an alternative source for evidence or to document police brutality.

Today there are several useful tools and apps such as Camera V, which is one of the best ways to capture and share verifiable photos and videos on a smartphone or tablet. With this app, individuals working in difficult and high-risk situations can easily capture and gather visual evidence of rights violations and abuse of power.

It can also be used for documenting personal matters such as those related to accidents, real estate and more. All this evidence can later be verified or used in court or to prove that an event or incident actually took place.

Another interesting app is Obscura Cam, which can be used as a tool to remove metadata such as geo-location or obscure faces for anonymity. This gives people the power to better protect themselves and the identities of those captured in their photos before they are posted online.

It can be used as the default camera app on a device to take a picture, and also select photos or videos that were already taken to automatically detect faces that can be pixelated, redacted (blacked out) or hidden with a comical nose and glasses! There is a...

10:15

What Makes Google"s Eric Schmidt So Afraid? And What Should He Be Afraid of? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

OK, its from Russia Today so you should of course not trust it but somehow this video and text and the man in it seems quite factual, not fake and obviously not omitted.

09:40

The Public Are All Alone: Understanding How the Enemy of Your Enemy Is Not Your Friend "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

In political matters, the public are taught to believe that some political Party is good, and that the others are bad; but the reality in recent times, at least in the United States, has instead been that both Parties are rotten to the core.

09:30

Communal Video Only Adds to Dissatisfaction and Anger Among Gujarats Muslim Voters "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

While the BJP has rarely talked about the community in a positive light, Congress too is ignoring Muslims this time as it tries to build a soft Hindutva image in the state.

Poster in Surat East saying 'No votes from Muslims if no tickets to Muslims'. Credit: Damayantee Dhar

Poster in Surat East saying No votes from Muslims if no tickets to Muslims. Credit: Damayantee Dhar

Ahmedabad: In poll-bound Gujarat, both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have taken to social media to try and belittle each other using videos evoking Gujarati pride. However, one particular video that has left many shocked has not been claimed by either the BJP or Congress IT cells.

The one minute and fifteen second video opens with the line, Gujarat ma sanjhe saat pachhi avu thai shake che (This can happen after 7 pm in Gujarat). The scene cuts to a poorly-lit road where a young girl, likely a teenager, is walking alone. She is visibly scared when music resembling azaan plays in the background. Then a couple is shown at home; the man is worried and the woman is praying to Krishna. In the third scene, the same woman is sitting and the man is pacing in a drawing room, both deeply worried, clenching their fists in tension. Just then, someone rings the doorbell. The young girl enters the house and hugs the woman. The couple sits beside the girl, their hands on her head, as if all of them are relieved. The woman speaks to the camera: Ek minut...

09:14

Cancer Is Divine Justice for Sins Committed: Assam Health Minister "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Himanta Biswa Sarma defended his comment saying he was citing Hindu philosophy.

Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Assam health, education and finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma kicked up a storm with his remark that some people suffer from life-threatening diseases such as cancer because of their past sins. Describing cancer as a form of  divine justice the minister said, Hinduism believes in karmic law and...

09:00

Discharge From New Bio-Toilets on Indian Trains No Better Than Raw Sewage: Study "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Despite sanitation experts and studies pointing out that a majority of these toilets are ineffective or ill maintained, an approximate Rs 1,200 crore has been allocated for fitting additional coaches with bio-toilets.

An Indian Railways toilet. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

An Indian Railways toilet. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A new kind of toilet using bacteria to break down human excreta has been deployed in Indian trains over the last four years at a cost of Rs 1,305 crore, but this toilet is no better than a septic tank, the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, has concluded after a two-year long study.

As many as 93,537 bio-digesters as the toilets are called have been installed in mainline express and mail trains by the Indian Railways. These are small-scale sewage-treatment systems beneath the toilet seat: Bacteria in a compost chamber digest human excreta, leaving behind water and methane. Only the water, disinfected later, is let out on the tracks.

That is how it is supposed to work.

However, sanitation experts and various studies including commissioned by the railways have pointed out that most of the new bio-toilets on Indian trains are ineffective or ill maintained and the water discharged no better than raw sewage.

Our tests have found that the organic matter (human waste) collecting in the bio-digesters do not undergo any kind of treatment, IIT professor Ligy Philip, who headed the latest study, told IndiaSpend. Like in the septic tanks, these bio-digesters accumulate slush (human excreta mixed wit...

08:30

Britains PM Defends Liberal World Order "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Russia must be winning big in the new economic and media war raging from west to east. The way the Queen Mothers mouthpiece just stomped her old lady heels before the world, it warms the hearts of Putin fans around the world. Theresa May seems to have had a fire lit under her ample derriere, for the AFP proudly parrots proudly announced the British PMs determination to thwart Putins evil plans for Europe. Read on to learn and laugh some more.

At an annual address before the Lord Mayors Banquet, May spilled a laundry list of Russian actions she said prove Putin is seeking to weaponize information moves she admits threaten the international order. Seeing her smug mug on every newspaper from Los Angeles to Marrakesh this morning reaffirms my first impression of the woman. She is arrogant, mediocre, and most of all obtuse in her puppet-like stance on most issues. Vowing to strengthen cybersecurity and to tighten financial rules aimed at those dastardly Russian oligarchs who might invest in Britain. May and the Queen Mother forget we all know about ousted oligarchs running all over London squawking like upset chickens since Putin booted them out of Russia. Id list the Russian criminals safely harbored under Mays fuzzy wings, but my editor would complain of this posts lengthiness. Heres a short alphabetized list: Roman Abramovich (a Putin friend),

Boris Berezovsky (deceased), Andrey Borodin (exiled banking crook), Mikhael Khodorovsy (my favorite Putin ousted Yukos Oil mafioso), Alexander Litvinenko (deceased spy slash non-oligarch), Vladimir Makhlai (another asylum-seeking privateer billionaire), and Alexander Perepilichny (Hermitage Capital / Magnitsky case whistleblower). Trust me, there are a hundred other prominent Russian business people propping up London with their huge investments. Truth be told, if May really does go after Russians like she says she will London may have trouble paying the light bill. Laughable, this is what the UK Prime Minister is.

Theresa May is a symbol of just how pitiful Great Britain has become on the world stage. Even the dumbest schoolboy in Liverpool knows these people are pathological liars, and all the hard working people on those foggy isles understand and laugh at the lunacy of the UKs foreign policies. Brits are unbelievably tolerant in my book, possessed of the best sense of humor and irony. Once Br...

08:30

Interview: Distress in Gujarat Is Real, Modi Alone May Not Be Able to Do Damage Control "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

In conversation with political analyst Achyut Yagnik on what to expect from the upcoming Gujarat assembly elections, the rise of the BJP and more.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah at the party's Central Election Committee meeting for the Gujarat assembly elections in Delhi. Credit: Twitter/BJP4Gujarat

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah at the partys Central Election Committee meeting for the Gujarat assembly elections in Delhi. Credit: Twitter/BJP4Gujarat

Ahmedabad: The final nominations for the first phase of the much-awaited Gujarat assembly elections are done, but official campaigns by political parties are yet to reach the expected feverish pitch. The aggressive style of canvassing that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is known for is missing in the run up. The Congress, which has over the last few decades lost much of its traditional support base in the state, seems to be active, but mostly on social media.

Yet, in what clearly looks like a bipolar contest between the two parties, most common folk refer to this election as a 50-50 affair, indicating a tight contest. For a state which has had non-Congress regimes for the last 22 years and BJP at the helm of affairs for the most of this time, this popular analysis is both new and interesting. It signifies that political factors at play are much more complicated than some previous elections, in which victory for the BJP was a foregone conclusion. It also shows...

08:03

The People Have Spoken, Says Zimbabwes New Leader Following Mugabes Ouster "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Zimbabweans living in South Africa celebrate after President Robert Mugabe resigns, in Johannesburg, South Africa November 21, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Zimbabweans living in South Africa celebrate after President Robert Mugabe resigns, in Johannesburg, South Africa November 21, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Harare: Zimbabwes new leader Emmerson Mnangagwa told a cheering crowd in Harare on Wednesday that the country was entering a new stage of democracy following Robert Mugabes removal as president after nearly four decades in power.

Mnangagwa returned to the country earlier in the day, having fled for his safety when the 93-year-old former leader sacked him as vice president two weeks ago to smooth a path to the succession for his much younger...

07:44

Besieged Syrians Eating Trash, Fainting From Hunger: UN "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A pot containing food is seen in the Hazzeh area in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria, October 25, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Bassam Khabieh

A pot containing food is seen in the Hazzeh area in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria, October 25, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Bassam Khabieh

Geneva: Syrians in the besieged enclave of Eastern Ghouta are so short of food that they are eating trash, fainting from hunger and forcing their children to eat on alternate days, the UN World Food Programme said in a report on Wednesday.

Since September, approximately 174,500 people in the town of Douma in the besieged zone have been forced to adopt emergency coping strategies, the WFP report said.

This includes consuming expired food, animal fodder and refuse, spending days without eating, begging and engaging in high risk activitie...

07:41

Protesting Asylum Seekers Ordered Out of Manus Island Camp by PNG Police "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Police enter the Manus Island detention centre on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, November 23, 2017. AAP/via Reuters

Police enter the Manus Island detention centre on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, November 23, 2017. AAP/via Reuters

Sydney: Papua New Guinea (PNG) police sealed off an officially shuttered Australian-run detention camp on Thursday and ordered asylum seekers occupying it to leave as they confiscated food and water the men had stockpiled, asylum seekers told Reuters.

About 380 asylum seekers have shut themselves inside the Manus Island Centre for more than three weeks, defying attempts by Australia and PNG to close it in a standoff the United Nations described as a looming humanitarian crisis.

They destroyed our food and damaged our accommodation too, they destroyed our water tank, one asylum-seeker said in a mobile telephone message from the camp.

Many of the men climbed onto rooftops and hid in toilets, he said. Three other asylum seekers gave similar accounts of the police action.

A video shot by Sudanese refugee Abdul Aziz and posted o...

07:36

US Terms Myanmars Rohingya Crackdown Ethnic Cleansing "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Rohingya refugees build a makeshift school with bamboo at Kutupalong refugee camp near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, November 22, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Susana Vera

Rohingya refugees build a makeshift school with bamboo at Kutupalong refugee camp near Coxs Bazar, Bangladesh, November 22, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Susana Vera

Washington: The United States on Wednesday called the Myanmar military operation against the Rohingya population ethnic cleansing and threatened targeted sanctions against those responsible for what it called horrendous atrocities.

The situation in northern Rakhine state constitutes ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement,...

07:34

Palestinian Factions Agree to Hold General Elections by End 2018 "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas walks to speaks to the media after his meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah at the Royal Palace in Amman, Jordan October 22, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Muhammad Hamed

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas walks to speaks to the media after his meeting with Jordans King Abdullah at the Royal Palace in Amman, Jordan October 22, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Muhammad Hamed

Gaza/Cairo: Palestinian factions, including rival groups Hamas and Fatah, have agreed to hold a general election by the end of 2018, a joint statement by several groups said...

06:51

Facing Corruption Charges, Pakistan Finance Minister Relieved of Duties "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Pakistan's Finance Minister Ishaq Dar gestures during a news conference to announce the economic survey of fiscal year 2016-2017, in Islamabad, Pakistan, May 25, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Faisal Mahmood/Files

Pakistans Finance Minister Ishaq Dar gestures during a news conference to announce the economic survey of fiscal year 2016-2017, in Islamabad, Pakistan, May 25, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Faisal Mahmood/Files

Islamabad: Pakistans Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has been relieved of his duties, local media said on Wednesday, following speculation abou...

06:48

Missing Argentine Submarine Highlights Years of Military Underfunding "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

An Argentine Navy airplane is seen as it flies over the Atlantic Ocean during the search for the ARA San Juan submarine missing at sea, Argentina November 22, 2017. Argentine Navy/Handout via Credit: Reuters

An Argentine Navy airplane is seen as it flies over the Atlantic Ocean during the search for the ARA San Juan submarine missing at sea, Argentina November 22, 2017. Argentine Navy/Handout via Credit: Reuters

Buenos Aires: The search for an Argentine submarine missing in the South Atlantic for more than a week has highlighted the dwindling resources and lack of training faced by the armed forces since the end of a military dict...

04:30

Global Coal Market Shrugs Off Indias Reduced Imports "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

While Indias coal imports have dropped 12% over the last three years, as the Modi government pursues a domestic strategy, they have picked up in recent times and are likely to continue to rise.

Credit: Reuters

Indonesias benchmark price for thermal coal has risen by more than 25% since June this year. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: The international coal market is hardening on strong Chinese demand, brushing off the impact India was projected to have as a result of it reducing dependence on the imported dry fuel.

The global rise, surprisingly, comes even though the 13.6 million tonne gain in Chinas imports during January-July 2017 has not been enough to offset the 16.3 million tonne decline in Indias purchase of coal from the overseas market.

The Indonesian coal market, which is the main source of imported fuel for Indian power plants, too remains ebullient, proving wrong those who predicted an imminent end to the boom in the Southeast Asian countrys coal sector.

The Indonesian governments benchmark price for thermal coal has risen by more than 25% since June this year on strong Chinese demand for the dry fuel. The benchmark Indonesian thermal coal price in November is 12% higher compared to the same month last year.

This despite India continuing its focus on increasing domestic coal production to reduce coal imports. Moreover, India buys low-grade thermal coal from Indonesia which can be blended with higher grade coal before burning. In contrast, China majorly sources higher-quality of coal from Australia and South Africa...

04:00

After Violence and NSA Charges, Caste Lines Are Deeper Than Ever in Saharanpur "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Dalit villagers in Shabbirpur are still hoping that the members of their community as well as Bhim Army leader Chandrasekhar charged under the NSA will be released.

The women of Shabbirpur who sat on a hunger strike for a week and have vowed to fight for justice. Credit: Kabir Agarwal

The women of Shabbirpur who sat on a hunger strike for a week and have vowed to fight for justice. Credit: Kabir Agarwal

Saharanpur, UP: On November 7, 13 Dalit women from Shabbirpur a small village in Saharanpur which saw large-scale caste-related violence in May this year began a hunger strike. They were demanding the revocation of the National Security Act (NSA) which had recently been applied against two Dalits from the village and against Chandrashekhar, the founder of the Bhim Army.

We also want all false cases that have been filed against Dalits to be revoked and those who are responsible for the violence of May 5 to be punished, said Shakun...

04:00

Keeping the Spotlight on Gender-Based Violence "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The annual 16 Days of Activism campaign will begin on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and go on until December 10, Human Rights Day.

Women's March in Portland, United States. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Womens March in Portland, United States. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

United Nations: As cases of sexual harassment and assault continue to come to light every day, a different campaign to end such violence wants to keep the spotlight shining.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, an annual campaign by UN Women, aims not only to end violence against women and girls, but also to leave no one behind.

More than one in three women have experienced violence in some form in their lifetime that is equivalent to 700 million women, or close to the total population of sub-Saharan Africa. Cases of sexual violence have increasingly come to light among marginalised communities in conflict and humanitarian crises, from Mexico to Myanmar.

The campaign is beginning this year against the backdrop of a global outcry against the global pandemic.

Millions have rallied behind the #MeToo campaign, which aims to reveal the magnitude of sexual harassment and other forms of violence that women all over the world experience every day.

Thoug...

03:30

Ethnic Violence Escalates in Ethiopia Amidst Shadowy Politics "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Displaced Somali at giant camps surrounded by the Kolenchi hills in Ethiopias most eastern Somali region. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

Displaced Somali at giant camps surrounded by the Kolenchi hills in Ethiopias most eastern Somali region. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

Near the Oromia-Somali Regional Border, Ethiopia: Ethnic animosity unleashed in Ethiopia has displaced hundreds of thousands as well as rendering all manner of usually sacrosanct loyalties obsolete.

I was making my husbands dinner in the evening but an hour after he returned from work he kicked me out of our home, says Zahala Shekabde, a Somali married to an Oromo. I pleaded with him, told him I loved him and that I have nothing else, but he said he didnt want to listen and I must go otherwise he would hurt me.

She left with nothing other than three children from a former marriage her husband wouldnt let her take her youngest child from their marriage.

Other displaced ethnic Somali with Zahala from all over Ethiopias Oromia region say there was no warning and explanation given for their evictions, other than the local Oromo where they lived, including local officials, telling them it was revenge for what had happened to Oromo in Jijiga, the capital of the Somali region.

Upwards of 50,000 ethnic Oromo had to leave the Somali region and beyond (officials from the opposing Oromia and Somali regions dispute whether the sum...

03:30

We Are All Complicit in the Institutional Murders of Dalit Sanitation Workers "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

It is not as though people dont know that septic tanks and manholes are deathtraps, yet manual scavenging continues.

An Indian labourer looks on as he repairs a manhole in Mumbai September 14, 2005. Credit: Reuters

An Indian labourer looks on as he repairs a manhole in Mumbai. Credit: Reuters

It is not because of some random accidents that sanitation workers and labourers are dying all over India. They do not fall into the septic tanks and manholes because they are negligent; they are sent in to clean them by people who know the dangers. They do not accidentally inhale poisonous gases; they are sent inside septic tanks and manholes without any protective gear. These tanks and manholes are a deathtrap one into which we routinely send workers, thereby gambling with their lives. We have to accept that our state is deliberately killing these labourers and that it has killed 51 sanitation workers in 91 days.

01:02

Sarawak power firm set to start feeding Sabah from 2021 "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) will start supplying power to Sabah once the transmission line from Murum dam to Lawas is completed in 2021, chief executive officer Sharbini Suhaili said today. By next year, we hope to have some exchange of documents with Sabah, then we will develop the transmission line, he told reporters after presenting []

01:02

PRS and PBB clash over NCR issue? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Before the start of the recent sitting of the Council Negeri meeting, BN parties held a pre-council meeting. Among the issues they discussed was the motion submitted by the opposition assemblyman for BaKelalan Baru Bian on the amendments of the Land Code especially in respect of the Pemakai Menua (PM) and Pulau Galau (PG) which []

Is Sarawak law group upset over nothing? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Former Malaysian Bar president Khutubul Zaman Bukhari has questioned whether a lawyers group in Sarawak is unaware that the Legal Profession Qualifying Board cannot impose its decisions outside Peninsular Malaysia. He told FMT he was surprised that the Sibu chapter of the Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS) was complaining against the boards decision not to []

01:01

Johor Sultan says wont tolerate Malay political crisis any longer "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The ongoing power struggle involving Malay political leaders must not continue, said Johors Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar who warned of harm to the Malay community. In his royal address in conjunction with his 59th birthday, the Johor ruler said he was increasingly concerned over the crisis involving unnamed political leaders. As a ruler who has promised []

01:01

Unapologetic Dr M says would do Ops Lalang all over again "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he would repeat his actions in the notorious Ops Lalang security crackdown of 1987 under the same circumstances today. Speaking at a town hall session with youths here tonight alongside DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang, one of those detained using the Internal Security Act (ISA) in []

01:01

English medium schools re-introduction requires thorough study, says deputy minister "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Said Deputy Education Minister Datuk Chong Sin Woon. He said it would be the major topic to be discussed in detail taking into consideration views of the ministrys Legal Advisor together with the related parties. English medium schools have been converted into Malay medium schools, which was after we had the Education Act. Under the []

01:01

We were at work when Budget 2018 vote was called, say absent MPs "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Several Barisan Nasional MPs who were missing during the Budget 2018 bloc voting last Monday explained that they were working during the session. After internal action by the ruling coalition and accusation of playing truant, the MPs said they did not deliberately miss the voting as claimed by critics. Minister in the Prime Ministers Department []

Wednesday, 22 November

19:06

New footage proves police assaulted Arab MK at deadly home demolition "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Police initially denied using force against Ayman Odeh, who was shot in the head and back with sponge-tipped bullets moments after a Bedouin man and a police officer were killed in a tragic incident.

MK Ayman Odeh lies wounded from sponge-tipped bullets next to Israeli police in the Bedouin village of Umm el-Hiran, Negev, January 18, 2017. (Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

MK Ayman Odeh lies wounded from sponge-tipped bullets next to Israeli police in the Bedouin village of Umm el-Hiran, Negev, January 18, 2017. (Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Newly released footage shows Israeli police assaulting Palestinian member of Knesset Ayman Odeh at a home demolition during which one Bedouin man and a police officer were killed earlier this year. Police told +972 Magazine that Odeh had been struck by protesters stones at the time, only to change their story in the hours and days that followed.

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