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Monday, 25 September

02:23

Afghan Women Commit Suicide by Fire "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

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

Protesters for Jawzjan governor resignation "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sunday, 24 September

21:57

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

In 2009, US corporate-financier...

18:30

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

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

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

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

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

[tmwinpost]

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

18:00

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

IVR774

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

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

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

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

...

16:01

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

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

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


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


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

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

15:38

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

...

15:22

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

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

Credit: PTI

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

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

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

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

Gloating over his newly...

15:15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15:12

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

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

By Sarit Michaeli

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

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

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

15:10

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

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

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

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

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

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

...

15:00

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

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

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

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

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

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

14:37

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

Womens reproductive rights are under attack across the globe.

Erin Aniker

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

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

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

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

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

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

...

14:30

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

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

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

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

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

...

14:29

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

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

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

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

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

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

In early June,...

14:23

100 suicide attemps among women in 8 months in Kandahar "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

November 29, 2006 -- Some 100 women have attempted suicide by committing self-immolation or taking poison during the last eight months in the insurgency-hit southern province of Kandahar, an Afghan human rights watchdog said on Wednesday. "Our data show that at least 64 women have attempted suicide by setting fire to themselves and 36 others have resorted to taking poisons such as rat killers during the past eight months," Najeeba Hashimi, head of women's rights in the Kandahar office of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), said.

Almost half of all Afghan children not in school - Oxfam "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

November 27, 2006 -- More than half of Afghanistan's children are not going to school because of a shortage of places and teachers, the aid agency Oxfam says. Girls in particular are losing out, with just one in five girls in primary education and one in 20 going to secondary school.

Afghanistan: Behind the burqas "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

November 24, 2006 -- Activist with Afghani organization for womens rights RAWA tells Ynet womens situation in Afghanistan even worse than before American invasion: Rape, kidnapping, murder go unpunished. Without western interference, 9/11 could happen again, warns Sahar Saba

Violence against women on the rise in north of Afghanistan "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

November 16, 2006 -- Sexual abuse, murder and other crimes of different types are increasing in the Northern provinces of Afghanistan and this situation has provoked the intense concerns of human rights and women affairs' activists.

Meena among 60 Asian Heroes of Time Magazine "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

November 13, 2006 -- Meena called the women of Afghanistan sleeping lions, pledging that one day they would awake and roar. In 1977, at the age of 20, she launched the country's first movement for women's rights, calling her group the Revolutionary Association for the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA). Its goals: the restoration of democracy, equality for men and women, social justice, and the separation of religion from the affairs of the state. But in a country mired in tradition and occupied by the Soviet Union, Meena's beliefs were threatening enough to get her assassinated. Ten years after founding RAWA, she was kidnapped and killed; many Afghans held agents of the local communist intelligence agency responsible.

Abuse of Afghan women: 'It was my decision to die. I was getting beaten every day' "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

November 24, 2006 -- Those who should be in the best position to help, women MPs, another supposed sign of the brave new Afghanistan, are themselves facing violence and intimidation. Malalai Joya, at 28 one of Afghanistan's youngest MPs, regularly changes addresses because of death threats. "When I speak in parliament male MPs throw water bottles at me. Some of them shout 'take and rape her'. "Many of the men in power have the same attitude as the Taliban. Women have not been liberated. You want to know how women feel in this country? Look at the rate of suicide," she said.

12:15

US to Plunder Afghanistan"s Mineral Riches "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Endless US aggression in Afghanistan has nothing to do with combating terrorism (America supports it), everything to do with controlling the country, using it for oil and gas pipelines, part of encircling Russia and China with US military bases, and plundering vast Afghan mineral riches likely worth trillions of dollars, a prize corporate predators covet.

11:45

Morgan Freeman Joins Propaganda War Effort "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Morgan Freeman, the Oscar winner and five-time Golden Globe nominee, is featured in a video running on the organization website, encouraging Americans to fight back against Russia's influence. We have been attacked. We are at war, says the movie star, calling on President Trump to address the nation about the attack the United States came under during the presidential election...

11:16

Auditor Says He Was Forced to Quit Vatican After Finding Irregularities "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Pope Francis is greeted by Libero Milone (R), the Vatican's auditor general, during a meeting at the Vatican

Pope Francis is greeted by Libero Milone (R), the Vaticans auditor general, during a meeting at the Vatican, April 1, 2016. Osservatore Romano/Handout via Credit: Reuters/Files

Vatican City:  The Vaticans first auditor-general, who resigned without explanation in June, has broken his silence, saying he was forced to step down with trumped-up accusations after discovering evidence of possible illegal activity.

Speaking to reporters from four media organisations including Reuters in the office of his lawyers in Rome, Libero Milone also said he believed that some in the Vatican wanted to slow down Pope Franciss efforts at financial reform.

He said he could not give details of the irregularities he had found because of non-disclosure agreements. Reuters was unable to independently verify his assertions, whi...

11:15

How Merkel"s Win May Hide Rising Discontent "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

With German Chancellor Merkel expected to win reelection on Sunday, the European elites may celebrate having turned back a populist surge, but their neo-liberal policies continue to fuel discontent, says Andrew Spannaus.

11:14

Mexico Shaken by Quake Aftershock, Volcanic Ash Adds to Fear "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Mexican and international rescue teams remove a painting as they search for survivors in a collapsed building after an earthquake, at Roma neighborhood in Mexico City, Mexico September 23, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Carlos Jasso

Mexican and international rescue teams remove a painting as they search for survivors in a collapsed building after an earthquake, at Roma neighborhood in Mexico City, Mexico, September 23, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Carlos Jasso

Mexico City: A magnitude 6.2 aftershock that shook Mexico on Saturday was blamed for five deaths, spreading fear among anxious residents reeling from a string of natural disasters and interrupting the search for survivors from a bigger tremor ea...

11:01

"Turn your grief into positive energy" (By Kate Hannan, about her volunteer work with RAWA) "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

December 12, 2006 -- Courage, hope, determination, steadfastness, devotion, action &.all these radiate from the RAWA members and supporters I met during my stay in Pakistan in October 2006.

RAWA communiqu on Universal Human Rights Day "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

December 10, 2006 -- Five years ago, America and their allies attacked Afghanistan in the name of bringing "Human Rights", "Democracy", and "Freedom" to the war-torn country. The Taliban regime fell and Hamid Karzai's puppet regime, which included the world-known Northern Alliance criminals or as UN envoy Mahmoud Mestri said, "the bandit gangs", took over in the name of a fake democracy.

HRW: Karzai Must Hold Officials Accountable for Past Crimes "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

December 12, 2006 -- President Hamid Karzai should immediately enforce a program to provide truth, reconciliation and accountability for war crimes and major human rights abuses over the past 30 years in Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch said today. The Afghan government should establish a special court to try those responsible, some of whom hold high office, as soon as possible, Human Rights Watch said.

New Taliban Rules Target Afghan Teachers: 2 teachers killed "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

December 9, 2006 -- The Taliban gunmen who murdered two teachers in eastern Afghanistan early Saturday were only following their rules: Teachers receive a warning, then a beating, and if they continue to teach must be killed.

Drug addiction on rise with Afghan kids "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

December 6, 2006 -- Afghanistan is the world's leading producer of opium and heroin, exporting drugs to Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the United States. But the scale of domestic drug abuse has only recently become apparent. The first nationwide survey on drug use, conducted last year by the Ministry of Counter Narcotics and U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, found nearly 1 million addicts in this nation of about 30 million people, including 60,000 children under age 15.

Warlords gang-rape a woman in Badakhshan "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

November 29, 2006 -- A local commander and his 11 men gang-rape a 22-year-old woman in Shahre Buzurg district of the northeastern Badakhshan province on Nov.28. The crime took place in the Shah Dasht village, by a local warlord called Mujtaba who belongs to Jamiat-e-Islami Afghanistan led by Burhanuddin Rabbani (now member of the parliament).

10:53

Police Lathi-Charge BHU Women Students Protesting Inaction in Molestation Case "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The students said the police lathi-charged without provocation and that they even tried to enter the womens hostel.

Students told ANI that girls were beaten and abused during the lathicharge. Credit: Twitter/ANI

New Delhi: Clashes broke out at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) late on Saturday night after the police lathi-charged women protesting the administrations inaction in a case involving the molestation of a student earlier this week.

Video footage has emerged of policemen charging towards the protesting women as others run to their hostel. No women constables can be seen in the videos. The lathi-charge happened just hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modis visit to Varanasi.

A first-year hostel resident was molested and grabbed by three bike-borne men just outside the BHU campus on Thursday evening. According to NDTV, the protesting students have been trying to  meet the vice chancellor to apprise him of the safety situation and to urge him to take necessary steps. But on Saturday night, as they tried to enter his residence, they were stopped by university guards. Then the police arrived and used lathis to disperse them. Several students got injured in the scuffle.

According to the NDTV report, the students said...

10:45

American Hypocrisy About Kurds "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Donald Trumps address to the UN General Assembly on September 19 was a harangue of swaggering abuse and arrogant belligerence but his first public utterance, the day before, was not as spiteful and malevolent. Indeed it was greeted with relief and surprise by the many people who had expected a tirade against the United Nations Organisation on the lines of his comment that it was just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time, which was as absurd, insulting and vulgar as so many of his remarks.

10:00

The Environmental Impact of a Coal Plant in Kenya Is Being Underplayed "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Apart from the unfavourable economic and financing aspects for generating energy from coal, the plant may be Kenyas single largest pollution source.

An old coal-burning power plant in China. Credit: Reuters

An old coal-burning power plant in China. Credit: Reuters

China is transforming its sources of energy domestically in a bid to reverse decades of environmental pollution. But the switch to renewable energy has brought about a conundrum: what to do with the jobs and industries that have no future in this new system?

Export them. Several African countries are accepting the poisoned chalice of Chinas subsidised development through the construction of outdated, dirty...

09:55

Germany Votes as History Beckons for Merkel, Far-Right "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a breakfast with supporters at the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party election campaign meeting centre in Berlin, Germany, September 23, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a breakfast with supporters at the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party election campaign meeting centre in Berlin, Germany, September 23, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch

Berlin: Germans began voting in a national election on Sunday that is likely to see Chancellor Angela Merkel win a historic fourth term and a far-right party enter parliament for the first time in more than half a century.

Merkels conservative bloc is on track to rema...

09:46

Tamasgir Mangala Bansode and the Tamasha of Her Life "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The informal economy of tamasha stigmatises artistes and at the same time, provides possibilities and power, however limited, to some women.

Mangalatai leading the group of dancers in Pune in 2004. Credit: Shailaja Paik

Mangalatai leading the group of dancers in Pune in 2004. Credit: Shailaja Paik

Beyond the stereotypical vulgar song and dance, fun and play, bawdy lavani (folk song) performance, and the rural disorderly spectacle, tamasha (travelling folk theatre), the significant lokakala of Maharashtra, is best understood through the analytical matrix of mobility and migration, access to means of everyday survival, pedagogy of survival and negotiations for work. The Dalit tamasha legend, Vithabai Narayangavkar sang a famous Lavani in the 1960s:

laaj dhara pavana janachi manachi
potasathi nachatey mee parva kunachi
dava dola jhakun khunavu naka ho asa tumhi hinavu naka
aathavan dete mee tarnya panachi
potasathi nachatey mee parva kunachi

(O guest, maintain your shame for others as well as for your self. I am dancing for my everyday sustenance; I do not care for anybody else. Do not make sexual gestures by winking your left eye at me. You are actually mocking me. I provide you a remembrance of your youth. I am dancing for my everyday living. I do not care for anybody else.).

Vithabais daughter, Mangalatai Bansode, sang the famous lavani for me, when I interviewed her in the village of Kada in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra on September 9 and...

09:30

Injustices in Balochistan Need the Worlds Attention "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Balochistan is the cauldron of the worst human rights violations in Pakistan, which does not have a good track record of upholding human rights in general.

Instead of using force against the Baloch, it would be best to recognise the sentiments and aspirations of the Baloch people. Credit: Reuters

Instead of using force against the Baloch, it would be best to recognise the sentiments and aspirations of the Baloch people. Credit: Reuters

On September 22, 2017, Husain Haqqani, former Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States, addressed the Human Rights Commission Session at Geneva with the following words on Balochistan.

I come to this event as a Pakistani friend of Balochistan, in the belief that human rights are universal and their violation should not be ignored out of misplaced patriotism.

Europeans, Americans and Israelis who criticise the violation of human rights by their own governments show moral courage.

The world would be a better place if Indians spoke out when human rights are violated in Kashmir, Myanmars leaders speak up when their army deprives the Rohingya of their life and dignity, and Pakistanis recognise that injustices against the...

09:00

The Last Insect Youd Expect to Put up With Laziness Is the Ant but It Does "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Do lazy ants perform an essential service? Do they make themselves useful by relaying messages or acting as living larders?

An ant colony in a lab. Credit: Daniel Charbonneau

An ant colony in a lab. Credit: Daniel Charbonneau

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

Ants are the epitome of hard-work and their nests are hives of activity. From dawn to dusk, workers go about their designated jobs forage for food, tend the young, clean the nest and guard against invaders. But some dont do anything at all. Daniel Charbonneau and Anna Dornhaus, University of Arizona, Tucson, discovered that these freeloaders werent just one or two individuals or even in the minority. At least 50% of the workers did nothing, enough to trip the industrious ones as they ran about their tasks.

They really just sit there, Charbonneau said in a press release. And whenever theyre doing anything other than doing nothing, they do chores around the nest, like a bit of brood care here or grooming another worker there.

When resea...

08:46

Trump Tweets Threats Against North Korea After UN Speech "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada June 18, 2016. Credit: Reuters

Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada ,June 18, 2016. Credit: Reuters

US President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Saturday, North Koreas Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho and leader Kim Jong Un wont be around much longer if Ri echoed the thoughts of Little Rocket Man, an apparent reference to Kim.

Ri told the UN General Assembly earlier on Saturday that targeting the US mainland with its rockets was inevitable after Mr Evil President Trump...

08:11

UNHCR Chief Meets With Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh Camp "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Given the massive scale of the exodus, UN and aid agencies are scrambling to give people shelter, get them fed and prevent an outbreak of disease.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi speaks during a news conference in San Jose, Costa Rica August 30,2017. Credit: Reuters/Juan Carlos Ulate/Files

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi speaks during a news conference in San Jose, Costa Rica August 30, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Juan Carlos Ulate/Files

Kutapalong, Bangladesh:  The head of the UN refugee agency said on Saturday he was shocked by the terrible violence inflicted on Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar, and said their suffering would last far longer than the time it took to satisfy their basic needs.

More than 420,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since August 25, when attacks by Rohingya militants in Rakhine State triggered a Myanmar crackdown that the UN has branded ethnic cleansing.

During a visit to the sprawling Kutapalong refugee camp in southeastern Bangladesh, close to the Myanmar border, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said Rohingyas had told him their stories.

I was really struck by the fear that these people carry with themselves, what they have gone through and seen back in Myanmar, he told Reuters in the camp, where refugees live under thousands of tarpaulins covering the hills and...

07:47

Amazon Affiliate Strikes Share Deal With Shoppers Stop "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

File Photo: The logo of the web service Amazon is pictured in Mexico City, Mexico on June 8, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Carlos Jasso/Illustration/File Photo

File Photo: The logo of the web service Amazon is pictured in Mexico City, Mexico on June 8, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Carlos Jasso/Illustration/File Photo

Mumbai: An affiliate of Amazon.com Inc has agreed to buy a 1.79 billion-rupee ($27.6 million) stake in Indian retailer Shoppers Stop Ltd, the Indian company said in a filing.

Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings LLC, a foreign portfolio investor, will subscribe to about 4.4 million shares, equivalent to an about 5% stake, in the Indian retailer at Rs 407.78 a piece on a preferential basis, Shoppers Stop told the stock exchanges late on Saturday.

On Friday, Shoppers Stop shares had closed 3% lower at Rs 418.10 on the National Stock Exchange.

The Amazon affiliate will not take a board position, Shoppers Stop, which operates large department stores and other retail outlets, said in the filing.

($1 = 64.7900 Indian rupees)

(Reuters)

The post Amazon Affiliate Strikes Share Deal With Shoppers Stop appeared first on...

07:43

The Life of Labour: Why Trade Unions Oppose the New Wage Code Bill "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The Life of Labour, a compilation of important labour developments from around the world, will be delivered to your inbox every Sunday at 10 am. Click here to subscribe.

Illustration by Aliza Bakht

Illustration by Aliza Bakht

Why trade unions oppose the new Wage Code Bill

The NDA government has been pushing for changes in the labour law ecosystem by replacing all the labour laws with just four labour codes. The first of which is the Wage Code, that intends to amalgamate four labour laws the Payment of Wages Act, 1936; the Minimum Wages Act, 1948; the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965; and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976. Indian trade unions have come out in opposition to this process as they claim these reforms dilute whatever protections are still left to workers within the law. Newsclick explains the rationale behind this opposition while pointing to the unfulfilled promises such as National Minimum Wage.

Five contract workers killed inhaling poisonous fumes

Five casual workers were killed and two remain in critical condition after inhaling tox...

07:31

Former Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi to Be Next CAG "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Mehrishi, a 1978 batch (retired) Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the Rajasthan cadre, completed his two-year fixed term as the home secretary last month.

Rajiv Mehrishi. Credit: PTI

Rajiv Mehrishi. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Former home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi will take over as the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) tomorrow, succeeding Shashi Kant Sharma, officials said today.

Mehrishi, 62, would be administered the oath of office and secrecy by President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan tomorrow.

His appointment has been cleared by the government, the officials said.

Mehrishi, a 1978 batch (retired) Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the Rajasthan cadre, completed his two-year fixed term as the home secretary last month.

Sharma, who had taken over as the CAG on May 23, 2013, retired on Friday, the officials said. Sharma was defence secretary prior to his appointment as the CAG.

Mehrishi will have a tenure of about three years. The CAG is appointed for a term of six years or till the incumbent attains the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

As a constitutional functionary, the CAG is primarily entrusted with the responsibility to audit the accounts of the Union government and of the state governments.

CAG reports are laid before the parliament and legislatures of the states.

Mehrishi, who hails from Rajasthan, holds Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow (...

07:17

Energy Desperation or Why Trump Cant Restore Friendship With Russia "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

07:01

Sushma Swaraj Slams Pakistan at UN, Asks Its Leaders to Introspect "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj also accused Pakistan of waging a war against India.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, US, September 23, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz

United Nations: Hitting out at Pakistan for creating terror groups like LeT, JeM, Hizbul Mujahideen and the Haqqani Network, India on Saturday asked Pakistani leaders to introspect as to why their country is infamous as the pre-eminent export factory for terror.

In her address to the 72nd UN General Assembly session, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj spoke on issues like terrorism, climate change, maritime and cyber security, UN Security Council reforms, poverty and unemployment.

Swaraj accused Pakistan of waging a war against India and said a country that has been the worlds greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity became a champion of hypocrisy by preaching about humanity from this podium.

She was referring to Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasis speech on Thursday wherein he accused India of violating huma...

05:30

Listen: Womens Voices and the Banarasi Kajri "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The womens bodies, their voices weaving in and out of each other and their comments framing their songs are living demonstration of how dominance and resistance are not distinct and monologic.

Ghats in Varanasi. Credits: Ryan/Flickr CC BY 2.0

Ghats in Varanasi. Credits: Ryan/Flickr CC BY 2.0

The women move in a circle as they sing, swaying, facing each other. Now and then one will reach up to adjust the pallu of her sari covering her head. The light of a single bulb, filtered through the foliage of the neem tree above, washes the figures in the circle. The bulb hangs outside the house that belongs to Shanti, the woman hosting the Teej festival party.

I am in the neighbourhood of Nagwa in Varanasi, a five-minute walk from my house. It is a densely built-up area along the Ganga at its southernmost point in the city. The residents here are domestic workers, mechanics, labourers and owners of food stalls and small shops.

The women sing in the genre called Kajri special to the season of sawan. Kajri songs are all about different ways of regarding and responding to this monsoon month of the Hindu calendar they are about the clouds gathering, about putting mehndi on ones hands, about going to ones sasural or in-laws house.

There are no...

05:30

Experimenting with Cold, Magnetic Materials in Pune "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Condensed matter physicist Archana Lakhani is the only woman scientist at CSR Indore and this has been the case for the last ten years.

Archana Lakhani. Credit: The Author

Archana Lakhani. Credit: Aashima Dogra

The Wire is happy to support this project by Aashima Dogra and Nandita Jayaraj, who are travelling across India to meet some fantastic women scientists.

Indore-based UGC-DAE Consortium for Scientific Research is an institute like no other in the country. The government-financed facility houses a selection of instruments, some of them costing over two crores, that can peer into the deepest aspects of the material world.

As a user-based institute, its doors are open to research groups looking to test their samples with sophisticated machines that are hard to find anywhere else. These machines are a treasure chest for physicists. Imagine the possibilities for research when you can directly look inside molecules on a nanoscale microscope.

05:00

Why Are People Fighting for the Rahul Collection at Patna Museum? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Throughout history, Bihar has been the epicentre of Buddhist teaching. The Rahul Collection commemorates this heritage.

Patna Museum

Patna Museum. Courtesy: Indian Cultural Forum

The Rahul Collection, housed for the last 80 years in Patna Museum, has been in the news recently, following the decision to shift a part of it to the new Bihar Museum that will be inaugurated at Patna on October 2,, 2017. Along with Rahuljis immediate family, prominent academic scholars and activists are unitedly opposed to the decision.

The Rahul Collection at Patna

The Rahul Collection was a provisional gift made to Patna Museum by Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayana, commencing from 1933, and is the fruit of the four arduous journeys he made to Tibet in 1929, 1934, 1936 and 1938.  Items were added to it until 1956. The nucleus of the collection is housed in three separate segments in the historic Patna Museum building. They are:

A: The art collection of Tibetan thanka paintings, reliquary objects and statuary, establish the Bihar-Nepal-Tibet linkages of Buddhism, as well as the lineal descent of Buddhist iconography from the Ajanta/Ellora fresco style to the Tibetan thanka style. The antique thanka paintings also significantly represent the Buddhist periods and personalities, such as the Chaurasi siddhas and some of the legendary acharyas who taught Buddhist logic at Nalanda, Vikramshila and Odantapuri Mahaviharas. The art collection is with the Rahul Gallery at Patna Museum.

B: The second segment has the Narthang and Lhasa edi...

04:45

Cycling as a Womens Movement in Rural Tamil Nadu "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

There is freedom in cycling. We are not dependent on anyone now. I can never give this up.

The womens cycling movement in Pudukkottai is a powerful metaphor for freedom. Credit: P. Sainath

The womens cycling movement in Pudukkottai is a powerful metaphor for freedom. Credit: P. Sainath

Cycling as a social movement? Sounds far-fetched. Perhaps. But not all that far not to tens of thousands of neo-literate rural women in Pudukkottai district of Tamil Nadu. People find ways, sometimes curious ones, of hitting out at their backwardness, of expressing defiance, of hammering at the fetters that hold them.

In this, one of Indias poorest districts, cycling seems the chosen medium for rural women. During the past 18 months, over 100,000 rural women, most of them neo-literates, have taken to bicycling as a symbol of independence, freedom and mobility. If we exclude girls below ten years of age, it would mean that over one-fourth of all rural women in this district have learnt cycling. And over 70,000 of these women have taken part in public exhibition-cum-contests to proudly display their new skills. And still the training camps and desire to learn continue.

In the heart of rural Pudukkottai, young Muslim women from highly conservative backgrounds zip along the roads on their bicycles. Some seem to have abandoned the veil for the wheel. Jameela Bibi, a young Muslim girl who has taken to cycling, told me: Its my right. We can go anywhere. Now I dont have to wait for a bus. I know people made dirty remarks when I star...

04:30

Is Populism Democracys Deadly Cure? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Were not sure if the cure, the populist outsider, will work and make life better. but we are willing to experiment as the old certainties of representative politics wither.

 Is populism democracys deadly cure? September 21, 2017 12.14pm AEST Is populism a poison or a cure for democracy, or both, depending on the circumstances? Credit: Louis Boilly/Wikipedia Commons

Is populism a poison or a cure for democracy, or both, depending on the circumstances? Credit: Louis Boilly/Wikipedia Commons

It is impossible to follow the news without catching reference to the rise of populism. A once little-used term that denoted a handful of parties in otherwise unconnected political contexts, populism now seems almost definitive of a political moment in time.

It also elicits a wide range of responses from specialists. The most common reaction is a negative recoil against the emergence of forces that seem to threaten democracy. The emergence of far left and far right political forces seems redolent of the 1930s, and look where that left us.

On the other hand, there are influential figures who argue that there is nothing to be afraid of in populism. Far from it: populism represents an appeal to...

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Saturday, 23 September

23:03

Barring Dr M from entering Sarawak would be a mortal sin "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

At long last, former premier and Pakatan Harapan chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad will be stepping onto Sarawak soil again. He is scheduled to speak at a Pakatan Harapan event in Kuching on Sept 24. Mahathirs visit this time is significant as he is visiting the Hornbill State for the first time as a leader of []

23:03

Abdul Karims knowledge in history lacking, says PH Sarawak man "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sarawak publicity chief Vernon Kedit disagrees with Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah for saying: Most of Sarawaks rights enshrined under Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) were taken away when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was the prime minister. Perhaps, the minister is forgetful or perhaps he []

23:03

PKR rep grabbed from event and ejected from Sarawak "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

PKRs Kuala Sepetang state assemblywoman Chua Yee Ling was picked up at a dinner organised by Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) in Miri tonight and directly deported back to Kuala Lumpur by the state Immigration officials. She left Miri Airport on a 9.30pm AirAsia flight, Sarawak PKR Youth deputy head Simon Siah told Malay Mail Online []

23:02

Outcome of London mission to be known at right time "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The outcome of the fact-finding mission on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) to London will be revealed at the right time. Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg assured that he would pursue his predecessor Tok Nans call that the Sarawaks right contained in MA63 would be given back to Sarawak. That is why I []

23:02

State to replace up to 260 dilapidated schools "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The state government is going to replace between 250 and 260 dilapidated schools in Sarawak within two years. Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the construction of new schools is part of a special catch-up plan to improve the quality of education in Sarawak. He said the Ministry of Education, Science and []

23:02

Nurul cancels trip after Zuraida, Hee turned away "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar has decided not to come here yesterday evening after National Women chief Zuraida Kamaruddin who is also Ampang MP and Petaling Jaya Selatan MP Hee Loy Sian were refused entry into the state when they arrived here from Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Nurul was scheduled to arrive at []

23:02

Most of Sarawaks rights eroded under Dr Ms era Karim "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Most of Sarawaks rights enshrined under Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) were taken away when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was the prime minister. Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, in saying this, said it was good to see the former premier coming back to Sarawak and meet the people []

23:02

Sarawak CM says wont slam door on Dr M "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is free to enter Sarawak, Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg said today. He said he will not stop the Pakatan Harapan chairman or other Opposition leaders from entering the state, and explained that only extremists such as Umnos Datuk Jamal Yunos and Perkasas Datuk Ibrahim Ali []

23:02

Abang Johari coy over Dr Ms entry into the state "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The state government has yet to confirm if Pakatan Harapan chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad would be allowed into Sarawak today. The former prime minister is expected to speak during the opposition alliances event here tonight. Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg did not give a clear cut answer on whether the former []

23:02

Dr M will most likely be allowed to enter Sarawak "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The state government will most likely allow Pakatan Harapan chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to enter Sarawak. The former Prime Minister is expected to attend and give a talk during the Pakatan Harapan Sarawak programme scheduled to be held at the Everrise supermarket carpark at BDC here tomorrow (Sunday) from 7pm to 10.30pm. It will []

23:02

Sarawak is hoping for over RM30 billion investment from China "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Sarawak is hoping for over RM30 billion investment from China this year, with the single biggest investment the RM13 billion in the steel industry in Samalaju Industrial Park in Bintulu.Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said the state government has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with China-based company, Hebei Xinwuan []

23:01

Dont deny Sabahans, Sarawakians constitutional right to vote "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A prominent former civil servant has thrown his support behind the call by Bersih 2.0 for the Election Commission (EC) to implement advanced voting for East Malaysian voters living in the peninsula and West Malaysians living in Sabah and Sarawak Ramon Navaratnam, who is chairman of the Asli Center of Public Policy Studies, said such []

23:01

Mahathir to address claims he eroded Sarawaks rights "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) has gone on the offensive against Barisan Nasional (BN), to deflect allegations that Dr Mahathir Mohamad was instrumental in eroding the states rights when he was prime minister, ahead of the PH chairmans visit to Kuching. Its publicity chief Vernon Kedit today accused Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), the largest component []

23:01

PKR Wanita chief says expelled by Sarawak "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

PKR Wanita head Zuraida Kamaruddin said she was denied entry into Sarawak today, hours after Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg vowed not to bar Opposition leaders from the state. Zuraida said she was detained at the Miri airport at about 2pm today, and failed to negotiate her way past Immigration officials. Ha3 I []

23:01

PKR rep evicted from Swak after Immigration, police gatecrash dinner "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Kuala Sepetang assemblyperson Chua Yee Ling has been evicted from Sarawak. Chua was in Miri for a PKR dinner tonight, when Immigration and police officers gatecrashed the event held at the Eastwood Valley Golf & Country Club. Footage streamed from the Perak representatives Facebook page showed her being escorted out of the venue accompanied by the officers. []

23:01

Tian Chua: Barring opposition politicians from Sarawak ridiculous "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

PKR vice-president Tian Chua has blasted the Sarawak government for barring three of the partys lawmakers in Peninsular Malaysia from entering the state after they arrived there today. Describing the move as ridiculous and hysterical, he questioned the rationale for the prohibition, saying the trio Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin, Petaling Jaya Selatan MP Hee []

17:35

Western Propaganda in Southeast Asia a True Success Story "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

7555444

It is all done in a fully barefaced manner. Those who are not part of this world could never even dream about such a perfect design.

You come to your club, in my case to The Foreign Correspondent Club of Thailand (FCCT), and immediately the long arm of indoctrination begins stretching towards you.

You place yourself on a comfortable couch, and soon after get fully serviced. You get instructed, told what to think and how to formulate or modify your ideas.

You are periodically shown movies about corruption and immorality in China. You get encouraged to participate in some public discussions that are, among other things, trashing the anti-Western president of the Philippines.

Although lately also the Middle East, and particularly Syria, are brought into the spotlight.

Of course almost all that is on offer in such places like FCCT is the Western view, or concretely a set of Western views raging from conservative to liberal. The club is located in Asia, in the heart of Southeast Asia, but very few Asians are invited to speak here, except the few Thais who are well versed in the Western way of thinking. Or Western agents like the Dalai Lama, of course such individuals can come anytime they want! Forget about hearing from the other side youd never stumble here over speakers such as Communist thinkers or writers from Mainland China, or pro-Duterte academics or activists from the Philippines.

Most of the Thais who get spotted at the FCCT are actually those who provide support services for the Western gurus of mainstream media: interpreters, fixers, waiters and as well as some administrative support staff.

This is not a place for Asians to lecture Westerners about Asia; this is where Westerners tell Asians how to think in general, and what to think about their own countries in particular.

On the same floor as the FCCT, right down the narrow carpeted corridor, there are the offices of the BBC, the NBC and several other mainstream Western media outlets. The Penthouse of the Maneeya Center Building in Bangkok is actually a self-sufficient propaganda complex.

And tonight it is offering a free screening (free for us, members) of a U.S. documentary film called Salam Nei...

15:34

Centre Considers Extra Spending of Rs 500 Billion to Halt Economic Slowdown "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Growth slowed to a three-year low of 5.7% in the quarter that ended in June, and finance minister Arun Jaitley has said that the government is looking for ways to speed it up.

An India Rupee note is seen in this illustration photo June 1, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Thomas White/Illustration/Files

An India Rupee note is seen in this illustration photo June 1, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Thomas White/Illustration/Files

New Delhi: Indias government is considering a plan to loosen its fiscal deficit target to enable it to spend up to Rs 500 billion more to halt an economic slowdown, two government officials with direct knowledge of the plan said on Thursday.

Growth in Asias third-largest economy slowed to a three-year low of 5.7% in the quarter that ended in June, and finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Wednesday that the government was looking for ways to speed it up.

The officials, who declined to be named as the measures have not been made public y...

15:15

Under Garb of Preservation, Chhattisgarh Is Denying Vulnerable Groups Their Reproductive Rights "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

As of May this year, people from Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups who want to be sterilised have to ask the sub-divisional magistrate for permission.

Women who underwent sterilisation surgery at a government mass sterilisation camp pose for pictures inside a hospital at Bilaspur district in Chhattisgarh November 14, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee

Women who underwent sterilisation surgery at a government mass sterilisation camp pose for pictures inside a hospital at Bilaspur district in Chhattisgarh November 14, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee

While on the one hand the government is pushing for a two-child norm, on the other it is forcibly precluding certain Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in the country from accessing sterilisation services, thus transgressing their right...

15:00

Bihars Marhowra Plant Under Cloud as Piyush Goyal Prioritises Electric Locomotives "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The Railways is now exploring various ways for General Electric, which was awarded the contract in 2015, to smoothly exit the Rs 2,000-crore project.

Construction underway at the Marhowra loco plant. Credit: Twitter/Shankar Dhar

Construction underway at the Marhowra loco plant. Credit: Twitter/Shankar Dhar

New Delhi: The Indian Railways much-trumpeted multi-crore Make in India programme in Bihar is facing curtains even before taking off.

In November 2015, the rail ministry, then headed by Suresh Prabhu, awarded a Rs 14,000-crore contract to US conglomerate General Electric to set up a diesel electric locomotive factory in Marhowra. Another plant at Madhepura, for modern electric locomotives, was awarded to French major Alstom.

At the time, in the run-up to the Bihar state elections, these projects were billed as the biggest FDI in the rail sector. Massive investments of around Rs 40,000 crore over the next five years were planned for the Bihar projects, according to statements issued by the ministry at the time....

14:31

Wide Angle, Episode 3: The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Maya Mirchandani interviews Indias former high commissioner to Pakistan T.C.A. Raghavan about his new book The People Next Door: The Curious History of Indias Relations with Pakistan.

The post Wide Angle, Episode 3: The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations appeared first on The Wire.

14:20

The Supreme Court was Right to Pierce the Jaypee Groups Corporate Veil "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A recent and troubling editorial by The Economic Times shows how Jaypees defence against angry homebuyers looking for justice is often bought hook, line and sinker.

While Jaypee would be happy to have JIL fall into insolvency, letting them off the hook when it comes to stranded home buyers, the Supreme Court put a stop to it. Credit: Reuters

While Jaypee would be happy to have JIL fall into insolvency, letting them off the hook when it comes to stranded home buyers, the Supreme Court put a stop to it. Credit: Reuters

A recent editorial put out by The Economic Times (ET) headlined Jaypee Insolvency: Quite A Legal Mess made one sit up. What is jarring that the editorial takes several potshots at the Supreme Court, which in recent times has come to the rescue of over 30,000 hapless homebuyers.

The column begins with a matter-of-fact statement The Supreme Courts intervent...

14:01

Australia and U.S. Joined at the Hip: Wheres the Benefit? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has on two recent occasions referred to Australia being joined at the hip to the United States on its defence and national security policies. That phrasing invited some critical commentary, but conspicuously, there was no demurral from the official Opposition Labor Party. To all practical intents and purposes the Liberal National Coalition and the Labor Party are indistinguishable on matters of defence, foreign policy and national security.

Turnbulls remarks, as with the election of the erratic and clearly unfit Donald Trump as US President, should have presented an opportunity for a critical reappraisal of Australias position viz a viz the United States. It did not happen, not least because a supine mainstream media sees no reason to question the fundamental assumptions underlying Australias defence policies since at least the fall of Singapore to the Japanese in January 1942.

Prior to that seminal event, Australia had never challenged its role as a colonial appendage to the British Empire. That status had led Australia into a series of wars, which in common with just about every other military misadventure before and since had only the vaguest connection with Australias national interest, if any.

Australian troops fought the Russians in the Crimean War of the 1850s (the rich irony of which is lost in the current propaganda war waged against Russia for its annexation of Crimea.) Australian troops were slaughtered in large numbers in World War 1, a war planned at least since the 1890s to counter any German challenge to British imperial supremacy (Docherty & Macgregor Hidden History, 2013)

Although Prime Minister Hughes refused a British request to formally join British forces fighting in the Russian civil war 1917-21 against the Bolsheviks, Australian troops nonetheless joined the North Russia campaign as volunteers. A Royal Australian Destroyer HMAS Swan also undertook intelligence operations in the Black Sea in late 1918 directed against the Bolshevik forces.

With the rout of the British forces in 1941-42 by the Japanese, it was obvious to Australian politicians that a new protector was needed, and the Americans required no encouragement to assume that role. The marriage of convenience that occurred in 1942-45 may have suited Australia in its perception of an imminent Japanese invasion, but then, as now, the brides dowry should have be...

13:20

Failed Kings, Naive Boatmen and Other Ancient Tales From the Republic of Kashi "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Recalling the iconoclasm of Varanasis ordinary citizens, the wisdom of its scholars and the dreams of its failed kings who sought to make an empire of a republic.

Ascetic. Credit: Aakash Gautam/Flickr CC-BY-NC 2.0

Death, writes Walter Benjamin, is the sanction of everything that the story teller can tell.

No city in India has more to do with death than Kashi, the city of Manikarnika Ghat, of whom it is said the day its perennial pyres go out, the world will end.

For story lovers in our time, here are some gathas a few-thousand-years-old but amazingly contemporary in spirit from the Buddhist jatakas, Jain prabandhas and Vedic scriptures about the Republic of Kashi, the iconoclasm of its ordinary citizens, the wisdom of its scholars, its false swamis, and failed kings who dreamed of making an empire of a republic.

The crows of Varanasi

The crows of Varanasi were a well-fed lot. All pilgrims those who came here to cremate their dead and also those who came to bathe in the holy Ganges offered the crows balls of rice, sesame and ghee, in the name of their ancestors. The gentle, kind-hearted Buddhist and Jain monks who wandered the city also fed the crows tidbits out of their begging bowls. Then came a terrible famine. Free meals even for crows became rare as the priests and pilgrims, the Jain and Buddhist monks and nuns fled the city. So the crows of Kashi held a quick conclave. It was resolved that till such time as the situation improved, the crows would fly west to a coastal town by the sea where their sister, married to a water bird liv...

13:17

Despite Regional Fears, Kurds Press Historic Independence Vote "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Kurds celebrate to show their support for the upcoming September 25th independence referendum in Erbil, Iraq September 22, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Kurds celebrate to show their support for the upcoming September 25th independence referendum in Erbil, Iraq September 22, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Erbil, Iraq: Iraqi Kurds are expected to vote for independence in a referendum on Monday that neighbouring countries and Western powers fear could break up the country and stir broader regional ethnic and sectarian conflict.

Kurdish flags a red, white and green tricolour emblazoned with a golden sun adorn cars and buildings across the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, and billboards announce: The time is now say yes to a free Kurdistan!

Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish region since 2005, has resisted calls by the UN, the US and Britain to delay the referendum. Neighbourin...

13:16

UN Secretary General Guterres Asked by Half of Security Council to Publicly Brief on Myanmar "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

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

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres addresses the 72nd UN General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, US., September 19, 2017. Credit: Reuters

UN: Seven members of the UN Security Council, including the US and Britain, on Friday asked UN chief Antonio Guterres to publicly brief the 15-member body next week on the violence in Myanmar that he has described as ethnic cleansing.

Sweden, the US, Britain, France, Egypt, Senegal, and Kazakhstan want Ethiopia, president of the council for September, to arrange the briefing for next week, according to the request seen by Reuters.

More than 422,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar since August 25, when attacks by Rohingya militants triggered a military cr...

13:15

Uber CEO Tweets Pls Work W/Us as Uber Deemed Unfit and Stripped of London License "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A photo illustration shows the Uber app on a mobile telephone, as it is held up for a posed photograph in central London, Britain September 22, 2017. Credit: Reuters

A photo illustration shows the Uber app on a mobile telephone, as it is held up for a posed photograph in central London, Britain September 22, 2017. Credit: Reuters

London: London deemed Uber unfit to run a taxi service on Friday and stripped it of its licence to operate from the end of next week in a major blow to the U.S. firm and 3.5 million users in one of the worlds wealthiest cities.

In a break with the startups usual combative tone, Ubers new Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi asked London to please work with the ride service. He told employees the company needed to act with integrity but that he did not believe Uber had done everything it was accused of in London.

Uber, which has 40,000 drivers working in the capital, also said it would contest the deci...

13:14

Russian Hackers Targeted Wisconsin, Ohio, California in 2016 US Presidential Race "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

 A voter arrives to cast their ballot in the Wisconsin presidential primary election at a voting station in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. on April 5, 2016. Credit: Reuters

A voter arrives to cast their ballot in the Wisconsin presidential primary election at a voting station in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. on April 5, 2016. Credit: Reuters

Washington: Wisconsin, Ohio, California and ten other states said on Friday they were among 21 states that Russian government hackers targeted in an effort to sway the 2016 presidential election in favor of Donald Trump though no votes were changed.

The Department of Homeland Security confirmed it had notified the states of the activity but declined to identify them. Russia has denied election meddling, and President Trump has denied any collusion with Russia.

...

13:07

Journalists Cry Foul After Police Summons in Fake Facebook Profile Investigation "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Those summoned allege they are being targeted for their political views but the Maharashtra police insists they have been called only as witnesses.

The Mumbai police has reportedly summoned over 20 journalists and activists for questioning. Credit: Reuters

The Mumbai police has reportedly summoned over 20 journalists and activists for questioning. Credit: Reuters

Mumbai: A two-month-old cyber crime case has now taken a political turn after the Mumbai crime branch reportedly issued over 20 notices to journalists and activists across Maharashtra, asking them to appear before it for an inquiry. While police officials claimed the journalists were summoned only as witnesses, images and messages circulated widely on social media platforms on Friday claimed that the police have especially targeted those who have been critical of the state government. 

A cyber crime case was registered in June by Nidhi Kamdar, an officer on special duty (OSD) with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, after her fake profile was allegedly created on Facebook. One Mahadev Balgude, 31, a Baramati resident was arrested on August 19 in this case. According to Kamdars complaint, Balgude, who operated a Facebook profile using the fake identity Dev Gaikwad, had created another account in Kamdars name. Balgude had allegedly faked some conversation between these two fake profiles, where he discussed money deals, referring to them being initiated at the...

12:34

Mid-Way Through Karwan-e-Mohabbat, Harsh Mander Gets Income Tax Notice "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Days after a threat from an RSS ideologue, the IT department rectifies its earlier assessment and orders a fresh complete scrutiny.

Harsh Mander sits in dharna near where Pehlu Khan was lynched in Behror, Rajasthan, during the Karwan-e-Mohabbat. Credit: Twitter/Karwan-e-Mohabbat

Harsh Mander sits in dharna near where Pehlu Khan was lynched in Behror, Rajasthan, during the Karwan-e-Mohabbat. Credit: Twitter/Karwan-e-Mohabbat

In a press note issued on Saturday, the noted human rights activist and former IAS officer has questioned the timing of an income tax notice to the Centre for Equity Studies, a think-tank that he helps run, and asked whether it is being targeted because of the work Harsh Mander and others are doing to show solidarity with the victims of communal violence across India.

The press note is published below in its entirety.

A number of independent individuals, organisations and social movements collaborated to take out through many parts of the country a Karwan-e-Mohabbat, as a journey of atonement, solidarity, healing, conscience and justice with people living with hate violence. This was an entirely crowd funded Karwan, and the funds for this were received by Aman Biradari Trust, which does not have an FCRA.

On September 15, 2017, the Karwan was scheduled to stop at Behror at the site at which Pehlu Khan had been lynched, to pay tribute to his memory by placing a few flowers there. But a day before this, the Hindu Jag...

12:15

Police State Repression in Catalonia "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Catalonia is an autonomous community in Spains northeast, bordering France and the Mediterranean Sea, Barcelona its capital and largest city.

11:45

Russia Unveils T-72B3 at Zapad-2017 Exercise "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The Russian T-72B3 tanks have been tested during Zapad 2017 Russian-Belarussian strategic exercise. This is the first time the tanks were tested in a large-scale training event. The first batch of 20 upgraded vehicles entered service with the Western Military District of the Russian Army in February.

11:33

Not Doing Away With Hot Meals For Children Under ICDS, Centre Clarifies "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

This comes after Maneka Gandhi recently said the government was considering moving from food transfers to cash transfers.

Under the National Food Security Act, children between the ages of three and six are provided with hot cooked meals at anganwadi centres. Representative image credit: Reuters

Under the National Food Security Act, children between the ages of three and six are provided with hot cooked meals at anganwadi centres. Representative image credit: Reuters

New Delhi: The Ministry of Women and Child Development has said there is no plan of replacing hot cooked meals, which the government currently provides to children between the ages of three and six years, by either uncooked food such as nutrient packets, ready-to-cook food or cash.

There has been a lot of discussion on this. But there is no plan to remove hot cooked meals. It is a part of the National Food Security Act, said women and child development ministry secretary Rakesh Srivastava. The role of anganwadis in cooking hot meals for children and women is specified in Section 5 and 6 of the Act. The central ministry provides only guidelines to the states. But states cannot violate the Act. If they do, they can be taken to court, he said.

This clarification follows reports that the government was in fact moving towards this. The indications on this came from...

11:15

Straws in the Wind for a Reset in US-Russian Relations "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The receding specters of a war involving North Korea and a US-Russia confrontation in Syria. The sound of cracking ice in the frozen conflict in Ukraine. Russia and the United States bidding farewell to tits-for-tat. Is this the dawn of a brave new world?

10:49

Syrian Opposition Activist and Her Journalist Daughter Found Dead in Istanbul "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Orouba Barakat, an opponent of the ruling Baath party, and her only child, journalist Halla Barakat, were found dead with stab wounds to their neck.

Orouba Barakat and Halla Barakat were prominent activists against Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad. Credit: Screengrab from social media

Orouba Barakat and Halla Barakat were prominent activists against Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad. Credit: Screengrab from social media

A senior Syrian opposition activist and her daughter were found dead in their apartment in Istanbul.

Orouba Barakat, an opponent of the ruling Baath party since the 1980s, and her only child, journalist Halla Barakat, were found dead in the early hours of this morning with stab wounds to their necks.

Friends raised the alarm after being unable to reach them by telephone. Turkish police then arrived at their apartment in the Uskudar district on the Asian side of Istanbul to find them dead.

...

10:45

People Ignore Facts That Contradict Their False Beliefs "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The more people there are who ignore facts that contradict their beliefs, the likelier a dictatorship will emerge within a given country. Here is how aristocracies, throughout the Ages, have controlled the masses, by taking advantage of this widespread tendency people have, to ignore contrary facts...

10:21

How Long Will India Run After Optics, Rather Than True Freedom For All Its People? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The structures of power that surround the marginalised require them at every step to prove their legitimacy, self worth and even their right to exist.

Vikas Patil and his wife are expected to produce 1,000 bricks a day for which they are credited Rs 600, adjusted against their debt. Representative image credit: Reuters/Jayanta Dey

Vikas Patil and his wife are expected to produce 1,000 bricks a day for which they are credited Rs 600, adjusted against their debt. Representative image credit: Reuters/Jayanta Dey

Apart from its fiery masalas and its functional chappals, Kolhapur evokes images of prosperous sugar farmers and an economy known for its record-setting purchases of Mercedes cars. This is a different Kolhapur.

Vilas Patil lives in Karandewadi, in the Karveer taluka of Kolhapur district. He has three acres of rainfed land, not all of which is cultivable. Even of the good land, he manages to plant only on a portion because he can no longer afford the inputs. In a good monsoon, the land provides rice and ragi enough to feed his family for a part of the year. There is never any surplus to sell in the market. Patil makes ends meet in the employment of a brick merchant. He is bonded by his debt to this brick merchant for many years now. His financial year begins with the sowing season, when the merchant lends him the money to sow his crops. The most recent instalment of this loan was...

09:42

Echoes of WWI: China, the US, and the Next Great War "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

In the early 20th century, the worlds dominant superpower looked warily on the rise of a competitor to its supremacy. The machinations of the British to contain the rise of Germany led inexorably to the First World War. Once again in the early 21st century, the worlds dominant superpower is looking warily on the rise of a competitor. Will the American Empires machinations to contain the rise of China lead to the Third World War? Or is the American/Chinese conflict another engineered conflict for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many? Join James Corbett as he presents "Echoes of World War I" to the Open Mind Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

09:30

Rohingya in Kashmir Fear for Their Families Back Home While Worrying About Deportation "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Rohingya families who were living in Jammu have moved to Khimber in Kashmir, fearing violence against them.

The buildings in Khimber where Rohingya families are living. Credit: Mudasir Ahmed

The buildings in Khimber where Rohingya families are living. Credit: Mudasir Ahmed

Khimber (Jammu and Kashmir): Hassan Sheikh struggled to control his emotions as he talked about the sufferings and harassment faced by Rohingya Muslims in Jammu.

We were given a ten days ultimatum to leave Jammu earlier this month, Sheikh told The Wire. Then, he said, the police raided their shanties in the Bathinda area one evening and whisked away several men on frivolous charges.

...

08:39

Asima Chatterjee, the Scientist Who Did So Much More in a Time of Less "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Let us remember Asima Chatterjee as a world-class chemist in a time when science was a lot less comfortable to do and involved a lot more of getting your hands dirty than it does today.

Asima Chatterjee in 1961. Credit: The Indian Scientists, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Asima Chatterjee in 1961. Credit: The Indian Scientists, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Indias most prestigious science award, the annual Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize, was first given in 1958, but it was only in 1960 that its chemical sciences category was introduced. And it just took one year for the prize to go to its first female recipient, Asima Chatterjee, for her achievements in phytomedicine the study of plant extracts for therapy. It was a long wait, about 14 years, before another woman would be awarded the same prize, and an astounding 48 years before a woman would win it for the chemical sciences category again.

As much as the many barriers she broke should be celebrated, Chatterjee was a scientist and the best way of honouring her is to honour her science.

As Asish De has elucidated, being a natural products chemist in those days was no joke. While for centuries plants have been used for their medicinal properties, the biological mechanisms u...

08:30

SC Tells Medical College to Accept Students With Colour Vision Deficiency "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The Medical Council of India as well as the college in question had objected to the admission.

The Supreme Court bench invoked its powers under Article 142 of the constitution. Credit: PTI

The Supreme Court bench invoked its powers under Article 142 of the constitution. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: A Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Amitava Roy and A.M. Khanwilkar has directed that two students suffering from congenital colour vision deficiency (CCVD) be admitted to the MBBS course run by the Tripura Medical College and Dr.B.R. Ambedkar Memorial Teaching Hospital, West Tripura, for the academic year 2018-19, reducing the quota from the year by two seats.

The students, Pranay Kumar Poddar and Sagar Bhowmik, had secured 112 and 140 ranks respectively in the all India entrance test conducted by the Tripura government in the pre-NEET era. Both the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the college had objected to their admission now, as they had not cleared the NEET. The Supreme  Court, however, overruled their objections, saying they need not clear the NEET test to secure their admissions, in view of their ranks earlier.

The bench issued its order on September 12, despite serious objections from the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the college, by invoking its powers under Article 142 of the...

07:59

Damascus Making Progress in the Fight Against DAESH "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

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From September 14 to September 15, Astana held its sixth round of talks on Syria, in which the delegations of the guarantor countries Russia, Turkey and Iran, the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Syrian opposition, as well as the UN Secretary General Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, took part. The United States and Jordan were present as observers.

Following the outcome of the meeting, Russia, Turkey and Iran adopted a Joint Statement and four documents on deescalation zones: the mandate on deployment in the deescalation zones, rules of engagement of military forces, the procedure for managing checkpoints, and the provision for a joint coordinating center. The guarantor countries announced the establishment of four deescalation zones in Syria: in eastern Ghouta near Damascus, in the northern part of the Homs province, in the province of Idlib and in certain parts of the neighboring provinces of Latakia, Hama and Aleppo, as well as in some areas in southern Syria. These are intended to be a temporary measure with an initial validity of six months. A joint Iran-Russian-Turkish coordination centre is being established to coordinate the activities of the control forces in the deescalation zones.

Three of the four zones are currently operational: in the south-west of Syria, in eastern Ghouta and in the Homs area. The participants of the Astana talks stated that the establishment of deescalation zones shall not undermine the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic. At the same time, the guarantor countries have not yet agreed on the distribution of control forces in the deescalation zone in Idlib.

The Syrian government and the opposition are in favor of the establishment of four deescalation zones. President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoan, has noted that Ankara and Moscow have no quarrel over the situation in Syria, nor did they have any disagreements in Astana during the meeting with Iran. However, since September 18, Turkey has been concentrating its forces on the border with the SAR in the Idlib region, sending military contingents that already amount to close to 8,000 service-persons. This included the support of artillery, armored vehicles and helicopters.

According to the Russian and Turkish parts of the representative office of the Russian-Turkish joint commission on the...

07:49

In Bid to Unlock Brexit Talks, Theresa May Sets out Transition Plan "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Mays proposals for such a transition, for meeting Britains financial obligations and for protecting EU citizens rights, fell short of what the EU wanted.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks at the Complesso Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy September 22, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Britains Prime Minister Theresa May speaks at the Complesso Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy September 22, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Florence: Prime Minister Theresa May set out a plan on Friday to retain full access to the EUs single market for two years after Brexit to try to reassure business and reset the tone of stalled negotiations with Brussels.

But her proposals for such a transition, for meeting Britains financial obligations and for protecting EU citizens rights, fell short of what the EU wanted.

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier praised the speech for its constructive spirit but asked for more detail. Another official said it had left him even more concerned.

I...

07:46

Pakistan Anti-Graft Body Freezes Bank Accounts of Nawaz Sharif, Family "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The National Accountability Bureau has already frozen the properties of former finance minister Ishaq Dar for having assets beyond his known sources of income.

Nawaz Sharif. Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

Nawaz Sharif. Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

Lahore: Ousted Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday (September 22) suffered a major setback after the countrys anti-graft body froze the bank accounts and seized properties belonging to him and his family members facing corruption and money laundering charges in the Panama Papers scandal.

Nawaz, 67, stepped down after the Supreme Court disqualified him on July 28 from continuing in his office for dishonesty and ruled that corruption cases be filed against him and his children.

The Accountability Court in Islamabad, which is hearing the corruption cases against the Sharif family, on Friday summoned Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar to appear before it on September 26.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) pasted the summonses and property attachment notices on the Sharifs residence in Raiwind on the outskirts of Lahore.

Sharif, along with his children, is in London to be with his ailing wife Kulsoom Sharif, who is undergoing treatment for throat cancer.

There is speculation in the Pakistani media that the Sharif family may not return to face the NAB corruption cases.

The ruling PML-N party, however, insists that Nawaz would return once his wifes health improves.

We have written to the State Bank of Pakistan (...

06:55

India Using Chilli Spray, Stun Grenades to Stop Rohingya from Entering Country "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Border forces have been authorised to use rude and crude methods to stop any attempts by the Rohingya to cross the India-Bangladesh border.

Rohingya refugees walk on a muddy path after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, in Teknaf, Bangladesh, September 6, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui/File photo

Rohingya refugees walk on a muddy path after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, in Teknaf, Bangladesh, September 6, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui/File photo

New Delhi: India has stepped up security along its largely porous eastern border with Bangladesh and is using chilli and stun grenades to block the entry of Rohingya Muslims fleeing from violence in their homeland of Myanmar, officials said on Friday.

Border forces in India, which wants to deport around 40,000 Rohingya already living in the country, citing security risks, have been authorised to use rude and crude methods to stop any attempts by...

06:27

Banaras Hindu University Students Protest Administrations Alleged Victim Blaming "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The chief proctor reportedly told students to keep quiet until the prime ministers two-day visit to Varanasi, beginning the day of the protest, was over.

Students protesting at the Banaras Hindu University gate on Friday. Credit: Facebook/Siddhant Mohan

Students protesting at the Banaras Hindu University gate on Friday. Credit: Facebook/Siddhant Mohan

New Delhi: Students from Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi held a large protest on Friday (September 22) against the university administrations alleged victim shaming after one of them reported an incident of molestation,

A first-year student, who lives in the university hostel, was allegedly molested and grabbed by three bike-borne men just outside the BHU campus at around 6:20 pm on Thursday evening. However, according to students, when she yelled for help, the university guards ignored her. She then went inside to report the matter to her warden and the chief proctor, but they too were less than sympathetic, students say.

When the student was molested last evening at 6, she shouted for help but the guards sitting there did not come forward or chase the bike. She went and complained to her warden and the chief proctor but they began shaming her. They asked her why she was out so late. They told students that the hostel curfew timings will be shifted from 7 pm to 6 pm, a female student at the protest...

05:44

States Under Obligation to Pay Compensation to Victims of Cow Vigilantism, Says SC "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The apex court has also asked states to submit compliance reports based on its previous order on appointing district nodal officers to curb cow-related mob violence.

Television journalists are seen outside the premises of the Supreme Court in New Delhi, India August 22, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

Television journalists are seen outside the premises of the Supreme Court in New Delhi, India August 22, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Saturday (September 22) asked the chief Secretaries of 22 states to file compliance reports in pursuance of its order on September 6 laying down a mechanism to sternly deal with cow vigilante groups, saying nobody can wash off their hands.

The bench added that states were under an obligation to pay compensation to victims of vigilante action, without the need for any judicial order. We do not have to say that. All states are under an obligation to compensate victims of cow vigilante violence. At the same time, law and order has to have primacy and anyone violating it must be dealt with sternly,...

05:30

Are Saffron Groups Bringing Mob Rule to One of Indias Last Peaceful States? "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Incidents of religious violence have been on the rise in Uttarakhand since the BJP came to power earlier this year.

A pre-election BJP rally in Uttarakhand. Credit: Twitter/Uttarakhand BJP

A pre-election BJP rally in Uttarakhand. Credit: Twitter/Uttarakhand BJP

On the night of September 8, police in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, picked up two boys and two girls from a central part in the city a little after midnight. The boys were Muslims, the girls Hindus. All four were from Kirtinagar, a town in the Tehri Garhwal district. At the station, the police were informed by the Kirtinagar police that the girls had been reported missing. The girls were returned to Kirtinagar and the boys arrested, though it isnt clear what they were charged with.

According to a report in Amar Ujala, the next day, unnamed Hindu organisations attacked and broke the shops owned by the boys families in Kirtinagar. The report quotes local traders saying they had no involvement in the attack on the shops, and that those who did so were brought in from outside. The police are now deployed in the town and the circle officer has announced that he will be remaining there for the near future.

Since the BJP came to power in Uttarakhand in March, incidents like this are being reported continuously fr...

05:30

The Rise and Rise of Angela Merkel, or How to Succeed in German Politics "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Few thought shed go the distance when she first came to power. That was more than a decade ago.

...

05:15

Pot-Pilgrims and Gods of Himalayan Things "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

With tourism to Parvati Valley on the rise, local communities struggle to cope with the pressures of the new consumerist society.

Parbati valley

The devta puja at Tosh (left), tourists from Europe and Israel flock to the valley (right). Credit: Sumit Mahar

The village square is bustling with activity. Women are seated along the stone wall boundary of the exquisitely wood carved temple. In the centre is a huddle of local men, and emerging from it is a golden umbrella, under it a wooden bust of the local devta or deity, sitting on a palanquin resting on the shoulders of two men. As the sounds of drum beats and gigantic shehnais fill the air, the palanquins dolled up in fineries, sway gently from side to side. Two more palanquins join in and together head to the sacred forest. The deities, whose receptacles these palanquins are, belong to three adjacent villages in Kullus quaint Parvati Valley Tosh, Barsheini and Tahuk. The congregation of gods has been organised in Tosh, tucked away at almost the end of the valley, to seek blessings, and appease the gods who might have been angered or disappointed by the wrongdoings of the community. When tragedy befalls a family or the entire village, the devtas are called upon, to guide the collective conscience of the community.

05:00

The Warming Climate Has Triggered Changes in Kodiak Bears Diets. Heres Why Thats Important "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Climate change is making berries ripen early in Kodiak, Alaska, luring bears away from eating salmon. This shift may not hurt the bears, but could have far-reaching impacts on surrounding forests.

A brown bear snags a sockeye salmon in Alaska. In warm years, red elderberries ripen early and Kodiak bears leave streams full of salmon to eat them. Credit:Jonathan Armstrong, CC BY-ND

A brown bear snags a sockeye salmon in Alaska. In warm years, red elderberries ripen early and Kodiak bears leave streams full of salmon to eat them. Credit:Jonathan Armstrong, CC BY-ND

After several years of studying brown bear ecology on Alaskas Kodiak Island, I grew used to walking up streams into scenes of carnage. Where bears had killed and eaten spawning sockeye salmon, stream beds were littered with fish heads, jaws and whole carcasses, and plants on the stream banks were flattened. But at the peak of the stream spawning run in 2014, I was puzzled to find no bears or salmon parts. Salmon were dying naturally after spawning and piling up in streams, intact.

Ive spent the last three years trying to solve this ecological puzzle. After extensive field and lab work along with researchers from Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, Flathead Lake Biological Station and Oregon State University, we arrived at a fascinating conclusion.

In warm years, another favourite bear food red elderberries ripened early enough to overlap with the salmon season. This forced bears to choose between the foods. Surprisingly, almost all bears opted for berries over salmon. This choice has likely altered food webs, and will become increasingly common with expected climate warming.

Our team was struck by the bears seemingly counterintuitive switch. Why would bears stop eating a high-protein food loaded with energy? Quickly, though, we realized that our work was an example of a more global concern: What happens when climate change alters natures schedule?

05:00

The Ghost of Demonetisation Still Haunts Marathwadas Farmers "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

The cashless future that demonetisation promised never came, and many in rural Marathwada scoff at the idea.

Farmers say the push towards a cashless economy is city-centric, ignoring the majority living in the villages. Credit: Shrirang Swarge/PARI

Farmers say the push towards a cashless economy is city-centric, ignoring the majority living in the villages. Credit: Shrirang Swarge/PARI

Aurangabad: Ten months after currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 were scrapped on November 8 last year, the ghost of demonetisation continues to haunt Deepak Badavne.

In early November, Badavne had harvested 31 quintals of cotton from his 2.5 acre farm. He expected good returns on it. The trader arranged for the truck and loaded the cotton from my house, he says. But just then, the demonetisation-induced cash crunch hit the farm sector. The payment for Deepaks cotton didnt materialise. The trader is now saying he will pay by Diwali [by mid-October 2017], he says.

The trader owes Badavne Rs 178,483 for his cotton yield. A cheque he received for this amount on March 24 bounced thrice.  I am not the only one, says Deepak, 31, sitting under a tree in Karajgaon village on the outskirts of Aurangabad city in Marathwada, Maharashtra. There are others in my village who have been similarly duped.

Badavne, who lives in a joint family and has two children, has gath...

04:30

India Needs a Credible Deterrence Strategy for Cyberspace "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

Indias cyber capabilities and intent to act on them are enough to outscore potential political victories they may secure by successfully mounting a cyber attack or unwarranted border provocation. 

To date, there is no national level organisation in the Indian military which is tasked with cyber defence. Credit: Reuters

To date, there is no national level organisation in the Indian military which is tasked with cyber defence. Credit: Reuters

Cyber warfare no longer remains a figment of science fiction but a proximate reality that states need to grapple with when framing geo-strategic policy. The quagmire lies in reigning in the use of this sphere, which has rapidly proliferated into becoming an essential part of human existence today. The main barrier to cohesive normative regulation has been posed first, by its global ubiquity, which has prevented the development of universal consensus from states with differing economic and political ambitions and second by its inherent nature, as a non-physical conception, which has made the task of applying traditional principles of international law a challenge.

The failure of the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts (UN-GGE) earlier this year to agree upon a universal set of norms to govern the use of cyberspace is therefore, disappointing, given the initial progress made by the same body in recent y...

04:30

Heres a New Word for That Feeling When Travel Makes Everything New "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

A tourist generally has an eye for the things that, through repetitive familiarity, have become almost invisible to the resident.

A road in Connemara. Credit: Flickr

A road in Connemara. Credit: Flickr/CC BY 2.0

On a double-decker bus from Dublin airport to Drumcondra early one June morning, a young lad stretched out on the back seat and started to rap. What he lacked in talent he made up for in gusto. I was with a dozen of my students who were travelling from DePaul University in Chicago on a study abroad trip and this was their very first impression of Ireland. I cringed and tried to ignore the atonal reveller. Their response, it turned out, was at odds with mine. Thats American rap! one of them chortled. Why is he rapping Kendrick? The oddity of the situation entertained them, and they discussed it with a fervour typically reserved for matters of greater significance.

One thing Ive noticed over the years of bringing my students to Ireland my homeland is that they pay rapt attention to the little things. This heightened and delighted attention to the ordinary, which manifests in someone new to a place, does not seem to have a name. So I have given it one: allokataplixis (from the Greek allo meaning other, and katapliktikomeaning wonder). In Modern Greek katapliktiko and the related wordkatataplixie can be used to register astonishment. Admittedly, in Ancient Greek the family of words surrounding kataplxis sometimes signified terror and panic. It is, however, the note of pure amazement and fascination present i...

Friday, 22 September

23:23

Fact Check: Updating Cold War Myths About Thailand "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

September 23, 2017 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Many honest, busy analysts outside established media circles in the United States and Europe are plagued by mythologies stemming from once pseudo-truths they simply lack the time or energy to dig into and finally correct.


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

US-Thai Relations During the Vietnam War  

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

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

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

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

23:23

Fact Check: Updating Cold War Myths About Thailand "IndyWatch Feed Asia"

September 23, 2017 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Many honest, busy analysts outside established media circles in the United States and Europe are plagued by mythologies stemming from once pseudo-truths they simply lack the time or energy to dig into and finally correct.


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

US-Thai Relations During the Vietnam War  

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

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

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

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

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