Showing posts from November, 2014

Eric Schlosser - Why we must rid the world of nuclear weapons

Much has been written about the  nuclear negotiations with Iran . While diplomacy has received a great deal of attention, one important question too often gets lost in the details: why Iran must not get the bomb. In my view, the answer is quite simple. An Iran armed with nuclear weapons would pose a grave threat not only to world peace but to the Iranian people. Almost 70 years have passed since the destruction of Nagasaki, the last time a nuclear weapon was used against a civilian target. The cold war ended without a nuclear exchange, and the dangers of nuclear terrorism remain speculative, thus far. The fact that a nuclear catastrophe hasn’t occurred since 1945 encourages the belief that because it hasn’t happened, it won’t happen. Or even that it can’t happen. An influential American academic, Kenneth Waltz, considered the proliferation of nuclear weapons to be a good thing; the more countries that obtained them, the better. “Those who like peace should love nuclear weapons,” Wal

Khaled Ahmed - Pakistan: Darkness ahead

A christian couple was burned to death in a Kasur town near Lahore on November 4 because a 50-strong mob of pious Muslims thought they had blasphemed under Article 295C of the penal code. The country was jolted by the savagery of the act, but religious leaders were silent while “liberal fascists” crowded Facebook with pessimism about the survival of a state gone bonkers. The big anti-Indian clerics, like Hafiz Saeed, were silent or didn’t have time to spare from their fulminations against Prime Minister “Moodhie” of India for his alleged role in Gujarat 2002. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif sobbed as he tried to console the Christian family with Rs 5 million and farmland for the three children of the dead couple. As he bent over the grief-stricken Christians, a policeman in Gujrat, north of Lahore, hacked to death a Shia Muslim “because he uttered blasphemous” words. Article 295C, passed in 1986, is about insulting the Holy Prophet (PBUH), and it hands down death as the m

Sandip Roy - VHP plays big bully in Bastar missionary schools

I went to a Jesuit missionary school. We called the priests “Father”. We called the other male teachers “Sir”. And the women “Miss”. As a boy I was less alarmed by the bleeding man on the crucifix as by the pictures of Jesus and Mary where you could see their glowing hearts through their robes. It looked like some kind of scary open-heart surgery to me. We did learn to rattle off the Lord’s Prayer – Our Father who art in heaven – without ever really thinking about the meaning of what we were saying. But we did not go to Catechism classes, we sang patriotic Bengali songs during the drill display and the priests lent us not Bibles but sci-fi books and westerns.  No one that I knew in my class converted to Christianity. And we did Saraswati Puja at home and at every examination I carried with me a small paper twist with dried flowers from that puja. As a goddess exclusively devoted to learning, she remained unquestionably the first port of call when it came to divine help during trig

The True Story of Ah-Q - By Lu Hsun

Here's the greatest (in my humble opinion) short story of the 20th century archive/lu-xun/1921/12/ah-q/ Selected Stories of Lu Hsun Foreign Languages Press, Peking, 1960, 1972 For several years now I have been meaning to write the true story of Ah Q. But while wanting to write I was in some trepidation, too, which goes to show that I am not one of those who achieve glory by writing; for an immortal pen has always been required to record the deeds of an immortal man, the man becoming known to posterity through the writing and the writing known to posterity through the man—until finally it is not clear who is making whom known. But in the end, as though possessed by some fiend, I always came back to the idea of writing the story of Ah Q. And yet no sooner had I taken up my pen than I became conscious of tremendous difficulties in writing this far-from-immortal work. The first was the question of what to call it. Confucius said, "If the

Indian Army Finds 9 Soldiers Guilty of Killing Two Teens in Firing in Budgam in Jammu and Kashmir

BUDGAM:   In one of its shortest ever inquiries, the army has found nine of its soldiers guilty of killing two teenagers when they opened fire on a car in Jammu and Kashmir's Budgam on November 3.  The deaths of the boys, 15 and 17, saw massive protests in the Valley. The army had initially said the soldiers made a "mistake" when they fired at the Maruti car; they were watching out for terrorists traveling in a white car. All five in the car were teenagers returning from a Muharram procession.  The Army's Rashtriya Rifles unit posted there claimed that they fired at the car when it didn't stop despite being signaled.  Two died instantly, two were injured and one boy escaped to the fields. A state government report said the car had skidded while overtaking another vehicle and hit an electric pole.  The families of the boys alleged that the firing started without warning or provocation.  A swift verdict by the Army's Court of Inquiry, in less than a month, sends

Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries

A recently discovered form of carbon graphite – the material in pencil lead – has turned out to have a completely unexpected property which could revolutionise the development of green energy and electric cars. Researchers have discovered that graphene allows positively charged hydrogen atoms or protons to pass through it despite being completely impermeable to all other gases, including hydrogen itself. The implications of the discovery are immense as it could dramatically increase the efficiency of fuel cells, which generate electricity directly from hydrogen, the scientists said. The breakthrough raises the prospect of extracting hydrogen fuel from air and burning it as a carbon-free source of energy in a fuel cell to produce electricity and water with no damaging waste products. EDITORIAL: FUEL BREAKTHROUGH COULD RIVAL SPLITTING ATOM “In the atmosphere there is a certain amount of hydrogen and this hydrogen will end up on the other side [of graphene] in a reservoir. The

Book review': I Will Bear Witness': How the Little Things Add Up to Horror

I WILL BEAR WITNESS A Diary of the Nazi Years, 1933-1941  By Victor Klemperer  Reviewed by Richard Bernstein He does not deny his Jewishness, despite his conversion to Protestantism. But he does express an intense resentment toward those who take Jewishness as a prime element in personal identity. He blames Hitler for the creation of the "Jewish problem," believing that before the Nazis came along to fetishize the concept of blood and race, there was no separate Jewish identity. It is for that reason that Klemperer is given to a disproportionate rage against Zionism, which he compares more than once to Hitlerism... Like Nazism, he says, Zionism turns the Jews into a separate racial category, and this violates his powerful belief in assimilation, his undying conviction that he is German. Victor Klemperer, for many years a professor of Romance languages at the Dresden Technical University, was an intelligent and literate man and a fine scholar but not an extraordinary

Ayaz Amir - What should Pakistan’s Christians do?

Once upon a time under-class Mohajirs in Karachi, residents not of Clifton and Defence but depressed localities, used to be an object of scorn for other communities, regularly picked upon by the mostly Punjabi police and treated roughly in public transport, mostly owned by Pakhtuns. Not considered of much account, they were called ‘tilyars’…a word of sarcasm and scorn.  Then on the scene arrived the MQM which went about organising the ‘tilyar’ community. The Mohajir under-class was known previously for its docility. Under the banner of the MQM it acquired confidence, muscle and a sense of purpose. In a famous speech MQM leader Altaf Hussain exhorted his community to sell their TV sets and acquire weapons. Soon the Mohajir under-class was standing up to other communities, starting its own credo of violence and terror in the process. Karachi which had known nothing of the sort became imbued with a culture of militancy. Today the MQM dominates the socio-political skyline of Pakistan’

EC finds over 3 lakh bogus voters in Narendra Modi’s Varanasi seat; Counting continues // मोदी की सीट वाराणसी में मिले तीन लाख फर्जी वोटर

Varanasi:  In a stunning revelation in Indian politics, the Election Commission has so far traced 3,11,057 fake voters who casted their votes in Varanasi in the Lok Sabha election earlier this year. The district administration is expecting the number of fake voters to reach around 6,47,085 by the end of the examination process. It is to tell you that Varanasi is the LS constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who won from the seat with 3,71,784 votes. The Election Commission was completely shocked to know such a huge number of fake voters which came into light after re-examining the voters list. The officials, who have been given the responsibility of the task, personally visited every voters’ house to see if he was the same one who placed his or her vote in the elections. This process have completed half-way and so far over three-lakh bogus voters have been traced Earlier this year, in the Lok Sabha elections, Modi outclassed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Arvind Kejriwal