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Showing posts from June, 2015

Kapil Komireddi - For Over Six Decades Pakistan Has Been At War With Itself

Pakistan was created, in the words of its founder MA Jinnah, to preserve “what is most precious in Islam.” But how do you determine what is best in any faith? For more than six decades, Pakistan has been at war with itself to answer this question. The principal casualties throughout this time have been Pakistan’s intended beneficiaries: Muslims. It is to guard their “purity” in a land inhabited by a predominantly non-Muslim population that Pakistan was hacked apart from India. 
Pakistan’s squalid condition today is a cause for grief; but, as a direct consequence of the conscious choices made by the people who still exude pride in calling themselves “Pakistani,” it is at least understandable, in the pedestrian way that self-made tragedies often are.
But what of Pakistan’s other victims, particularly its religious minorities, who have been made to endure the inexhaustible rage of the country’s permanently self-pitying Sunni majority? More than 80 Christians were slaughtered in a bomb atta…

Ian Martin: Fracketeering - how capitalism is power-hosing the last drops of value out of us all

Once you’ve mined the earth and milked the service industries, what is there left to frack? Us, that’s what – with everything from admin charges and estate agent fees to blockbuster premiums and ‘cakeage’
Fracking. Could there be a more perfect model for how we’re getting rinsed by this current conspiracy of government and commerce? In a world turned upside down, “conservative” now means the absolute opposite of “leaving things as they are”. Conservative means changing everything. It means dismantling things and selling off the bits. It means drilling into our lives and extracting the marrow.
Conservatism and conservation are now about as far apart as it’s possible to get. Friends of Conservation are the ones protecting the countryside. The ones who stand around self-consciously in terrible fancy dress, holding passive-aggressive placards in praise of the noble, selfless badger. Or basically any mammal that looks good in a waistcoat.
Friends of Conservatism, on the other hand, are the on…

Paul Krugman - Most of what you’ve heard about Greek profligacy and irresponsibility is false

It has been obvious for some time that the creation of the euro was a terrible mistake. Europe never had the preconditions for a successful single currency—above all, the kind of fiscal and banking union that, for example, ensures that when a housing bubble in Florida bursts, Washington automatically protects seniors against any threat to their medical care or their bank deposits.
Leaving a currency union is, however, a much harder and more frightening decision than never entering in the first place, and until now even the Continent’s most troubled economies have repeatedly stepped back from the brink. Again and again, governments have submitted to creditors’ demands for harsh austerity, while the European Central Bank has managed to contain market panic.
But the situation in Greece has now reached what looks like a point of no return. 
Banks are temporarily closed and the government has imposed capital controls—limits on the movement of funds out of the country. It seems highly likely t…

Cuba becomes first nation to eliminate mother-to-child HIV

Cuba's success demonstrates that universal access and universal health coverage are feasible and indeed are the key to success

Cuba has become the first country to eliminate the transmission of HIV and syphilis from mother to child, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). World Health Organisation director-general Margaret Chan said it was one of the "greatest public health achievements possible". "This is a major victory in our long fight against HIV and sexually transmitted infections, and an important step towards having an AIDS-free generation," Ms Chan said.
The success is due to universal health coverage, improved access to tests and increased attention to maternal care, which health authorities defined as less than 50 cases of mother-to-child transmission of syphilis or HIV per 100,000 live births. A small number of cases are allowed to persist, despite the certification, because antiretroviral treatment to prevent mother-to-child-transmission of…

The Old Astronomer to His Pupil: Sarah Williams // Stunning New Footage Of Earth

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The Old Astronomer to His Pupil
Reach me down my Tycho Brahe, I would know him when we meet, When I share my later science, sitting humbly at his feet; He may know the law of all things, yet be ignorant of how We are working to completion, working on from then to now.
Pray remember that I leave you all my theory complete, Lacking only certain data for your adding, as is meet, And remember men will scorn it, 'tis original and true, And the obloquy of newness may fall bitterly on you.
But, my pupil, as my pupil you have learned the worth of scorn, You have laughed with me at pity, we have joyed to be forlorn, What for us are all distractions of men's fellowship and smiles; What for us the Goddess Pleasure with her meretricious smiles!
You may tell that German College that their honor comes too late, But they must not waste repentance on the grizzly savant's fate. Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light; I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.
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The Troll Slayer - A Cambridge classicist takes on her sexist detractors - BY REBECCA MEAD

Through her television appearances, she has become an avatar for middle-aged and older women, who appreciate her unwillingness to fend off the visible advancement of age. Beard does not wear makeup and she doesn’t color her abundant gray hair. She dresses casually, with minor eccentricities: purple-rimmed spectacles, gold sneakers. She looks comfortable both in her skin and in her shoes—much more preoccupied with what she is saying than with how she looks as she is saying it… Beard, in her unapologetic braininess, is a role model for women of all ages who want an intellectually satisfying life. 
In February, Mary Beard, a classics professor at the University of Cambridge, gave a lecture at the British Museum titled “Oh Do Shut Up Dear!” With amiable indignation, she explored the many ways that men have silenced outspoken women since the days of the ancients. Her speech, which was filmed by the BBC, was learned but accessible—a tone that she has regularly displayed on British television…

Over 40 dead in 2 years: The mysterious deaths in Madhya Pradesh's Vyapam scam have a sinister edge // Is Shivraj Chouhan's govt in Madhya Pradesh getting away with murder?

The Vyapam scam or the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) Scam is known as India’s most notorious scam for one main reason – 40 people associated with the scam have died since the story broke in 2013. The deaths include both accused and witnesses and have largely been under mysterious circumstances. As two more accused died within 24 hours of each other on Sunday, the death toll has risen to over 40. Meanwhile MP Home Minister Babulal Gaur refused a CBI probe into Vyapam scam deaths. He added that there was no conspiracy, and that the deaths were natural. They may have died because of their own misdeeds, he told CNN IBN.
While investigations are underway, here is all you need to know about the Vyapam Scam and its mysterious deaths.
What is the Vyapam Scam? The scam was all about the manipulation in the selection process for government colleges and jobs conducted by the Madhya Pradesh professional examination board (MPPEB) or Madhya Pradesh Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal (Vy…

MK Venu: Lalit Modi is a Small Symptom of the Continuing Malaise of Crony Capitalism

At the Modi-Obama reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan, about two dozen industrialists had been invited  and were seen standing in a queue to greet the US President. About 6 to 8 of those present collectively owe close to Rs. 3.5 lakh crore to banks, mostly PSU banks
There can be no doubt that the NDA government’s image has been badly dented by the new scandal involving Lalit Modi – a man facing serious money laundering charges in India – for whom external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj personally short-circuited the system so that he could procure travel papers on “humanitarian grounds”.
The government’s defensive attitude was visible on Monday as the opposition mounted a serious attack on the BJP, prompting the Enforcement Directorate to issue fresh notices late evening against Lalit Modi. Perhaps this was the government’s way of signalling that its favour to the controversial former IPL cricket commissioner  was limited to helping him travel from London to Portugal to see his ailing wife,…

EMERGENCY Archive // Jos. Peter D 'Souza: When the Supreme Court struck down Habeas Corpus

PUCL Bulletin, June 2001 - A.D.M. Jabalpur vs Shukla

When the Supreme Court struck down Habeas Corpus
April 28th, 1976 is a day never to be forgotten by any of us Indians who love the pledges of Justice and Liberty which we gave to ourselves in the Preamble of our Constitution. It was on this day when four of the five senior most Judges of the Supreme Court (including the Hon'ble Chief Justice) struck the first mortal blow to these cherished dreams enshrined in our Constitution. On this day during the Emergency the Supreme Court sank to its lowest when it decided the infamous Habeas Corpus Case with the following conclusion:
"In view of the Presidential Order dated 27th June 1975 no person has any locus to move any writ petition under Art. 226 before a High Court for habeas corpus or any other writ or order or direction to challenge the legality of an order of detention on the ground that the order is not under or in compliance with the Act or is illegal or is vitiated by mala f…