Showing posts from December, 2016

Nobel laureates warn Aung San Suu Kyi over 'ethnic cleansing' of Rohingya

More than a dozen fellow Nobel laureates have criticised Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader, for a bloody military crackdown on minority Rohingya people, warning of a tragedy “amounting to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity”. The open letter to the UN security council from a group of 23 activists, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Malala Yousafzai, warned that the army offensive had killed of hundreds of people, including children, and left women raped, houses burned and many civilians arbitrarily arrested. It was delivered as Bangladesh announced around 50,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled the violence across its border. “Access for humanitarian aid organisations has been almost completely denied, creating an appalling humanitarian crisis in an area already extremely poor,” reads the letter, whose signatories include current and former political and business leaders and campaigners such as Yousafzai, the youngest winner of the Nobel peace prize. “Some internati

Hi-Def Video of Earth From Space Is Beautiful

Earlier this year, NASA astronaut Jeff Williams captured ultra high definition video of our pale blue dot from the vantage point of the International Space Station. It’s easily the most uplifting thing you’re going to see all day. In this newly released video, Williams talks about what it’s like to gaze upon the Earth when in space, and why it’s important to share this unique perspective with others. It’s been said many times that a person’s perspective on life, the universe, and everything changes after seeing our planet floating in space. Watching this video, it’s easy to understand why. NASA has made these video files available for download, which you can access here . See video here: Photos of Freak Snowfall in the Sahara Look Unreal NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day Archive

NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF PEOPLE'S MOVEMENTS Protests Unlawful Arrest of 7 members of a Fact Finding Team

​29 th  December, 2016  To, The Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission, Manav Adhikar Bhavan, Block-C, GPO Complex, INA, New Delhi. Sub:    Unlawful Arrest of 7 members of a Fact Finding Team of Lawyers, Journalist, Human Rights Activists, Students of Telangana on 25 th  Dec, 2016 and Continuing Repression of Adivasis, Activists, Lawyers, Human rights workers in Chhattisgarh. Hon’ble Sir, This Hon’ble Commission and the entire country is well-aware of the serious constitutional, legal and human rights violations that have sadly become a part of the everyday reality of the adivasis and human rights activists in the villages and forests of South Chhattisgarh. In the name of ‘combing’ and combating ‘Maosim’, the State, through its military, para-military, security and police forces has unleashed an unprecedented spree of threats, violence, false cases, arbitrary arrests, detentions, dubious encounters, rapes, sexual assault etc. on the impoverished adivasis and a

Aseem Shrivastava: Weapon of Mass Digitization - Part II // Ajaz Ashraf: How demonetisation made this small business owner a Modi supporter, but not for long

As the deflationary spiral deepens rapidly across vast swathes of India's cash-dependent informal economy, ultimately impacting the formal sector too, what was seductively sold to the public as a "surgical strike" on black money may turn out to become the worst-ever carpet-bombing the country's economy has ever experienced at the hands of its own government. In any case, a militarised imagination is the last thing India needs to face its real problems today. ASEEM SHRIVASTAVA - Weapon of mass digitisation Part 1 We are in the hands of a digital-romancing political fantasist of extraordinary unrealism, gambling with the real lives of unsuspecting millions across the country. He makes the adventurous Tughlaq seem sane by comparison. The currency is the centrepiece of a modern economy, the trust and credibility reposed in it being one of the most precious of national assets. It is not to be trifled with by ignorant tyrants. And this is why fiscal and monetary pow

OMAIR AHMAD - Stories of Meaning and the Meaning of Stories

Over dinner a few days ago, I ended up telling a story about Janaka to a friend. Janaka is generally known as the foster father of Sita (she is born of the earth as a boon to him after prayers) in the Ramayana, but he is also mentioned separately in late Vedic literature as a king of Videha, of great virtue and sagacity. The story that I recalled was of how a young sage came to Janaka’s court and asked him, bluntly, “O king, you are considered a great sage, a  brahmjanani , and yet you are a king, surrounded by gold and luxuries. How can you be a sage in the midst of this?” Janaka heard the young man out in silence, and then said, “I will answer your question, but on one condition. Here is a bowl, full to the brim with oil. If you can circle my palace and bring it back to me without spilling a drop, I will give you the answer.” The young man was taken aback, but agreed to the challenge and taking the bowl, spent the whole day painstakingly circling the palace until he was once

A love story: The Macedonian cop and an Iraqi refugee

The scene was hardly conducive to romance. She was a sick Iraqi in a wave of refugees trying to enter Serbia, while he belonged to the stern Macedonian police force keeping guard. But Noora Arkavazi, a Kurdish Muslim, and Orthodox Christian Bobi Dodevski quickly fell in love after they met at the muddy border in early March -- and celebrated their wedding four months later. Bobi recalls the rainy day he first saw Noora in no man’s land between the two Balkan countries, when he was working only by chance after swapping shifts with a colleague. “It was destiny,” the affable 35-year-old tells AFP over tea in his small apartment in the northern Macedonian town of Kumanovo, where he now lives happily with his young wife. Noora, 20, hails from Diyala, an eastern province plagued with violence in the Iraqi conflict. She says at one point Islamic State jihadists kidnapped her father, an engineer, and demanded thousands of dollars for his return. Early in 2016, Noora and her brother,

Dreyfus revisited: Émile Zola – on the run in London, 1898, by Michael Rosen

The Disappearance of Emil Zola: Love, Literature and the Dreyfus Case  by Michael Rosen [Emile Zola was sentenced to one year's imprisonment after writing "J'accuse", an open letter to the French government accusing it of anti-semitism in the Dreyfus affair. Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French Army, had been wrongly convicted of treason four years earlier. Zola fled to England but returned to Paris when charges were dropped . ] Front page cover of the newspaper  L'Aurore  for  Thursday 13 January 1898,  with the letter  J'Accuse...! ,  written by Émile Zola about the  Dreyfus affair .  On Christmas Day 1898, France’s most famous writer, if not the most famous writer in the world at the time, was living in a hotel in Upper Norwood, south London. Émile Zola was the author of a clutch of international bestsellers –  Thérèse Raquin ,  Germinal ,  La Terre ,  Nana  – but this Christmas he was holed up in a room he hated, unable

Ramzy Baroud - Palestine 2017: Time To Bid Farewell to Washington and Embrace the Globe

There is no doubt that the UN Security Council condemnation of Israel on Friday was an important and noteworthy event. True, the United Nations’ main chambers (the Security Council and the General Assembly) and its various institutions, ranging from the International Court of Justice to the UN cultural agency, UNESCO, have repeatedly condemned the Israeli occupation, illegal Jewish settlements and mistreatment of Palestinians. In fact, unlike the  23 December resolution  2334, the past UN condemnations were far stronger – for some resolutions did not just demand an immediate halt of illegal Jewish settlement construction, but the removal of existing settlements as well. There are up to 196 illegal settlements  on occupied Palestinian land, in addition to hundreds of settler outposts. These settlements host up to 600,000 Jewish settlers, who were But what makes this particular resolution important? First, the US neither vetoed the resolution nor threatened to use its veto power

Book Review - Karl Polanyi: What the Austro-Hungarian economic theorist tells us about the upheavals of our age

Karl Polanyi: A Life on the Left  By Gareth Dale Review article by Nikil Saval Nikil Saval - Karl Polanyi In Our Times There are many ways to read  The Great Transformation : as a book about the rise of liberalism and the origins of the welfare state, as a discussion of the birth of fascism and why Europe went to war. But Polanyi also had more immediate concerns. His argument was also a rebuke of right-wing arguments, often made by libertarian figures like Hayek and Mises, about the impracticality of left-wing thinkers. While socialists are usually the ones charged with being irresponsible dreamers, Polanyi wanted to show that it was economic liberals who were in fact dedicated to an implausible utopia. An unchecked market was anything but natural. Left to function on its own, it destroys human beings and the planet along with it… ... The unyielding inflexibility of the euro, and the wild-eyed ardency of its defenders, has caused several observers of this debacle to turn back