Showing posts from May, 2018

Jessica Glenza - Doctors welcome possible 'holy grail of cancer research'

A blood test for 10 different types of cancers could one day help doctors screen for the disease before patients show symptoms, researchers at the world’s largest gathering of oncologists have said. The test, called a  liquid biopsy , screens for cancer by detecting tiny bits of DNA released by cancer cells into blood. The test had particularly good results for ovarian and pancreatic cancers, though the number of cancers detected was small. Researchers hope the test will become part of a “universal screening” tool that doctors can use to detect cancer in patients. “This is potentially the holy grail of cancer research, to find cancers that are currently hard to cure at an earlier stage when they are easier to cure,” said Dr Eric Klein, lead author of the research from Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig  Cancer  Institute. “We hope this test could save many lives.” The study, by a research team that also included scientists from Stanford University, was presented at the annual conference

Pratap Bhanu Mehta - Where anything goes. Cobrapost sting: Media subservience to power, its contempt for the citizen

NB : There's an even graver lesson here - and this goes for everyone who prefers to look the other way when confronted with an elephant in the drawing room. And that is this: India's ruling class and a significant proportion of its citizenry have no problem with violence and lawlessness in the name of 'community' interests. For them, Naxalite violence is terrorism, whereas hooliganism, vigilantism, hate-speech and violent incitement are not just acceptable but desirable when committed by so-called patriots. The sting records ranking media barons willing to incite riots  for money. This is evidence of criminal conspiracy, and we know nothing will be done about it. Here are video-recordings of 'Sangh parivar' cadre issuing murderous threats against a popular news anchor.  The rot is old, and extends across the political spectrum. Naxalites never confronted communal groups nor bothered to understand communalism - for them, all political currents are the same.

Book review: The first English translation of ‘The Odyssey’ by a woman

THE ODYSSEY By Homer . Translated from the Greek by Emily Wilson Reviewed by By Madeline Miller Attempting a new translation of  “The Odyssey”  is like directing “Hamlet.” Much of your audience knows the work well, and they take their seats with entrenched expectations and the intonations of favorite performances reverberating in their heads. At the same time, though, you will have audience members who have never seen the play, for whom you provide the introduction to a giant of Western literature. And let us not forget those who are there under duress, dreading the upcoming hours of boredom. You must find a way to speak to these disparate groups, sneaking past the defenses of the devotees while drawing in those less familiar. It’s an ambitious task, one that calls for skill, cleverness and strong nerves, qualities that define  “The Odyssey’s”  wily protagonist himself. The poem of Odysseus’s epic journey was composed in about the 8th century B.C., and its tale of a brillian

Ritika Jain: Months after son’s murder by his Muslim lover’s family, Delhi man plans iftar for love

Yashpal Saxena has continued to reject the atte mpts to politicise his son’s death, and wants Ankit to be an inspiration for those in inter-faith relationships...  The event, he said, was a “starting point” for the trust he has established in Ankit’s name to help couples who want to marry outside their faith The father of a young Delhi man killed over his relationship with a Muslim woman is organising an iftar this Ramzan to ensure love, not hatred, marks his son’s legacy. Ankit Saxena, a 23-year-old photographer, was stabbed to death by the family members of his long-term girlfriend in February this year, a cold-blooded murder fundamentalists hijacked to push their agenda of polarisation. But Yashpal Saxena has continued to reject the attempts to politicise his son’s death, and wants Ankit to be an inspiration for those in inter-faith relationships. With this in mind, on 3 June, Saxena will organise an iftar in his locality, west Delhi’s Raghubir Nagar. The event, Yashpal s

Moral Policing in Bhilai: A Case Study for Hindutva Lab

Moral Policing in Bhilai: A Case Study for Hindutva Lab Surabhi Singh (with inputs from Akshay in Bhilai) “If you cannot bear these stories then the society is unbearable. Who am I to remove the clothes of this society, which itself is naked,” stated Sadat Hassan Manto the great author and playwright, who would lay bare the society’s double standards and particularly its hypocrisy when treatment meted out to women. Its good that Manto did not live long enough to see the dwindling character of this society, post independence era.  Its 21st century now and why then, we are forced to go back to Manto? Because, in this era of globalization and neo-liberalization, there is a pulse beating to the tune of chest thumping nationalism and rabid Hindutva fanaticism. Things that were normal a few years back, have now suddenly become crimes. Like eating beef, kissing in public, love marriages, dating, studying.. On the contrary, things that used to be crimes a few years back, have now become i

Bihar’s new sorrow Nitish Kumar’s prohibition policy is visiting pain on those it was supposed to help

While Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar portrays the lower castes as the primary beneficiaries of prohibition, the figures of jail occupancy tell exactly the opposite story. Two years after the policy was introduced, an investigation in this paper has revealed, a disproportionately high proportion of OBCs, SCs and STs is behind bars on charges related to liquor. STs constitute only 1.3 per cent of the state’s population, but more than five times that figure have been arrested. One in four of Bihar’s citizens are OBCs, but over one-third of those cooling their heels in jail are from that category.  Prohibition in Bihar: Widows and elderly jailed, children picked up for ferrying liquor The pattern is sustained across all of the backward and depressed castes, who appear to have borne the brunt of prohibition. Ironically, about 80 per cent of those arrested were regular drinkers or alcoholics. Meanwhile, the liquor mafias, which should have been targeted as a priority, appear to

‘Heretic’ in the Vatican - Pope Francis faces pushback from the church’s arch-conservatives. By HANNAH ROBERTS

“They call me a heretic.” Not the words you’d expect to hear from the head of the Roman Catholic Church. But that’s what Pope Francis told a group of fellow Jesuits in Chile earlier this year, acknowledging the fierce pushback from arch-conservatives in the Vatican. Celebrated by progressives around the world for his push to update and liberalize aspects of church doctrine, Francis is facing fierce blowback from traditionalists who take issue with his openness to Muslim migrants, his concern for the environment and his softer tone on divorce, cohabitation and homosexuality. Opposition has become so heated that some advisers are warning him to tread carefully to avoid a “schism” in the church. Father Thomas Weinandy, a former chief of staff for the U.S. bishops’ committee on doctrine, has accused Francis of causing “theological anarchy.” Another group of bishops has warned Francis risks spreading “a plague of divorce.” Last fall, more than 200 scholars and priests signed a letter

FRANK BROWNING - Paris, May '68: You Say It Was a Revolution?

Paris ’68 was not about power so much as it was about breathing. Drawing life in the fullness of each moment. PARIS—Fifty years. Half a century since what’s been called  France ’s second Revolution:  May ’68 when millions of angry students and workers filled the streets and brought the nation to a halt. And already the memories are beginning to fade once again. For weeks this spring, you couldn’t go anywhere in France, watch any TV or listen to any radio without being transported back to  la révolution du temps passé .  Le Centre Pompidou, Le Musée des Beaux Arts, the Palais de Tokyo, the National Archives, La Bibliothèque Nationale, bookshops and private galleries everywhere.  “The events of May ’68 remain anchored in France’s collective memory because they embody an optimistic moment of concrete utopia,” declared the director of the Beaux Arts, Éric de Chassey, a scion of France great noble families. So it would seem as all the now creaky-kneed heroes of ’68 were carted ou

Alfred McCoy - The Hidden Meaning of American Decline

Month by month, tweet by tweet, the events of the past two years have made it clearer than ever that Washington’s once-formidable global might is indeed fading. As the American empire unravels with previously unimagined speed, there are many across this country’s political spectrum who will not mourn its passing. Both peace activists and military veterans have grown tired of the country’s endless wars. Trade unionists and business owners have come to rue the job losses that accompanied Washington’s free-trade policies. Anti-globalization protesters and pro-Trump populists alike cheered the president’s cancellation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The idea of focusing on America and rebuilding the country’s tattered infrastructure has a growing  bipartisan appeal . But before we join this potential chorus of “good riddance” to U.S. global power, it might be worth pausing briefly to ask whether the acceleration of the American decline by President Trump’s erratic foreign policy mig

WHAT IS REAL? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics

Adam Becker - WHAT IS REAL? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics Reviewed by James Gleick Are atoms real? Of course they are. Everybody believes in atoms, even people who don’t believe in evolution or climate change. If we didn’t have atoms, how could we have atomic bombs? But you can’t see an atom directly. And even though atoms were first conceived and named by ancient Greeks, it was not until the last century that they achieved the status of actual physical entities — real as apples, real as the moon. The first proof of atoms came from 26-year-old Albert Einstein in 1905, the same year he proposed his theory of special relativity. Before that, the atom served as an increasingly useful hypothetical construct. At the same time, Einstein defined a new entity: a particle of light, the “light quantum,” now called the photon. Until then, everyone considered light to be a kind of wave. It didn’t bother Einstein that no one could observe this new thing. “It is th

‘We Did It For Her’: Savita’s Death Remembered As Ireland Votes Yes To Abortion

“This is a celebration but it’s bittersweet. We failed Savita. Ireland failed Savita. But hopefully we won’t let what happened to her happen to anyone else.”  “I voted for you Savita, I’m sorry we failed you”  “If I have a daughter I will name her Savita after you”. PA WIRE/PA IMAGES A woman kneels at a mural of  Savita Halappanavar in Dublin IRELAND -  As many Irish people celebrate what appears to be a landslide victory for pro-choice campaigners in Ireland’s  abortion  referendum, tributes were paid to a woman whose death has haunted the country since 2012.  Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old Indian dentist, died of sepsis when she was refused an abortion during a protracted miscarriage. She had travelled to hospital complaining of back pain when she was 17 weeks pregnant, and was told by staff that she was going to lose the child.  But because there was a foetal heartbeat, they were barred by law – governed by the eighth amendment of the constitution – from terminat

Death Threats To Ravish Kumar: How Journalists Are Hounded

For award-winning journalism, for exposing the truth, for standing up for the idea of India, NDTV's Ravish Kumar gets death threats. His family threatened with violence. At a time when the debate around intolerance and the threat to free speech is peaking, a special look at what journalists must risk to do their jobs everyday. See video: see also Democratic Liberties Only Belong To The Bold And Vigilant, Says Justice Chelameswar Posts on Judge Loya's mysterious death The law of killing - a brief history of Indian fascism Ajmer blast case: Two including a former RSS worker get life imprisonment Naxalites should lay down their arms and challenge the ruling class to abide by the Constitution BHARAT BHUSHAN - Narendra Modi's Republic of fear  ... Public Appeal - Resist degradation of Indian criminal justice system The emperor

Book review: The Tragic sense by Algis Valiunas

Maya Jasanoff:  The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World Reviewed by Algis Valiunas Joseph Conrad (1857–1924) remains the greatest English language novelist since Charles Dickens, and many of the best writers of the 20th century, including H.L. Mencken, Ernest Hemingway, and T.S. Eliot, paid homage to his excellence or came under his influence. And as one learns from the Harvard historian Maya Jasanoff’s new book,  The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World,  Conrad was a hero to William Faulkner, André Gide, and Thomas Mann. What’s more, “He has turned up in the pages of Latin American writers from Jorge Luis Borges to Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Juan Gabriel Vásquez. He’s been cited as an influence by Robert Stone, Joan Didon, Philip Roth, and Ann Patchett; by W.G. Sebald and John le Carré.” A Pole by birth, for 20 years a merchant seaman by profession, a late-blooming novelist for whom English was his third language (after French and his n

Democratic Liberties Only Belong To The Bold And Vigilant, Says Justice Chelameswar In Moving Farewell Speech

Justice Jasti Chelameswar, the Supreme Court judge who retired on Friday, urged the younger generation to question what they believe to be wrong and help fix systems, including the legal system in India. "I am convinced that democratic liberties only belong to the bold and vigilant people," the 64-year-old said during a farewell gathering organised by Lawyers Collective. "The docile and timid don't have liberties. Liberties are not something to be granted." He said that it was the young people of India who had to take this upon themselves. "It was pointed out to me that over the last year and a half, I have undertaken to democratize the institution," he said. "It's the younger generation that has stood by me. The established and acknowledged constitutional lawyers and jurists attacked me from every side." Justice Chelameswar was one of the four Supreme Court judges  who addressed  a press conference earlier this year, criticising C

Sudan Is About To Execute A Teen For Defending Herself Against Rape

What do we know about Noura Hussein? The 19-year-old Sudanese woman is currently on death row in  Omdurman, Sudan , for killing a man in self-defense. She was convicted of murdering her husband, who raped her on their “honeymoon.” When she was 16, Noura’s family attempted to force her to marry a man, despite the fact that Islam prohibits marriage without consent. Refusing the marriage, she ran 155 miles away from her family home to a town called Sennar. She lived with her aunt for three years, determined to complete her high school education and with her eyes on further studies.  In 2017, she received word that the wedding plans had been cancelled and that she was safe to return home. It was a cruel trick. On her return, Noura found the wedding ceremony underway and was given away to the same groom she had rejected three years earlier. Defiant, Noura refused to consummate the wedding for a number of days. Her husband became increasingly aggressive, and before the week was over, fo

प्राइम टाइम : चैनलों का भारत बनाम लोगों का भारत

मंत्री जी अपने फैन्स को चैलेंज दे रहे हैं कि पुशअप करें . फिट रहें . ज़रूरत यह भी है कि हम उन्हें चैलेंज करें ताकि सिस्टम फिट रहे . क्या आप दुनिया में एक भी ऐसा देश जानते हैं जहां परीक्षा पास करने , मेरिट में आने के बाद नौजवानों को दस महीने तक नियुक्ति पत्र नहीं मिलता हो . you can name any country in english from ghana to russia. सरकार के चार साल पूरे होने पर अगर इन नौजवानों को जिनकी संख्या 3287 है , नियुक्ति पत्र मिल जाए तो प्राइम टाइम से ज़्यादा डाइनैमिक मंत्री का नाम होगा . लोग दुआएं देंगे . यह बात मैं इसलिए कर रहा हूं कि ये नौजवान वाकई बहुत परेशान हैं . अगर वित्त मंत्री पीयूष गोयल इन 3287 जवानों को आयकर विभाग में नियुक्ति पत्र नहीं दिला सकते तो फिर प्रधानमंत्री को बताना ही पड़ेगा कि मंत्री जी से ये काम नहीं हो पा रहा है . अगर पीएमओ में कोई भूले भटके प्राइम टाइम देख लेता हो उनसे भी रिक्वेस्ट है कि वे प्रधानमंत्री को बताएं कि दस महीने हो ग

Beauty is in the Street: May 68 posters

The May '68 uprisings in Paris were notable for the artistry of the poster campaign which came out of the Atelier Populaire. A new book celebrates them Before Twitter and Facebook provided that window into the consciousness of a ready made audience of thousands, would-be activists needed to work a little bit harder to grab people’s attention. The beautiful posters which came out of the Atelier Populaire (popular workshop) in support of the May ’68 uprisings in Paris are a wonderful reminder of this and a collection of the best can be seen in a new book, Beauty is in the Street. The fabulous collection of colourful screen prints... is the fruit of years of rummaging through flea markets, persuading other collectors to lend them and a degree of “delightful detective work” by the book’s editor Johan Kugelberg. When the wildcat general workers strikes paralysed the French capital in May 1968 it was in large part thanks to the role played by artists and art students who set up subv

Israeli court approves razing West Bank Bedouin village

NB: This is not justice. It is tyranny. DS Israel’s supreme court has ruled in favour of demolishing a Palestinian Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank, despite a campaign by European governments to save it. Campaigners said the hearing had been the final appeal open to the village of Khan al-Ahmar, located close to several Israeli settlements east of Jerusalem. It was unclear when the demolition of the village, home to about 180 residents, would take place.  In its ruling on Thursday, the court said it found “no reason to intervene in the decision of the Minister of defence to implement the demolition orders issued against the illegal structures in Khan al-Ahmar”. The residents would be relocated elsewhere, it added, in a move critics say amounts to forcible transfer. The court ruled that the village was built without the relevant building permits. Such permits are nearly impossible to obtain for Palestinians in Israeli-controlled areas of the West Bank. “This verd

CLAUS LEGGEWIE - Reappraising the politics of ’68

Retrospectives of 1968 tend to dismiss its socialism and instead to see identity politics as its primary legacy. Rightly so? Leggewie asks how far the New Left achieved its political goals and whether identity politics were necessarily incompatible with its anti-capitalist & social-revolutionary agenda. Let it be emphasized: no social scenario, however desolate, justifies abuse of or discrimination against minorities. Nor, however, does the mere affirmation of cultural diversity, together with politically correct language, remedy deleterious social and employment conditions, which are again affecting women and minorities disproportionately. One has to keep an eye on both things – there are no major and minor contradictions, as Marxism-Leninism once saw it. Sexism and racism are one side of the story, the voters who defect to the far-Right because for decades they have not felt represented by established parties are the other...  There can be no alternative between collective id

Josh Gabbatiss - One of world’s most endangered forests originally planted by ancient South Americans

Critically endangered swathes of forest found across parts of  South America  owe their existence to the  indigenous people  who have lived in harmony with them for centuries. Experts assumed monkey puzzle  trees  had expanded centuries ago due to wetter and warmer weather spreading across the region. However, new research suggests Southern Je communities played an active role in their creation, cultivating the trees for food and other purposes. 'Uninhabited' parts of Amazon were actually home to a million people "Our research shows these landscapes were man-made,” said Dr Mark Robinson, an  archaeologist  at the University of Exeter.  “Communities settled on grassland, and then – perhaps because they modified the soil, protected seedlings or even planted trees – established these  forests  in places where geographically they shouldn't have flourished." Together with an international team of scientists, Dr Robinson realised that in areas of intense arch

Mexico's unmapped underwater caves - in pictures

Photographer Klaus Thymann has been exploring the underwater cave system of the Yucatán peninsula, diving 1km underwater to where salt and freshwater meet. By mapping areas that have been untouched by modern civilisation, he hopes to raise awareness of the natural and human heritage of this unique ecosystem that will hopefully result in greater protection. He talks to Eric Hilaire about making his journey into a film, Flows, featuring music by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke

Om Thanvi: The roving revolutionary -. Che Guevara in India

Che Guevara visited India at the end of June 1959 and stayed for two weeks. In the course of that official visit, he met Nehru, traveled around India, and was interviewed on All India Radio by K.P. Bhanumathy. When she prodded him, saying, “You are said to be a communist but communist dogmas won’t be accepted by a multi-religious society” , Che apparently replied, “I would not call myself a communist. I was born as a Catholic. I am a socialist who believes in equality and freedom from the exploiting countries. I have seen hunger, so much suffering, stark poverty, sickness and unemploy-ment right from my very young days in [Latin] America. It is happening in Cuba, Vietnam and Africa – the struggle for freedom starts from the hunger of the people. There are useful lessons in the Marxist-Leninist theory. The practical revolutionary initiates his own struggle simply fulfilling laws foreseen by Marx. In India, Gandhiji’s teachings had its own merit which finally brought freedom”.  In o