Sunday, March 31, 2019

Fishing Communities Need Right Over Water Bodies - National Platform for Small Scale Fish Workers

Fishing Communities Need Right Over Water Bodies - National Platform for Small Scale Fish Workers (I) Demands in Press Conference at Delhi

In a Press Conference at the Press Club of India, New Delhi on 29th March 2019 the National Platform for Small Scale Fish Workers (I) demanded that the small and traditional fishing communities should have inalienable right over water bodies.

Pradip Chatterjee, National Convener of the Platform said that the small and traditional fishing communities are by far the largest primary non-consumptive stakeholders of our water bodies including the seas, rivers, lakes, wetlands, reservoirs, tanks and ponds as well as their natural custodians as Good Fish needs Good Water. But there is no recognition of the fishing communities. 

They have no visibility. Fisheries or fishing communities have no mention in the National Water Policy of the country. Water bodies and their waters are being used, encroached, consumed and polluted without even informing the fishing communities, let alone taking their informed consent. This is because the fishing communities have no legal right over the waters on which they live. The farmers, the share croppers and even the agricultural labourers have legal right over agricultural land and/or livelihood based on that land but the fishers and fish farmers have none.

The small and traditional fishing communities need right over water bodies -
'Humme Pani Patta Chahiye’ (‘We Need Water Titles’)

Diego Arguedas Ortiz: The tiny Scottish islands leading the way in hydrogen-power

Scotland’s Orkney islands produce more clean energy than their inhabitants can use. Their next step? Hydrogen. Here’s why that matters – and what the rest of the world could learn.

I’ve seen thousands of petrol pumps in my life, but this is my first encounter with a hydrogen refuelling station. It sits by the road in the Orkney islands, an archipelago off the north-east coast of Scotland where residents have big dreams: they want to have their cars, ferries and boilers all running on hydrogen. As we approach the station, its normality is striking. There are no attendants in full-body hazmat suits, no sci-fi loud bangs, no bright neon signs. Just your average dispenser waiting to be used. But Adele Lidderdale, a hydrogen project officer at the Orkney Islands Council, is a little nervous: one of her van’s sensors has been malfunctioning lately, she says, and might not accept fuel from the nozzle. Now, she plugs the nozzle into her van and steps back to the screen at the other end of the black hose. She looks relieved as the charging process starts with a hydraulic mumble from within the dispenser. Three minutes later, the 1.4kg tank full, we drive off – all without using one single drop of petrol.

Since Orkney started planning its hydrogen-based economy in 2016, the process hasn’t always been this smooth. When five vans, including this one, arrived in 2017, the islands didn’t have hydrogen for them, as production was still not underway. After managing to charge the tanks, the planners encountered another potential issue: who can fix a broken hydrogen vehicle in a community of 21,000 people?

In response to the challenges, the Orcadians flew in an expert to train a local mechanic, created fresh educational programmes for ferry operators and drafted regulations to update maritime law to allow hydrogen use in vessels. And they aren’t stopping there. If everything goes according to plan, by 2021 the islands will have the world’s first sea-going car-and-passenger ferry fuelled only by hydrogen. The archipelago might seem an unlikely place for such cutting-edge aspirations. But if it can succeed, it may inspire other communities to move away from fossil fuels too. As Lidderdale says: “If we can dream that you can run a ship on hydrogen, there’s no reason others won’t follow.”

read more:

Zehra Dogan - I was just released from prison in Turkey because of my art, but I refuse to be silenced

Fighting between security forces and armed groups in Kurdish-majority cities began in Turkey in 2015, and I, as a Kurdish journalist, felt the need to visit those cities. The media in Turkey, which is almost completely under government control, was only reporting information shared by the security forces, put out in a one-sided and propagandistic way.

Zehra Dogan is a nominee for this year’s Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards

In 2015 I was working for the JINHA, a women’s news agency, which was made up entirely of women and wrote all its news from a feminist perspective. There was still one year left before JINHA, of which I was a founder, would be closed by government decree. Before I went to these cities, some people warned me I could be arrested. At the time these places were under military siege, with a 24/7 ban on going out into the streets and the bodies of civilians, who had been killed in the fallout of clashes, lying for days in the middle of the road.

But if I did not go, I would have been leaving my people on their own, and their stories would never have been heard. I was also frightened of being detained or wounded in the fighting, but this was not going to stop me from doing what was necessary as a journalist. To fear is human, but to give in to fear when trying to tell the people the truth in the face of a repressive regime is to lose the struggle before it has even started.

As a reporter, I covered conflict zones for months, and I relayed what I saw and the statements of witnesses living in these cities. But our coverage went unseen by a large proportion of the Turkish 
press. The websites on which our news was published were censored. As a painter, I decided to use art in order to convey what had happened there.... read more:

One hundredth anniversary of the all India hartal against the Rowlatt Act

Note dated 30 March 2019 : by Anil Nauriya

March 30, 2019 marked the hundredth anniversary of the historic protest in Delhi against the Rowlatt legislation in response to Gandhi's call. Elsewhere in India the protest was observed on 6 April 1919. 

The March 30 / April 6  protest was the first all-India hartal and protest on a democratic rights issue

In Delhi the Colonial Government resorted to firing and other steps and several people were killed.
Here is the beginning of a sample list I'm drawing up:

Abdul Ghani , b. 1894. Took part in public demonstration against the Rowlatt Act on 30 March 1919. Killed in bayonet charge by a British Army unit near the Town Hall, Delhi. Died same day.

Atam Prakash : Took part in public demonstration in Delhi against the Rowlatt Act on 30 March 1919. Received bullet wound in firing by the police and died the same day.

Chandra Bhan, b. 1889 : Took part in public demonstration in Delhi against the Rowlatt Act on 30 March 1919. Received bullet wound in firing by an Army unit and died the same day.

Chet Ram : Took part in public demonstration in Delhi against the Rowlatt Act on 30 March 1919. Received bullet wound in firing by the police and died the same day.

Tatiana Jancarikova : Anti-corruption lawyer Zuzana Caputova becomes Slovakia’s first female president

Ms Caputova started her acceptance speech by thanking voters in Slovak, as well as in the Hungarian, Czech, Roma and Ruthenian languages, turning to all main minority groups. "I am happy not just for the result but mainly that it is possible not to succumb to populism, to tell the truth, to raise interest without aggressive vocabulary," she told a crowd of supporters.

Riding a wave of public fury over corruption, liberal lawyer Zuzana Caputova won Slovakia's presidential election on Saturday, bucking a trend that has seen populist, anti-European Union politicians make gains across the continent. Corruption and change in political style were the main themes ahead of the run-off vote, which took place a year after journalist Jan Kuciak, who investigated high-profile fraud cases, and his fiancé were murdered at their home.
Ms Caputova, a pro-EU political novice who will be the euro zone country's first female president, had 58.3 per cent of the vote after results from 98.1 per cent of districts were counted, ahead of European commissioner Maros Sefcovic who took 41.7 per cent.

Mr Sefcovic, a respected diplomat who is also pro-EU, is backed by the ruling party Smer, the largest grouping in parliament that has dominated Slovak politics since 2006. Ms Caputova, who was the front runner after winning the first round more than 20 points ahead of Mr Sefcovic, campaigned to end what she called the capture of the state by people pulling strings from behind, a message that opinion polls show resonated with younger, educated voters... read more:

Caputova is a political newbie who's anti-corruption campaign struck a chord in a country still grappling with the murder in February last year of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kusnirova. The murder -- and subsequent trial of Slovak businessman Marian Kocner who was charged with ordering the killing -- triggered some of the biggest protests seen in post-communist Slovakia and ultimately led to the resignation of Prime Minister Robert Fico.

Leaked reports reveal severe abuse of Saudi political prisoners

“Saudi detainees including women activists have alleged that authorities mistreated them with unspeakable cruelty, including electric shocks, whippings and sexual harassment, and new revelations of medical reports appear to confirm what they have said for months.”

Political prisoners in Saudi Arabia are said to be suffering from malnutrition, cuts, bruises and burns, according to leaked medical reports that are understood to have been prepared for the country’s ruler, King Salman. The reports seem to provide the first documented evidence from within the heart of the royal court that political prisoners are facing severe physical abuse, despite the government’s denials that men and women in custody are being tortured.

The Guardian has been told the medical reports will be given to King Salman along with reco-mmendations that are said to include a potential pardon for all the prisoners, or at least early release for those with serious health problems. These options are part of a substantial internal review said to have been ordered by the king, who approved the commissioning of examinations of up to 60 prisoners, many of them women, for a report to be circulated around the royal court, a source said.

Some of the assessments were leaked to the Guardian, which asked the Saudi government to comment on the medical reports more than a week ago. A spokesman declined to discuss the issue, despite being given repeated opportunities to do so. Officials did not challenge the authenticity of the reports. The Guardian has been able independently to verify the accuracy and contents of one of the examinations. The conditions of other individuals, as described in the documents, are consistent with reports that have emerged involving claims of torture, though the Guardian has not been able to corroborate the details. Pressure on Saudi Arabia over the detention and treatment of political prisoners has been growing in recent months amid claims that some female activists have been subjected to electric shocks and lashings in custody.

With the kingdom also reeling from the aftermath of the murder of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, King Salman is said to have ordered a review of the decision to arrest and detain about 200 men and women in a crackdown ordered by his heir, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman...

see also:
Posts on Khashoggi murder

Michael Paarlberg - Enough collusion talk. It's time to focus on Trump's corruption

It’s a fortunate thing for Donald Trump that the Democrats, and much of the media, spent the past two years focused on the narrow question of whether his 2016 campaign actively colluded with Russian agents to hack his opponents’ emails. Were it not for this singular obsession, we might have come to appreciate the full scope of graft, influence peddling and petty theft that has made this the most crooked administration in US history.

One doesn’t have to go to Moscow to see it; pick almost any country in the world. Take my former home, Panama, famous for its canal and secret banks. Towering over the Panama City skyline is a 70 story hotel-casino shaped like a sailboat formerly known as the Trump Ocean Club. Trump had gifted it to his daughter Ivanka as her first real estate deal, which court records show earned Trump between $30m and $50m. Ivanka Trump put in charge of its sales a Brazilian financier, whom a Reuters investigation identified as an admitted money launderer with ties to Russian organized crime, who would later be arrested for fraud and forgery.

He’s not working for Putin. He’s working for any dictator who flatters him

A Global Witness report turned up evidence the hotel project was being used to launder “proceeds from Colombian cartels’ narcotics trafficking”. When the hotel’s owners decided the Trump name was bad, even for business this shady, and ended their contract with his organization, Trump’s lawyers asked Panamanian president Juan Carlos Varela to intervene on Trump’s behalf. In an erratic first term characterized by organizational chaos and constant turnover, the most consistent feature of the Trump presidency has been his use of office for personal enrichment.

The Argentinian press reported that Trump asked President Mauricio Macri to resolve construction delays for a Trump building in Buenos Aires; both presidents denied the report, but construction resumed within days their call. In India, Trump made licensing deals for buildings owned by Mangal Prabhat Lodha, a lawmaker and the vice-president of the ruling party, the BJP. Lodha’s partners met with Trump shortly after his election to discuss “US-India relations”. .. read more:

Sandy Hook’s tragic legacy: seven years on, a loving father is the latest victim

.....There is no easy explanation, either, to find in Richman’s death. There are two contexts, however, that have been hard to ignore. The first is that the previous week two of the teenage survivors of the Parkland school shooting in Florida had also taken their own lives. Richman, in his public statements over the years, had often noted how each time there was a new tragedy, a new mass shooting – and there were so very many – he and Jennifer “would just sit and bawl”.

Like many Americans, he believed that Sandy Hook would be a turning point for the nation and its gun laws. “When will it be enough?” he said in an interview in 2018. “I feel like we’re letting it happen. That there are things that could be done, that aren’t being done.” The other, related, context in which Richman’s death asks to be viewed is the unspeakable way in which the burden of grief that the Newtown parents have borne was added to by those who sought to exploit the tragedy.

In the eyes of the internet Sandy Hook has become synonymous with the most macabre and vicious case study in conspiracy theory. From the day after the shooting the inhuman suggestions that the murders had been “staged” by the American “deep state” or “the anti-gun lobby”, that the grieving parents were “crisis actors”, and that their children had not been murdered at all, has been fuelled and spread across social media.

It is impossible to comprehend the effect that those accusations might have on families like Richman’s. Another Newtown father, Lenny Pozner, whose six-year-old son Noah was killed alongside Avielle, has made it his mission to try to clear the internet of the conspiracies. As a result he had been hounded for years with death threats that have forced him to move house eight times for his own safety. Last Tuesday, in response to the news of Richman’s death, Pozner tweeted a quote from Dr David Schonfeld, director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement in Los Angeles. “The loss of the assumptive world, on top of the actual trauma, can set off a cascade of events …”... read more:

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Who is paying for Monsanto's crimes? We are. By Carey Gillam

A US court ordered Monsanto to pay $80m in damages because it hid cancer risks. That’s a small consolation for victims

For the second time in less than eight months a US jury has found that decades of scientific evidence demonstrates a clear cancer connection to Monsanto’s line of top-selling Roundup herbicides, which are used widely by consumers and farmers. Twice now jurors have additionally determined that the company’s own internal records show Monsanto has intentionally manipulated the public record to hide the cancer risks. Both juries found punitive damages were warranted because the company’s cover-up of cancer risks was so egregious.

The juries saw evidence that Monsanto has ghost-written scientific papers, tried to silence scientists, scuttled independent government testing and cozied up to regulators for favorable safety reviews of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. Even the US district judge Vince Chhabria, who oversaw the San Francisco trial that concluded Wednesday with an $80.2m damage award, had harsh words for Monsanto. 

Chhabria said there were “large swaths of evidence” showing that the company’s herbicides could cause cancer. He also said there was “a great deal of evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of its product … and does not particularly care whether its product is in fact giving people cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue.”

Monsanto’s new owner, the German pharmaceutical company Bayer, asserts that the juries and judges are wrong; the evidence of a cancer risk is invalid; the evidence of bad corporate conduct is misunderstood and out of context; and that the company will ultimately prevail... read more:

Eric Toussaint: Concerning the founding of the Bretton Woods’ Institutions

Series: 1944-2019, 75 years of interference from the World Bank and the IMF (Part 1)

In 2019, the World Bank (WB) and the IMF will be 75 years old. These two international financial institutions (IFI), founded in 1944, are dominated by the USA and a few allied major powers who work to generalize policies that run counter the interests of the world’s populations.The WB and the IMF have systematically made loans to States as a means of influencing their policies. Foreign indebtedness has been and continues to be used as an instrument for subordinating the borrowers. Since their creation, the IMF and the WB have violated international pacts on human rights and have no qualms about supporting dictatorships.

A new form of decolonization is urgently required to get out of the predicament in which the IFI and their main shareholders have entrapped the world in general. New international institutions must be established. This new series of articles by Éric Toussaint retraces the development of the World Bank and the IMF since they were founded in 1944. The articles are taken from the book The World Bank: a never-ending coup d’état. The hidden agenda of the Washington Consensus, Mumbai: Vikas Adhyayan Kendra, 2007, or The World Bank : A critical Primer Pluto, 2007.

In the beginning [1]
It was in 1941, the year the United States entered the Second World War, that discussions were initiated concerning the international institutions to be set up once this major conflict was over.

David Keys: Secrets of horrific battle with Cleopatra that gave birth to Roman Empire

Archaeologists and historians are shedding extraordinary new light on one of the most important events in human history – the horrific battle which gave birth to the Roman Empire. A detailed study of a unique victory monument, overlooking the sea in northwest Greece, is revealing some of the long-lost secrets of that crucial military engagement – a great sea battle, fought between Julius Caesar’s adoptive son and heir, Octavian (who became Rome’s first emperor) and Egypt’s Queen
Cleopatra(and her Roman lover, Mark Antony). The remains of the victory monument still survive adjacent to Nicopolis – the largest ancient ruined city in Greece.

Octavian (who received the title Augustus when he became Rome’s first emperor) won that crucial naval clash of arms in 31BC – and, now, more than 2,000 years later, detailed analysis of his great victory monument, overlooking the battle site near the ancient Greek religious sanctuary of Actium, is helping scholars to more fully understand how his world-changing victory was achieved. It’s always been thought that many of Cleopatra and Mark Antony’s ships were bigger than Octavian’s – and were therefore less manoeuvrable.

But now crucial archaeological data obtained from the victory monument excavations over recent years has provided the first archaeological confirmation that some of Cleopatra and Mark Antony’s ships were indeed unusually large. This would have given Octavian – who had smaller, faster vessels – a history-changing advantage. The evidence is also allowing archaeologists to begin to work out the military rationale behind Octavian’s battle tactics. The crucial data is from a series of around 35 niches set into the front of Octavian’s great victory monument. It’s known, in part from a first century AD Roman poem, that the niches were made to hold the great bronze marine battering rams from some of Mark Antony and Cleopatra’s most important warships.

Octavian captured 350 of their vessels – and chose the rams of just 35 of them as war trophies for permanent display in his monument to his enemies’ defeat. The analysis of the niches (some of which were only excavated in the past two years) has revealed that they are all of different dimensions and had therefore been made to hold specific enemy rams of different shapes and sizes... read more:

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Money and nihilism

Accumulate accumulate! That is Moses and the prophets - Karl Marx
They grab whatever they can – be that cheap headlines or fast money – and then crash out, even while loosening the very foundations of the institutions entrusted to them. Crucially, this is a genre of politics that relies on a strong state even as it bilks it of the necessary tax revenue.

There is no heroism here, just moneyed nihilism

Aditya Chakrabortty - Amoral and venal: Britain’s governing class has lost all sense of duty
Even as doodlebugs smashed into the surrounding streets, George Orwell consoled himself with this thought: “One thing that has always shown that the English ruling class are morally fairly sound, is that in time of war they are ready enough to get themselves killed.” Present those who governed us with an existential crisis, he argued in his essay England Your England, and they would do what they believed to be right for the country.

Almost eight decades later, the UK stands on the verge of a calamity as great as any since the war. Whatever the protestations in parliament, we could within days crash-land into a world of medicine shortages and food riots. And where are our political classes? According to the lobby correspondents, Monday’s cabinet meeting was spent war-gaming general election strategiesand thinking how to timetable voting so as to “scare” Labour. Wherever the national interest actually featured, it was buried under a thick dollop of party interest.

Sunday afternoon was Theresa May’s crisis summit at Chequers, to which Iain Duncan Smith came as Toad of Toad Hall, complete with open-top vintage sports car and cloth cap. Jacob Rees-Mogg’s chosen passenger was his 12-year-old son, Peter, because a national crisis evidently created the perfect occasion for bring-your-child-to-work day. Boris Johnson rocked up in his Spaffmobile before chuntering back to London to publish a column dumping all over the woman with whom he’d just been talking, dubbing her “chicken” and saying she had “bottled it”. (One of the columns, if it’s not too unseemly to mention, for which the Telegraph pays him £275,000 a year.) 

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

किस दिशा में जा रही है भारतीय न्याय व्यवस्था? - राम पुनियानी

स्वामी असीमानंद का बरी होनाकिस दिशा में जा रही है भारतीय न्याय व्यवस्था
भारतीय न्याय प्रणाली इन दिनों जिस ढंग से काम कर रही है, उससे न्याय पाना और दोषियों को सजा दिलवाना बहुत कठिन हो गया है. न्यायिक निर्णय, कार्यपालिका (पुलिस अभियोजन) द्वारा न्यायाधीशों के समक्ष प्रस्तुत सबूतों पर आधारित होते हैं. ऐसे में, सत्ताधारी दल की विचारधारा और उसकी सोच की आपराधिक मुकदमों में बहुत महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका होती है. कई मौकों पर, वर्चस्वशाली विचारधारा - भले ही उसके पैरोकार सत्ता में हों - भी अदालती फैसलों को प्रभावित करती है. यह दुर्भाग्यपूर्ण परन्तु सच है. सन 1992-93 में मुंबई में भड़की सांप्रदायिक हिंसा में 1,000 से अधिक लोग मारे गए थे. परन्तु इस खूनखराबे के दौरान घटित गंभीर अपराधों के बहुत कम दोषियों को सजा मिल सकी. इस हिंसा के बाद, पाकिस्तान की आईएसआई के सहयोग से, मुंबई के अंडरवर्ल्ड ने मुंबई में अनेक बम विस्फोट किए, जिनमें करीब 200 व्यक्ति मारे गए

बम विस्फोटों से सम्बंधित प्रकरणों में कई लोगों को फांसी की सजा सुनायी गयी, अनेक को आजीवन कारावास से दण्डित किया गया और बड़ी संख्या में अन्यों को अलग-अलग अवधि की सजाएं दी गईं. इसमें कुछ भी गलत नहीं है और प्रजातंत्र में यही होना भी चाहिए. परन्तु क्या हम रुबीना मेमन और साध्वी प्रज्ञा सिंह ठाकुर के साथ हुए अलग-अलग व्यवहार को नज़रअंदाज़ कर सकते हैं? रुबीना मेमन, उस कार की मालिक थीं, जिसका इस्तेमाल मुंबई बम धमाकों में किया गया और प्रज्ञा, उस मोटरसाइकिल की, जिसका प्रयोग मालेगांव धमाकों में हुआ. परन्तु रुबीना को आजीव कारावास मिला और प्रज्ञा को बरी कर दिया गया
यह सन्दर्भ इसलिए क्योंकि हाल में, एक एनआईए अदालत ने समझौता एक्सप्रेस बम धमाके, जिसमें 68 लोग मारे गए थे (इनमें से 43 पाकिस्तानी नागरिक थे), से सम्बंधित मामले में स्वामी असीमानंद को बरी कर दिया है. इसके पहले, असीमानंद को मक्का मस्जिद बम धमाका प्रकरण में भी ज़मानत मिल गई थी. इस मामले में न्यायिक प्रक्रिया को किस तरह प्रभावित किया गया यह इससे साफ़ है कि अदालत से प्रकरण की वह मुख्य फाइल ही गायब हो गयी, जिसमें असीमानंद द्वारा किये गए खुलासे दर्ज थे.