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Showing posts from May, 2020

Prof. Scott Galloway: The future of higher education in America // The Algebra of Happiness

NB : Some interesting ideas here, presented by a Professor of Marketing at New York University. The first link is to a recent interview on higher education in the USA; the second to an extended conversation in 2019. As to whether a calculus of happiness is possible at all, and that too couched in 'marketist' ideology, is a large question. Nevertheless, he is a provocative speaker, and it looks as if his approach has shifted in the course of the past year.. DS The future of higher education in America The Algebra of Happiness by Prof. Scott Galloway  

Protests in USA over the death of unarmed black man George Floyd at the hands of police - 25 cities have imposed curfews

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NB : Justice-loving people the world over will sympathise with Americans fighting police brutality and racism - made all the worse by the neo-Nazi in the White House. Salute! DS The Guardian’s Ankita Rao, reporting from  New York , on the mayor’s controversial late-night statements:  Mayor Bill de Blasio took to the podium on Saturday night to tell protestors across the city that they were “heard, loud and clear”. But the response from some New Yorkers made it clear that they felt otherwise. Over the course of two days, thousands of protesters swarmed through the streets of Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens – holding signs, wearing masks and stopping traffic – to call for justice for the extrajudicial killing of  George Floyd , and the countless other black men and women at the hands of the police. Source:  CNN The protests were angry yet largely peaceful, but several videos and documentation of police arresting minors, brutalizing protesters and at one point, driving their

May 1968 - June 1989. It's been five decades since 1968, and things are somehow worse

May 1968 and June 1989 are two of the most significant months of the historical period after the second World War. In fact 1968 and 1989 in their entirety witnessed a sequence of world changing events. They were both the high watermark of the cold war and the beginning of its end, with the re-ordering of the global balance of power. They saw unmanageable political crises unfold in the Western capitalist world as well as in the Soviet bloc and the People’s Republic of China. 1968 was the height of the Vietnam war, that most deeply affected my generation, and 1989 was when both the PRC and the USSR were shaken to their foundations.  And here is a description of  America today: It's been five decades since 1968, and things are somehow worse These events were crowded and there is much to say. One term that I have used to describe them is  ideological implosion -  this is also linked to the collapse of legitimacy .  In this sense the events of '68 led inexorably to those

Siddharth Varadarajan: In Modi 2.0, Democracy Has Been Quarantined

never before in independent India has there been such impunity for those connected to the establishment. If you are a member of the ruling party or support the government’s political agenda, you can advocate violence and even carry it out, spread hatred against religious minorities, humiliate and abuse the poor, without worrying about being asked to render account in a court of law To understand what Narendra Modi has done to India in the first year of his second term as prime minister, I want you to consider the contrasting fate of two young people, Amulya Leona and Anurag Thakur. Leona, still in her teens, has been in jail for three months now, charged with sedition and other serious crimes  for simply shouting ‘Long Live Pakistan’ and ‘Long Live India’  from the stage of a public event in Bangalore. If Leona spoke about living, Thakur, who is junior minister of finance in Modi’s government, spoke about killing. From the stage of a public event in Delhi, he exhorted a crow

The Beacon: Press matters

Colouring Within the Lines: Press in the Hall of Mirrors In this first of a four part series on the lives we lead, Ashoak Upadhyay untangles the web of illusion obscuring the pivot on which mainstream media turns: a neo-liberal nationalist-statist iniquitous order. The Boot in the Cracked Mirror India’s rating on Press Freedoms measured by an index for 182 countries has slipped over the last year and stands way low. The world’s largest democracy must accept the RSF report and improve its ranking, says Raoof Mir.

Saoussen Ben Cheikh: Middle East Governments are using Covid-19 as a Pretext to Crush Human Rights // Palestinians to be “subjects,” not Citizens in Israeli Annexation

Globalvoices.org : In response to COVID-19, governments around the world have  declared states of emergency, allowing them to take exceptional measures to contain the pandemic.  Liberal democracies from the  United States ,  Canada  to  European countries ,  Malaysia   and  South Africa  imposed emergency measures that restricted mobility under lockdowns. Likewise, in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), authorities declared states of emergency and imposed exceptional measures such as curfews and home confinement. In a region plagued by decades of instability and conflict, authorities have long used exceptional and temporary emergency orders to justify repression and curb human rights. Based on this precedent, a number of governments are now using the coronavirus crisis to further crackdown on human rights - particularly freedom of expression.

Justice in America: Authorities are Cracking down Hard on Black Protesters while Treating White Supremacist Reopeners with Kid Gloves

NB : Sound familar? Read this and the other links beneath this post.. DS My social media feeds have been full of comparisons between the treatment by police of Reopener mobs, some of whom invaded the Michigan state house while fully armed with assault weapons, and the treatment of protesters in Minneapolis regarding the killing of George Floyd by a policemen who kept his knee on his neck. Why does the Far Right all too often get a pass by American law enforcement? ‘The names change but the colour is always black’ Protests Erupt Nationwide Over Death Of George Floyd Black woman medical worker killed by police in her home Fatal shooting of black jogger in Georgia The Shooting Of Black Americans Started Long Before The Looting Why the officers fired for the George Floyd killing could ultimately get their jobs back 1. The white supremacists and other far right elements are armed to the teeth. There are about  255 million guns  in the US, but something like 75 percent of A

Final act: The repression of the judiciary in Poland. By Marta Bucholc & Maciej Komornik

As the situation of the judiciary in Poland develops, what was already a conundrum threatens to become completely incomprehensible. Nevertheless, it is crucial that the conflict between the European Union and the Polish government over the ongoing justice reforms is not seen as a mere technicality. On the contrary, it is a major arena in the broader conflict of values in the Union, and for that reason needs to be understood. Until the beginning of May this year, the situation seemed positive for those hopeful of mobilizing the force of international commitments against the disassembly of the rule of law in Poland. The EU, or more specifically the Commission and the Parliament, was insisting on the prevalence of European law, particularly standards of judicial independence, over non-compliant actions of a member state. This culminated in the ruling of 8 April 2020, concerning the controversial reform of the Supreme Court of Poland. At the request of the European Commission, the ECJ

Chitrangada Choudhury, Aniket Aga: India’s Pandemic Response Is A Caste Atrocity // Hartosh Singh Bal: How Modi Failed the Pandemic Test

India has a  sickness  so serious, that even its response to the Covid-19 pandemic betrays a fatal infection. Nowhere in the world has a lockdown been as inhuman or imposed with such  contempt  for the lives of its millions of working poor.   The Modi government's turning of a health challenge into  a human catastrophe  and the approval of a large section of India's elites can only be explained by casteism, which grades people on a hereditary hierarchy of worth, and legitimises the  brutalization  of 'lesser beings'.  The lockdown is in effect a caste atrocity i.e. a wilful act of violence inflicted on marginalized castes, and invisibilized in the name of halting a virus. On Shramik trains, passengers complain of long delays – with little food or water 600 migrant workers in despair after finding their huts torched on returning to Bengaluru Tragic: Migrant woman dies on railway platform, child plays beside body Hartosh Singh Bal: How Modi Failed the Pandemic Test

Kate Ng: Cuckoo stuns scientists with longest migration (12,000 km) ever recorded“

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A cuckoo has completed one of the longest migrations ever recorded by any land bird after flying more than 7,500 miles (12,000km) from southern Africa to its birthplace and breeding grounds in Mongolia. The bird, named Onon, crossed 16 countries in his “mammoth journey”, facing down ocean crossings and high winds on the way. He arrived at the Church Bird Banding Station in Mongolia at 3.22pm local time on Wednesday, bird conservation organisation Birding Beijing said. A cuckoo lands on a branch in the rain  ( Getty Images ) Onon is home! As of 1530 local time on 27 May 2020 he is in the icinity of Khurkh Bird [Banding] Station, where he was fitted with his tag in June 2019, after a round trip of 26,000km, including 27 border crossings involving 16 countries,” said Birding Beijing on its website, which posts regular updates on the whereabouts of the birds. “Remarkable navigation and endurance. And now he has no time to waste as he needs to set up his territory, defending it fr

Hong Kong crisis: riot police flood city as China protests grow

Hong Kong  police arrested at least 300 people during day-long protests and skirmishes across the city, as residents railed against controversial legislation aimed at bringing the territory further under Beijing’s control. Police fired pepper-spray bullets into lunchtime crowds as people shouted slogans. Officers stopped and searched residents, including students, and rounded up suspected protesters, forcing them to sit in rows on the ground. Thousands of armed police had flooded the streets to stop the planned demonstrations aimed at halting a law criminalising ridicule of China’s national anthem. The protests have been given a fresh urgency with Beijing announcing last week plans to force a  sweeping anti-sedition law  on Hong Kong. Roads around the Legislative Council building (LegCo), where lawmakers were holding a debate on the anthem law, were blocked off and pedestrian walkways open to only those with work passes. Nearby shops were also closed. Police in riot gear s

Conversation with Lawrence Lifschultz: The American reporter who investigated the assassination of Mujibur Rahman

there are indications that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia may have had prior knowledge that the coup d'etat would take place. Both countries recognised the "Islamic Republic of Bangladesh" very soon after Mujib's death. Clearly, this represented some level of coordination between Islamabad and Riyadh. The coincidence is simply too coincidental.. .     Lawrence Lifschultz has been writing on Bangladesh in diverse journals and newspapers from the Far Eastern Economic Review (Hong Kong) to The Guardian (London), the Economic & Political Weekly (Mumbai), and The Nation (New York) for nearly four decades.  In this recent interview with Anisur Rahman, Chief Reporter BSS, he reflects on his first meeting with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1970 and the events surrounding Sheikh Mujib's death. Lifschultz once again brings new details of this tragic history to light. (Special to The Daily Star) Anisur Rahman (AR): Could you recall your personal memories of Bangabandhu durin

Derecka Purnell: Black Americans are in an abusive relationship with the Democratic party

I am very tired of Joe Biden. My vote for him was already hanging by a thread before  his disastrous interview with Charlamagne tha God  on Friday. Interrupting the Breakfast Club host’s explanation that black people needed assurances that our communities will benefit from his presidency, Biden asserted: “If you’ve got a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or for Trump, then you ain’t black.” Again, I am very tired of  Joe Biden . Not because I am a purist, or have inflexible ideological commitments of what it will take to remove Donald Trump from office. But rather because Biden’s condescension towards black communities is intolerable.  I want to believe that Biden’s condescension started after the respected senator  James Clyburn  called the former vice-president an “honorary black man” at a private dinner in March. But his mistreatment of black people, verbally and politically, is decades old, and is a reflection of the Democratic party in general. Throughout Biden’s

Stand With Workers! Support Workers' Dhaba!

Dear All , I hope you are safe and doing well!  As you are already aware, due to the ongoing lockdown forced by the COVID19 outbreak, the situation in Delhi has been very serious for some time, with scores of people facing starvation.  To support the working class communities in this moment of dire need, a  Workers' Dhaba (Soup Kitchen)  was launched on 28 March, 2020, by the Citizens' Collective for Humanitarian Relief (CCHR), in collaboration with the Centre for Education and Communication (CEC).    We are happy to inform you that over the last month and a half, we were able to estabish two more dhabas and distributed close to 100,000 meals. So far, more than 1100 packets of dry ration have been distributed in the Delhi-NCR region.  Please click  here   and  here  for media reports on our Workers Dhaba. For daily updates,   follow our Facebook  page . For a detailed report on our activities, please see attachment.  Some of you have contributed previously a

Juan Cole: The End of the Oslo Accords: Palestinians pull out of Agreements in face of Netanyahu’s Sudetenland Moment

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh announced after a cabinet meeting  that his government will move to implement the end of Palestinian cooperation with Israel and the United States and its withdrawal from all agreements it had signed with them. The steps were announced Tuesday by President  Mahmoud Abbas . Abbas had said, “The Palestine Liberation Organization and the State of Palestine are no longer committed to all signed agreements and understandings with the Israeli government and the American government, including the security commitments.” He added that Israel will now have to “uphold responsibilities before the international community as the occupying power.”  US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo professed not to understand what in the world Abbas was talking about.  So Mr. Secretary, since you don’t know much about the Middle East and what you think you know is wrong, let me explain it to you.  No one ever thought the Israelis had any claim to the West Bank and