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*What they won't admit at the Arab Summit

 Rhetoric and reality
The Arab League Summit has convened just as the region reached the summit of instability, division and violence as a result of the actions of many of those and other Middle Eastern leaders. But don't expect Arab leaders to take responsibility for the dreadful situation they helped bring about - absolutely not.
Instead, much of the blame was directed at "external" forces and the extremists and the terrorists who, in the words of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, exploited certain "shortcomings" of Arab governance (i.e. repressive authoritarianism) to try and gain control.

*The Kurdish Front against ISIS

 Unity in action against the IS is the spur for Kurdish unity

South of Kobane, Syria, on March 21, the Islamic State (IS) confronted the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga. Western bombers continued to hit IS targets, although these raids did not seem to stop the ferocious attacks from IS against the Kurdish positions. Both sides claim small victories, but these are minor skirmishes. Last year, rapid IS advances drew their fighters deep into Syrian Kurdish territory, with the virtual seizure of Kobane by September. Kurdish fighters, with Western air support, pushed IS out of Kobane by the end of January — but they could not remove IS from the Kurdish regions that border Turkey.
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How the politicians has looted India

Politicians dutifully disclose their increasing assets at each election but no questions are ever asked about how they acquired this wealth nor are any explanations provided
“Study these four men washing down the steps of this unpalatable Bombay hotel. The first pours water from a bucket, the second scratches the tiles with a twig broom, the third uses a rag to slop the dirty water down the steps into another bucket, which is held by the fourth. After they have passed, the steps are as dirty as before… They are not required to clean,” but simply to execute an assigned duty. V.S. Naipaul’s famous remarks in his early work An Area of Darkness aptly describes the sheer futility of the ritual disclosures of assets by election candidates.

Syrian chemical weapons is similar to the false charges trumped up against Iraq

The rhetoric on the dangers posed by Syrian chemical weapons is similar to the false charges trumped up against Iraq in the run-up to the 2003 U.S.-led invasion
For legions of well networked field activists, think tank strategists, intelligence operatives and hands-on diplomats who have been plotting the termination of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s regime, Wednesday (July 18) was a day to remember. That fateful day, a powerful bomb — the jury is still out on whether it was triggered by a suicide bomber or planted by an insider — ripped through the interiors of the high-security National Security Bureau in Damascus, where a top secret meeting was under way. The blast decapitated the Syrian security establishment; Defence Minister Dawoud Rajha was killed as was Assef Shawkat, his deputy who was also President Assad’s brother-in-law. The deadly strike also claimed the life of Hassan Turkmani, a former Defence Minister and point man who was steering the fight against the anti-regime revolt. A couple of days later, the badly wounded Hisham Ikhtiyar, National Security Adviser to the President, also succumbed to his injuries.

Islamophobia within the US government.

In late June, when Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi spouted anti-Semitic comments at a Tehran forum marking International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, his offensive rhetoric was rightfully ridiculed and condemned. Rahimi declared his belief that the Talmud, the central holy scripture of Judaism, "teaches [Jews] how to destroy non-Jews so as to protect an embryo in the womb of a Jewish mother", and also to "destroy everyone who opposes the Jews". Jews, according to Rahimi, "think God has created the world so that all other nations can serve them".

Mormon foreign policy-US

A ‘Mormon foreign policy’ would actually be good for America and great for the world, but it won’t happen
As the world prepares to face another United States presidential election — one in which President Barack Obama is the front-runner but not a shoo-in by a long-shot — governments and analysts across the globe, including in India, must ask themselves what the likely foreign and national security policies of America’s first ‘Mormon’ White House under Mitt Romney might look like.

European double standards on human rights

Early on the morning of December 18, 1995, residents of Khatanga, a small West Bengal hamlet, finally summoned the courage to step out of their homes and examine the strange gifts that had dropped from the skies through the night. Boxes were scattered across the fields, witnesses told investigators, enveloped in giant pieces of cloth later identified as parachutes. Local residents had helped themselves to the arsenal, but police eventually located over 150 assault rifles, rocket launchers, grenades, anti-tank rockets and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

Don’t blame Manmohan Singh to paralyse the Govt.

Indians have been wondering whom to blame for the paralysis that has afflicted their government for the last two years. Time magazine’s cover picture of Manmohan Singh, captioned “The Underachiever”, seems to have made up their minds for them. But granted that Dr. Singh is not a natural leader can one ever, justifiably, pin the blame for the collapse of an entire governmental system on a single person?
In Dr. Singh’s case we need to look all the harder for other explanations because he is the same person who piloted a painless transition from a command to a market economy and, a decade later, brokered the coalition with Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s People’s Democratic Party — in the teeth of opposition from the Indian intelligence agencies — that gave the Kashmiris the first government they felt they could call their own. This began the marginalisation of militant separatism in the Valley.

Remedy for a malfunctioning legislature and executive

In a democracy, the remedy for a malfunctioning legislature and executive must come from the people, not the judiciary
It is evident that the Pakistan Supreme Court has embarked on a perilous path of confrontation with the political authorities, which can only have disastrous consequences for the country. Recently its Chief Justice said that the Constitution, not Parliament, is supreme. This is undoubtedly settled law since the historical decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Marbury vs. Madison (1803).

Guwahati incident and ethical standards of journalists

The Guwahati incident shows that journalists do not always adhere to the ethical standards of behaviour that they demand of others
I remember watching “The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club,” an American documentary about the suicide of South African photojournalist Kevin Carter, at a film festival organised by my law school in 2010. The documentary that was nominated for the Academy Awards depicts the gut-wrenching tale of Carter’s enduring depression by the carnage he witnessed as a photographer in warzones.

India’s health care a biggest problem due to political unwill

A cure for India’s health care ills is within reach provided there is political will
In most developed — and many developing — countries today, a 12-year school education and universal health coverage (UHC) are the two primary responsibilities of the state. India has failed miserably on both counts. Let us look at some of the problems of medical and health care:
• Fifty years ago, when there was no commercialisation of medicare that we have today, we had only government hospitals or those run by trusts as public service. There weren’t enough of them but they provided excellent medical and health care (medicare) by dedicated professionals. Today, the government hospitals are a shambles.

Dissenting views from cartoon committee Report

By excising dissenting views from its report, the cartoon committee has acted worse than colonial era panels
The debate over the cartoons used in NCERT textbooks as aids to learning have thrown up a range of issues. The discussion has crystallised around a set of oppositions: motivated political correctness of our elected representatives vs. the necessity of preemptory parliamentary intervention on educational material appropriate for schools; institutional autonomy vs. political responsibility of a state presiding over a diverse and fraught society; the hubris of ‘experts’ vs. the right of others to feel hurt, in this case on solid rational grounds; the smugness of elite and upper caste votaries of a new pedagogy vs. the claims of those at the receiving end of Hindu society (and history) to articulate unfamiliar adversarial intellectual positions; the celebration of the enabling learning curve of the ‘average’ schoolchild vs. the violence inflicted precisely by such homogenisations on the radically different life experiences of children from disadvantaged groups; the blindness of India’s ‘left liberals’ ensconced in their stockades vs. the insights of Dalit writers and academics.

Mohammed Mursi visit Saudi Arabia, Mursi like 2008's Obama

Mohammed Mursi arrived in Saudi Arabia today on his first official international visit as President of Egypt.

President Mursi ─ who has also received an invitation from U.S. President Barak Obama to visit America when he attends the United Nations’ General Assembly (UNGA) in September ─ met with King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.

According to analysts, the meeting was intended to imply the continuity of bilateral relations between the two states, regardless of who is in power.
Saudi Arabia and Egypt have been long-time regional allies during the reign of ousted President Hosni Mubarak; however, given the fact that the Brotherhood’s relations with Riyadh has had its ups and downs in the past, questions were raised around the future of relations between the two countries following the election of the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Mursi.

A coup in Paraguay

The region still has some distance to go on democracy as seen in the hurried impeachment in Paraguay
The questionable removal of President Fernando Lugo of Paraguay by the country’s Senate, nine months before the end of his five-year-term in April 2013, raises questions about the state of democracy in South America, much as the coup in Honduras did three years ago for Central America. For a region with a recent transition to democracy, this is worrisome. For a country like Paraguay, dominated until 2008 by 61 years of uninterrupted rule by the Colorado party of General Alfredo Stroessner (1954-1989), that veritable archetype of the Latin American dictator, this is especially so.

Brutal civil war may now unfolding in Syria

The Syrian crisis continues to grow worse, with Hilary Clinton now threatening Russia and China of “paying a price” if they continue to “support” Bashar al Assad in Syria. This is a scant few days after nine-party Action Group meeting in Geneva, where both sides agreed to a political solution in Syria. Promptly, the two sides – the American and Russian came out with two different interpretations to the agreement; the US claimed it meant a transitional government incorporating both sides but without Assad, while the Russian interpreted it to mean a transitional government which would contain both sides, the question of Assad being left to the Syrians to decide. For the Americans, any agreement on Syria must start with a regime change, a goal with which the Russians and Chinese do not agree.


Role of the Media in Democracy and The Abuse of Media Power

Journalists need to adopt a set of integrity measures in order to police the boundaries between the market and political power
Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest person and the world’s wealthiest woman, is seeking three board seats following her purchase of 18.7 per cent of Fairfax which owns most papers in Australia not controlled by Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd. There has already been considerable upheaval in two of the Fairfax papers serving Melbourne and Sydney with a 25 per cent shedding of journalists to cut costs.


It will be recalled that in 2010,

The growth model -under-pricing of assets is no longer feasible

Unsustainable import competition and the end of the investment subsidy that the sale of under-priced resources provided to Indian companies are the main reasons why the economy has slowed down
What has been called the ‘golden age’ of India’s economic growth was underpinned by global integration, high rates of investment and savings growth and low current account deficits. The slowdown is characterised by a sharp deceleration in investment growth on the demand side and in agriculture, manufacturing and construction on the supply side, alongside high and unprecedented current account deficits.
The government’s argument that this is the result of the global economic slowdown and related uncertainty is only partly true. The deeper reason, which the government is either unwilling or unable to come to grips with, is the unravelling of the underlying growth model — partly due to structural change engendered by globalisation and partly because the investment subsidy implicit in under-pricing assets is no longer feasible.

No mean to be a Super Power with untouchability

THE AAMIR KHAN COLUMN To be a cohesive team, and to have a common, shared vision, we have to start by first accepting that we have built up differences, walls, barriers.
In a number of ways, Gandhiji was different from other freedom fighters and leaders of the time. One difference was that he gave equal importance to one more fight along with the struggle for independence, and that is, the emancipation of those ostracised as “untouchables.” Gandhiji’s work against untouchability began in South Africa around five decades before our independence. After his return to India, an incident at his Kochrab Ashram near Ahmedabad shows us how much importance he gave to the concept of equality between castes.---Read Full Story

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