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Dear  Friend, # GIVING TUESDAY Over the past few months,  a team of concerned citizens of the world has been working to build a long-term institution to research and advocate for the rights of under-represented communities across the world, and build a coalition of such communities. This is the International Commission for Human Rights and Religious Freedom (ICHRRF).   The field of human rights and religious freedom is usurped by vested interests against the interests of unorganized religions and weaker communities. The lens through which 'religion', 'justice' and 'equality' are understood is also biased in favor of certain religio-philosophical entrenched systems that are unable to look at the issues through an objective prism. As a result, these under-represented and marginalized communities are constantly harassed and shamed about their value systems, or when their tribulations are addressed, it is with some condescension at their 'primitive' beliefs
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An Overview of Traditional Rice Beer From North-East India

Rice beer is an ethnic symbol of North-East India’s rich and diverse culture. Brewed using traditional methods, rice beer is consumed by the natives of North-eastern tribal communicates that inhabit the mountains, especially the foothills of Himalayas. These fermented rice beverages go by various names in different tribal communities, for example, it is called Chubitchi by the Garo tribe of Meghalaya, Choko by the Rabhas tribe of Assam and  Zutho by the Angamis tribe of Nagaland to name a few. And depending on the land habitats, the rice beverages are brewed using ingredients local to the tribes. Preparation Process Though the ingredients may vary, the traditional method of brewing rice beer is the same in each state and are as follows: Step 1: One kilogram of local rice (glutinous or non-glutinous) is taken for brewing beer. Step 2: The chosen rice varieties is half-boiled and cooled in banana leaves. Step 3: The rice is then mixed with about 30-50 grams of starter cake. Every tribe h

Pakistan Army set to gain sweeping Belt and Road authority

Bill grants military-linked body carte blanche over $50bn CPEC projects The Pakistan Army's construction and engineering unit is to be a big beneficiary of a controversial bill expected to pass in December, analysts say.   © Reuters MIFRAH HAQ, Contributing writer November 30, 2020 15:02 JS KARACHI -- Pakistan is set to pass legislation that would place a supranational body that oversees the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's flagship Belt and Road Initiative, under control of a Pakistan Army that would also gain sweeping powers. A parliamentary committee earlier this month passed the CPEC Authority Bill 2020 despite strong opposition from some lawmakers. According to Junaid Akbar, chairman of the parliamentary committee, the bill will be presented to parliament for a final vote in the second week of December. Pakistan's government under Prime Minister Imran Khan and the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, considere

Pakistan’s ‘three evils’, CPEC and good governance

26 November 2020 Author: Shyam Tekwani, APCSS Setbacks to the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) continue to mount, having  spluttered along  since its announcement as a showpiece of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in April 2015. CPEC may be further impeded by the recent  alliance  between Baloch and Sindhi  separatist  groups against Chinese interests, escalating  security threats  from the so-called  ‘three evils’  in Pakistan —  terrorism ,  religious extremism , and  ethnic separatism .  Pakistan must rein in the ‘three evils’ through good governance if CPEC is to ever take hold. Pakistan has long struggled as a perpetrator and victim of the first evil, terrorism. Last month’s decision by the United Nations Financial Action Task Force to  retain Pakistan on the grey list  for failing to  dismantle terrorist  financial infrastructure, despite repeated warnings, is indicative of Islamabad’s  inconsistent  approach to countering terrorism. Pakistan’s  blasphemy law  remain

The Death of Democracy in India.

MOHAN GURUSWAMY: Narendra Modi at a rally in Dharampur, Gujarat in December 2017, referred to a statement by Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar wherein he claimed that Aiyar had compared the Congress party to the Mughal dynasty. Quoting him, the Prime Minister said, “…Shriman Mani Shankar Aiyar e aaje kahyu chhe, ke Jahangir ki jagah jab shahjahan aaye, kya tab election hua tha?" Both, Mani Shankar Aiyar and Narendra Modi displayed their ignorance of history.  Aiyar who equated the  Congress succession with Mughal succession was self-pejorative.  Modi, who was minted in a RSS shakha, and has an entirely different understanding of history pounced on it and turned it into an issue. Aurangzeb is the poster boy for Hindu hate mongering and this analogy by Aiyar was entirely impolitic.  For the record Aurangazeb had to wage wars on his siblings and even the Imperial Army to become Emperor. He was a proven general much before he became a claimant to the throne. To be like Aurangazeb als

Artificial Intelligence for the Indo-Pacific: A Blueprint for 2030

Three AI-related technologies that could further the free, open, resilient, and inclusive character of the Indo-Pacific. By  Abhijnan Rej November 27, 2020 Credit:  Flickr/Gene Kogan ADVERTISEMENT As even the most inattentive observer of contemporary international politics will attest, technological competition – mostly, but not always, between the U.S. and its allies on one hand, and China and Russia on the other – has once again risen to the fore. Analysts, so far, have approached this issue from various angles: what it means in terms of military balances, the possibility of international cooperation, what a technological edge implies for domestic policies, and so on. The outgoing Trump administration has made technological contestation with China a cornerstone of its strategic policy, emphasizing the need for the United States to maintain its edge when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI), quantum information science, and aerospace and other critical technologies, among others.

Iraq empties camps for the displaced as military warns on Isis

Officials say sprawling sites could become breeding grounds for extremism More than a quarter of a million displaced Iraqis are living in camps across the region © Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP via Getty       November 29, 2020 5:00 am   by  Chloe Cornish  in Beirut and Asmaa al-Omar in Istanbul Iraqi officials have stepped up efforts to evict tens of thousands of people with perceived links to Islamist militants Isis from sprawling camps that military officials warn could become breeding grounds for extremism. Although Baghdad declared victory over the Sunni jihadis three years ago, there are more than a quarter of a million displaced Iraqis still living in camps across federal Iraq and the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region,  according  to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Last month, Baghdad decided to shut all camps in federal Iraq, prompting warnings from charities about a lack of support for the around 60,000 people who are set to leave the tented settlements by the end of