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Showing posts from December 16, 2007

Modi Madness

Source: Arijit Sen We...bow to him ...with the manly, unbroken pride of the ancient Norsemen who stand upright before their Germanic feudal lord. We feel that he is greater than all of us, greater than you and I. He is the instrument of the Divine Will that shapes history with fresh, creative genius." The Rise And Fall of the Third Reich---William L Shirer Narendra Modi will either win or lose Gujarat elections. But win or lose, he will surely be there to influence what India thinks today. Modi has ideas and Modi has vision. These are attributes often absent in many leaders. At the National Development Council in New Delhi Modi was very clear that India knocking on 2008 should talk about economic criteria not religion. His presentation was that of a man who knows his economics. He was hitting out at Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's plans to earmark 15 per cent of funds under the 11th plan for minoriti

The 'Modi'fied Indian There are several reasons why we consider Gujarat to be the epicentre of Indian destiny. The greatest share of this expectation is because of the phenomenon called Narendra Modi. To the modern Indian voter, Modi remains an impossible event which nevertheless happened in India: an honest, capable man being at the right place, at the right time with the right outlook to lead India's economic engine, Gujarat to greater heights of prosperity, order and justice. No wonder, we cannot wait for him to move beyond Gujarat into the national level as the PM. A small wonder that he has been one of the most charismatic personalities to grace Indian polity. A bachelor with an incorruptible image and with a very ascetic style of living, few can deny the messianic halo that cloaks the man as he marches to his destiny for the greater good of all Indians: Hindus, Muslims, Christians and anyone who considers India to be their mo

Gujarat Polls 2007 - Narendra Modi wins

Source: OFFSTUMPED CNN-IBN is projecting the BJP to return to power in Gujarat. While we await the detailed results from the Election Commission, Offstumped focuses on the the big picture of this BJP victory in Gujarat by Narendra Modi. If the prognosis by the media and every commentator across the spectrum was that this election was about Modi versus Modi then the results must be interpreted as a strong referendum on the need for a Strong Executive. In fact the only politician in recent memory who came anywhere close to what Mr. Modi did in Gujarat was Mr. Chandrababu Naidu in Andhra Pradesh. So where did Modi go right that Naidu went wrong ? The big difference between Modi and Naidu is that Modi made believers of his electorate in his reform agenda that even his worst detractors admit delivered on its promise while Naidu had few believers outside of Cyberabad. In this sense Mr. Modi has more in common with a Tony Blair and a Nicolas Sarkozy both of who defied conventional w


BJP WINS : 1 LEADS : 114 Cong+ WIN : 0 LEAD : 64

Gujarat polls: Early trends favour BJP

Zeenews Bureau Ahmedabad, Dec 23: Counting for the much awaited Gujarat elections that will decide the fate of Gujarat CM Narendra Modi started at 8 am Sunday. Early trends indicate that BJP has the upper hand and is leading in most seats for which trends are available. The first result is expected to be out by 10 AM. As political parties kept their fingers crossed for the outcome which may alter the political landscape in the country, for the BJP and the Congress it’s a make or break elections not just in Gujarat but even at the Centre. Exit polls by TV channels projected that Modi will return to power but with a reduced majority. A hung assembly was also not being ruled out. In the outgoing 182-member House, BJP and Congress had 127 seats and 51 respectively. The Election Commission has set up 37 counting stations throughout the state to tally votes polled in electronic voting machines in the two-phased elections. The counting is to commence at 8 AM. Gujarat polls have for

America: potentially conflicting scenarios concerning the development of biofuels and alimentary rights

America: potentially conflicting scenarios concerning the development of biofuels and alimentary rights On the occasion of the General Assembly of the United Nations held in Geneva in October, Jean Ziegler, special speaker on alimentary rights, asked for a five-year moratorium on the use of biofuels. He supported that the production of energy from products which should be used for food leads to an increasing price that prevents poor people from access to foodstuffs and therefore favours the additional development of world hunger. Cristiano Maugeri (21 December 2007) Alternative energy The industrialised world has been trying for some years to substitute traditional energy sources. Geopolitical issues are linked to the environment and to the availability of resources.From here, increasing investments which have been directed in the last years towards so called 'biofuels', meaning products resulting from agriculture, which cut down the cost of production and ex

Pakistan's secret war in Baluchistan President Musharraf is resorting to mass arrests, torture and assassinations to crush the Baluch people Peter Tatchell All Peter Tatchell articles December 21, 2007 4:00 PM | Pakistan launched a renewed military offensive against the people of Baluchistan on December 6, with the aim of crushing the nationalist movement and suppressing protests against Islamabad's recent murder of the Baluch national leader, Mir Balach Marri. The often indiscriminate attacks on civilian settlements are taking place mostly in the Kahan and Dera Bugti regions, and involve the deployment of heavy artillery, fighter aircraft and helicopter gunships. Pakistan's attacks have reportedly, so far, resulted in deaths of at least 100 men, women and children. More than 200 houses and other buildings, including schools and clinics, have been bombed and burned to the ground. Many farm animals were also killed in the attacks, depriving already poor people of

Hotbeds of separatism in modern Europe

22:59 | 19/ 12/ 2007 MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti) - The Kosovo issue has been forwarded to the UN Security Council. The Russian Foreign Ministry suggests that Belgrade and Pristina should have another chance to come to terms. A decision on Kosovo's cessation from Serbia will create a precedent and violate international law. Today, Europe is the venue of both integration and separatist processes. Experts have calculated that in the 21st century more than 10 new states may emerge in Europe. Basque Country is the most traditional example of European separatism. In Spain, about two million Basques live in three provinces of what is called Basque Country. It has broader powers than other Spanish regions; the living standards are above the average; and Basque is recognized as an official language. But despite this devolution deal, the advocates of secession from Spain (to be merged with the Basque-populated part of France) are not going to stop at that. Francisco Franco was respons

GUJARAT ELECTION : When bias is passé , exposing dirty Indian Media

Daily Pioneer Jaya Jaitly Issues before the common man were ignored by the national 'liberal' media in Gujarat in shameless pursuit of an agenda that divided the State far more than what a fundamentalist group could achieve Five years ago, during the last Assembly election, I was in a small town in Gujarat and visited an old socialist, the editor of the local newspaper. The Election Commission of India had tightened spending by candidates. I learned from the saddened editor that to circumvent the old method of paying for published schedules of public meetings of leaders of parties, money was now being accepted 'under the table' so that the expenditure did not have to be disclosed as election expenses. Money was given to newspaper owners, who, in turn, had meetings 'covered' by their reporter and published as news. It is a well-known fact that some regional newspapers in Gujarat enter into deals with major Opposition parties during election, charging Rs

Muslims let down by 'secular' media

The other voice: M Burhanuddin Qasmi (Pioneer, Dec. 22, 2007) They riled Modi, practically demonised him for his 'communalism' , but ended up sharpening the division between Hindus and Muslims. It would have been better if they questioned his claims on development and exposed the suffering of the common Gujarati I am afraid this time our national media has unwittingly helped Mr Narendra Modi consolidate Hindu majority votes on issues not in the interest of nation. Hordes of journalists and byte-reporters descended on Gujarat to batter Mr Modi as a "communal leader". But the campaign backfired. Today, the Muslims of Gujarat are wondering whether they need these so-called secularists after all. A simple question should strike our minds, especially those in media: How did the Gujarat election campaign derail from issues of the common man and degenerate into a Modi versus Sonia affair? The so-called political analysts in their long columns and 24X7 'direc

PAKISTAN : The army won’t return to barracks

Le Monde diplomatique. Pervez Musharraf wants to impose an authoritarian presidential system on Pakistan in which the army preserves the dominant role. His people want a civilian government and the rule of law. That – not Islamic militancy – is the crux of the crisis in Pakistan By Graham Usher A year ago Pakistan’s General Pervez Musharraf commanded a growing economy, international support and a docile political opposition. There were squalls – a separatist insurgency in Baluchistan, a Taliban redoubt on the border with Afghanistan – but these were on the outer limits of the state, remote from Islamabad, the sanitised, whitewashed capital. For a procession of US envoys, Musharraf’s Pakistan was the epitome of a moderate Muslim nation in transition to democracy. It was almost a light in a landscape darkened by Iraq and Afghanistan. Today Pakistan is stricken by its fifth bout of martial law in five decades. Political and civic dissidents are in jail, the judiciary has been purged

Iran, Italy to Sign Gas Export Agreement

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iran and Italy would ink an initial agreement on gas export in the near future, the National Iranian Gas Export Co. (NIGEC) managing director said here Wednesday. Nosratollah Seifi said the company had held talks with Italian officials and the two parties would soon sign a memorandum on export of Iran's gas to the European state, Moj News Agency said. Talking about the gas transmission route, the NIGEC head added the commodity would pass through Turkey and Greece before reaching the Italian territory. Despite the US pressures and threats, different states are expanding their cooperation and ties with the Islamic Republic. IRNA also reported that Khomein Petrochemical Complex and Italian company Basell signed a 20 million euro contract on the transfer of technology. China's top refiner Sinopec Corp. will nearly triple its imports of Iranian crude next year, increasing Beijing's reliance on the OPEC producer. Its state-owned parent Sinopec


Source: Le Monde Diplomatique

Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan sign Caspian gas pipeline deal

15:48 20/ 12/ 2007 MOSCOW, December 20 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and the Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan signed on Thursday an agreement to build a natural gas pipeline along the Caspian Sea coast. Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leaders of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, the region's major gas producers, agreed on May 12 to build a pipeline along the Caspian coast to pump 10-20 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe via Russia's pipeline network. The pipeline deal is seen as a major blow to U.S. and European Union efforts to build an alternative pipeline under the Caspian Sea, bypassing Russia, to pump Central Asian gas to Europe via Azerbaijan and Turkey . Putin, who attended the signing ceremony, said the project would boost Europe's energy security. "The creation of this new energy artery will allow large-volume gas supplies in the long-term to our partners and will become a new major contribution by our countries to improved energy

Russian commander says strategic bomber patrols to continue

15:23 20/ 12/ 2007 MOSCOW, December 20 (RIA Novosti) - There are no technical obstacles to the continuation of long-distance patrols by Russian strategic bombers, the commander of the Air Force's strategic aviation said on Thursday. Commenting on media claims that Russian bombers had severely worn-out engines, Major-General Pavel Androsov said: "The pilots and technicians' training, as well as the condition of the aircraft, permit us to carry out our assigned tasks in full." Russia's strategic bombers have carried out since August more than 70 patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans, as well as the Black Sea. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the resumption of strategic patrol flights on August 17, saying that although the country had halted long-distance strategic flights to remote regions in 1992, other nations had continued the practice, and that this compromised Russian national security. Androsov had earlier said that

Global Gas Battle Opens New Front in Algeria

Source: Kommersant A new front, the Algerian one, has opened in the global struggle for energy supply diversification. That became absolutely clear after The Wall Street Journal reported with reference to Sonatrach president Mohamed Meziane that the cooperation pact signed by Sonatrach and Gazprom in August 2006 has expired. A little earlier, Algeria emitted, accidentally or not, leakages that it is dissatisfied with the quality of military equipment supplied from Russia. Most surprisingly, the criticism was coming not from the immediate customers in the Algerian armed forces, who seemed to be satisfied, but from President Bouteflika’s civilian associates. These events are obviously interlinked. Especially if taking into account the high stakes in the strategic partnership between Algeria and Russia. Due to their natural resources, these two countries would have been able to control up to 40 percent of natural gas supplies to the EU, had they made joint efforts. So, European consum

America Hits Russian Policy with Dollar

Source: KOMMERSANT // Senate allocated funds for democracy needs to the Department of State The U.S. Senate ratified the country’s budget for 2008, allocating around $402 million for post-Soviet space programs which make up a considerable part of the expenditure estimate of the U.S. Department of State. Major part of the money is to be used for counteracting Moscow’s policy on the former USSR space, for creating energy supply routes detouring Russia, and for making the Russian society more democratic. Senate Directive The U.S. Senate ratified America’s new budget late on Tuesday night by vast majority of votes: 76 senators for, and just 17 -- against . Expenditure articles of the main state agencies are outlined in a most general way. Inter alia, senators sanctioned allocating around $401.9 million to the U.S. Department of State for supporting former USSR republics (except Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, which are classed in Eastern Europe). The budget, however, touches very b

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Rape a 'weapon of war' in eastern Congo

Epidemic of brutal sexual violence plagues the region where women are being raped with impunity. From IWPR. By Lisa Clifford and Charles Ntiricya in Goma for IWPR (20/12/07) In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where thousands of rapes are committed each year and sexual violence is the norm, Marie Jeanne's story is all too familiar. She was raped three weeks ago in the Rutshuru district of the eastern North Kivu province by four soldiers from the Congolese army. "I lost my virginity. I don't know whether I have AIDS. And who's going to marry me?" said the 19-year-old from a hospital in the provincial capital Goma. Marie Jeanne still has the support of her family, unlike Jeanette, 20, who was raped one evening by a member of the local militia in her village. Jeanette’s family have rejected her, saying she offered herself to her attacker. An epidemic of brutal sexual violence is plaguing the eastern Congo where women like Marie Jeanne and Jeanette are be