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Showing posts from March 16, 2008

Secular Travesty

Times of India, 21 March 2008 Rabindranath Tagore's poem "Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high... into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake" is taught to schoolchildren all over the country. It's not a prescription, however, that the government intends to live up to. It kept Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen incommunicado for five months, at an 'undisclosed location' in Delhi, in the hope that she would leave the country even though she had a valid visa to stay. It had its way at last, with Taslima packing her bags for Europe. The circumstances in which that happened don't do the government much credit. Her harassment didn't stop at cutting her off from those she wanted to see, in the name of security. She may have been denied access to proper medical care, going by complaints coming from her and backed by International PEN, the global writers' body. Information and broadcasting minister Priya Ranjan


By R.Swaminathan The recent Declaration of Independence by the legislature of Kosovo and the prompt “recognition” of the new State by USA and many EU governments have the potential for far-reaching and not-too-desirable effects on many other similar situations and “separatist” movements around the world. Of immediate international consequence would be the effect on Taiwan (which is holding its referendum on 22 March 2008). The effect on LTTE in Sri Lanka would be of great significance to India. This paper will consider only these two issues and not the entire scene that would include the effects on other “separatist” movements. Kosovo and Taiwan Historical 2. (a) Kosovo had been the battleground where contesting entities had been fighting (for centuries) for sovereignty over the territory. The fight was between the Turkish Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire at one time, then between the Turks and the Serbs and later between the Albanians and the Serbs. When the victo

RADICALISATION OF TIBETAN YOUTH By B.Raman 1. The world-wide demonstrations of Tibetans of all ages against China and the uprisings in Greater Tibet since March 10,2008. have come as the culmination of a long debate in Dharamsala and among Tibetan refugees all over the world, including India, over the wisdom of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's continued adherence to his Middle Path policy. By Middle Path, he meant autonomy and not independence and a non-violent struggle to achieve that objective. By autonomy, he meant on the Hong Kong model of one country, two systems and not the present Chinese model of total integration and Han colonisation in the name of autonomy. He was seeking a dialogue with the Chinese leadership in the hope of thereby making his Middle Path a reality. 2. Tibetan youth organisations such as the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), formed in 1970 under the blessings of His holiness, and Students For A Free Tibet went along with him till 2003 d

Tony Blair on Rahul Gandhi - Dhanyavaad CNN-IBN Sabbatical be damned this one from CNN-IBN plumbs all depths to remind us of the bottomless pit that is co-habited by Rajdeep Sardesai, Sagarika Ghosh and their surogates on the prop-up Rahul Gandhi payroll. First the absurdity of the headline, “blair endorses rahul” - unless the not so young anymore gandhi is planning to do a Sonia here and migrate to Britain the Blair non-endorsement is a joke. Second the sensationalism is naseauting to say the least. We dont know what question Vidya Shankar Aiyar posed to Blair, but the good guest that he was Blair tries to be gracious and charitable to Rahul but that was all CNN-IBN needed to sensationalise this otherwise non-event to shore up sagging TRPs one would guess. We had called this folks, on 24th Sept 2007 that there is a formidable media spin machine that will work overtime to prop up Rahul Gandhi. Well here you have it, dhanyavaad Rajd

INDIA : A decade, at the helm

By Sandhya Jain Rahul Gandhi deliberately gave his security personnel and the Orissa government the slip in order to meet certain Christian NGOs secretly in Orissa. This is an abominable situation and the nation will ignore the religious affiliation of the Gandhi family only at its peril . In the midst of forced celebrations over Sonia Gandhi’s decade as Congress president and ‘certificates’ that her foreign origins no longer matter, some facts are too stark to be ignored. The first is that Ms. Gandhi’s foreign origins are more relevant than ever as they are directly influencing the country’s foreign policy. Secondly, given the growing obduracy of missionaries in matters of conversion and the new political drive for SC-ST benefits for Christian converts, the matter of Ms. Gandhi’s religious affiliation acquires a new dimension. This is reinforced by the calculated disappearance of her son, Rahul Gandhi, while on an official tour of Orissa, so as to interact with faith-based NGOs.

FROM THE BOTTOM-UP: INTELLIPEDIA AND THE 21ST CENTURY CIA Sean Dennehy and Don Burke, Central Intelligence Agency Thursday, April 10, 12:00-1:00 pm 3 Cambridge Center, MIT Building NE20, Room 336 Conference Room Abstract The speakers will discuss the technical and cultural changes underway at the CIA involving the adoption of wikis, blogs, and social bookmarking tools. These tools are being used to improve information sharing across the U.S. Intelligence Community by moving information out of traditional channels. Time permitting, the speakers will hold a question and answer session at the end of their talk. Speaker bios Sean Dennehy was the pilot customer for Intellipedia, a group of wikis used United States intelligence and national security agencies. He has since become a leading change agent for incorporating Enterprise 2.0 solutions into the intelligence community's practices. Mr. Dennehy has developed an innovative “sabbatical” program that introduces intelligence officers to the numero

US Steps up Broadcasts & Telecasts to Tibet

Source: SAAG by B. Raman Western Governments have come under contradictory pressures in relation to their response to the uprising of the Tibetans since March 10, 2008. While growing sections of public opinion and human rights activists have been demanding a boycott of the Olympic Games similar to the boycott of Moscow Olympics in 1980, Western business companies, who have heavily invested in China, continue to be strongly opposed to any boycott. 2. The movement for a boycott has received the strongest public support in France. Mr. Bernard Kouchner, the French Foreign Minister, has stated that even if the Western Governments are not prepared to call for a boycott of the Games by their national Olympic Committees, their leaders should at least refrain from participating in the opening ceremony. Amongst those who had announced last year their intention to participate is President George Bush of the US. Other Western Governments have not so far supported the suggestion of Mr. Ko

Year of Olympics: Year of the Trojan Rats

Source: SAAG By B. Raman February 7, 2008, was the beginning of the Chinese New Year. The Chinese call the current year "the Year of the Rat". 2. As I was browsing through various blogs, chat rooms etc, I came across the following write-up: "Today begins the year of the Rat, which not only ushers in the celebrated Chinese New Year, but restarts the entire twelve-year cycle of the Chinese Zodiac. ....Being the animal that kicks off the Zodiac cycle, the rat is associated with leadership and conquerors.....In life, rats are known for their suave personalities and charm. But get them in competition, they become smart, controlling, aggressive and calculative. Get in their face and it's even worse. Rats can get quick-tempered, aggressive and even dangerous to others." 3. There were many references to a new computer virus disseminated by Chinese hackers, which they had named "the Trojan Rat". There were also references to a football team called "

Political Scene in Pakistan Wed, 2008-03-19 03:04 By Dr.Abdul Ruff Colachal, Amid “terror attacks” killing many in the country, Pakistan's parliament convened on March 17, as promised by President Pervez Musharraf, and within minutes, it was apparent that the session in the coming days will devolve into a showdown between the newly-elected lawmakers and beleaguered President Musharraf. The opposition lawmakers said they would take their oaths under the constitution "as it was on November 2, 2007." Party members slapped their hands on tables in thunderous applause. Neither Sharif nor Zardari has a seat in the assembly, and they watched the opening day ceremonies from the visitors’ gallery. A party member reminded the assembly how Bhutto used to say that "the ultimate revenge is democracy", that is use people and poll to take revenge on your political opponents. President Musharraf has termed the convening of the new parliament as a historical eve

Kirkuk dispute close to boiling point

Analysts say political agreement must be reached to defuse escalating tensions over contested city’s status, Caroline Tosh and Zaineb Ahmed report for IWPR. By Caroline Tosh in London and Zaineb Ahmed in Iraq for IWPR (19/03/08) Last month, a United Nations envoy likened the struggle between Kurds and Arabs for control of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq to a "ticking time bomb." Staffan de Mistura, who is helping broker a settlement between Baghdad and Irbil on future arrangements for Kirkuk, said in an interview for the Bloomberg news agency that he had just a few months left to solve what he termed "the mother of all crises" in Iraq. "If that takes place, we will have contributed substantially to avoiding a new conflict at the worst possible time," said the Swedish diplomat in the report. The autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) would like to see the return of Kurds who were expelled from Kirkuk as part of former Iraqi leade

The Legacy of Gandhi: A 21st Century Perspective

Author(s): Ishtiaq Ahmed, Rajiv Sikri, D M Nachane, Partha Nath Mukherji Publisher(s): Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), Singapore Date of publication: 3 Jan 2008 Issue number: 26 Format: PDF Pages: 38 URL: Series: ISAS Insights Description: This paper features four chapters whose common focus is the influence of Mahatma Gandhi's thinking on India's policy and development. In particular, the chapters explore Gandhi's views on Hindu-Muslim relations, his influence on India's foreign and economic policy as well as his legacy of democratic decentralization . General note: © 2008 National University of Singapore Download:

American oil to flow through Russian pipes

21:18 | 18/ 03/ 2008 MOSCOW. (Oleg Mityayev, RIA Novosti economic analyst) - Russian metallurgists now have a big advantage over their American rivals due to steadily growing raw material prices and relatively low production costs in Russia. Therefore, Russian producers are buying American companies. Russian steel giant Evraz Group and the Pipe and Metallurgical Company (TMK) announced their acquisition of North American Ipsco for $4 billion on March 14. The Russian companies will use IPSCO's assets to manufacture pipes for global oil giants. It is Evraz's third acquisition in North America. In late 2006, the company bought the United States' largest rail producer, Oregon Steel, which also makes pipes, for $2.3 billion. Last year, Evraz, Russia's largest steel group in terms of assets (including foreign ones), acquired Claymont Steel in Delaware, a producer of steel sheets for bridges and train cars, for $565 million. Evraz, partly owned by Chelsea Footba

Buddhism with a clenched fist

15:19 | 18/ 03/ 2008 MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Dmitry Kosyrev) - Discussion of the recent unrest in Tibet has for the most part focused on the number of dead and wounded, and on whether the actions of the Chinese security services were right or wrong. But there are two far more important, if perhaps less evident, truths to emerge from the events in Lhasa. First is the emergence of politicized Buddhism. The second is just how little we know about it. The debate about the rights and wrongs of the Chinese actions is something of a red-herring. As long as you accept that the Chinese authorities did not stage arson in Lhasa's marketplace, it is unreasonable to criticize the actions of the police. Law enforcement agencies in any country must act quickly and decisively to remove any threat to life and property. Whether the Chinese should be in Tibet in the first place is another question. The bigger issue behind the Tibetan drama, though so far overlooked, i


SourcE: SAAG By B.Raman While continuing to make arrests of suspected participants in the revolt in Tibet, the Chinese have at the same time mounted a damage control exercise to prevent the developments in Tibet from having an impact on their successful holding of the Beijing Olympics of August,2008. 2. The arrests, which started on March17,2008, have not so far been as massive as originally feared. The total number of Tibetan youth arrested so far has been estimated at about 150. What the Chinese have been doing is to arrest identified past offenders, who had spent time in the jail in the past for undesirable activities and had been released after they had completed their prison terms.In the initial wave of arrests, they have also been looking for persons without valid documents. 3. The Chinese have been trying to prove that those, who attacked the Han and Hui settlers and members of the security forces, were not sons of the soil, who, according to the Chinese, are happy wit

India’s Internal Security Dimensions

Source: SAAG Guest Column by R.Swaminathan In pre-independence India, conventional wisdom had it that external security threats stemmed from hostile countries and internal security threats were all totally indigenous. In the six decades since then, the internal security situation has undergone a sea change. Many internal security threats are externally sponsored or guided or inspired or supported or tolerated. Therefore, as change has been said to be the only constant in the order of things, we have to adapt our attitudes and policies to the new realities. We can no longer merely offer or accept the excuse of the “foreign hand”. The rapidly developing political, economic and military strength of India, if unfortunately accompanied by a fragile internal security scenario, could become a significant factor for instability in the region and in the world. This paper is a quick walk-through of the various dimensions of India's internal security and will not touch upon military, ene