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Showing posts from 2013

Devyani Khobragade case on backburner, US poised to irretrievably lose unilateral privileges

Chidanand Rajghatta,TNN | Dec 29, 2013, 05.46 AM IST Devyani Khobragade case on backburner, US poised to irretrievably lose unilateral privileges What is emerging clearly from Devyani Khobragade episode is that US diplomatic corps is poised to irretrievably lose many of the unilateral privileges it had in India. WASHINGTON: In the annals of diplomatic exchanges across the world, it has long been understood that the United States will get more consular and protocol privileges than it will give to other countries. After all, the argument went, the US has the world's largest diplomatic corps, does more outreach, and its personnel face greater danger abroad than those from any other country. So if Americans demand greater security, easier access, more privileges in New Delhi or Islamabad or Kabul than it would give to di

Tribute to Farooq Sheikh

Farooq Sheikh or Farooque Sheikh (25 March 1948 − 27 December 2013) was an Indian actor, philanthropist and a popular television presenter. He was best known for his work in Hindi films from 1977 to 1989 and for his work in television between 1988 and 2002. He returned to acting in films in 2008 and continued to do so until his death on 27 December 2013. His major contribution was in Parallel Cinema or the New Indian Cinema. He had worked with directors like Satyajit Ray, Muzaffar Ali, Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Ketan Mehta.[1] He had acted in many serials and shows on television and performed on stage in famous productions such as Tumhari Amrita (1992), alongside Shabana Azmi, directed by Feroz Abbas Khan, and presented the TV show, Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai (Season 1).[2] He won the 2010 National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for Lahore.[3] He died on 27 December 2013 following a cardiac arrest.[4]

Maid in Manhattan: A migration project

Saturday, 21 December 2013 | Ashok Malik | in Edit Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, accused of violating US labour laws, seems to be the victim herself, entrapped by her domestic help on the one hand and an over-ambitious district attorney on the other Why did the Devyani Khobragade case blow up into a diplomatic crisis? Three factors have to be kept in mind. First, Ms Khobragade's arrest has so angered the Indian system because there is genuine belief in the Ministry of External Affairs that she did no wrong. She is not guilty of any individual crime. If she used a short-cut — and one a clever lawyer can defend in court — it was with the approbation of both countries. Contrary to media reports, Ms Khobragade's contract with her housekeeper, Sangeeta Richard, does not promise her a composite sum of US $4,500 a month or anything of the sort. It promises an hourly wage — "minimum

International law only for weaker states?

Brahma Chellaney The harsh truth is that the U.S. interprets the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations restrictively at home but liberally overseas so as to shield even the spies and contractors it sends On the face of it, there is nothing in common between China's declaration on November 23 this year of an air defence identification zone (ADIZ) extending to territories it does not control and America's arrest, strip search and handcuffing of a New York-based Indian woman diplomat on December 12 for allegedly underpaying a domestic help she had brought with her from India. In truth, these actions epitomise the unilateralist approach of these powers. A just, rules-based international order has long been touted by powerful states as essential for international peace and security. But there is a long history of major powers using international law against other states but

Urge Karzai to ink security pact, US tells India

Ashish Kumar Sen in Washington DC HTTP://WWW.TRIBUNEINDIA.COM/2013/20131213/WORLD.HTM#1 US President Barack Obama’s administration -- frustrated by Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s reluctance to sign a security agreement that would keep US troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014 -- has asked India to lean on the Afghan President to initial the pact. The Obama administration senses an opportunity for this matter to be raised when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meets Karzai in New Delhi on Friday. “The United States did tell us that: President Karzai is coming. Perhaps it is a good idea to convey that it would be good to finalise this (US-Afghan Bilateral Security Agreement),” an Indian official said on the condition of anonymity. The request was conveyed to Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh who wrapped up three days of meetings in Washington on Wednesday. Sujatha met senior officials at the State Department, the Pentagon and top lawmakers on Capitol Hill. US Secretary of State Joh

Nanny rocks US relations

CHARU SUDAN KASTURI Devyani Khobragade New Delhi, Dec. 13: India today summoned US ambassador Nancy Powell to register its strongest protest against America in several years after New York police arrested a 39-year-old Indian diplomat posted there. Devyani Khobragade was arrested on Thursday morning while she was dropping her daughter to school, handcuffed in court and released on bail only hours later on a bond of $250,000 (Rs 1.55 crore at current exchange rates). Khobragade, the deputy chief of mission at the Indian consulate in New York, has been in the US for less than a year, and is accused by Manhattan’s Indian-American US attorney Preet Bharara of furnishing fake documents to obtain a visa for an Indian nanny. Sangeeta Richard, the nanny who is absconding since July but has complained to the police against Khobragade, went to the US on an Indian government official passport as an e

Economist Caution:‘Prepare For 'Massive Wealth Destruction'

Thursday, 28 Nov 2013 05:20 AM MKTNews/Massive-wealth- destruction-economy/2013/06/ 20/id/511043/?promo_code= 1447F-1 Take immediate steps to protect your wealth  . . .   NOW! That’s exactly what many well-respected economists, billionaires, and noted authors are telling you to do — experts such as Marc Faber, Peter Schiff, Donald Trump, and Robert Wiedemer. According to them, we are on the verge of another recession, and this one will be far worse than what we experienced during the last financial crisis. Marc Faber, the noted Swiss economist and investor, has voiced his concerns for the U.S. economy numerous times during recent media appearances, stating, “I think somewhere down the line we will have a massive wealth destruction. I would say that well-to-do people may lose up to 50 percent of their total wealth.” When he was asked what sort of odds he put on a global recession happening, the economist famous for his ominous predictions quickly answ

Clash of economic traditions On the wrong side of the divide… Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Raghuram Rajan. On the wrong side of the divide… Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Raghuram Rajan. Our policymakers are pushing a US-UK economic model, driven by financial markets rather than banks. But our people, like Germans and Japanese, would have none of it. At the G20 summit in April 2009 where the world leaders were struggling to stem the financial tsunami, French President Nicolas Sarkozy threatened to wreck the summit in a rumpus over the “Anglo-Saxon model”. The Anglo-Saxon model was till then a subject of debate in the guild of economists. But post 2008-meltdown, it turned into a political issue between France and Germany on one side, and the US and the UK on the other. France and Germany blamed the Anglo-Saxon – read the US – model for the mess in the world economy. Sarkozy’s threat to walk out if the Summit did not devise steps to reverse the Anglo-Saxon policies and practice

INDIA'S NUCLEAR SCIENTISTS KEEP DYING MYSTERIOUSLY Indian nuclear scientists haven't had an easy time of it over the past decade. Not only has the scientific community been plagued by "suicides," unexplained deaths, and sabotage, but those incidents have gone mostly underreported in the country—diluting public intere st and leaving the cases quickly cast off by police. Last month, two high-ranking engineers—KK Josh and Abhish Shivam—on India's first nuclear-powered submarine  were found on railway tracks  by workers. They were pulled from the line before a train could crush them, but were already dead. No marks were found on the bodies, so it was clear they hadn't been hit by a moving train, and reports allege  they were poisoned elsewhere  before being placed on the tracks to make the deaths look either accidental or like a suicide. The media and the Ministry of Defence, however, described the incident as a routine


POSTED BY F. GREGORY GAUSE After the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany concluded a preliminary agreement with Iran on Sunday, it did not take long for regional critics of the deal to react. The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, blasted the agreement as “a historic mistake.” Saudi Arabia, the other American ally in the Middle East worried about an opening to Iran, took a different approach, issuing a carefully worded statement that cautiously welcomed the deal. The Saudis have no allies in American politics to rally against the Obama Administration, and no desire to set themselves against the other international powers who signed the agreement, including their security partners France and Great Britain, their fellow oil producer Russia, and their major oil customer China. But they are as unhappy as the Israelis, if for slightly different reas

Iran nuke deal has an Indian-American architect

Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times Washington, November 25, 2013 First Published: 00:03 IST(25/11/2013) Last Updated: 01:18 IST(25/11/2013) Months of clandestine US-Iran bilateral talks preceded the first-step deal signed on Sunday in Geneva, and Puneet Talwar, an Indian-American, was at the heart of it. US back-channel efforts are said to have started clandestinely in March, according to published accounts citing administration officials over past some weeks. Undersecretary of state William Burns led these recent efforts, building on those by Talwar, National Security Council aide who has driven President Barack Obama’s Iran initiative for years. Talwar, who holds the designation of assistant to the president, has been at the “center of the diplomacy (with, and on, Iran)”, The Wall Street Journal said in a recent article. “He has represented the White House at all o

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Intelligence Vs. Journalism

."... intelligence differs from journalism in many ways. Perhaps the most important is that where journalism focuses on what has happened, intelligence also concerns itself with what will happen -- and even more important, why it will happen."  Geopolitics is not simply a fancy way to say "foreign affairs." It is a methodology for understanding the world. It assumes that place matters a great deal and that place shapes people in nations. To understand how the world works, we don't simply concentrate on the decisions leaders make; we concentrate on the constraints geography and other factors place on those decisions. Constraints define what is possible. -- STRATFOR

Shutting his ears to change Manoj Joshi   |   Mail Today  |   New Delhi, November 22, 2013 | UPDATED 09:16 IST In July 2011, the government of India set up a task force to examine the processes and procedures related to national security in India and come up with recommendations to fix the problems and plug any gaps that emerged. Chaired by former Cabinet Secretary Naresh Chandra, the task force's aim was to deepen the reforms in the national security system begun by the group of ministers (GOM) in 2001. In May 2012, the committee submitted its report to prime minister Manmohan Singh who turned it over to the National Security Council Secretariat for processing its recommendations and presenting them to the Cabinet Committee on Security. This writer was a member of the task force, but has had little or no official informatio

Situation in Afghanistan may shift in India’s favour

Hindustan Times New Delhi, November 25, 2013 First Published: 00:56 IST(25/11/2013) Last Updated: 01:00 IST(25/11/2013) The tortuous path being taken by Afghanistan and the United States to reach an agreement on a residual US military presence in that country is understandable. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has a two-fold problem as the US pulls out its main body of soldiers. One is a problem of legitimacy. His opponents, the Taliban, portray him as an American stooge. The other is a problem of military wherewithal. The US continues to be unclear as to its post-withdrawal plans. Mr Karzai is understandably wary of carrying the burden of a US presence minus the benefits of adequate protection or money. Washington's on-and-off attempts to force a political marriage between Mr Karzai and the Taliban have not helped the US' credibility in Kabul. Mr Karzai

U.S Should Support the Baloch Groups instead of removing Sanctions against Iran- Dr.Wahid Baloch

"Instead of removing sanctions against Iran the US should support the Iranian opposition groups and arm Baloch and other minorities to help them in their fight for freedom and justice" - Dr. Wahid Baloch Dr. Wahid Baloch with U.S Vice President Joe Biden WASHINGTON, D.C -- Dr. Wahid Baloch, President of Baloch Society of North America, said that "Instead of pacifying the Iranian mullahs by removing the sanctions against Iran the US should support the Iranian opposition groups and arm Baloch and other minorities to help them in their fight for freedom and justice,"  In an interview, talking to Zuber Hewrami, a journalist with Rudaw English Service , Dr. Baloch said, "the Obama administration is trying to pacify the Iranian Mullahs by removing the Iranian sanctions in exchange for Iran to give up its nuclear program, but these Mullahs, who are calling for the death and destruction of United States and State of Israel, are not going to give up o