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Showing posts from 2020

UNcovered by Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin

UNcovered by Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin | December 2020  Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin Distinguished Fellow, Ananta Centre​​​​ Former Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations and Former Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India DECEMBER 2020 | VOL 01 ISSUE 04 | MONTHLY H I G H L I G H T S   •   Growing Climate Ambition ​​​ •   UN-African Union Hybrid Peacekeeping Mission Ends •   No consensus on waiver of TRIPS obligations to tackle Covid-19 •   Vienna-based CTBTO Fails To Elect  Executive Head ​​ •   Virtual Diplomacy unable to bridge divides at UN   Growing Climate Ambition 2020 was a year in which for the first time this century, no formal climate negotiations took place. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ( UNFCCC ) Conference of Parties (CoP) 26 was postponed due to the pandemic. Yet declarations about planned climate action and ambition have risen. To mark the 5th anniversary of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, on 12 Dec

The report of a Swiss investigation into the case of Crypto AG

December 30, 2020 Last month, the Swiss parliamentary intelligence oversight committee published a report about its investigation into the case of  Crypto AG , the former Swiss manufacturer of encryption systems that was secretly owned by the CIA and the German BND. The committee found that the Swiss foreign intelligence service knew about this covert ownership since 1993 and used its knowledge to decrypt foreign communications, but failed to inform the responsible minister about the case. Here I will provide a translation of the  summary of this report  as well as some interesting  additional details  from the rest of the committee's report about Crypto AG in relation to the Swiss government. Summary of the Crypto AG report The Swiss parliamentary  audit committee  for national security and the intelligence services (German:  Geschäftsprüfungsdelegation  or GPDel) started its investigation on Februa

Unlearning 2020: The Battle Plan to Future-Proof Your Sanity

Unlearning 2020: The Battle Plan to Future-Proof Your Sanity December 29, 2020 at 6:44 am by  Mark Joyner (Continued from Parts  1 ,  2 ,  3 ,  4 , and  5 .  Read those first.) O scar Wilde is reported to have been the last man in history to have read “ every book there is”. After that, the information explosion went into full swing and reading “every” book became impossible. Is it true?   Who knows … but one gets the point.  With the exponential increase in information, there was a point where “reading all of it” became humanly impossible. Another similar milestone hit when I realized it wasn’t possible to “stay current” with the trends anymore. When I was a kid, you had to know what was “in” in order to be “cool.” The latest hit songs … The movies everyone was quoting … But now?  The world is so huge, the info-stream is so vast, and there are so many sub-cultures … is there even such a thing as “current” anymore? It seems there are only “bubbles” and the illusion of remaining “curre

A message from R Jagannathan, Swarajya

R Jagannathan, Swarajya     Dear friends, let me begin with a story. Sometime in mid-2013, I published an article by a contributor listing major communal riots since 1967, in a digital portal that I was editing. The idea was to put the 2002 Gujarat riots in perspective. But all hell broke loose when another editor in the same group, who I thought of as a friend, complained to the owner of the publication, that I have become a  sanghi . Nothing much came of that complaint. But I realised at that moment that India's English language media had only one narrative to peddle. All rival versions were a deviation from truth. I realised that India, that is  Bharat , needs diverse media platforms to shift away from the monochromatic narrative of the English-speaking elite in order to have real conversations about a multi-coloured civilisation we truly are. Scaling up a media platform like Swarajya that believes in building alternative narratives costs money. And that money does not come from

China scores an EU investment deal before Biden takes office — and it wants to do more

see url: 31/china-eu-trade-deal- beijing-wants-more-agreements- after-europe-deal.html see full article... Quote<<< Key Points China and the European Commission announced Wednesday that they finished talks on a “Comprehensive Agreement on Investment” which officials said will give each region’s businesses greater access to the other’s market. The deal was rushed into place and comes before Joe Biden is sworn in as U.S. president. In contrast to the Trump presidency, Biden’s administration is widely expected to work alongside allies such as the EU to manage relations with China. At a late-night press conference on Wednesday, a China Ministry of Commerce spokesman told reporters that China hopes for deals with other countries. BEIJING —  China wrapped negotiations with the European Union on an important investment deal and talked up hopes for more, less than a month before U.S. President-elect Joe Biden is set to take office. China and the European


  NOON’S BIRYANI | This Family Serves ‘Asli’ Home-Cooked HYDERABADI Biryani | Biryani Making At Home  Watch this  When Mr Mohammed suffered business losses in Bengaluru 18 years ago, he was on the verge of retreating to his hometown, but his wife, Mrs Asiya Khan prevailed upon him to stay back and begin a home-cooked biryani enterprise, based on a recipe she had learnt from her mother-in-law in Hyderabad. She would cook the biryani at home and her husband was entrusted with the task of selling these in supermarkets. Little by little, they grew their biryani business, moving to a tiny shop with space only for a counter and three tables eight years ago. Over time, the reputation of Noon’s Biryani grew and built for itself a loyal clientele, many of whom would order takeaways. However, the current situation has seen their business dwindle down to less than half, and it was in this context that they reached out to us, seeking assistance to help sp

Blockchain: Is It All Hype?

Why we have not seen any major Blockchain uptake or usage. Michel André  |  FinTech (FinTech)  |  Sunday, 27/12/2020 | 11:28 GMT+2 Photo: Avi Mizrahi Blockchain is over-hyped and so far has seen limited widespread and broad use outside the cryptocurrency world. Unless someone can find or invent a real ‘killer application’ for it soon, it will not evolve into the transformative technology that we were all hoping for but is likely to stay within the confines of cryptocurrency and limited applications. We are all aware that  Blockchain  has the potential to solve enormous issues such as eliminating vast amounts of record-keeping, smart contracts, clearing and settlement or streamlining cross-border payments, all on a Michel André, Board Member at Muinmos distributed ledger without a centrally trusted party. However, we have not seen any real wide mainstream adoption of it outside the  cryptocurrency  world and other than for a few experimental applications. Despite this and huge investmen