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Showing posts from February 9, 2020

China’s Belt and Road Initiative push intensifies

  China’s big-ticket geo-political and geo-economic Belt and Road Initiative has come roaring back just when it seemed down and out with the peaking of the Sino-US trade war. President Xi Jinping, during his Myanmar tour beginning Friday, will doubtlessly promise billions of dollars on scores of infrastru ct ure projects in Myanmar, almost at par with investments made in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Xi’s three major thrust areas will be (a) the Kyaukphyu port and SEZ project on Rakhine coasts that connects to Yunnan by high speed rail and a six lane highway (b) New Yangon City (c) projects on the China Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC). Like Gwadar gives China an outlet to Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf , Kyaukphyu gives the Dragon an outlet to Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean. “The Chinese are determined to seek the eastern and western outlets to the oceans and they will fund Myanmar as strongly as Pakistan and even reduce them to client states just to ensure they can bypas

Fighting Disinformation Online

A Database of Web Tools Last updated November 12, 2019 The rise of the internet and the advent of social media have fundamentally changed the information ecosystem, giving the public direct access to more information than ever before. But it's often nearly impossible to distinguish accurate information from low-quality or false content. This means that disinformation—false or intentionally misleading information that aims to achieve an economic or political goal—can become rampant, spreading further and faster online than it ever could in another format. As part of its  Countering Truth Decay initiative , and with support from the Hewlett Foundation, RAND is responding to this urgent problem. Our researchers identified and characterized the universe of online tools developed by nonprofits and civil society organizations to target online disinformation. These tools were created to help information consumers, researchers, and journalists navigate today's challenging informati

Tejesvi Surya on Hindutva: A purely defensive act against predatory & exclusive ideologies

 One Hindu warrior (Tejasvi Surya)  surrounded by two anti-Hindus + ‘struggling to be impartial’ moderator asking tougher questions to Tejasvi than to the ‘la ilaha illalla’ greyhounds.  Tejasvi reiterated that Hindutva has been and remains a non-proselytizing, non-predatory & inclusive ideolog y. Hindutva movement is not aggressive. It is a purely defensive act against predatory & exclusive ideologies. Hindutva is defending itself from relentless attacks of exclusive ideologies that demean us, mock our faiths, and whose overarching goal is to convert us.  Hindutva is to defend against its very own existential threats aka Breaking India Forces. Hindutva is to learn from horrendous past & current realities. Taking advantage of inclusive, tolerant traits of Hindutva, aided/abetted by Gora & Coconut sahibs, Muslims walked away with a third of India and left plenty of virus & malware behind.  List of serious concerns is long. Hindu Genocides of Noakhali, Moplah etc., 19

Indian Telecom Companies: Are we a functioning democracy?

Here’s the inside story : The telecom Cos of India ...Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Reliance ... (and some PSUs imitating them) were not paying the Licence Fee ever since grant of Licence since 1994 onwards (by Congress regime). In 1999, the Govt of the day (was it Arun Shourie, the Trojan horse, even then?) provided them a face saving and an alibi, by signing a fresh agreement to move to ‘gross revenue sharing’ method, instead of the fixed Licence Fee.  This probably was a clever ploy to dodge the system. So, expectedly, disputes raised as to what constitutes revenue, and not a penny paid; despite the fact that the Agreement (these are drafted by Law Min) was crystal clear. So, successfully consuming decades, they could manage to get an order passed by the TDSAT (the appellate tribunal), to remove several incomes from the revenue; to pay by a percentage of revised ‘adjusted gross revenue’ each year. But instead of paying up, challenged this order also; and to their bad luck, it finally land

Biryani power': Meet the Hyderabad man selling 'dakhni' t-shirts and merchandise

The merchandise includes T-shirts which say 'Biryani power', 'Beware of sarcasm, born Hyderabadi' and even gems like 'Apan Hyderabadi hai, apne se calm or kaam dono nahi hota'.

Modi’s many moods

Irfan Husain Updated  February 15, 2020 Irfan Husain WHILE the BJP defeat in Delhi was expected, its magnitude wasn’t. Eight seats out of a legislature of 70 is a hammering of epic proportions. However, this does not spell the ebb of the Modi wave: he and his Hindutva policies continue to dominate the populous hinterland where hysterical nationalism and extreme Hinduism flourish. So despite the fierce pushback against the anti-Muslim Citizenship Act that is mostly confined to the urban centres, Modi is secure in his strongholds. Kashmir, too, remains under control by dint of the harshest crackdown ever seen in the held Valley. The shutdown of all communication systems has played havoc with trade and personal relationships, shocking the world with its blatant disregard of human rights. Hundreds of deliberately blinded Kashmiris bear testimony to the brutal nature of the Indian occupation. So Modi can’t afford to be complacent. With these two own goals, he has unnecessarily upset two hor

There Are More Social Media Users Today Than There Were People in 1971 By  Simon Kemp 30 JANUARY 2020 SOCIAL There are 3.8 billion people using social media today—more people than  there were on the entire planet in 1971 . In 2020, 3.8 billion is nearly half the world’s population. This figure comes from the Digital 2020 report from  Hootsuite  and  We Are Social , which tracks digital and social media trends across the globe. Here are the top three stats from the report: 321 million new people joined social media in 2019, which brought the total from 3.48 billion to  3.8 billion social media users  (an increase of 9%) in 2020 4.5 billion people now use the internet , an increase of 298 million new users (or 7%) year-on-year There are more than  5.19 billion mobile phone users , up 2.4% year-on-year (or 124 million new users) A big thank you to the data partners who contributed to this year’s reports, including: GlobalWebIndex Statista GSMA Intelligence App Annie SimilarWeb Locowise The full Digital 2020 report dives into detailed data

How Liberals Oppose Anything Done By Modi Government

 Here's how they become experts on the impact of the budget: 1A. If interest rates go up: “How will poor people afford to buy a house, car for themselves”. 1B. If interest rates come down: “How will senior citizens / retired persons earn interest from the bank”. 2A. If the Budget encourages FDI: “They will take away our wealth as profits/dividends” 2B. If the Budget encourages outward investments: “Our wealth is going for the development of other countries”. 3A. If tax rates are increased: “The Govt is robbing people”. 3B. If tax rates are lowered: “The Govt is trying to help the rich, who will benefit more”. 4A. If GDP is projected to grow: “The Govt is working primarily for the big corporations”. 4B. If GDP is projected to slow down: “There is no job creation”. 5A. If currency is expected to strengthen: “Our exporters are getting adversely impacted”. 5B. If currency is expected to weaken: “Our importers will get adversely impacted”. 6A. If food prices go up: “The masses are suffe

Drug Trafficking from Af-Pak Reach New Heights Failing all Counter Measures trafficking-from-af-pak-reach- new-heights-failing-all- counter-measures/   Summary   Afghanistan accounts for more than 80 percent of the world’s opium production. Last year, production of pure opium increased by 21 percent to 6,700 metric tonnes compared to previous year.  More than half of it is converted into heroin in Pakistani laboratories before being smuggled out to markets worldwide through sea, air and land routes.  The African continent, which has long served as a transit point for smuggling this heroin to Europe, has itself been emerging as a major consumption market. India, particularly its state of Punjab, is also witnessing increased incidence of narcotic consumption and the Khalistani terrorist groups, sheltered by Pakistan, are deeply involved in syndicates pushing drugs and weapons across the border.     Recent international investigations led to arrest and sentencing of several Pakistani kingpins and their African distributors. Senior p

Xi’s China faces ‘crisis of Chernobyl proportions’ Photo: Liu Bin/Xinhua via APby Jun Mai The coronavirus outbreak in China has raised questions about the concentration of powers at the top of the Chinese party-state system. Long before it became synonymous with a viral outbreak, the central Chinese city of Wuhan had been at the heart of some key political events in the country’s modern history. It was where an armed uprising began in 1911 that ended thousands of years of imperial rule. It was where Mao swam across the Yangtze River in 1966, at the age of 72, in a publicity stunt that helped rally support for his Cultural Revolution. This winter, it was the starting point for an outbreak of a new coronavirus – which causes the disease now officially known as Covid-19 – that has rapidly spread across the country and beyond, killing more than 1,380 people and paralyzing cities. The crisis has been referred to as China’s “Chernobyl” – the 1986 nuclear accident in the former Soviet Union that was worsened by an opaque syst