Skip to main content


Showing posts from December 20, 2020

Is Pakistan nearing a 1971 moment in Balochistan?

Is Pakistan nearing a 1971 moment in Balochistan? The Big Lens             Seshadri Chari, DEC 27 2020, 00:58 IST   UPDATED: DEC 27 2020, 01:34 IST Seshadri Chari. The sudden disappearance and the subsequent death in Canada of 35-year-old Karima Baloch, one of the popular leaders of the Balochistan freedom movement, does come as a shock, though not as a surprise. She was on the hit list of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for quite some time and had aired her fears about being targeted by the Pakistani military for speaking up against it. This is not the first time that a high-profile anti-Islamabad Baloch leader has met Karima’s fate. In March this year, Baloch journalist Sajid Hussain was found dead in the Fyris River near Uppsala in Sweden. He was the editor of  Balochistan Times , a news website covering human rights violations, forced disappearances, and the drug trafficking menace in Pakistan. Although the Swedish police closed the case as “probable suicide or accidental dea

Rewriting History: How Beijing uses KMT Histories to Forward Its Policy Objectives

Image: Xi Jinping Visits the Siping Battle Memorial Hall in Jilin Province, July 2020. In recent months, Beijing has propagated two military histories for international and domestic ends involving its civil war archrival, the Kuomintang Party (KMT), which ruled China from the late 1920s until its defeat at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the late 1940s. Both histories pertain to the Second Sino Japanese War: one about a KMT regiment in the 1937 Battle of Shanghai and the other on the KMT armies that fought alongside the British in then colonial Burma. While the CCP has permitted discussion of KMT contributions to the Second Sino-Japanese War since as early as the 1980s , such histories must be careful not to challenge a major element of the party-state’s legitimacy—the self-proclaimed central role played by the CCP in defeating Japan. General Secretary Xi Jinping has described any view of history that challenges the centrality of the CCP in modern China as “historic


ANHOLT AND CULL, PART THREE: GOOD NEWS FOR SWEDEN, CANADA, AND THE WORLD… Dec 18, 2020   by   Nicholas J. Cull   ,  Simon Anholt     COMMENT   PRINT AS PDF Having considered the latest Nation Brands Index measuring perception, Anholt and Cull turn their attention to the Good Country Index, which measures actual contributions to the global good across six categories, adjusted by the wealth of the country. Anholt introduced the index in 2014. The 2020 version placed Sweden in the top position. ANHOLT  In 2020’s Good Country Index Sweden becomes the first country to come top twice. This is great news for Sweden. It shows real consistency, because you know the Good Country Index, as distinct from the Nation Brands Index, is fairly volatile. Remember that the Good Country Index is a measure of actual behavior: it's not a measure of perceptions. The Nation Brands Index uses opinion polls; the Good Country Index is a composite ranking of mostly UN statistics that measure the impact of eac


The VVIP category are the biggest parasites. They start right at the top. The President has a full brigade, which does little more than guard the big house and play polo. The PM has the SPG dedicated to him. It  is said to be a 3000 strong force with a DGP level officer in command. It is bigger than the US Secret Service that protects the president and the dollar against counterfeiting. SPG category – Strength of security detail is Classified (only provided to the Prime Minister of India.) Z+ category has a security cover of 55 personnel [Including 10+ NSG Commando] + [Police Personnel] Z category has a security cover of 22 personnel [Including 4 or 5 NSG Commando] + [Police Personnel] Y category has a security cover of 11 personnel [Including 1 or 2 Commando] + [Police Personnel] X category has a security cover of 2 personnel [No Commando, Only Armed Police Personnel] The common garden variety VIPs usually have two local police constables, who are more often than not used to run domes

Welcome to the Grand Gaslight

December 25, 2020 at 5:10 pm by  Mark Joyner W elcome to The Grand Gaslight. This is the part where I reveal just how badly “they” messed up our minds in 2020. First … OK, let’s assume  you have secured your free copy  of  The Little Calendar That Brainwashes You  and it’s on the way. Trust me.  You’ll need it for the rest of this.  Once you get it you’ll want to start doing the little 30 second exercise it teaches you every day. That’s the easy part … Now we’re going to separate the tough from the tourists. Pop Quiz:  Which of These Do You Secretly Crave? certainty comfort ease short cuts Really pause here for a moment and think about this. In your private moments, what do you look forward to? When you are frustrated, what do you fantasize about? Probably all four of these things. Be honest now. “Wait, what’s wrong with craving comfort and ease?” Well, if you think about it, all of them look like “great goods” on the surface.  But they are actually all Trojan Horses. Yet, we’ve been c

Year in a word: Doomscrolling

Language and grammar Stuck at home, we obsessively checked our phones for more bad news       December 25, 2020 11:00 am   by  Alice Ross (present participle): the act of relentlessly reading bad news online A friend said it first. I hadn’t realised there was a word for what I was doing. It was March, and I was endlessly checking Twitter. I had a book deadline that increasingly seemed unreal and two young children self-isolating at home who wanted attention. I alternated reading lines of  Tyrannosaurus Drip  with checking my phone. “Mummy, turn the page,” they would remind me, as my thumb returned to its default swiping position. Not that they minded. They were thrilled that I was constantly with them. But I wasn’t really there.  “All I’m doing is eating trash and doomscrolling,” my friend told our WhatsApp group. Doomscrolling — of course. I couldn’t get enough of the bad news. I became obsessed with death counts, ventilators, lockdowns. My weekly alerts told me my screen time was up

China slowly retreating from Pakistan’s Belt and Road

Beijing is backing away from its initial $60 billion commitment to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project By  FM SHAKIL DECEMBER 26, 2020 The Karakoram Highway, also known as the China-Pakistan Friendship Highway, is part of China's Belt and Road Initiative. Image: AFP Forum PESHAWAR – Pakistan’s army is set to take near-total control of the Beijing-financed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a US$60 billion infrastructure building plan replete with railways, roads, ports and special economic zones (SEZs) that is key to China’s global Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).   A bill in Pakistan’s parliament will give the powerful military a firmer hold over the initiative and its related multi-billion dollar contracts, a martial move some see as aimed at reassuring Beijing that their investments will be more secure amid militant attacks on Chinese engineers and others facilitating the infrastructure projects. The move comes amid rising indications China is backing away from its