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Showing posts from July 11, 2021

Balochistan: When it comes to the solution, the problem is restated

Dr Pervez Tahir  |  July 15, 2021     The writer is a senior political economist based in Islamabad. He can be reached at perveztahir@yahoo.com No prefix. No suffix. Mention Balochistan and everybody and their uncle knows what the problem is. When it comes to the solution, the problem is restated. The latest on offer is from the top man in authority, or so he likes to believe. He lost a Baloch ally for making little headway on its six demands. As framed, the Baloch are angry. Before that, it was lack of development. The federal government would announce special development packages with great fanfare with the objective of mainstreaming Balochistan. Not many in other provinces feel any mainstreaming, nor an ordinary Baloch vouchsafes development. According to the Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurements survey, 2019-20, the average score of districts in Balochistan in education, health, information communications and technology, and living standard is far behind the other provi

Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui killed in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province

Danish Siddiqui | Photo Credit:  Twitter/Danish Siddiqui Special Correspondent NEW DELHI  16 JULY 2021 13:39 IST UPDATED: 16 JULY 2021 19:46 IST         The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist was covering the situation in Kandahar over the last few days. Noted Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui was killed during a Thursday  night clash between the Afghan special forces and Taliban attackers .  Tolo News , a leading news channel of Kabul, reported that Mr. Siddiqui, working for  Reuters  news agency, was covering the  clashes between the two sides in Kandahar over the last few days  and he died in Spin Boldak district, which has a contentious international border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Ghani’s condolence Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, in a condolence message, expressed solidarity with the media, saying his government was committed to upholding freedom of expression. “I am deeply saddened with the shocking reports that  Reuters  Photojournalist Danish Siddiqui was

Nearly half of Afghanistan’s provincial capitals under threat from Taliban

BY  BILL ROGGIO & ANDREW TOBIN  | July 15, 2021 | bill+roggio@gmail.com | With rapid gains in recent days, the Taliban now threatens 16 of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals, while 18 of the provinces in their entirety are under direct threat of falling under Taliban control, according to an ongoing assessment by  FDD’s Long War Journal .   Since the Taliban began its offensive after President Joe Biden announced the withdrawal of U.S forces on April 14, the Taliban has  more than tripled  the number of districts controlled by the group, from 73 to 221. Many of the districts lost to the Taliban are in the north and west, however the Taliban has continued to gain territory in the south and east. The Taliban offensive in the north is designed to undercut Afghan power brokers and warlords in their home districts and provinces. The map, above, shows an Afghanistan that is at risk of complete collapse if the government and military do not get a handle on the security situation, and qu

The complete truth about not getting OBC reservation in NEET exam - Fact Check

*The complete truth about not getting OBC reservation in NEET exam - Fact Check* https://www.bbc.com/hindi/india-57860546  NEET परीक्षा में ओबीसी आरक्षण न मिलने का पूरा सच - फ़ैक्ट चेक * Translated in English: The All India OBC Federation, a group of more than 40 OBC organizations working in the central government and PSUs across the country, has accused the central government of depriving OBC students of their rights. The Federation claims that due to non-availability of 27% OBC reservation to students from the year 2017 to the year 2020, more than 11 thousand students coming from OBC community have suffered. The general class people have benefited from this loss. Due to non-availability of OBC reservation in these seats during the year 2017 to 2020. • 7,307 in Post Graduate Program (Medical-MD, MS) • 3,207 in Under-Graduate Programs (Medical-MD, MS) • 262  in Post Graduate Program (Dental) • Under-graduate programs have lost 251 students. *In his tweet, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav has

GST Has Increased India's Reliance on Indirect Taxes, Hurting the Poor

Indirect taxes are regressive in nature. They affect the poor adversely, resulting in the rise of inequality. As India celebrates four years of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), it has emerged that its implementation has widened existing economic inequalities in the country, as it has put an additional burden of tax on the poor. Under the GST regime, the country is relying more on the indirect tax, which is applicable to everyone who makes a purchase or uses a service. During the last four years, indirect tax as a share of gross revenue receipt has been increasing. In contrast, there is a decline in the proportion of corporate tax in gross tax revenue receipt of the Union government. Too much reliance on revenues from the GST will increase inequality in the future. On July 1, 2017, the country adopted the GST. It was touted as the biggest tax reform in the country. This subsumed around 17 taxes and levies, which included the central excise duty, services tax, additional customs duty, s

US war history and exit strategies

After being in the war for almost 20 years, if a  powerful army  exits the battlefield in the pitch dark of the night, switching off power and lights and without informing the host nation, the only word that describes it is ‘Defeat’. This is precisely what the  US forces  did when they vacated Bagram Airbase, north of Kabul on the night of 2nd July 2021 [1] ,  fearing an attack  on their departing personnel, from the  Taliban , or even from elements in the Afghanistan army opposed to the US. For a super-power that spent over USD 2.2 trillion in 20 years, this kind of  exit  is nothing short of capitulation [2] . An uncannily predictable pattern can be drawn up from all the major wars fought by the  USA after World War II – Go in with a bang – Go out with a whimper. It starts all major wars based on non-existent or misjudged causes. Its technology and  military  superiority enables it to start a war anywhere in the world and gain initial military success with ease. But when it comes to

China’s Guinea Pig? Xinjiang as a testing ground for religious policies

 MARTIN LAVIČKA 2 JULY 2021 The Uyghurs in Xinjiang are experiencing one of the most intense persecutions in recent times. Despite the nominal legal protection for religious freedom under Chinese laws, the reality is vastly different. Xinjiang is being used as a testing ground for national religious policy by the Chinese government, in addition to being a testing ground for surveillance, governance models, and technologies. In recent years, international media has shone a spotlight on the human rights violations by the Chinese government in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. These violations include the mass incarceration of the Uyghurs, forced labour, birth controls, and language oppression. The Chinese government has repeatedly denied that these policies constitute human rights violations. Instead, Beijing claims it is fighting against what it labels as “three evils” (三个势力) of terrorism, religious extremism and separatism. And according to Beijing,  Xinjiang is the hotbed  of the

News on social media will fuel polarisation

Tuesday, July 6, 2021 Public reliance on social media -- the least regulated and most distrusted source of news -- is rising Outlook Nearly 4 billion people use social media platforms globally. Since this number is likely to rise, such platforms may become the dominant source of news, overtaking TV and reducing overall public trust in news. This will deepen political polarisation since social media are increasing the incentive for media outlets and politicians to post divisive content. Posts using negative words or expressing moral outrage circulate circulate far more widely on Facebook (the dominant social media source for news) and Twitter. Moreover, posts about political opponents are more likely to go ‘viral’ than those about allies, and tend to trigger reactions such as anger, outrage and mockery. Impacts The slow pace of legislative change to curb social media disinformation and negativity will cost societies. The impact of negative posts by politicians will fuel calls for action

9 Chinese, 3 Pakistanis killed in Pakistan blast on Wed morning

By Global Times Published: Jul 14, 2021 02:20 PM Updated: Jul 14, 2021 05:05 PM   Photo:CFP A total of nine Chinese nationals and three Pakistani nationals were killed in a blast  in Pakistan on Wednesday, the Chinese embassy has confirmed. The victims encountered the blast on a vehicle heading to the China-invested Dasu hydropower project on Wednesday morning. The Pakistani side is investigating the matter. The Chinese Embassy in Pakistan has asked Pakistan to make an all-out rescue effort and treat the injured at all costs, strengthen security for Chinese institutions, projects and personnel, and find out the truth of the incident as soon as possible. The Pakistani military has organized rescue efforts right away, sending helicopters to transport the wounded.  Photo:CFP The embassy also issued a warning on Wednesday, asking Chinese nationals and enterprises in the country to stay highly alert and avoid going out unless necessary. The regional commissioner of Upper Kohistan said the l

Pakistan-based hackers target Indian power sector, govt organisation

The hackers had used a new kind of Remote Access Trojan (RAT) program. This program enables covert surveillance and gives hackers unauthorised access to the target's systems The Pakistan-based hackers had utilised India-based compromised domain URLs (Source: Reuters)BusinessToday.In Jul 13, 2021, Updated Jul 13, 2021, 4:30 PM IST Using a new malware program, Pakistan-based hackers attacked critical infrastructure of the Indian power sector and one government organisation earlier in 2021, explained Black Lotus Labs, threat intelligence arm of United States-based Lumen Technologies. The hackers had used a new kind of Remote Access Trojan (RAT) program. This program enables covert surveillance and gives hackers unauthorised access to the target's systems. The Pakistan-based hackers had utilised India-based compromised domain URLs. Micheal Benjamin, Vice President of Product Security at Lumen Technologies-Black Lotus Labs, told India Today TV, "There were a number of indicator

UP's Population Control Bill: Coercion As Policy Will Not Work

Uttar Pradesh CM has boldly stated the need for population stabilisation but needs to adopt strategies that work. SHAILAJA CHANDRA OPINION Updated:  13 Jul 2021, 11:41 PM IST On Independence Day 2019, Prime Minister Modi highlighted the importance of population control, stating that India was facing a population explosion. | (Image: Arnica Kala/The Quint) Get notified on latest news While the subject of population control is widely discussed by the Indian public, it is not a subject that has received much political attention. The  prime minister had referred to it in his Independence Day address in 2017. Four years later, we suddenly have population becoming a very important subject with two states in the country–Uttar Pradesh and Assam–bringing it on the front burner. On the World Population Day, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath not only unveiled a population policy for the state,  but he also had the draft on the website seeking objections. There seems to be a very sho

The cost of the Afghanistan war, in lives and dollars

By ELLEN KNICKMEYER yesterday The nearly 20-year American combat mission in Afghanistan was the United States’ longest war. Ordinary Americans tended to forget about it, and it received measurably less oversight from Congress than the Vietnam war did. But its death toll is in the many tens of thousands, and generations of Americans to come will be burdened by the cost of paying it off. As the U.S. commander for Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller, relinquished his command in Kabul on Monday, here’s a look at the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, by the numbers. Much of the data below from Linda Bilmes of Harvard University’s Kennedy School and from the Brown University Costs of War project. Because the United States between 2003-2011 fought the Afghanistan and Iraq wars simultaneously, and many American troops served tours in both wars, some figures as noted cover both post-9/11 U.S. wars. THE LONGEST WAR: ADVERTISEMENT Percentage of U.S. population born since the 2001 attacks plotted by al-Qaid