When a movement became a government

By Amit Baruah

Bharat Mata Ki Jai is a slogan associated with the Hindu Right and Inquilab Zindabad with the Indian Left. After taking oath as chief minister at the jam-packed Ramlila Maidan in Delhi on Saturday, Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) used both slogans.

He also invoked Bhagwan and Allah almost in the same breath, suggesting there was something divine about the impressive performance that catapulted AAP to power in India’s capital city.

The use of the slogans, taking from the Right and the Left, make it clear that Kejriwal and his associates can’t be slotted into neat political categories and revealed that they will use any symbols to reach the people.

By taking the name of god, the chief minister was telling Delhi (and the nation listening on television) that he wasn’t godless and was a believer who respected different religions.

Here’s what the AAP website has to say on the party being described as “leftist”:

“We are very much solution focused rather than ideology driven. There is an age old tendency to pin down political parties as left, right, center etc. In the process everyone forgets the issues at hands and their solutions. Our goal is to remain solution focused. If the solution to a problem lies on the left we are happy to consider it. Likewise, if it is on right (or in the center) we are equally happy to consider it. Ideology is one for the pundits and the media to pontificate about.”

Kejriwal’s party is arguing that “ideology” obfuscates issues and solutions and they will consider any solution that works.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1077312/when-a-movement-became-a-government

France passes 75% ‘millionaire’s tax’

By Thomson Reuters

France’s Constitutional Council gave the green light on Sunday to a ‘millionaire’s tax’, to be levied on companies that pay salaries of more than one million euros, or about $1.4 million, a year.

The measure, introduced in line with a pledge by President Francois Hollande to make the rich do more to pull France out of crisis, has infuriated business leaders and soccer clubs, which at one point threatened to go on strike.

It was originally designed as a 75 per cent tax to be paid by high earners on the part of their incomes exceeding one million euros, but the council rejected this, saying 66 per cent was the legal maximum for individuals.

The Socialist government has since reworked the tax to levy it on companies instead, raising the ire of entrepreneurs.

Under its new design, which the Council found constitutional, the tax will be an exceptional 50 per cent levy on the portion of wages exceeding 1 million euros paid in 2013 and 2014.

Including social contributions, its rate will effectively remain roughly 75 per cent. The tax will, however, be capped at 5 percent of the company’s turnover.

The Council, a court made up of judges and former French presidents, has the power to annul laws if they are deemed to violate the constitution.

Courtesy: CBC
http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/france-passes-75-millionaire-s-tax-1.2478390

A Rare Elected Voice for Socialism Pledges to Be Heard in Seattle

SEATTLE — People are used to liberals running things around here. But nobody reckoned with Kshama Sawant. Ms. Sawant, a 41-year-old economics teacher and immigrant from India, took a left at liberal and then kept on going — all the way to socialism.

When she takes a seat on Seattle’s nine-member City Council on Jan. 1, representing the Socialist Alternative Party, she will become one of the few elected socialists in the nation, a political brand most politicians run from.

But Kshama Sawant (pronounced SHAH-mah sah-WANT) heartily embraces the label. Ask her about almost any problem facing America today, and her answer will probably include the “S” word as the best and most reasonable response. Socialism is the path to real democracy, she says. Socialism protects the environment. Socialism is the best hope for young people who have seen their options crushed by the tide of low-wage, futureless jobs in the post-recession economy.

“The take-home message for the left in general is that people are looking for alternatives,” she said in an interview, discussing her victory over a veteran Democrat by a margin of 3,100 votes of about 184,000 cast in a citywide contest. “If you ask me as a socialist what workers deserve, they deserve the value of what they produce.”

Read more » The New York Times
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/12/29/us/a-rare-elected-voice-for-socialism-pledges-to-be-heard-in-seattle.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&rref=us&hpw=

Scientists racing to build invisibility devices

Metamaterials are the tool of choice for scientists racing to build all sorts of wave-cloaking devices

By Reuters

Singapore: A new way of assembling things, called metamaterials, may in the not too distant future help to protect a building from earthquakes by bending seismic waves around it. Similarly, tsunami waves could be bent around towns, and soundwaves bent around a room to make it soundproof.

While the holy grail of metamaterials is still to make objects and people invisible to the eye, they are set to have a more tangible commercial impact playing more mundane roles — from satellite antennas to wirelessly charging cellphones.

Metamaterials are simply materials that exhibit properties not found in nature, such as the way they absorb or reflect light. The key is in how they’re made. By assembling the material — from photonic crystals to wire and foam — at a scale smaller than the length of the wave you’re seeking to manipulate, the wave can, in theory, be bent to will.

This makes metamaterials the tool of choice for scientists racing to build all sorts of wave-cloaking devices, including the so-called invisibility cloak — a cover to render whatever’s inside effectively invisible by bending light waves around it.

“The invisibility cloak was just one more thing we were discovering — that we have all this flexibility in this material and here’s another thing we can do,” David Smith of Duke University, widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of metamaterials, said in a telephone interview.

“But we’re equally interested in seeing this transition in making a difference in people’s lives.” Indeed, Smith’s own journey from laboratory to factory illustrates that while metamaterials have for some become synonymous with “Harry Potter” cloaks, their promise is more likely to be felt in a range of industries and uses, from smaller communication devices to quake-proof buildings.

Bending light

At the heart of both metamaterials and invisibility are waves. If electromagnetic waves — whether visible light, microwave or infrared — can be bent around an object it would not be visible on those wavelengths. It was long thought you couldn’t control light in this way with natural materials as their optical properties depended on the chemistry of the atoms from which they were made.

It was only when Smith and his colleagues experimented with altering the geometry of material in the late 1990s that they found they could change the way it interacted with light, or other kinds of wave — creating metamaterials. With that, says Andrea Alu, an associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin, scientists found “it may be possible to challenge rules and limitations that were for centuries considered written in stone.” The past decade has seen an explosion in research that has built on Smith’s findings to make objects invisible to at least some forms of light.

“There have now been several demonstrations of cloaking at visible wavelengths, so cloaking is truly possible and has been realised,” says Jason Valentine of Vanderbilt University, who made one of the first such cloaks. These, however, have limitations — such as only working for certain wavelengths or from certain angles. But the barriers are falling fast, says Valentine.

In the past year, for example, Duke University’s Yaroslav Urzhumov has made a plastic cloak that deflects microwave beams using a normal 3D printer, while Alu has built an ultra-thin cloak powered by electric current.

Invisible army

Funding much of this US research is the military. Urzhumov said in an email interview that the US Department of Defence is “one of the major sponsors of metamaterials and invisibility research in the US.” The Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, which commissions advanced research for the Department of Defence, has funded research into metamaterials since 2000, according to the department’s website.

Military interest in metamaterials was primarily in making a cloak, said Miguel Navarro-Cia of Imperial College London, who has researched the topic with funding from the European Defence Agency and US military.

But an invisibility cloak needn’t be a sinister tool of war.

Vanderbilt’s Valentine suggests architectural usage. “You could use this technology to hide supporting columns from sight, making a space feel completely open,” he said.

Other potential uses include rendering parts of an aircraft invisible for pilots to see below the cockpit, or to rid drivers of the blind spot in a car.

Read more » Gulfnews
http://gulfnews.com/news/world/usa/scientists-racing-to-build-invisibility-devices-1.1270952

Bee Venom Destroys Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

Nanoparticles carrying a toxin found in bee venom can destroy human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) while leaving the surrounding cells unharmed. The research was conducted by the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The Nanoparticles carry melittin, which is the principal active component of bee venom. Melittin fuses with the HIV virus and destroys it’s protective envelope while molecular bumpers prevent the nanoparticles from harming the body’s normal cells. Bee venom is known to disrupt cellular walls and destroy tumour cells as well.

Bee venom contains a potent toxin called melittin that can poke holes in the protective envelope that surrounds HIV, and other viruses. Large amounts of free melittin can cause a lot of damage. Indeed, in addition to anti-viral therapy, the paper’s senior author, Samuel A. Wickline, MD, the J. Russell Hornsby Professor of Biomedical Sciences, has shown melittin-loaded nanoparticles to be effective in killing tumor cells.

The new study shows that melittin loaded onto these nanoparticles does not harm normal cells. That’s because Hood added protective bumpers to the nanoparticle surface. When the nanoparticles come into contact with normal cells, which are much larger in size, the particles simply bounce off. HIV, on the other hand, is even smaller than the nanoparticle, so HIV fits between the bumpers and makes contact with the surface of the nanoparticle, where the bee toxin awaits. (1)

Most anti-HIV drugs inhibit the virus’s ability to replicate. This is an anti-replication strategy that does nothing to stop the infection, and many strains of the virus have found ways around these drugs and continue reproducing. Given this discovery, a new vaginal gel could possibly be used in places where HIV is prominent. It can be used as a preventative measure to stop the initial infection and prevent the spread of HIV. The bee venom HIV study was published a several days ago in the journal Antiviral Therapy.

More than 34 million people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, and over 3 million of them are under the age of 15. Everyday, thousands of people contract HIV around the world.

– See more at: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/03/13/bee-venom-destroys-human-immunodeficiency-virus-hiv/#sthash.7Amjn3a3.dpuf

Noam Chomsky: We’re no longer a functioning democracy, we’re really a plutocracy

By Travis Gettys

The world faces two potentially existential threats, according to the linguist and political philosopher Noam Chomsky.

“There are two major dark shadows that hover over everything, and they’re getting more and more serious,” Chomsky said. “The one is the continuing threat of nuclear war that has not ended. It’s very serious, and another is the crisis of ecological, environmental catastrophe, which is getting more and more serious.”

Chomsky appeared Friday on the last episode of NPR’s “Smiley and West” program to discuss his education, his views on current affairs and how he manages to spread his message without much help from the mainstream media.

He told the hosts that the world was racing toward an environmental disaster with potentially lethal consequence, which the world’s most developed nations were doing nothing to prevent – and in fact were speeding up the process.

“If there ever is future historians, they’re going to look back at this period of history with some astonishment,” Chomsky said. “The danger, the threat, is evident to anyone who has eyes open and pays attention at all to the scientific literature, and there are attempts to retard it, there are also at the other end attempts to accelerate the disaster, and if you look who’s involved it’s pretty shocking.”

Chomsky noted efforts to halt environmental damage by indigenous people in countries all over the world – from Canada’s First Nations to tribal people in Latin America and India to aboriginal people in Australia—but the nation’s richest, most advanced and most powerful countries, such as the United States, were doing nothing to forestall disaster.

“When people here talk enthusiastically about a hundred years of energy independence, what they’re saying is, ‘Let’s try to get every drop of fossil fuel out of the ground so as to accelerate the disaster that we’re racing towards,’” Chomsky said. “These are problems that overlie all of the domestic problems of oppression, of poverty, of attacks on the education system (and) massive inequality, huge unemployment.”

He blamed the “financialization” of the U.S. economy for income inequality and unemployment, saying that banks that were “too big to fail” skimmed enormous wealth from the market.

“In fact, there was a recent (International Monetary Fund) study that estimated that virtually all the profits of the big banks can be traced back to this government insurance policy, and in general they’re quite harmful, I think, quite harmful to the economy,” Chomsky said.

Those harmful effects can be easily observed by looking at unemployment numbers and stock market gains, he said.

“There are tens of millions of people unemployed, looking for work, wanting to work (and) there are huge resources available,” Chomsky said. “Corporate profits are going through the roof, there’s endless amounts of work to be done – just drive through a city and see all sorts of things that have to be done – infrastructure is collapsing, the schools have to be revived. We have a situation in which huge numbers of people want to work, there are plenty, huge resources available, an enormous amount to be done, and the system is so rotten they can’t put them together.”

The reason for this is simple, Chomsky said.

“There is plenty of profit being made by those who pretty much dominate and control the system,” he said. “We’ve moved from the days where there was some kind of functioning democracy. It’s by now really a plutocracy.”

Chomsky strongly disagreed with Smiley and West that he had been marginalized for his views, saying that he regretfully turned down dozens of invitations to speak on a daily basis because he was otherwise engaged.

He also disagreed that a platform in the mainstream media was necessary to influence the debate.

“If you take a look at the progressive changes that have taken place in the country, say, just in the last 50 years – the civil rights movement, the antiwar movement, opposition to aggression, the women’s movement, the environmental movement and so on – they’re not led by any debate in the media,” Chomsky said. “No, they were led by popular organizations, by activists on the ground.”

He recalled the earliest days of the antiwar movement, in the early 1960s, when he spoke in living rooms and church basements to just a handful of other activists and they were harassed – even in liberal Boston – by the authorities and media.

But that movement eventually grew and helped hasten the end of the Vietnam War, and Chomsky said it’s grown and become so mainstream that antiwar activists can limit wars before they even begin.

He said President Ronald Reagan was unable to launch a full-scale war in Central America during the 1980s because of the antiwar movement, and he bitterly disputed the idea that antiwar activists had no impact on the Iraq War.

“I don’t agree; it had a big effect,” Chomsky said. “It sharply limited the means that were available to the government to try to carry out the invasion and subdue the population. In fact, it’s one reason why the U.S. ended up really defeated in Iraq, seriously had to give up all of its war aims. The major victor in Iraq turns out to be Iran.”

Despite these limitations, he said the Iraq War had been one of the new millennium’s worst atrocities and had provoked a violent schism between Sunni and Shiite Muslims that had sparked regional conflicts throughout the Middle East.

“The United States is now involved in a global terror campaign largely against the tribal people of the world, mostly Muslim tribes, and it’s all over. The intention is to go on and on,” Chomsky said. “These are all terrible consequences, but nevertheless they’re not as bad as they would be if there weren’t public opposition.”

Courtesy: The Raw Story
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/12/27/noam-chomsky-were-no-longer-a-functioning-democracy-were-really-a-plutocracy/

500 local Chinese lawmakers resign in fraud scandal

By AFP

HONG KONG: More than 500 municipal lawmakers in one Chinese province have stood down following an electoral fraud scandal, as Beijing ramps up its sweeping anti-corruption crackdown, state media reported on Saturday.

The 512 municipal officials in China’s central Hunan province resigned, were disqualified or dismissed after being caught taking bribes from 56 representatives of the provincial People’s Congress to elect them to their posts, Xinhua news agency said.

Municipal officials have the power to appoint representatives of their provincial assembly, the local rubber-stamp parliament, although the process does not constitute a fully free or open election.

Local authorities dismissed 56 representatives of the 763-strong Hunan People’s Congress for being “elected by bribery”, state television channel CCTV said on its Twitter account.

An initial investigation revealed that 110 million yuan ($18 million) was offered in bribes to lawmakers and staff in the province’s second city of Hengyang, state media reported, citing a Hunan government statement.

“The fraud, involving such a huge number of lawmakers and a large amount of money, is serious in nature and has a vile impact,” Xinhua quoted the statement as saying.

“This is a challenge to China’s system of people’s congresses, socialist democracy, law and Party discipline,” it said.

It named Tong Mingqian, the former Party chief of Hengyang, as being “directly responsible” for the election scandal.

President Xi Jinping has led a high-profile clampdown on China’s notoriously corrupt officialdom since taking power last year, promising to stamp out both high-level “tigers” and low-ranking “flies”, amid widespread anger over official corruption.

Read more » The Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/china/500-local-Chinese-lawmakers-resign-in-fraud-scandal/articleshow/28058716.cms

Massive national strike shakes South Korea

South Korean union vows all-out strike in sympathy with rail workers

SEOUL – (Reuters) – South Korea’s militant labor federation announced a general strike from Saturday in sympathy with rail workers, after police hauled away scores of strikers in a two-week dispute that has hit President Park Geun-hye’s popularity ratings.

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) has more than 690,000 members from sectors including construction and public transport and any stoppage could bring the country to a halt.

Workers with the state-run Korea Railroad walked off the job in protest against a decision to set up a unit to run a high-speed bullet train, which they say will lead to privatization and layoffs.

Hundreds of riot police stormed into the umbrella group’s head office on Sunday in a bid to arrest union leaders. They detained about 130 strikers and confederation members.

“The KCTU will show our anger by action, not words, against infringement of KCTU,” the confederation said in a statement on Monday, promising an all-out strike from Dec 28.

Continue reading Massive national strike shakes South Korea

Pakistan’s State of Denial

By TAHMIMA ANAM

DHAKA, Bangladesh — It was a Pakistani journalist, Anthony Mascarenhas, who gave the world the first detailed account of Bangladesh’s war of independence. In April 1971, soon after the army of Pakistan started suppressing the secessionist movement in what was then still the eastern part of the country, it invited Mr. Mascarenhas to report on the conflict, believing he would buttress the false propaganda of a just war. Mr. Mascarenhas promptly moved his family, and then himself, to Britain knowing that soon he would no longer be able to live in Pakistan.

Continue reading Pakistan’s State of Denial

China commits $6.5b for Pakistani nuclear project

Project to have two reactors with a capacity of 1,100 megawatts each I Construction to be completed by 2019

By: Reuters

ISLAMABAD – China has committed $6.5 billion to finance the construction of a major nuclear power project in Karachi as it seeks to strengthen ties with its strategic partner, Pakistani officials said.

Read more » Reuters
http://www.nation.com.pk/islamabad/25-Dec-2013/china-commits-6-5b-for-pakistani-nuclear-project

International Youth and Workers Movement’ (IYWM)

SINDH: Karachi – International Youth and Workers Movement’ (IYWM) and Rise for Pakistan cordially invite you to attend a meeting on December 27th, 2013, 4:00 p.m. at PMA House Karachi, Sindh. The topic of first session of meeting is “Why Left is ineffective in Pakistan?”. We hope to share our thoughts on this and find reasons behind ineffectiveness of the left wing and its inability to create or drive political movements in Pakistan.

The topic of discussion in the second session will be “The establishment of ‘International Youth And Workers Movement’ (IYWM) and its goals.”

We believe that this meeting will help us move together towards a better understanding of a much needed methodology to rebuild the students’, workers’ and peasantry’s movement in Pakistan and the world.

Looking forward to meeting you on 27th December and we sincerely hope that you will share with us your experiences and ideas in this regard.

Looking forward, Jawad Ahmad & Dr. Syed Akhtar Ehtsham

Courtesy: via Facebook

Atheists are good if they do good, Pope Francis says

Pope Francis reached out to atheists with a story that concluded, “Just do good, and we’ll find a meeting point.”

VATICAN CITY — Atheists should be seen as good people if they do good, Pope Francis said Wednesday in his latest urging that people of all religions — or no religion — work together.

The leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics made his comments in the homily of his morning Mass in his residence, a daily event where he speaks without prepared comments.

He told the story of a Catholic who asked a priest if even atheists had been redeemed by Jesus.

“Even them, everyone,” the pope answered, according to Vatican Radio. “We all have the duty to do good,” he said.

“Just do good, and we’ll find a meeting point,” the pope said in a hypothetical conversation in which someone told a priest: “But I don’t believe. I’m an atheist.”

Francis’s reaching out to atheists and people who belong to no religion is a marked contrast to the attitude of former Pope Benedict, who sometimes left non-Catholics feeling that he saw them as second-class believers.

Read more » MSN News
http://news.msn.com/world/atheists-are-good-if-they-do-good-pope-francis-says#tscptmf

New post-Soviet alliance to launch 2015: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin says the new post-Soviet alliance with Belarus and Kazakhstan is set to launch in 2015, with hopes that Ukraine will join the union.

The final pieces were in place for the 2015 inaugural launch of the Eurasian Economic Union, Putin said following talks with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in Moscow on Tuesday.

Read more » Press Tv
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/12/24/341740/postsoviet-union-to-launch-2015-putin/

Haleem Brohi: The non-conformist

By Amar Sindhu

As a result, none of his work was taken seriously by local critics except for Fahmida Riaz who cited his novel Odah (Inferno) in her book Pakistan: Literature and Society as a landmark in Pakistani literature. This novel was based on the Freudian concepts of male sexuality. “We have this fantastic short Sindhi novel Odah/ Orrah by Haleem Brohi,” Riaz wrote. “It is a minor classic about male sexuality and about the sexual act turning into a terrible mental torture. It has unforgettable sentences such as, ‘I am walking, endlessly, in this thick white marsh, under a mercilessly blazing sun.’” Riaz also mentioned this novel in her recent interview with Herald magazine.

Continue reading Haleem Brohi: The non-conformist

Bradford synagogue saved by city’s Muslims

Faced with closure a year ago, today Bradford’s synagogue’s future is bright, a model of cross-cultural co-operation

By , theguardian.com

It was around this time last year that the trustees of Bradford‘s final remaining synagogue faced a tough choice. The roof of the Grade II-listed Moorish building was leaking; there was serious damage to the eastern wall, where the ark held the Torah scrolls; and there was no way the modest subscriptions paid annually by the temple’s 45 members could cover the cost.

Rudi Leavor, the synagogue’s 87-year-old chairman, reluctantly proposed the nuclear option: to sell the beautiful 132-year-old building, forcing the congregation to go 10 miles to Leeds to worship.

It was a terrible proposition, coming just after the city’s only Orthodox synagogue had shut its doors in November 2012, unable to regularly gather 10 men for the Minyan, the quorum of 10 Jewish male adults required for certain religious obligations.

But rather than close, Bradford Reform Synagogue’s future is brighter than ever after the intervention of Bradford’s Muslim community, which according to the 2011 census outnumbers the city’s Jews by 129,041 to 299.

A fundraising effort – led by the secretary of a nearby mosque, together with the owner of a popular curry house and a local textile magnate – has secured the long-term future of the synagogue and forged a friendship between Bradfordian followers of Islam and Judaism. All things being well, by Christmas the first tranche of £103,000 of lottery money will have reached the synagogue’s bank account after some of Bradford’s most influential Muslims helped Leavor and other Jews to mount a bid.

Read more » The Guardian
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/dec/20/bradford-synagogue-saved-muslims-jews

Canada lifts all restrictions on prostitution

Landmark Supreme Court ruling says bans on solicitation and brothels violated sex workers’ right to safety.

Canada’s top court has overturned all restrictions on prostitution, declaring that existing laws violated sex workers’ right to safety.

The Supreme Court of Canada struck down bans on brothels, street solicitation, and living on the earnings of prostitution in a unanimous 9-0 decision on Friday, and gave the Canadian government one year to re-write the country’s prostitution laws.

Read more » Aljazeera
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2013/12/canada-lifts-all-restrictions-prostitution-2013122015318412319.html

A Blatant Campaign of Ethnic Cleansing – By Shawn Forbes

Mass abductions, torture and executions, target killing of Baloch have become daily routine in Balochistan, Where the state forces are alleged for conducting brutal and endless campaign of violence against the indigenous people of Balochistan.

Read more » http://thebalochistanpoint.com/a-blatant-campaign-of-ethnic-cleansing/

Switzerland: a guaranteed monthly income?

Will the Swiss vote in a guaranteed annual income?

by Tyler Cowen

Switzerland will hold a vote on whether to introduce a basic income for all adults, in a further sign of growing public activism over pay inequality since the financial crisis.

A grassroots committee is calling for all adults in Switzerland to receive an unconditional income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,800) per month from the state, with the aim of providing a financial safety net for the population.

Organizers submitted more than the 100,000 signatures needed to call a referendum on Friday and tipped a truckload of 8 million five-rappen coins outside the parliament building in Berne, one for each person living in Switzerland.

Read more » Marginal Revolution
http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2013/10/will-the-swiss-vote-in-a-guaranteed-annual-income.html

Global Arctic wars already started

By Adrian Salbuchi

Excerpt;

Today’s globalized geopolitical grand chessboard often plays out in interestingly complex and roundabout ways. Such is the case of the on-going tug of war between the US, UK and EU on the one hand, and Russia and its allies on the other.

Pieces are moved; sometimes a pawn from one square to the next, at other times a rook or bishop straight across the chessboard; even a knight in its more crooked way… Such is the game of the looming “Arctic War” which is starting to unfold, in which seemingly unconnected events begin to make sense when we start joining the right dots correctly. …..

…. Then there’s also NATO-ally Denmark filing its claims through Greenland territorial projection, weak ally Norway and, of course, there’s Superpower Russia which in 2007 actually planted its flag on the Arctic sea bed right on the North Pole. Canada too claims that the North Pole is hers. Alas! Poor Santa Claus, let’s just hope he’s not evicted before Christmas…

As history has shown time and again, the only language that the US-UK Alliance really understands is the language of force or the threat thereof. So President Putin has very prudently ordered his military starting 2014 to beef up Russia’s presence and defence over its entire huge Arctic sphere of interest: a “top government priority to protect its security and national interest” in his own words.

In recent months, Russia has started creating new Arctic military units, reinstating its military bases in the Novosibirsk Archipelago and Franz Josef Land that had been abandoned after the demise of the former Soviet Union, and began restoring key airfields in the region including those on Kotelny Island which includes making ready the towns of Tiksi, Naryan-Mar, and Anadyr for increased military personnel and logistical needs.

10 Russian warships and nuclear powered icebreakers are now operative in that region overseeing key shipping lanes joining the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, including ports like Murmansk (where the “Arctic Sunrise” lies peacefully anchored).

Clearly, the Arctic is very much on the global grand chessboard’s radar screen. What happens there over the next few years will have immense significance considering that the manoeuvring and relative positioning achieved by the powers in conflict will also help to consolidate their respective presences in the region and worldwide.

For when it comes to oil and gas, the US and UK have clearly decided to militarize oil exploration, exploitation and shipping lanes. Just as they have done in the South Atlantic with the UK’s Falkland/Malvinas nuclear military base and the US’s powerful Fourth South Atlantic Fleet with its rosary of military bases discretely spread into Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and other countries in the region.

For there lies another even vaster and richer region: the Antarctic which is not just a sea but an entire continent centred on the South Pole.

Indeed, in our complex world what happens in the scorched deserts of Arabia, Libya and Iraq; in the infinite steppes of Asia; in the steaming jungles of Africa; or in the windswept pampas of South America has an impact – albeit, indirect – on this new front which we could described as the coming polar wars.

Wars involving superpower nations, their allied countries, environmental NGO’s fronting for the global power elites, oil, gas and mining giants, and of course the bankers pulling the strings from above; way above 10 Downing, way above the White House, the Palais D’Elysee and Greenpeace’s HQ in Amsterdam.

Adrian Salbuchi is a political analyst, author, speaker and radio/TV commentator in Argentina. www.asalbuchi.com.ar

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Read more » rt.com
http://rt.com/op-edge/global-arctic-war-syria-488/

– – – – – – – – – –

Via – Siasat.pk
http://www.siasat.pk/forum/showthread.php?224864-Global-Arctic-wars-already-started

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has condemned Pakistan for its reaction to the execution of war criminal Quader Mollah.

PM condemns Pak NA resolution

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina this evening strongly condemned Pakistan for its reaction to the execution of war criminal Quader Mollah.

“By passing the resolution at national assembly, Pakistan has proved that it never accepted the victory of Bangladesh in the Liberation War of 1971, and they still have allies in Bangladesh

Read more » The Bangladesh Chronicle
http://www.bangladeshchronicle.net/index.php/2013/12/pm-condemns-pak-na-resolution/

Sindhis should not need a visa to visit Sindh!

‘Sindhi’s should be exempted from visa for visiting Pakistan’

INDORE: Sindhi community on Sunday demanded that Sindhis of India and Pakistan should be exempted from getting visa for visiting each others’ countries.

The demand was raised on the third and last day of International Sindhi Conference in Indore. They urged the governments to relax visa rules so that Sindhis can visit Shindh, the place of their origin and come back after visiting their family members and relatives.

International Sindhi Community president Manohar Dev said demands were raised during the open session of the conference. He added that community has also appealed to the government of India to simplify the process of giving citizenship to people who come to India from Sindh Province of Pakistan. “There should be single-window system for giving citizenship to people who come to India from Sindh,” said Dev.

Secretary of the conference and city BJP president Shankar Lalwani said seats should be reserved for the community in Parliament and assembly so that they get a proper representation.

Courtesy: THE TIMES OF INDIA
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/indore/Sindhis-should-be-exempted-from-visa-for-visiting-Pakistan/articleshow/27470027.cms?fb_action_ids=10151736870271901&fb_action_types=og.recommends&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=[532711570157297]&action_type_map=[%22og.recommends%22]&action_ref_map=[]

India hits back, row with U.S. hots up

By Sandeep Dikshit

Withdraws some privileges in retaliation for arrest of Indian deputy consul

India on Tuesday set in motion an array of retaliatory steps against U.S. diplomats based across the country for the manner of arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York, signalling the escalation of an unprecedented bilateral row.

The government asked all U.S. consular officers to turn in their identity cards and the entire American diplomatic corps their airport passes while senior Congress leaders snubbed a visiting U.S. Congressional delegation for the second straight day by refusing to meet it.

The government also ordered the Delhi Police to remove concrete barricades on public land and roads that have existed for years around the U.S. embassy, sought salary details and bank accounts of all Indian staff employed at the missions and stopped all import clearances for the U.S. embassy, especially for liquor.

Read more » The Hindu
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-hits-back-row-with-us-hots-up/article5469325.ece

Switzerland: 2,500 franc basic monthly income for every one

Swiss to vote on 2,500 franc basic income for every adult

(Reuters) – Switzerland will hold a vote on whether to introduce a basic income for all adults, in a further sign of growing public activism over pay inequality since the financial crisis.

A grassroots committee is calling for all adults in Switzerland to receive an unconditional income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,800) per month from the state, with the aim of providing a financial safety net for the population.

Organizers submitted more than the 100,000 signatures needed to call a referendum on Friday and tipped a truckload of 8 million five-rappen coins outside the parliament building in Berne, one for each person living in Switzerland.

Read more » Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/04/us-swiss-pay-idUSBRE9930O620131004

Tablet computer launched in UK; priced at 30 pounds

Aakash 2 tablet launched in UK; priced at 30 pounds

Version of India’s low-cost Aakash 2 tablet computer has been launched in Britain at a cost of 30 pounds. The UbiSlate 7Ci, made by UK-based company Datawind, is based on Aakash 2, which is mainly used by students in India and was designed to provide cheap internet access to help improve education. The 7 inch Android tablet has wi-fi connectivity, 512MB of RAM, a microUSB connection and 4GB of storage, BBC reported yesterday.

Read more » ZeeNews
http://zeenews.india.com/business/gadgets/gadgets-news/aakash-2-tablet-launched-in-uk-priced-at-30-pounds_90859.html

Left-wing candidate Michelle Bachelet has been elected Chilean president for a second time by a wide margin.

Ex-president Michelle Bachelet wins Chile poll run-off

With almost all the votes counted, Ms Bachelet had 62% against 38% for Evelyn Matthei, a former minister from the governing centre-right coalition.

Ms Bachelet first served from 2006 to 2010, but under Chile’s constitution she could not stand for a second consecutive term

Read more » BBC
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-25387340