US says China ‘destabilising’ force

Chuck Hagel: Beijing ‘destabilising’ South China Sea

Chuck Hagel: “China has undertaken destabilising, unilateral actions asserting its claims in the South China Sea “Hagel: 

The US defence secretary has accused China of “destabilising” the South China Sea, saying its action threatened the region’s long-term progress. Chuck Hagel said the US would “not look the other way” when nations ignored international rules. Mr Hagel was speaking at a three-day summit – the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore – that involves the US and South-East Asian countries.

Read more » BBC
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-27646223

JSMM leader Munir Choliani found dead in Sindh

LARKANO: A nationalist party leader Munir Choliani was found murdered on Friday, Geo News reported.

Police said that some unknown persons have murdered Munir Choliani near Sunn. The body of the deceased has been shifted to Warah. Munir Choliani had left for Hyderabad from Warah last night. Munir Choliani is said to be the central leader of Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM).

Courtesy: The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-149280-JSMM-leader-Munir-Choliani-found-dead-in-Sindh/

 

CANADA – Economy slows to worst quarter since 2012

OTTAWA – Canada’s economy suffered through its worst quarter in more than a year during the first three months of 2014, as activity slowed in many key sectors, particularly business investment.

Due in part to the unusually harsh winter, economic growth fell to a surprisingly weak 1.2 per cent annualized rate, the slowest quarterly pace since the fourth quarter of 2012, when the growth rate was 0.9 per cent.

As well, for the month of March, gross domestic product inched forward by only 0.1 per cent, suggesting a weak hand off to the second quarter.

Statistics Canada also revised downward the fourth quarter growth rate from the previously reported 2.9 to 2.7 per cent, and January’s strong 0.5 per cent GDP reading was trimmed back to 0.4.

Read more » msn NEWS
http://news.ca.msn.com/canada/economy-slows-to-worst-quarter-since-2012-2

Research team claims to have accurately ‘teleported’ quantum information ten feet

By Bob Yirka

(Phys.org) —A team of researchers at Delft University in the Netherlands is reporting in a paper they have had published in the journal Science, that they have successfully used entanglement as a means of communication, over a distance of ten feet (three meters). Furthermore, they note, they did so with 100 percent reliability and without altering the spin state of the quantum bits (qubits) involved.

Teleportation, is of course, a means of moving an object from one place to another without it having to travel between them. Thus far examples of it have only been seen in science fiction movies. The idea of moving information in similar fashion, however, has met with some, albeit limited success. The idea is to use the concept of entanglement of particles as a means of conveyance. It’s supposed to work because of the strange interconnectedness of the two particles—whatever happens to one, automatically happens to the other, regardless of the distance between them. Such a property should allow then, for the exchange of information. If the  of one qubit is altered, then it should be automatically altered in the other qubit—a form of information exchange which can be counted as a message of sorts if a string of such transactions can be carried out.

To date, scientists have struggled to use entanglement as a means of communication—it’s been achieved but the error rate has been so great that it would be unfeasible as a real-world application. In this new effort, the researchers claim to have solved the error rate problem—they’ve brought it down to zero percent. They did it, they report, by trapping electrons in diamonds at very low temperatures and shooting them with lasers, resulting in the creation of . The diamonds, the team reports, serve as really tiny prisons, holding the electrons in place. Held as they were, the researchers were able to cause a spin state to exist and then to read it at both locations, which meant that information had been conveyed.

The research team next plans to extend the distance between the qubits to 1,300 meters, while others presumably will attempt to replicate the first result—if the claims prove true, the breakthrough could mark the first stage of a the development of a true quantum computer, or network.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-05-team-accurately-teleported-quantum-ten.html#jCp

LeT behind attack on Indian consulate in Herat: Hamid Karzai

NEW DELHI: Terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba is behind the attack on the Indian Consulate in Herat, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai said today.

“According to information given to us by a Western intelligence agency, the perpetrators of the Herat attack belonged to the LeT. This was mentioned in writing in the report shared with us,” he said.

Read more at: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/35623616.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

Afghan President Turns Down Invitation To Meet With Obama

BY HUNTER WALKER

Afghan President Hamid Karzai turned down an invitation to meet with President Barack Obama Sunday. A White House official issued a statement to the press pool attributing Karzai’s decision to the “short notice” of the request and the fact Obama’s surprise visit to Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan was dedicated to meeting with U.S. troops ahead of the Memorial Day holiday.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/afghan-president-turns-down-obama-meeting-2014-5#ixzz32pka45sj

China confronts U.S. envoy over cyber-spying accusations

Reuters – By Sui-Lee Wee

BEIJING (Reuters) – China summoned the U.S. ambassador after the United States accused five Chinese military officers of hacking into American companies to steal trade secrets, warning Washington it could take further action, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

Read more » Yahoo News
http://news.yahoo.com/china-warns-u-retaliation-accusations-cyberspying-032213302–sector.html

“The land of the pure”, is taking on a new fascist meaning!

Faith killing

Sikhs from Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa protested outside parliament yesterday in Islamabad against the alleged desecration in Shikarpur of Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikh community. There have been multiple cases of disrespect to scriptures of Guru Granth Sahib Ji and several attacks on their worship places in Sindh. There are many things to fear on part of the safety of minorities. The protest brings the Sikh community into the forefront and a conservative backlash or violence against them might further catalyse. There needs to be a concerted effort, not least of all on part of the religious leaders in Pakistan, to condemn the attack, to demand the arrest of perpetrators and advocate religious freedom and diversity before this community and other minorities are further hurt.
In March, Sikhs in Peshawar protested against the killing of a Sikh hakim in Charsadda and the abduction of two others in DI Khan. Just a few weeks ago artifacts inside a Hindu temple were smashed by a mob in Rahim Yar Khan and the temple was set ablaze. In March, five Hindu temples were attacked. There are reports that families are leaving Pakistan for fear of safety and forced conversions. There are reports that hundreds of Hindu and Christian girls are abducted every year and converted to Islam through the use of forced marriages. This problem may be bigger than we know it to be, as families are unable or unwilling to make formal complaints and there is hardly any press coverage of this. According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, last year saw over 200 sectarian attacks, which killed 687 people. Seven Ahmadis were targeted and killed, and over 100 Christians were killed in a Peshawar church.
There is almost never a provocation by the minority that causes these violent incidents. These attacks are the culmination of a social, religious and political agenda and are not just a law and order issue (though policing and security around these issues is a joke). The phrase, “the land of the pure”, is taking on a new fascist meaning, with these actions and demands on part of an intolerant conservative majority leaving no room for anyone else.

Courtesy: The Nation
http://www.nation.com.pk/editorials/24-May-2014/faith-killing

‘China ready to replace EU investors in Russia if more sanctions follow’

The Chinese investors are ready to replace European companies if the EU goes on with the “irresponsible” policy of sanctioning Russia, Reiner Hartmann, chairman of the Association of European Businesses in Russia told RT in an exclusive interview.

The Chinese are prepared to step in “if we are squeezed out (of Russia) through sanctions or other measures”, Hartmann warned during the 18th International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg.

“I’ve heard about 20 or 57 Chinese high-tech companies ready just to move in and replace Alstom, Siemens, BASF, and Bayer, just to name the few. It’s amazing!” he said.

Read more » http://rt.com/news/161104-sanction-eu-russia-china/

The Hunger Games in Pakistan

By Murtaza Haider

For many in the West, The Hunger Games is a box-office hit and a bestselling novel. For most Pakistanis, however, hunger games are no work of fiction. While several million Pakistanis are starving where only eight per cent of the children receive minimum acceptable diet, the government in Islamabad is finalising the budget, which if previous budgets are any indication, is unlikely to address hunger and misery that has spread to every nook and cranny in the country.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/716973/the-hunger-games-in-pakistan

Malnutrition in Pakistani children, its causes, consequences and recommendations

Madam, malnutrition is a pathological condition resulting from deficiency of one or more nutrients and has a wide range of clinical manifestations. Children are amongst the worst-affected groups. In 2001, it was noted that malnutrition caused 54% deaths in children living in developing countries.1 The World Health Organization through the Millennium Development Goal 4 has recognized that improved nutrition is crucial in reducing the under-5-years mortality,especially in the developing countries.2

Laying its special emphasis in our part of the world, the percentage of malnourished children is highest in Asia with 70% of undernourished children living in this part of the world. In South Asia, one out of two preschoolers is underweight and has stunted growth.3 In Pakistan,33.03% (CI= 27.96-38.54)of children under the age of 5 are underweight, 53.38% of the children are stunted and wasting has been reported in 11.52% of the children,4 which clearly shows that the nutritional status in this country is poor.Goiter caused by iodine deficiency is also common with the highest cases reported in Pakistan, India and parts of Indonesia.3
Marasmus, Kwashiorkor or Marasmus Kwashiorkor will probably develop in a child who is malnourished for a prolonged period of time leading to an increased mortality. Children who are undernourished are more susceptible to the effects of infectious diseases compared to children who are adequately nourished.1 Infections can in turn lead to more undernourishment as food intake is decreased during infection and this turns into a vicious cycle.
One of the possible causes of such status could be declined production of food.1 Many landscapes that were once fertile are deemed barren due to environmental pollution caused by mankind. This in turn leads to less land that is available for farming and ultimately food production per acre is insufficient to touch base with other countries. Poverty, unawareness, population growth, political instability, loss of food stock due to poor harvest and natural calamities are some of the important factors causing malnutrition amongst children. Malnutrition in Pakistani children has been directly linked to illiteracy of mothers, low family income and larger family size.5 Maternal undernourishment is also a contributing factor to babies being born with low-birth-weight.1 The increased basal metabolic rate due to acute and chronic illnesses may also precipitate the pre-existing malnutrition.

Read more » JPMA
http://jpma.org.pk/full_article_text.php?article_id=3324

Stunting, wasting and micronutrient malnutrition endemic in Pakistan

The National Nutrition Survey 2011 released here has indicated that stunting, wasting and micronutrient malnutrition are endemic in Pakistan. The report said the increasing rate of chronic and acute malnutrition is primarily due to poverty, high illiteracy rates among mothers and food insecurity.

The survey was conducted by the Aga Khan University’s Division of women and child health, Pakistan’s Ministry of Health and UNICEF. The last such survey was conducted in 2001-2002, according to federal planning minister Ahsan Iqbal who said task forces must be formed to address the situation.

The survey found widespread micronutrient deficiencies among women especially in those pregnant — 51 per cent surveyed were anaemic; 46 per cent had vitamin A deficiency; 47.6 per cent had zinc deficiency; and 68.9 per cent had vitamin D deficiency. Anaemia was high at 50.4 per cent in other women too.

Among children under five, 43.7 per cent were stunted in 2011 as compared to 41.6 per cent in the 2001 National Nutrition Survey. Children under five also suffered from: anaemia-61.9 per cent; iron deficiency-43.8 per cent; vitamin-A deficiency- 54 per cent; and zinc deficiency 39.2 per cent. In the Saarc, Pakistan has the second highest stunting rate for children under five years- 43.7 per cent. About 32 per cent of the children were underweight. The elderly population too was not spared with over 53.9 per cent not having normal weight.

Read more » http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/stunting-wasting-and-micronutrient-malnutrition-endemic-in-pakistan/article5147173.ece

India: Robots to Deliver Pizza? Mumbai Outlet Successfully Tests Drone Delivery

By  

Last week, a four-rotor unmanned drone took off from a pizza outlet in the populated Lower Parel area of Mumbai, as part of a test mission to deliver pizza to Worli, which it successfully accomplished.

Read more » International Business Times
http://www.ibtimes.co.in/2000-drone-delivers-pizza-mumbai-this-first-india-600748

More details » BBC urdu
http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/regional/2014/05/140523_india_drone_pizza_police_ra.shtml

Pakistan: Peshawar Mass Transit -Progressing towards destination

Peshawar is the capital of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and the administrative and economic hub of this area. The population of Peshawar city is approximately 2 million, and it is located at 34.0117°N, 71.5389°E with an area of 1,257 sq.km (485.3 sq miles). Peshawar is situated in a large valley between the eastern edge of the Iranian plateau and the Indus Valley, near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, Renowned in Persian as “City on the Frontier”, Peshawar’s strategic location on the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia has made it one of the most culturally vibrant
and lively cities in the greater region.
1.01 Urbanization trends and increasing demand The urban population of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is increasing at a very fast pace, due to many push and pull factors. The Afghan influx in KPK, the law and order situation coupled with natural calamities like floods and earthquakes pushing people out from FATA, Malakand etc. The pull of safety and security, education and health facilities, better business and employment opportunities, all have their attraction, bringing more
people to the cities and increasing the population.

Read more » http://www.urbanpolicyunit.gkp.pk/MTS%20Project%20Brief.pdf

 

Bollywood director is making a film ‘Mohen-jo-Daro’

Ashutosh Gowariker: Happy finally ‘Mohenjo-Daro’ happening!

The intelligent director has been working on the script for the past two years now. He’s glad that the movie is finally in the making!

Filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker, who is making Mohenjo-Daro with Hrithik Roshan, says he is happy that finally the film, on which he has been working the past two years, will go on the floors.

“I have been working on the script for the past two years now. I am glad that finally it is happening,” Gowariker said here Tuesday at the first look launch of the film Unforgettable.

After helming successful historical drama Jodhaa Akbar in 2008, Gowariker came out with period drama Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey in 2010, but it was a flop.This is his second film with Hrithik after Jodhaa Akbar and he is excited about it.

Read more » BollywoodLife
http://www.bollywoodlife.com/news/ashutosh-gowariker-happy-finally-mohenjo-daro-happening/

Pakistan: Lahore Orange Line Metro train

Lahore Orange Line Metro train project signed with Chinese company

By Usman Khan

SHANGHAI: Chief Minister Punjab Mia Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif on Thursday have signed Lahore Metro train project with Chinese company.

Shahbaz Sharif signed the contract with the Chairman of the Chinese National Development Reforms Commission in Shanghai.

Read more » The News Tribe
http://www.thenewstribe.com/2014/05/22/lahore-orange-line-metro-train-project-signed-with-chinese-company/

Pakistan’s Tyranny of Blasphemy

Pakistan’s Tyranny of Blasphemy

By 

LAHORE, Pakistan — “I used to feel my life was too straight, too linear.”

The speaker was Junaid Hafeez, a young poet and Fulbright scholar from the south of Pakistan, telling a radio show host in 2011 why he had given up studying medicine for a life in literature. Today, he is in jail on a blasphemy charge that carries the death penalty, and is mourning the lawyer who was murdered earlier this month for defending him.

Before his arrest, Hafeez was teaching in the English Department at Bahauddin Zakariya University in Multan, a city in Punjab Province close to where he grew up. His personal charisma and liberal views had won him a following among students, as well as the envious attention of faculty members.

One day in 2013, a student affiliated with Islami Jamiat Talaba, a wing of the hard-line Jamaat-i-Islami party, accused Hafeez of insulting the Prophet Muhammad on Facebook. The student had no evidence, but no evidence was needed.

Hard-line students soon held a protest crying out for Hafeez’s execution. University administrators backed away. The police registered a case for blasphemy against Hafeez. They did not ask cybercrime specialists to investigate the accusation, relying instead on a fatwa issued by a seminary.

For months Hafeez’s father tried to find a lawyer. Finally he petitioned Rashid Rehman, the 53-year-old special coordinator for the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in Multan. A legal expert with 20 years of activism, Rehman was known as a go-to lawyer for hopeless causes. Despite the danger, he agreed to take Hafeez’s case. Defending a man accused of blasphemy, Rehman told a reporter in April, was like “walking into the jaws of death.”

Those jaws have been open wide since the 1980s, when the military dictator Gen. Muhammad Zia ul-Haq updated a set of colonial laws that criminalized “insulting the religion of any class of persons.” The original laws were devised in the late 19th century by a paternalistic British government trying to keep its multifaith subjects from fighting one another. Those laws were worded generally, and prescribed fines and, at most, two-year prison terms.

General Zia’s amendments particularized the insults and tailored the provisions to favor a stringent Sunni strain of Islam. They criminalized the desecration of the Quran, any defiling of the name of the Prophet Muhammad, and disrespectful remarks about his companions — a jab at Pakistan’s Shiite minorities, who dispute the outcome of the succession struggle that followed the Prophet’s death. Moreover, any attempt by members of the outlawed Ahmadi sect to refer to themselves as Muslims was criminalized. Punishments were upgraded: Blasphemers could be executed or jailed for life.

General Zia died in an air crash in 1988, but his legacy remains. It includes the empowerment of theological figures in every stratum of life — from clerics and televangelists to fanatical academics and Shariah judges — all aided in their righteous endeavors by a legislature that remains intractably Zia-ist.

The blasphemy laws are part of this package. For decades they had been rarely used, with only a handful of cases before the mid-1980s. But General Zia’s amendments opened the floodgates: More than a thousand cases have been reported since then, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Just last week the Punjabi police, prompted by a Sunni extremist, brought blasphemy charges against 68 lawyers.

The blasphemy laws can serve just about anyone with a dark design — an angry relative, an envious colleague, a neighbor with his eye on your property. But the greatest beneficiary has been the professional Islamists, who specialize in their application to encroach on both state and society.

Continue reading Pakistan’s Tyranny of Blasphemy

India invites Nawaz Sharif to Modi’s Swearing-in Ceremony

Nawaz Sharif invited for Modi’s swearing-in ceremony

By Agencies & Dawn.com

ISLAMABAD/NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been invited to attend the oath-taking ceremony of India’s next prime minister Narendra Modi on May 26, sources in the Pakistani Foreign Office confirmed Wednesday. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also confirmed the invitation.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1107713

Russia-China deal: Even energy pivots East

By Patrick L Young

The thing about globalization is that it involves the whole world. Hence Russia exercises its option to pivot East when faced with an obdurate West.

Bubbles share a core attitude of mind: complete incapacity to recognize that the real world may not correspond to your immediate surroundings. Thus investors become absorbed by manias from tulip bulbs to the South Sea, the internet et al, and fail to realize that ‘asset’ values have fundamentally decoupled from reality.

Read more » http://rt.com/op-edge/160212-russia-china-gas-deal-east/

Pakistan: Raza Rabbani warns of serious consequences if system derailed

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader and Senator Raza Rabbani has warned of serious consequences if the current system is derailed.

Expressing his concerns in the Senate Monday, Senator Raza Rabbani said this time the federation is facing threats and not the constitution.

He said that media is a watchdog and that it is not acceptable to put curbs on any news channel. The days are gone when media was restricted, he added.

He said that the time has come for the democratic forces to find reasons as to why the situation is being deteriorated.

Addressing the Senate, Senator Saeed Ghani said that the nation is being misled by bring people on the streets. He questioned as to why the matter of Geo’s morning show is not resolved yet even after the channel’s apology.

He further said that he can not support curbs on media channels over the wish of one political party.

Read more » Media Cell PPP
http://mediacellppp.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/raza-rabbani-warns-of-serious-consequences-if-system-derailed/

Chinese train is faster than an American airliner

By Raphael Orlove

Yesterday, China’s state press outlets unveiled the CRH500, a new challenger to the record for conventional-wheeled high-speed trains. Its target is to break 310.7 miles per hour (500kph), which would make it as fast as the regional planes that have been flying everyone home for the holidays.P

The 310.7 mph record is faster than the 304 mph max cruising speed of the Candian-built and commonly America-used Bombardier Dash 8 (100 Series), a popular regional plane with over 90 individual airline companies flying over one thousand of them all around the world. US Airways flies Bombardier Dash 8s regularly and if you flew a small plane this year, there’s a chance that you were on a Bombardier.P

Car News China reports that this one-off test train is “the first of a new series real-world trains from manufacturer CSR Sifang Locomotive.” So we can expect to find these things racing between Beijing and Shanghai as fast as the little planes that serve as America’s high-speed intercity transportation.

Courtesy: JALOPINK
http://jalopnik.com/5871364/this-chinese-train-is-faster-than-an-american-airliner

Pakistan: JUI-F blames ‘ISI within ISI’ for kidnappings, killings

By Irfan Haider

ISLAMABAD: The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam – Fazl (JUI-F) on Tuesday alleged that there is an “Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) within the ISI” which is involved in kidnapping and killings of innocent people across Pakistan.

Commenting on a motion in the Senate regarding ongoing political situation in the country, JUI-F Senator Hafiz Hamdullah said the ISI was behind the incidents of missing persons and mass graves in Balochistan.

Former military ruler Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf had said that there were some people within the ISI ranks who were not under the control of its chief while former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry also said in his verdicts that the ISI was involved in the cases of missing persons, the JUI-F senator said.

“It was not decide since the independence (of Pakistan) that who will rule the country … either it will be the Parliament or those institutions whose employees get pays from the taxes of the nation,” he said.

Hamdullah said it was an alarming situation that the violators of Constitution were being considered as faithful and those who introduced the Constitution of 1973 were being considered as traitor in the country.

He also criticised the leadership of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) which was protesting against the alleged rigging in the May 11 elections.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1107531/jui-f-blames-isi-within-isi-for-kidnappings-killings

Russian battleships in Shanghai for joint naval drills

A squadron of Russia’s Navy Pacific Fleet has arrived in Shanghai to participate in joint Russian-Chinese naval training dubbed ‘Joint Sea-2014’. The drills in the northern part of the East China Sea start on Tuesday and will go on until May 26.

The Russian squadron consists of six battleships and support vessels: the flagship of the Pacific Fleet, missile cruiser Varyag, anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Panteleyev, large landing ship Admiral Nevelskoy, anti-surface destroyer Bystry, tanker Ilim and ocean tug Kalar.

Read more » http://rt.com/news/159912-russia-china-naval-drills/

‘Warren Buffet Indicator’ Signals Collapse in Stock Market

Warning: Stocks Will Collapse by 50% in 2014

It is only a matter of time before the stock market plunges by 50% or more, according to several reputable experts.

“We have no right to be surprised by a severe and imminent stock market crash,” explains Mark Spitznagel, a hedge fund manager who is notorious for his hugely profitable billion-dollar bet on the 2008 crisis. “In fact, we must absolutely expect it.”

Unfortunately Spitznagel isn’t alone.

“We are in a gigantic financial asset bubble,” warns Swiss adviser and fund manager Marc Faber. “It could burst any day.” 

Read Latest Breaking News from Newsmax.com http://www.moneynews.com/MKTNewsIntl/Stock-market-recession-alert/2014/02/10/id/551985#ixzz32HUjruRV

Stalin-Mao roles reversed as Putin visits China seeking investment

Stalin-Mao Roles Reverse as Putin Courts China Investment

By Stepan Kravchenko and Henry Meyer

China, which relied on Soviet aid during the era of Joseph Stalinand Mao Zedong, has turned the tables as Russian PresidentVladimir Putin visits Shanghai.

The Russian leader starts a two-day visit to China today, seeking to complete an agreement on natural gas supplies to the world’s second-largest economy, held up for more than a decade because of a debate over the price. The contract is “nearly finalized,” Putin told Chinese media in aninterview published yesterday.

Putin is looking to cement ties with China as the conflict in Ukraine alienates him from the U.S. and its European allies. The relationship with China, Russia’s biggest trading partner after the two-way volume surged sevenfold in the past decade to $94 billion last year, is becoming even more important as escalating sanctions threaten to tip the economy into recession.

“As Russia’s relations with the West deteriorate, its ties with China will need to grow stronger,” Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, said by e-mail. “Beijing, rather than Moscow, will be the senior power.”

That role reversal is underscored by the disparity of the two countries’ economic development during the past 35 years. In 1979, as Deng Xiaoping started an economic overhaul, China’s output was 40 percent of the Soviet Russian Republic’s — the present-day Russian Federation, according to astudy published this year by the Center for European Reform. By 2010, China’s economy had become four times the size of Russia’s, it said.

Read more » Bloomberg
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-19/stalin-mao-roles-reverse-as-cold-shouldered-putin-courts-chinese.html

Thailand army declares martial law

The Thai army says that it is imposing martial law amid political crisis “to preserve law and order”.

The army has also granted itself wide-ranging powers to enforce its decision.

The military, which last took power in 2006, stated that the move which gives the army control of nationwide security was not a coup.

Martial law comes after a long-running political crisis, and months of escalating tensions between the government and the opposition.

Earlier this month a court ordered Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and several cabinet ministers to step down.

Reports on social media say soldiers have taken over television stations.

An announcement on military-run television said that martial law had been imposed “to restore peace and order for people from all sides”.

“The public do not need to panic but can still live their lives as normal,” the announcement said.

Thailand is mired in political mayhem, with the opposition demanding that power be handed over to an unelected administration charged with rewriting the constitution.

Correspondents say that the imposition of martial law could enrage supporters of the government, especially if it is seen as amounting to a coup.

Courtesy: BBC
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-27480845?print=true

Meaning and Origin Of The Word “Hindu”

The word Hindu is very much misunderstood and misused. Many people have no idea how the word originated. In India, some politicians use the the words Hindu and Hindutva with communal overtones either to promote or oppose some ideology or party. To the rest of the world, Hindu and Hinduism refer to a set of people belonging to definite religious system.

The fact is that the BOTH the words “Hindu” and “India” have foreign origin. The word “Hindu” is neither a Sanskrit word nor is this word found in any of the native dialects and languages of India. It should be noted that “Hindu” is NOT a religious word at all. There is no reference of the word “hindu” in the Ancient Vedic Scriptures.

It is said that the Persians used to refer to the Indus river as Sindhu. Indus is a major river which flows partly in India and partly in Pakistan. However, the Persians could not pronounce the letter “S” correctly in their native tongue and mispronounced it as “H.” Thus, for the ancient Persians, the word “Sindhu” became “Hindu.” The ancient Persian Cuneiform inscriptions and the Zend Avesta refer to the word “Hindu” as a geographic name rather than a religious name. When the Persian King Darious 1 extended his empire up to the borders of the Indian subcontinent in 517 BC, some people of the Indian subcontinent became part of his empire and army. Thus for a very long time the ancient Persians referred to these people as “Hindus”. The ancient Greeks and Armenians followed the same pronunciation, and thus, gradually the name stuck.

Read more » http://www.shraddhananda.com/Meaning_and_Origin_Of_The_Word_Hindu.html

Hindutva Offensive Social Roots: Characterisation

By R.R. Puniyani

Introduction: Last decade has seen the Hindutva onslaught going from strength to strength to the detriment of poor and oppressed sections of society. Though Sangh Parivar (SP), RSS and the paraphernalia of its affiliates, is at the core of Hindutva movement some other forces have also broadly contributed to the social and political agenda of Hindutva, the main such associate is Shiv Sena, prior to consolidation of SP, Hindu Mahasabha propogated Hindutva, while variable expression of Hindutva has also taken place through congress as well. The turmoil created by its offensive has disturbed the very fabric of our society, and this has threatened to change the very rules of social politics.

This movement is based on the premise that Hindus alone constitute the Indian nation as they are the original inhabitants of this land and have created this society and its culture. Hinduism, as per their assertion, is a very tolerant and catholic, which makes it superior to all other faiths, but its tolerance has often been mistaken for weakness…… The Hindu nation has been repeatedly conquered by aliens, particularly the Muslims and then the Christian British and must acquire strength through RSS Sangathan to counter all present and future threats. The subsequent entry and takeover by foreigners created the illusion that India was land of many different and equal cultures — `Pseudo Secular’ nationalists like Nehru, who preferred bondage to an alien system of thought, perpetuated it by integrating this notion within the `pseudo secular’ constitution. This must be changed and only a `truely secular’ Hindu Rashtra will afford protection to non-Hindus. The threats remain because the present state is ruled by traitors to the Hindu nation; `pseudo secularists’ who `appeased’ Muslims in their pursuit of a politics of `vote banks’ (1). Its own perception of itself is thus of a movement meant to build a Hindu rashtra (nation) for the Hindus.

Formation of Hinduism as a Religion

Today’s social common sense believes Hinduism to be the religion of all the people in India except those who are specifically Muslims, Christians or Buddhists. It will be interesting to note that contrary to the popular belief the truth is that “Hindus” and “Hinduism” are orientalist constructions originating with late eighteenth century British administrators who believed “the essence of India existed in a number of key Hindu classical scriptures such as Vedas, the codes of Manu and the shastras that often prescribe hierarchical ideas” — a conclusion eagerly “supported and elaborated by Brahmins”. (2) Britishers not only absorbed this understanding, they put an official seal on it “by applying a legal system based on Brahminic norms to all non-Muslim castes and outcastes, the British created an entirely new Brahmin legitimacy. They further validated Brahmin authority by employing, almost exclusively, Brahmins as their clerks and assistants. “(3) ” — this fabrication through repetition of India as unitary Hindu society has — obscured the reality of a segmented society, with Brahmins and other upper castes exercising a monopoly of power, fabricated Hinduism is found everywhere.” (4)

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Acknowledgement

(I am thankful to Irfan Engineer, Jairus Banaji and Vrijendra for the discussions which helped me formulate my ideas. However responsibility and weaknesses of these formulations are entirely mine.)

REFERENCES

1. Tapan Basu, P. Datta, S. Sarkar, T. Sarkar & S. Sen ‘Khakhi Shorts Saffron Flags’, (Tracts for the Times – 1), Orient Longman, 1993, p.37.

2. Haynes Douglas and Gyan Prakash eds. 1991, Contesting power: Resistance and Everyday Facial Relations in South Asia: Delhi, OUP, p.6.

3. Arthur Bonner, ‘Democracy in India: a hollow shell’, The American University Press, Washington, 1994, p.40.4. ibid, p.41.

5. Arun Bose, ‘India’s Social Crisis’, Delhi: OUP, p.56.

6. Jawaharlal Nehru, ‘The Discovery of India’, John Day, 1946, p.66.

7. Hinndls, John and Eric Sharpe, eds. Hinduism, New Caste upon Tyne, Oriel Press, 1972, p.128.

8. Romila Thapar, ‘Syneticated Moksha?’ Seminar, 1987, pp.14-22.

9. Gail Omvedt, ‘Dalit Visions’ (Tract for the times – 8), Orient Longman, 1995, pp.7-12.

10. Jafferlot Christopher, 1993, Hindu Nationalism: Strategic syneretic in ideology building, EPW, March 20, 93, 517-24.

11. Nandy, Trivedy, Mayaram & Yagnik ‘Creating a Nationality Chapter VII, Hindutva as Savarna Purana: OUP, Delhi, 1995.

12. Ram Bapat ‘Religious Fundamentalism as a factor in Today’s National and International Politics’, Paper presented at the Seminar “The Nation, State and Indian Identity: A PostAyodhya Perspective”, MAJLIS, Bombay, Feb. 7-10, 1994.

13. Mark Juergensmeyer ‘Religious Nationalism Confronts the Secular State’, OUP, Delhi, 1994.14. Bruce Lawrence, ‘Defenders of God’, quoted in 3, p.5.

15. Sumeet Sarkar ‘The Fascism of Sangh Parivar’, Economic and Political Weekly, pp.163-168, Jan. 30, 1993.

16. Aijaz Ahmad: Radicalism of the Right and Logics of Secularism, in Religion, Religiosity and Communalism (Eds. Bidwai, Mukhia & Vanaik), Manohar: 96, pp.36-55.

17. Jan Breman ‘The Hindu Right’, Times of India, March 15, 1993.

18. Achin Vanaik ‘Situating Threat of Hindu Nationalism’, EPW, July 9, 1994, 1729-1748.

19. Martin Kitchen ‘Fascism’, The Macmillan Press Ltd. London,1976.

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