The PPP jiyala: An existentialist history

By Nadeem F. Paracha

The word ‘jiyala‘ has come down to become an iconic term in the realm of Pakistan’s populist politics. Almost entirely associated (in this context) with diehard supporters and members of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

So, who or what is a PPP jiyala and where did he or she appear from; and why can such people only be found among the PPP’s supporters, in spite of the fact that in the last two decades, almost all mainstream political parties have successfully adopted the antics of the country’s first ever purveyor of populist politics, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (the founder of the PPP).

But as a former PSF comrade of mine who quit politics altogether in 1990 recently told me, ‘No matter how much of a distance a jiyala would like to put between himself and the party, a jiyala will always remain a jiyala. It’s a spiritual state, as well as an existentialist dilemma.’

A jiyala is a PPP supporter who is bound to stick with the party or with the Bhutto family’s overriding claim over the leadership of the PPP no matter what state the party is in. He or she would defend it passionately, even fight on the streets and campuses for it, and there have also been cases in which jiyalas have died for the party.

Also read: Stage set to launch Bhutto scion into practical politics

Contrary to belief, especially among the party’s opponents, that jiyalas are ‘blind followers of the PPP ‘ who unquestionably nod at everything that is dished out to them by the party, the fact is that jiyalas have also been some of the harshest critics of the party that they so intensely love.

There have been a number of reported cases in which jiyalas have publicly confronted the party’s leadership over various issues. According to political economist and researcher, Haris Gazdar, the party’s traditional voters remain passive and almost impersonal to the fate of the party when it is in power, but become highly active when it is in the opposition or facing a challenge from the establishment or the opposition.

Of course, the traditional voters of the PPP that Gazdar was talking about – mainly the rural peasants, small farmers and folks from the urban working classes – are not all jiyalas, but this shift from going passive to active in the context of Gazdar’s initial findings is also reflective of the general jiyala mindset.

Jiyalas are at their most active and passionate when their party is in a political or existentialist crises.

My own experience as an active member of the PPP’s student-wing, the Peoples Students Federation (PSF), between 1984 and 1989, facilitated my understanding of the above-mentioned mindset associated with jiyalas.

My close interaction with the party’s leadership and support (in Karachi and the interior of Sindh), in the mid- and late 1980s, saw me being left rather baffled by the way many jiyalasswitched from being daring, impassioned and uncritical activists and street fighters during the reactionary Ziaul Haq dictatorship to becoming either disinterested or severely critical of the PPP leadership once the party was voted back into power in November 1988.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1138808/the-ppp-jiyala-an-existentialist-history

Sending Pakistan to Mars

By Pervez Hoodbhoy

When spacecraft Mangalyaan successfully entered the Martian orbit in late September after a 10-month journey, India erupted in joy. Costing more than an F-16 but less than a Rafale, Mangalyaan’s meticulous planning and execution established India as a space-faring country. Although Indians had falsely celebrated their five nuclear tests of 1998 — which were based upon well-known physics of the 1940s — the Mars mission is a true accomplishment.

Pakistanis may well ask: can we do it too? What will it take? Seen in the proper spirit, India’s foray into the solar system could be Pakistan’s sputnik moment — an opportunity to reflect upon what’s important. Let’s see how India did it: First, space travel is all about science and India’s young ones are a huge reservoir of enthusiasm for science. Surveys show that 12-16 year olds practically worship Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking, are fascinated by black holes and Schrödinger cats, and most want a career in science. They see more prestige in this than becoming doctors, lawyers, financial managers, or army officers. Although most eventually settle for more conventional professions, this eagerness leads India’s very best students towards science.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1138678/sending-pakistan-to-mars

 

Punjab Assembly approves resolution to make Guru Nanak’s birthday a public holiday

By Abdul Manan

LAHORE: Sardar Ramesh Singh, the first Sikh member of the Punjab Assembly, tabled a resolution requesting that the birthday of Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism, be made a public holiday.

Ramesh Singh is a member of Pakistan Muslim League — Nawaz (PML-N) and the resolution was approved in the Punjab Assembly on Wednesday.

The passing of the resolution comes just a few days after members of the Sikh community stormed through the gates of Parliament House to protest …

Read more » The Express Tribune
http://tribune.com.pk/story/714317/punjab-assembly-approves-resolution-to-make-guru-nanaks-birthday-a-public-holiday/

Bullet Train Could Connect Moscow and Beijing

China and Russia are considering building a high-speed rail line thousands of kilometers from Moscow to Beijing that would cut the journey time from six days on the celebrated Trans-Siberian to two, Chinese media reported Friday.

The project would cost more than $230 billion and be over 7,000 kilometers (4,350 miles) long, the Beijing Times reported — more than three times the world’s current longest high-speed line, from the Chinese capital to the southern city of Guangzhou.

Read more » Discovery
http://news.discovery.com/autos/transportation-infrastructure/bullet-train-could-connect-moscow-and-beijing-141017.htm

India prepares to launch its third navigation satellite

 

Chennai: The 67-hour countdown for the Thursday launch of India’s third navigation satellite is progressing smoothly though a thunder storm on Wednesday delayed some operations, a senior space agency official said.

“Today (Wednesday) morning we moved the mobile service tower (MST) backwards. The operation was delayed by around two hours owing to thunderstorm in the morning. There is sufficient time cushion built in for such unforeseen delays in the countdown period,” MYS Prasad, director, Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, told IANS.

Read more » IBNLive
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/india-prepares-to-launch-its-third-navigation-satellite/506292-3.html

Why India is planning a new road near the China border

India has unveiled plans to build a mountain road along the disputed border with China in the country’s remote north-east.

The $6.5bn (£4.06bn), 1,800km (1,118 miles) all-weather road will stretch from Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh state to where the borders of India and China meet with Myanmar.

The road will connect sparsely populated and poorly-connected hill communities living in four large frontier districts of Arunachal Pradesh.

It will also help farmers in the mountainous region to transport their organic crops and medicinal herbs to low-lying and busy markets in neighbouring Assam state.

“This road will not boost our defences but help connect far flung communities for economic development denied to them for so long,” says India’s junior home minister Khiren Rijiju, himself a resident of Arunachal Pradesh.

But Indian military officials say the road will help consolidate Indian defences.

This represents a change in Indian military thinking that has so far opposed developing roads near the border, in case it is used by the Chinese during a conflict for speedy movement inside Indian territory.

The road, however, could could ignite fresh tensions between India and China.

The world’s two most populous countries disagree over the demarcation of several Himalayan border areas and fought a brief war in 1962.

Read more » BBC
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-29639950

Iran issues fresh warning to Pakistan: Deal with terrorists within your borders or we will.

Iran again warns of crossing into Pakistan if border is not secured

Iran issued a veiled threat to Pakistan on Thursday that it might cross the border to contain terrorists if Pakistan fails protect its border and stop terrorists from entering into Iran, Iranian state media reported.

Second-in-command of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Brigadier General Hossein Salami on Thursday said that border security is a common and pressing need for neighbouring countries. He warned that if any neighbouring country fails to fulfill their obligation to protect their border than Iran will have no choice but to act on its own.

We are, in principle, against intervening in the affairs of any country, but if they fail to abide by their obligations we will have [no choice but] to act,” said Salami, adding that “Terrorists, wherever they may be, even on the soil of neighbouring countries, we will find them, and if they do not give up acts of terrorism, we will deal with them without reservation.”

In May this year, Iranian border guards trespassed three kilometres into Pakistani territory and shot dead a Pakistani citizen while injuring another in the Prom tehsil of Panjgur district in Balochistan.

Iran, on many counts, has threatened to send forces into Pakistani territories.

Read more » The Express Tribune
http://tribune.com.pk/story/776867/iran-again-warns-of-crossing-into-pakistan-if-border-is-not-secured/

Why Ebola is so dangerous

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the world’s deadliest to date and the World Health Organization has declared an international health emergency as more than 3,850 people have died of the virus in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria this year.

What is Ebola?

Ebola is a viral illness of which the initial symptoms can include a sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain and a sore throat, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). And that is just the beginning: subsequent stages are vomiting, diarrhoea and – in some cases – both internal and external bleeding.

The disease infects humans through close contact with infected animals, including chimpanzees, fruit bats and forest antelope.

It then spreads between humans by direct contact with infected blood, bodily fluids or organs, or indirectly through contact with contaminated environments. Even funerals of Ebola victims can be a risk, if mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased.

Read more » BBC
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-26835233

The best way to help your body protect itself against Ebola

The best way to help your body protect itself against Ebola (or any virus or bacteria)

(NaturalNews) With the threat of the Ebola virus spreading, there is a need to understand what natural options are readily available to you in case you don’t want to be subjected to conventional medical treatments and infected patients in hospitals. The only proven system to help eradicate the Ebola virus is your body’s immune system, and it is of primary importance to start strengthening its response now to give yourself the best chance of successfully fighting off an infection.

Work with your body’s natural defenses

The only way to work with your body’s natural defenses is to give it what it requires in order to function at optimal performance. Conventional medical wisdom claims that man-made remedies such as vaccines are superior to those provided by nature, but it doesn’t take a scientist to understand that the toxic chemicals and preservatives injected into the body along with antigens is not a legitimate way to improve immunity.

To improve your immunity, you must improve your relationship with nature and the medicine it provides, which has been proven to keep people healthy for thousands of years. In this case, a focus on healing foods and herbs that have strong antibacterial and antiviral properties is of primary importance, along with improving immune system function and eliminating foods that suppress it.

Antibacterial foods, herbs, and solutions to begin consuming regularly

Even though Ebola is a virus, it only makes sense to start clearing out any harmful bacteria in your digestive system in order for your immune system to function properly. This will allow it to do its job more efficiently, which is a must have when dealing with more deadly infections such as Ebola.

Antibacterial foods and herbs to consider, include: Garlic, Onion, Turmeric (curcumin), Ginger, Lemon, Cayenne, Peppermint, Cinnamon, Clove, Cranberry, Calendula, Echinacea, Oregon grape root ….

Read more » Natural News

What Pakistan can learn from the economics Nobel laureate

By Murtaza Haider

From food items to consumer products, Pakistanis pay significantly higher prices than others in the region.

Being left at the mercy of oligopolies, which have controlled markets since Pakistan’s creation in 1947, the consumers have been forced to pay higher prices for, at times, inferior quality goods.

Another newly minted Nobel laureate’s efforts may help Pakistanis break free of the tyrannical control of State monopolies and private oligopolies.

Professor Jean Tirole of France has received the 2014 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel for his work on market power and regulation. His research has shown how firms gain market power and set prices at the detriment of consumers. His work is as relevant to privatisation-happy Pakistan as it is to developed economies.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1138136

HOW BILL GATES HAS BEEN QUIETLY TRYING TO TRANSFORM GLOBAL HEALTH

You’re probably lucky. You probably don’t have to worry about how clean your water is, if you’ll be able to get vaccinated this year, or if you’ll ever get to see a doctor. You’re lucky, but much of the world isn’t. Many parts of the globe still lack the infrastructure and resources to get on par with modern health care. Bill Gates – Microsoft monolith turned philanthropist – wants to change that.

Ten years ago, Bill and his wife Melinda Gates launched the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative. Initially bolstered by 450 million dollars from their nonprofit foundation, this initiative was set up to give a monetary incentive for scientists and researchers to pursue radical or transformative ideas in public health.

“That’s the idea behind Grand Challenges—to focus bright scientists on the problems of the poorest, take some risks, and deliver results,” Gates said in a press release.

Since 2005, the Grand Challenges in Global Health grant program has delivered 458 million dollars to researchers from 33 countries. And these grants have been focused on issues the Gates Foundation believes to be fundamental in bringing the rest of the world up to the medical standard. Of the 16 overarching challenges listed by the foundation, many focus on vaccination — one of if not the most cost effective disease prevention program we have. Grants have been awarded for projects trying to develop needless delivery systems, vaccine formulas that do not require refrigeration, and single-dose vaccines for use shortly after birth.

Read more » Nerdist
http://www.nerdist.com/2014/10/how-bill-gates-has-been-quietly-trying-to-transform-global-health/

Men are Delighted while Women are Skeptical – Pakistani Expats Reactions on Malala’s Nobel Peace Prize – By: Faiz Al-Najdi

Friday the 10th of October must have been the happiest day in Malala Yousafzai’s life as on this day, at a tender age of 17 years only, she became the youngest person to have been awarded with the prestigious & coveted Nobel Peace prize for the year 2014. She thus became the second Pakistani to have won this honor – after the decorated Pakistani Dr. Abdus Salam had won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979.

Read more » South Asia Plus
http://www.sapulse.com/new_comments.php?id=9415_0_1_0_C

‘Revolution is inevitable’: Russell Brand

 

‘Revolution is inevitable’: Russell Brand hits Wall Street, kisses RT interviewer (VIDEO)

Russell Brand and some 200 Occupy Wall Street protesters descended onto New York City’s financial district on Monday, where the celebrity called for a “revolution” within the US. Brand explained his viewpoint to RT – and even kissed the correspondent.

The gathering began as part of a promotional event for his newly released book, titled ‘Revolution.’ However, after a reading at Zuccotti Park – where Occupy Wall Street protesters made global headlines for rallying against social and economic inequality – Brand and other attendees marched to Wall Street.

Once they arrived, Brand spoke about the need for a social and economic “revolution,” something he writes about at length in his new book. Brand mentioned the high disapproval ratings that have been reported regarding American institutions like Congress, arguing that the last time vast swathes of the country were taxed by “elites,” a revolution was sparked.

Speaking with RT’s Aleksey Yaroshevsky at the event, Brand said the arrival of his book comes at a time when Americans are bracing for similar revolutionary action.

“I think it’s inevitable,” Brand said. “When universal change is required, people will formulate and organize, and bring about that change. Now we are living under galling inequality, at the point of ecological crisis. People are misinformed, but the means for new communication are merging, and people are awakening.”

Read more » RT
http://rt.com/usa/195992-russell-brand-revolution-wall-street/

Powerful quantum computers move a step closer to reality

A research team from Australia has pushed quantum computers closer to fruition, but a former NSA director warns that the technology could break encryption

By 

Researchers at the University of New South Wales have pushed quantum computers a step closer to reality, which one former NSA technical director says calls for a rethink in how the whole security of the internet is managed.

Read more » the guardian
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/oct/14/quantum-computers-public-encryption?CMP=fb_gu

Urdu speaking are Sindhi, and against division of Sindh: Urdu speaking intellectuals

The Urdu speaking intellectuals of Sindh mostly based in Karachi have said that Sindh is not a province, but a national historical land. They have said that that although they are Urdu speaking but they are Sindhi and consider themselves part of Sindhi nation. They said that majority of the Urdu speaking do not want the division of Sindh. Those who shared this views include prominent Urdu speaking Sindhi intellectuals Aliya Imam and Rahat Saeed yesterday with Sindhi daily Kawish. They also said that Urdu speaking would defend Sindh if anyone tried to occupy the land. Read details in Sindhi daily Kawish

Courtesy: Rights & Movements
http://rightsupdate.blogspot.in/2014/10/urdu-speaking-are-sindhi-are-against.html

The distinctive morality of ebola

Ebola does not really hide. It is transmitted by the obviously sick and the dead. Moreover if transmission stopped tomorrow, it would disappear completely within a couple of months. In so far as it is cryptic at all it is because of a short asymptomatic incubation period and early symptoms that can be mistaken for other diseases.

As the experts have said repeatedly, it is a disease we know how to control by contract tracing and isolation of symptomatic individuals. The fact that the recent outbreak has run out of control comes down to moral decisions and in fact its spread involves moral decisions at nearly every step. It is also in an important sense black and white. There is no accommodation possible. Ebola needs to be controlled or it will just grow and grow until it overwhelms those trying to fight it and then the rest of us.

Read more » http://paintmychromosomes.blogspot.ca/2014/10/the-distinctive-morality-of-ebola_13.html

Iraqi city falls to ISIL as army withdraws

ISIL “100 percent control” Hit in Anbar, says police colonel, after troops are relocated to reinforce nearby airbase.

The Iraqi army has withdrawn from its last base in the city of Hit in Anbar province following weeks of fighting with the ISIL, leaving the group in full control, security sources have said.

Hundreds of troops were pulled out of the base and relocated to help protect the Asad air base, the AFP news agency quoted a police colonel in the provincial capital of Ramadi as saying.

Read more » Aljazeera
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/10/iraq-army-withdraws-from-last-base-hit-20141013105557467561.html

Faded glory: Sindh’s resolute fighters stand tall but forgotten

By Z Ali

HYDERABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party’s chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has put on the map the slogan ‘marsoon marsoon Sindh na desoon’ [we will die but will not give up Sindh]. What few people know is that the now-famous catchphrase was coined during a battle against the colonial British army in the 19th century.

The Talpur army’s general, Hosh Muhammad Sheedi, popularly known as Hoshu Sheedi, coined the term to inspire the soldiers who were faced with a well-armed and disciplined British army in the battle of Dabbo. He laid down his life in the fight along with his compatriots on March 24, 1843, in Miani Forest in Nerunkot (the old name for Hyderabad).

Sindh’s historians have always held Sheedi in great reverence. The Sindh government has also named some structures, such as flyovers and roads after him, besides introducing him into the academic curriculum. What is devastating is the fact that his monument in Hyderabad, inaugurated during the former Nazim Kanwar Naveed Jamil’s district government in April 2009, has been imperiled by sheer neglect since. The monument, built in a triangular enclosure on Risala Road in the centre of Hyderabad’s City tehsil, reflects his posture of leading the soldiers. The small piece of land where Sheedi sits mounted on a horse along with three companions, remains littered with garbage. The district government had placed five iron boxes for spotlights which were never installed. A few days ago, someone even stole the sword that Sheedi carried in his hand.

Continue reading Faded glory: Sindh’s resolute fighters stand tall but forgotten

Kurdish women fighters ready ‘to send ISIS to hell’

Female Kurdish fighters ignite fear into Islamic State militants, who believe that they’ll go straight to hell if they are killed by a woman. RT travelled to Iraqi-Syrian border to meet the YPG, the female battalion fighting IS.

The border area between Iraq and Syria is currently controlled by Kurdish volunteers after both Iraqi and Syrian military forces abandoned the border crossings. The women fighters occupy the lookout post on the border, which allows them to monitor all IS activities in Iraq and Syria.

Read more » http://rt.com/news/193972-kurdish-women-fighters-isis/

Ebola reaches Europe for the first time: Spanish nurse tests positive for virus after treating African patient

By Jorge Sainz, Associated Press

MADRID, Spain — In what is the first reported incident of Ebola transmission outside Africa, a Spanish nurse who treated a missionary for the disease at a Madrid hospital tested positive for the disease, Spain’s health minister said Monday.

The female nurse was part of the medical team that treated a 69-year-old Spanish priest who died in a hospital last month after being flown back from Sierra Leone, where he was posted, Health Minister Ana Mato said.

The woman went to the Alcorcon hospital in the Madrid suburbs with a fever and was placed in isolation. Mato said the infection was confirmed by two tests and that the nurse was admitted to a hospital on Sunday.

Read more » National Post
http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/10/06/ebola-reaches-europe-for-the-first-time-spanish-nurse-tests-virus-after-treating-africa-patient/

The Planned Disappearance

Following is a poetic response to ASIA: Wounds in the souls of the members of disappeared people’s families can never be cured, which appeared yesterday (September 26, 2014)

by John Joseph Clancey

Will there be another tomorrow?
Or, just another wife’s sorrow,
caused by her husband’s disappearance?

Will I hear my new-born baby’s cry?
Or, will she hear her mother’s sobbing sigh,
wondering about her husband’s disappearance?

Will I be sitting with my father in the Church pews?
Or, will he be constantly waiting for news,
since the first day of his son’s disappearance?

Will tomorrow be another worry-filled day?
Or, perhaps bring a much more creative way,
to avoid the inevitable disappearance?

So many have just gone, without a trace.
Does anyone know the precise time or exact place,
of their ultimate disappearance?

Can I ensure another tomorrow?
And prevent some further sorrow,

by disappearing before the planned disappearance?

For Basil Fernando,

who, in 1989, faced the dilemma: to disappear or be disappeared.

Courtesy: ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

Syrian Kurds feel deserted as Islamic State advances

Lightly Armed Kurds Face Terrorist Tanks, Feel ‘Deserted and Furious’ at U.S.

By Benjamin Harvey and Selcan Hacaoglu

From a hill in Turkey, spectators can watch Islamic State’s advance across Syria, its progress hindered only by a ragtag group of Kurdish fighters who say the Turkish army and U.S. air force are doing little to help.

Video footage and eyewitness accounts paint a picture of Kurds with light weapons shooting from inside homes and behind mud walls around the Syrian town of Kobani, while Islamic State militants with tanks and heavy artillery rumble across nearby fields. As the U.S.-led coalition focuses on bombing Islamic State supply lines elsewhere, the Kurds say they are being left as prey to extremists taking territory on Turkey’s border.

Read more » Bloomberg
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-03/kurds-fight-alone-as-coalition-holds-fire-against-jihadist-tanks.html?hootPostID=e567908358c67e7dea8a4a5066a461e2

Beijing warns foreign countries not to meddle in Hong Kong

China’s foreign minister made it clear Beijing would not allow other countries to meddle into its ‘internal affairs’, responding in this way to US Secretary of State’s call for Beijing to grant Hong Kong the “highest possible degree of autonomy.”

The American and the Chinese heads of foreign offices exchanged their views on the massive protests in Hong Kong before their talks at the US State Department on Wednesday.

Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said. “All countries should respect China’s sovereignty. And this is also a basic principle governing international relations. I believe for any country, for any society, no one will allow those illegal acts that violate public order.”

Wang added he believed the current Hong Kong leadership was able to handle the large-scale sit-ins by itself.

Read more » http://rt.com/news/192404-china-us-internal-affairs/

Indian girl, 7, survives being buried alive

A seven-year-old Indian girl who was allegedly buried alive by relatives in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh has been rescued by a villager.

Police say relatives first tried to strangle her and then left her to die in a shallow grave. It is unclear why.

The man who found her in Sitapur district alerted police – she was taken to a hospital and is said to be doing well.

Police are looking for her mother, uncle and aunt who they say have fled.

The villager who rescued her followed the sound of muffled cries to the middle of a cane field where he found the soil moving.

Police allege the girl’s uncle and aunt had promised to take her to a fair, but then strangled and buried her near the village of Semri Gaura where she lives.

“When the girl became conscious, she began to remove the soil on top of her and clambered out of the shallow grave. Then she sat there and cried loudly when the villager spotted her,” Sitapur police chief Rajesh Krishna told BBC Hindi.

“There are strangulation marks around the girl’s neck.”

Reports say the girl lived with her mother. Her father apparently had no idea about the attack and has told police he is estranged from his wife and lives separately.

Police say they have yet to establish a motive for the attack. But cases of baby girls being killed are not uncommon in India, where women are often discriminated against socially and girls are seen as a financial burden, particularly among poor communities.

In 2012, the father and uncle of a baby girl in Uttar Pradesh allegedly tried to bury her alive, apparently as a sacrifice to protect the health of their other children on the advice of a spiritual guru.

Courtesy: BBC
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-28948296

Should we follow the German way of free higher education?

Against the international trend, Germany has announced it will abolish tuition fees and higher education will once again be free for its citizens. Could the same happen in Australia?

In a shortlived experiment, Germany’s public universities – funded by state (Länder) governments – introduced fees in 2005. But as early as 2008, following public outcry, individual states started backtracking. The last two of the Länder still levying them will phase them out this year.

Fee-reversal could happen in Australia. We have only one government funding 37 public universities, compared to Germany’s 16 Länder funding more than 100. But perhaps the question for Australia is: should higher education be free?

The UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights supports the implementation of free higher education on the basis that higher education should be equally accessible to all. But free doesn’t necessarily mean equal.

What’s the point of having a free education if only a few can access it? Or if the quality of higher education is sub-standard? On the other hand, what if a country charges high student fees, but ensures that anybody needing financial support gets it?

Read more » theconversation.com
http://theconversation.com/should-we-follow-the-german-way-of-free-higher-education-23970

Australia has proved Solar power can replace fossil fuels

World first: Australian solar plant has generated “supercritical” steam that rivals fossil fuels’

A CSIRO test plant in Australia has broken a world record and proved solar power could efficiently replace fossil fuels.

A solar thermal test plant in Newcastle, Australia, has generated “supercritical” steam at a pressure of 23.5 MPa (3400 psi) and 570°C (1,058°F).

CSIRO is claiming it as a world record, and it’s a HUGE step for solar thermal energy.

“It’s like breaking the sound barrier; this step change proves solar has the potential to compete with the peak performance capabilities of fossil fuel sources,” Dr Alex Wonhas, CSIRO’s Energy Director, told Colin Jeffrey for Gizmag.

The Energy Centre uses a field of more than 600 mirrors (known as heliostats) which are all directed at two towers housing solar receivers and turbines, Gizmag reports.

This supercritical steam is used to drive the world’s most advanced power plant turbines, but previously it’s only been possible to produce it by burning fossil fuels such as coal or gas.

“Instead of relying on burning fossil fuels to produce supercritical steam, this breakthrough demonstrates that the power plants of the future could instead be using the free, zero emission energy of the sun to achieve the same result,” Dr Wonhas explained.

Read more » Science Alert
http://sciencealert.com.au/news/20140506-25618.html

Anger grows as wages soar for health-care CEOs while services cut for patients.

Kathleen Wynne must clean up home-care mess: Hepburn

Workers on the front lines of health care are angry that executive salaries are soaring while vital health services are silently slashed.

By:

She sits in her car and cries after telling a war veteran suffering from Parkinson’s disease that she can’t approve visits by a nurse to his home to give him the insulin he needs.

Read more » The Star

Can Civilization Survive “Really Existing Capitalism”? An Interview With Noam Chomsky

By C.J. Polychroniou, Truthout | Interview

More than four decades of Noam Chomsky’s writings are available in a new anthology from Haymarket Books. Get this collection from the master of opposing the hubris of US empire. Click here now.

For decades now, Noam Chomsky has been widely regarded as the most important intellectual alive (linguist, philosopher, social and political critic) and the leading US dissident since the Vietnam War. Chomsky has published over 100 books and thousands of articles and essays, and is the recipient of dozens of honorary doctorate degrees by some of the world’s greatest academic institutions. His latest book,Masters of Mankind: Essays and Lectures, 1969-2013, has just been published by Haymarket Books. On the occasion of the release of his last book, Chomsky gave an exclusive and wide-ranging interview to C.J. Polychroniou for Truthout, parts of which will also appear in The Sunday Eleftherotypia, a major national Greek newspaper.

C.J. Polychroniou: In a nationally televised address on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the United States, Obama announced to the American people and the rest of the world that the United States is going back to war in Iraq, this time against the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Is Iraq an unfinished business of the US invasion of 2003, or is the situation there merely the inevitable outcome of the strategic agenda of the Empire of Chaos?

It’s worth noting that religious fanaticism is spreading in the West as well, as democracy erodes.”

Noam Chomsky: “Inevitable” is a strong word, but the appearance of ISIS and the general spread of radical jihadism is a fairly natural outgrowth of Washington wielding its sledgehammer at the fragile society of Iraq, which was barely hanging together after a decade of US-UK sanctions so onerous that the respected international diplomats who administered them via the UN both resigned in protest, charging that they were “genocidal.” One of the most respected mainstream US Middle East analysts, former CIA operative Graham Fuller, recently wrote that “I think the United States is one of the key creators of [ISIS]. The United States did not plan the formation of ISIS, but its destructive interventions in the Middle East and the war in Iraq were the basic causes of the birth of ISIS.”

Read more » Truth-out.org

See more » http://truth-out.org/news/item/26538-can-civilization-survive-really-existing-capitalism-an-interview-with-noam-chomsky