Delhi entrepreneur launches app to unite Pakistan and India

By Dawn.com

In a bid to limit the rivalry between India and Pakistan to sports grounds, a Delhi-based entrepreneur earlier this month launched a new app to improve relations between the two South Asian rivals.

‘India or Pakistan’ is an innovative application, available on Google Play store, that questions the reader, after showing pictures of the two nations. The idea is to make people focus on what unites them by making them guess whether the photographs were taken in India or Pakistan.

In light of recent events, it is a welcoming gesture that is part of the wider movement called ‘India Loves Pakistan’ that was launched in 2013. The Delhi-based social movement aims to ‘add .. human element to the India-Pakistan relationship.’

The initiative operates primarily on Twitter through #DearNeighbour and #IndiaWithPakistan.

Where the former was launched as a generic hashtag to initiate dialogue across the border, the latter was trending post-Peshawar massacre in Pakistan, with thousands of Indians expressing solidarity with Pakistanis after the terrorist attack.

Courtesy: DAWN
Read more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1166300/

Sindhis to get a shrine they can call their own in Kutch

By ,TNN

Once, the Sindhu (Indus) river ended here. On the banks of Kori Creek in Kutch’s Lakhpat district in Gujarat and close to Sindh’s capital Karachi, it had the Arabian Sea in the backdrop. From the sea, riding a fish, the deity of Sindhis, Lord Jhulelal, is believed to have emerged to rescue the community from a tyrant king. The place seems a perfect site for Jhulelal Tirathdham, a future nerve centre for the global Sindhi community.

Work on the Tirathdham complex which includes a massive Jhulelal temple, a museum, amphitheatre, auditorium, meditation centre, shelter for pilgrims and other amenities will start soon. As they plan a bhoomi poojan on Cheti Chand, the Sindhi New Year on March 21, the management is trying to invite PM Narendra Modi as the chief guest.

Armed with around 40 acres of land and NOCs from government departments, Shri Jhulelal Tirathdham Trust is embarking on a project never witnessed in the history of Sindhi Hindus, migrants from Sindh after Partition. “Every community has a centre they identify with. Muslims have Mecca, Sikhs the Golden Temple, Hindus have Vaishnodevi and Tirupati even as both Christians and Jews take pride in Jerusalem,” says historian and Tirathdham’s managing trustee, Subhadra Anand. “The scattered and linguistically minority community, Sindhis, have prospered materially but are uprooted culturally and spiritually. The centre will be a bonding force for Sindhis who are fast losing their language and culture.”

It was Anand who, during a lecture on threats to Sindhi identity in Gujarat in the late 1990s, first expressed the desire to build a monument to Sindhi ethos. In the audience was Madhav Joshi, a local who suggested the centre could be in Kutch which houses pilgrim sites like Narayan Sarovar (Krishna temple), Koteshwar (Shiva temple) and an ancient Gurudwara.

Next, Anand and trust chairman and diamond tycoon Dilip Lakhi met then Gujarat CM Modi. “After he heard us, Modi said ‘your dream is my dream’. His response made a difference,” says Anand.

To be created in the helically tapering form of a pyramid, the temple is to be the tallest in India. The project also includes schools, a hospital and a wedding centre. Being backed by rich and not-so-rich Sindhis alike, the trustees are approaching community members for funds. “Sindhis dream big and have built big educational institutions, hospitals and homes. Now building the Tirathdham is the community’s collective dream,” hopes trustee and realty czar Niranjan Hiranandani.

News courtesy: The Times of India
Read more » http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Sindhis-to-get-a-shrine-they-can-call-their-own-in-Kutch/articleshow/46363798.cms

Google Is Making Its Biggest Bet on Renewable Energy

(Bloomberg) — Google Inc. is making its largest bet yet on renewable energy, a $300 million investment to support at least 25,000 SolarCity Corp. rooftop power plants.

Google is contributing to a SolarCity fund valued at $750 million, the largest ever created for residential solar, the San Mateo, California-based solar panel installer said Thursday in a statement.

Google has now committed more than $1.8 billion to renewable energy projects, including wind and solar farms on three continents. This deal, which may have a return as high as 8 percent, is a sign that technology companies can take advantage of investment formats once reserved only for banks.

“Hopefully this will lead other corporations to invest in renewable energy,” SolarCity Chief Executive Officer Lyndon Rive said in a phone interview.

Read more » Bloomberg
See more » http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-26/google-makes-biggest-bet-on-renewables-to-fund-solarcity?hootPostID=ec03be21cb060deb7c44af681ec97bf1

China submarines outnumber U.S. fleet: U.S. admiral

Washington: (Reuters) – China is building some “fairly amazing submarines” and now has more diesel- and nuclear-powered vessels than the United States, a top U.S. Navy admiral told U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday, although he said their quality was inferior.

Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for capabilities and resources, told the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower subcommittee that China was also expanding the geographic areas of operation for its submarines, and their length of deployment.

For instance, China had carried out three deployments in the Indian Ocean, and had kept vessels out at sea for 95 days, Mulloy said.

“We know they are out experimenting and looking at operating and clearly want to be in this world of advanced submarines,” Mulloy told the committee.

U.S. military officials in recent months have grown increasingly vocal about China’s military buildup and launched a major push to ensure that U.S. military technology stays ahead of rapid advances by China and Russia.

Mulloy said the quality of China’s submarines was lower than those built by the United States, but the size of its undersea fleet had now surpassed that of the U.S. fleet. A spokeswoman said the U.S. Navy had 71 commissioned U.S. submarines.

U.S. submarines are built by Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. and General Dynamics Corp.

In its last annual report to Congress about China’s military and security developments, the Pentagon said China had 77 principal surface combatant ships, more than 60 submarines, 55 large and medium amphibious ships, and about 85 missile-equipped small combatants.

Mulloy did not provide details about the number of surface ships now operated by China.

He said the U.S. military did not believe China carried nuclear missiles on its submarines, but that it had been producing missiles and testing them.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; editing by Gunna Dickson)

News courtesy: Reuters
Read more » http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/25/us-usa-china-submarines-idUSKBN0LT2NE20150225

 

How Stephen Hawking, diagnosed with ALS decades ago, is still alive

By Terrence McCoy

On April 20, 2009, a moment arrived that doctors had foretold for decades. Stephen Hawking, a scientist who overcame debilitating disease to become the world’s most renowned living physicist, was on the cusp of death. The University of Cambridge released grim prognoses. Hawking, diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at the age of 21, was described as “very ill” and “undergoing tests” at the hospital. Newspapers ran obituary-esque articles. It seemed time was up for the man who so eloquently explained it.

But, as is his custom, Hawking survived.

Hawking shouldn’t be able to do the things he now does. The 73-year-old shouldn’t be able to deliver meditations on the existence of God. He shouldn’t be able to fret over artificial intelligence or humanity’s capacity for self-destruction. And he most definitely shouldn’t be able to attend the BAFTAs — Britain’s academy awards — settled inside the wheelchair that has carried him for decades, expressing admiration for a recent biopic that paid homage to his struggle. But yet, he is. And he does.

[Stephen Hawking says that ‘aggression,’ humanity’s greatest vice, will destroy civilization]

It’s difficult to overstate the lethality of ALS, the condition with which Hawking lives. The disorder can befall anyone. It first brings muscle weakness, then wasting, then paralysis, ripping away the ability to speak and swallow and even breathe. The ALS Association says the average lifespan of someone diagnosed with the condition is between two and five years. More than 50 percent make it past year three. Twenty percent make it past year five. From there, the number plummets. Less than 5 percent make it past two decades.

And then there’s Hawking. He has passed that two-decade mark twice — first in 1983, then in 2003. It’s now 2015. His capacity for survival is so great some experts say he can’t possibly suffer from ALS given the ease with which the disease traditionally dispatches victims. And others say they’ve simply never seen anyone like Hawking.

Read more » The Washington Post
Learn more » http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/02/24/how-stephen-hawking-survived-longer-than-possibly-any-other-als-patient/?tid=sm_fb

Secret to the Apple Car Is the Battery

By

When news leaked that Apple could produce an electric car as early as 2020, lots of people had visions of driving a sleek, white, environmentally friendly automobile with a big iPad running down the center console. The number of employees Apple had already poached from Tesla and other car makers implied that Chief Executive Tim Cook had ambitions that went far beyond auto software like its existing CarPlay. Reports outlined the many ways that tech’s golden child could disrupt the car industry. Auto execs were put on notice: Apple the Unstoppable is coming for you.

Read more » Bloomberg

In the Time It Takes to Read This Story, a Solar Array Will Go up Somewhere

The marketplace for solar power isn’t cooperating with pessimists

Solar panels are super cheap, with prices down more than 75 percent in five years. Just $0.70 a watt! That’s great news, even if few people can explain what a watt feels like exactly.  And the future is growing even brighter, according to a report released today from the independent German research group Agora Energiewende. The analysts report that leading global projections of world energy use may be missing the big picture: “Most scenarios fundamentally underestimate the role of solar power in future energy systems,” the report states. The price of silicon panels is no longer the cost headache it’s been historically. How much sun a location gets, the authors write, is less than a factor than many might think. What increasingly matters is financing costs.

Read more » Bloomberg
See more » http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-24/in-the-time-it-takes-to-read-this-story-a-solar-array-will-go-up-somewhere-i6jrbr4x?hootPostID=d7724d162a760d8a3b726708c34ed292

Argentina seizes Falkland Islands… with help of 50 pesos

More than 30 years after Argentinian forces made a failed attempt to seize the Falkland Islands from the British, Argentina’s Central Bank has announced the introduction of a 50 peso note with the archipelago emblazoned on the front.

On the reverse side of the colorful note is an image of Antonio Rivero, the Argentinian rebel leader who led an 1833 uprising in an effort to reclaim the islands from the British. Rivero, today a folk hero in the South American country, is pictured on horseback waving an Argentinian flag above his head.

The new banknote, which is worth £3.70 ($4.20), is scheduled to enter circulation next month.

Central Bank President Alejandro Vanoli explained that the goal of the new banknote is to “incorporate the Argentine nation’s unwavering claim over the Islas Malvinas [as they are known locally] into an element of daily use.”

Read more » http://rt.com/news/235279-argentina-banknote-falklands-britain/

The World’s 10 Fastest Growing Metropolitan Areas

By Joseph Parilla and Jesus Leal Trujillo

With only 20 percent of the population, the world’s 300 largest metropolitan economies account for nearly half of global economic output. Through our new Global Metro Monitorreport and interactive, users can understand the individual trajectories of the world’s large metropolitan economies and gain new insights into sources of growth that national or regional assessments tend to obscure.

The fastest growing metro areas this year, as measured by our economic performance index that combines employment and GDP per capita growth, are concentrated in China, Turkey and the Middle East.

Read more » Brrokings
See more » http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/the-avenue/posts/2015/02/10-worlds-10-fastest-growing-metropolitan-areas-parilla-trujillo?cid=00900015020089101US0001-02241

India’s ‘other’ war: Jihadi paranoia and ethnic militancy

By Nilim Dutta

The December 23 carnage

It was between 17:00 and 17:50 hours when a series of calls came. It was Dec 23, 2014 and I was in Guwahati, Assam that evening where I was born and have grown up.

“Sir, our people have been killed in an attack in at least two villages in Ultapani area. Their homes have been burnt down.”

“Sir, all our people have been killed. All of them.”

I asked, “Calm down. Where has this happened?”

“Sir, in Sonajuli in Pabhoi area. Sir, Phulbari 9 & 10.”

I immediately communicated it to the top echelons of the security establishment whose responsibility it is to respond to such terror attacks. The calls, however, kept pouring in.

“Sir, another attack in Serfanguri. Our people have been killed there too.”

In another hour, it became apparent to me from the steady stream of direct information from the places of occurrence that casualties would exceed 50 and many would be children. India’s national media was still oblivious.

For the next 48 hours, I would have little time to sleep or even eat as not only did I continue to manage a steady stream of ‘critical’ information directly from the ground to help deal with the aftermath, but also responded to numerous calls from terrified villagers across a 300-km stretch of remote border villages, reassuring them or aiding them in any way possible.

One of the worst terror strikes in India in this decade thus took place on Dec 23, 2014 in the North Eastern state of Assam. In a coordinated, near-simultaneous attack on five locations, the farthest of which were at least 300-km apart, terrorists brutally gunned down 81 unarmed civilians belonging to the Adivasi community.

While India’s security establishment was preoccupied with creating an alarm about possible terrorist strikes from the Islamic State, Al Qaeda or even Pakistan’s ‘good terrorists’ the Lashkar-e-Taiba in the past few months, this terror attack embarrassingly didn’t come from any Islamic Jihadi groups. The carnage was perpetrated by India’s own ‘good terrorists’ who had been treated with kid gloves for decades in spite of being responsible for some of the worst terror attacks India has suffered in the last three decades.

The manufactured paranoia of ‘Jihadi’ terror

It was in July 2014 that an important minister of Prime Minister Modi’s cabinet and a very senior bureaucrat in India’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) were both honoured guests to ‘launch’ a monthly magazine in New Delhi’s Press Club of India. No national newspaper appears to have carried this as news and it would have even escaped our attention had it not been for the ‘cover feature’ of the first issue of the magazine: “Al Qaeda begins hiring in North East”.

The ‘cover feature’ went on to claim that it was in possession of a highly classified intelligence report that recruiters from Al Qaeda were targeting Muslim youth from Manipur and Assam, two of India’s North Eastern states, to join the global Islamic terror network. It claimed that in the first batch, Al Qaeda had recruited 17 Muslim youth from Manipur to join the global jihadi network and fight in India, Syria and Iraq. In the second batch, the magazine claimed, 10 Muslim youth from Manipur were recruited.

What made the report believable to even an informed reader was that it carried the names of the 17 Manipuri Muslim youth from Lilong in Thoubal district in Manipur who had reportedly joined Al Qaeda.

What naturally aroused my curiosity was how did a nondescript magazine come into possession of such a ‘highly classified intelligence report’? Why did an important member of Modi’s cabinet as well as a very senior bureaucrat in charge of ‘internal security’ in India’s North East happen to launch this magazine?

Events took an even more curious turn when people in Lilong, from where Al Qaeda had reportedly recruited the Muslim youth, broke out in protest and burned copies of the magazine. When threat of appropriate legal action was conveyed to the magazine, the publisher and the editor hastily apologised and conveyed that they may have got the names wrong and that they had only published the names based on an intelligence report. They also categorically clarified that they had no intention of casting aspersions on the people of Lilong, particularly its Muslim community.

Months later, many so called ‘experts’ would cite this dubious report as ‘proof’ of how Al Qaeda has already made inroads into India’s North East, among them the Director of the South Asia Programme of the Washington DC based ‘Middle East Media Research Institute’ or MEMRI in a piece he had written for The New Indian Express.

The fear regarding India’s North East, particularly Manipur or Assam, becoming the hotbed for recruitment by Al Qaeda and sundry jihadi group’s intensified after Al Qaeda released a video early in September 2014 where Ayman Al-Zawahiri announced the formation of ‘Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent’ and mentioned that it “would be good news for Muslims in Myanmar (Burma), Bangladesh and in the Indian states of Assam, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir, where they would be rescued from injustice and oppression.”

With a Hindutva Right government in power at the Centre, this was all that was needed to now ratchet up the fear of ‘jihadi terrorism’ targeting India even though any such threat had not increased radically by any standards of objective professional assessment.

Imagine offering ‘general amnesty’ to the terrorists who carried out the Mumbai suburban train blasts on July 11, 2006. Imagine giving those terrorists an ‘autonomous council’ to rule as reward.

Exactly a month later, on Oct 2, 2014, in a nondescript town called Burdwan in Assam’s neighbouring state of West Bengal, a bomb went off in a house killing the bomb makers. India’s premier terror investigating agency, National Investigation Agency (NIA) soon took over the case and revealed that the suspects, including the deceased, were active members of Jamat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). Some of them were allegedly Bangladeshis living illegally in India.

Continue reading India’s ‘other’ war: Jihadi paranoia and ethnic militancy

Reuters’ Pak-Afghan bureau chief found dead in Islamabad

By Dawn.com

ISLAMABAD: Maria Golovnina, the Pakistan and Afghanistan bureau chief of Reuters who was based in Islamabad, was found dead at her office in the capital’s F-8 sector, sources in the police told Dawn.

Golovnina had reportedly gone to the toilet, and had not stepped out for a long time when people who were present barged in.

She was reportedly lying on the floor covered in vomit.

he bureau chief was rushed to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) where she was pronounced dead.

Doctors at Pims told Dawn Maria had passed away before she could be brought to the hospital.

The hospital will carry out a post-mortem before handing over the body to Russian authorities.

The cause of Golovnina’s death could not be determined immediately and authorities have launched an investigation to ascertain the facts of the case.

Read more » DAWN
Learn more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1165411

Indian Government suggests activities for promoting Sindhi language

New Delhi: The government has mooted the development of the e-learning curriculum in Sindhi and the uploading of rare books in the national e-library in an attempt to promote the language, an official statement said on Thursday.

The activities, suggested by Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani at the recently held meeting of the newly-reconstituted Governing Council of National Council for Promotion of Sindhi Language (NCPSL), would be undertaken for the language`s development.

Under the e-learning curriculum in Sindhi Language, a foundation course of the language would be provided free of cost. Also, the works of young and upcoming Sindhi writers would be published by the National Book Trust.

The books of new writers would be exhibited during the World Book Fair in 2016.

“A competition among young Sindhi knowing students will be conducted and the top three winners will be sent on a `Shodh Yatra` across the Asian continent.”

They would be accompanied by a writer and a historian to study the roots of Sindhi language, culture and its civilization. Their experiences in the form of books will also be published by the government,” a Human Resource Development Ministry statement said.

The meeting was attended by 21 members, who are eminent scholars of Sindhi language and culture.

The minister also suggested that one cultural club in major clusters of Sindhi speaking people would be made functional in which the younger generation would participate in activities like drama, poetry, writing, music and performing arts.

It was suggested that a national-level competition be held for these activities, and an award of Rs.1 lakh has been earmarked.

“It has also been decided to upload rare books of Sindhi language in the National E-Library and such rare books would also be published by the National Book Trust for circulation.”

The task of standardisation of prescribed text books for schools in Sindhi language using Devanagari script will be undertaken by the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL),” it said.

A few important decisions taken in the meeting included an increase in the award money from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh for the Lifetime Achievement Award presented to a Sindhi writer for his/her outstanding lifetime contribution in Sindhi literature.

There was also an increase in award money, from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh, for 10 eminent writers, recognising their contribution to the field of Sindhi literature, the statement said.

The increase in award money in all cases would be effective from 2014-15.

It was also decided in the meeting to provide Rs 1 crore for the establishment of a Sindhi chair in Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati University, Ajmer.

~ IANS

Courtesy: ZeeNews
S
ee more » http://zeenews.india.com/news/india/government-suggests-activities-for-promoting-sindhi-language_1548762.html

Russia ratifies $100bn BRICS New Development Bank

The Russian State Duma has ratified the $100 billion BRICS bank that’ll serve as a pool of money for infrastructure projects in Russia, Brazil, India, China and South Africa, and challenge the dominance of the Western-led World Bank and the IMF.

The New Development Bank is expected to start fully functioning by the end of 2015, according to the Russian Finance Ministry.

Russia has agreed to provide $2 billion dollars from the federal budget for the bank over the next seven years.

It will have three-tiers of corporate governance, with a Board of Governors, Board of Directors and a President.

The bank’s board of directors will hold its first meeting in Ufa in Russia in April. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov is likely to become the bank’s first Chairman of the Board of Governors, according to Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak talking on the Russia 24 TV channel.

The decision to establish the BRICS bank, along with a $100 billion reserve currency pool, was made in July 2014. Each of the five member countries is expected to allocate an equal share of the $50 billion startup capital that will be expanded to $100 billion.

The bank will be headquartered in Shanghai, India will serve as the first five-year rotating president, and the first Chairman of the Board of Directors will come from Brazil.

Read more » RT
See more » http://rt.com/business/234027-russia-ratifies-brics-bank/

Al-Shabab stages deadly attack on Somalia luxury hotel

At least 11 people killed in an attack on the Central Hotel in Mogadishu, Somali police say.

By Hamza Mohamed

At least 11 people were killed, including a police officer, in an attack by al Shabab fighters on a luxury hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu, police sources said. The Central Hotel in the heart of Mogadishu was hit by a two car bomb explosion, which was followed by heavy gunfire after attackers stormed into the building, police officers said. Al Jazeera has learned that the deputy mayor of Mogadishu, as well as two members of parliament were killed.   Analysis: Al-Shabab’s deadly attack in Mogadishu A government spokesman told Al Jazeera that contratry to earlier reports, the deputy prime minister was unhurt.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the raid in a phone call to Al Jazeera. The group claimed it had killed more than 20 senior government officials in attack.

“We have killed more than 20 senior officials working for the apostate government. They gathered thinking they were safe from the Mujahedeen,” al Shabab military operations spokesman, Abdiaziz abu Muscab told Al Jazeera.

“We hear gunshots inside. I am afraid the attackers have also gone inside the hotel,” police captain Farah Abdullahi told the Reuters news agency.

Another police officer also said attackers had entered the building and that government ministers and MPs were inside the hotel when it was attacked.

January hotel attack

Friday’s assault was the second on a hotel in Mogadishu in less than a month. On January 22, three Somali nationals were killed when a suicide car bomber blew himself up at the gate of a hotel housing the advance party of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who visited the country days later.

A Somali intelligence official said that the Turkish delegation of around 70 members was staying at the hotel at the time of the attack but were unharmed.

Despite major setbacks in 2014, al-Shabab continues to wage a deadly campaign against Somalia’s government and remains a threat in Somalia and the East African region.

The group has carried out many attacks in Somalia and in neighbouring countries, including Kenya, whose armies are part of the African Union peacekeeping mission known as AMISOM.

Al-Shabab controlled much of Mogadishu during the years 2007 to 2011, but was pushed out of Somalia’s capital and other major cities by the AU forces.

Read more » Aljazeera
See more » http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/02/deaths-attack-luxury-hotel-somalia-capital-mogadishu-150220103959237.html

 

Islamic State poses a Dangerous Threat to the world

By GURMEET KANWAL

On February 16, 2015, the terrorist group that calls itself the Islamic Caliphate (also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh) released a video showing the gruesome execution of 21 Egyptian citizens in Libya. All of them were Coptic Christians. Egypt promptly joined the fight against ISIS by launching air strikes in Derna, a hotbed of terrorism. Egypt has already been fighting terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula where many Army personnel have been killed since President Mohammed Morsi was overthrown in July 2013.

A few days earlier, ISIS fighters had burnt alive a captured Jordanian pilot because Jordan had refused to be blackmailed into releasing Sajida Al-Rishawi, a jailed ISIS activist. And, a week before that brutal execution, the ISIS had beheaded the second of two Japanese hostages.

The emergence of the ISIS is only the latest manifestation of the continuing conflict in the arc of instability known as West Asia or the Middle East. The triumphant march of the virulently radical Sunni terrorists of the ISIS in 2014 was finally halted virtually on the gates of Baghdad. The ISIS, numbering between 20,000 and 30,000, now controls a large area straddling the Syria-Iraq border and have seized key border crossings on the Syrian border with Jordan. After capturing Faluja in January 2014, ISIS fighters made rapid progress in advancing along the Euphrates River in Anbar province of Iraq.

Read more » NITI Central
See more » http://www.niticentral.com/stream

Lord Shiva was Muslims’ first prophet, says Jamiat Ulema Mufti Muhammad Ilyas

By ABP News Bureau

Ayodhya:  Jamiat Ulema’s Mufti Muhammad Ilyas is being criticized by Muslim groups for saying Lord Shiva was Muslims’ first prophet.

He also said that all Muslims were the followers of Sanatan Dharma.

“All religions are preaching the same message. We are Indians first and our message is of peace, harmony and brotherhood. The way people in China are called Chinese and in Japan are called Japanese, similarly we are called Hindustani,” Ilyas said.

“India is our birthplace and roots of our religion. Lord Shiva was Muslims’ first prophet. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are our creators and parents which is a reality,” he added.

Read more » ABP
See more » http://www.abplive.in/india/2015/02/19/article506324.ece/Lord-Shiva-was-Muslims-first-prophet-says-Jamiat-Ulema-Mufti-Muhammad-Ilyas

Germany Rejects Loan Request Saying Greece Must Meet Conditions

(Bloomberg) — Germany rejected Greece’s request for an extension of its aid program, saying its offer doesn’t meet the euro region’s conditions for continuing aid.

The Greek government is trying to agree bridge-financing without meeting the conditions of its existing rescue program, German Finance Ministry Spokesman Martin Jaeger said in an e-mailed statement. European Commission Spokesman Margaritis Schinas moments earlier had said the Greek letter could be the basis for a “reasonable compromise.”

The euro dropped 0.3 percent to $1.1358.

Read more » Bloomberg
See more » http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-19/eu-says-greek-letter-may-pave-way-for-reasonable-compromise-i6c3go5j

Barack Obama says US ‘at war with those perverting Islam’

US President Barack Obama says the US is “not at war with Islam – we are at war with the people who have perverted Islam”.

He was speaking to representatives from 60 nations attending a three-day event on extremism that follows attacks in Denmark and France.

Mr Obama said the world had to confront the ideologies that radicalise people.

He said those heading groups like Islamic State and al-Qaeda were not religious leaders but terrorists.

Mr Obama said associating Islamic State or al-Qaeda with Islam would be buying into the propaganda of those groups, challenging critics who have questioned him for not describing recent attacks as the work of “Islamic radicals”.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-3152321

 

The Robots Are Coming for Your Paycheck

Technological progress isn’t always a good thing.

A paper out this month concludes smart machines, such as robots, have the potential to destroy good-paying jobs and damage the economy.

“In other words, technological progress can be immiserating,” Boston University’sSeth Benzell, Laurence Kotlikoff and Guillermo LaGarda, and Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs write.

The study, “Robots are Us: Some Economics of Human Replacement,” is careful to note that’s not the only possible outcome. But it does predict a long-run decline in labor’s share of income, a cycle of tech booms and busts, and a growing dependency on past software investment rather than continued.

Economists have long debated the role of technology and the future of the economy. And clearly automation is playing a bigger and bigger role in daily life.

Messrs. Benzell, Kotlikoff, LaGarda and Sachs look specifically at the creation of software code that powers machines used to produce goods–that is, robots. Their worry is that the stock of good code will grow during a boom to the point that the demand for new code will decline, leading to lower wages in the high-tech field. That, in turn, means less savings and investment, and the accumulation of fewer assets.

“The long run in such a case is no techno-utopia,” the authors say. “Yes, code is abundant. But capital is dear. And yes, everyone is fully employed. But no one is earning very much.”

During the ensuing bust, consumption falls and not enough capital accumulates for the next round of investment.

“In short, when smart machines replace people, they eventually bite the hands of those that finance them,” the authors say.

Read more » The Wall Street Journal 
Learn more » http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2015/02/17/the-robots-are-coming-for-your-paycheck/

Is Conscious Capitalism Possible?

Is Conscious Capitalism Possible? It’s Time For A Revolution Of Consciousness

by

There is a lot of talk about the possibility of “Conscious Capitalism” these days and some “life coaches” that I know are going into corporations trying to raise consciousness and create a warmer working environment.

My question always is —what is their motivation? And are they just going where the money is?

I have written about conferences like Wisdom 2.0 and efforts to bring mindfulness into the workplace, especially in the tech arena, but the trend against such positive endeavours is frightening.

Seduced by technology and seeking “control,” we have empowered companies to take our privacy and sanity for granted.

Read more » Collective Evolution
Learn more » http://www.collective-evolution.com/2015/02/16/is-conscious-capitalism-possible-its-time-for-a-revolution/

The pro-worker, pro-growth experiment in Greece is under threat

By 

While the wealthiest 85 individuals on the planet own more wealth than the bottom half of the world’s population – and when the top 1% will soon own more wealth than the bottom 99% – the people of Greece and the anti-austerity party, Syriza, they elected to lead them are struggling to rebuild their economy so that ordinary people there can live with a shred of dignity and security.

But powerful international interests are putting the pro-growth, pro-worker experiment in progressive democracy currently underway in grave danger.

Greece is on the verge of leaving the Eurozone rather than accept a continuation of the reduced government spending measures imposed on it by the union’s other 18 members in exchange for a credit package that expires at the end of February; talks in Brussels broke down on Monday after the Syriza negotiators refused to break the party’s promises to the Greek people by accepting more punishing austerity. The German government, the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB) all seem intent on bringing the new government to heel, regardless of the people for whom German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble claims to feel sorry.

The real concern, apparently, is that democracy may go too far for austerity advocates to continue imposing their economic ideology from a distance: in Spain, Portugal, Finland and elsewhere, the patience of citizens is wearing thin as a growing number of them awaken to the stark reality that, while the very rich get much richer, the austerity programs their governments dutifully implemented are the cause rather than the cure for what ails their economies.

If Syriza succeeds in rolling back the EU-mandated measures, it could encourage dissident political movements in other parts of Europe; the right-wing governments in Europe’s periphery are terrified of a Greek success at the negotiating table.

Syriza’s recent electoral success was a clear indictment of the budget-strangling policies that left Greece mired in a depression for the last five years. Back at the beginning, money that should have been used to protect Greek families and rebuild Greek communities was instead used to protect the holders of Greek government debt – mainly French and German banks.

Read more » The Guardian
Learn more » http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/17/the-pro-worker-pro-growth-experiment-in-greece-is-under-threat

 

Sunny business: India to trump US with 750 megawatt solar power plant

The construction of the world’s largest solar power plant is underway in central India. When the 750-megawatt site starts operating in August, 2016, the project is set to overtake America’s 550-megawatt ‘Desert Sunlight’ in California.

The world’s largest solar power plant that will be generating 750MW of electricity had been recently commissioned in Rewa district of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, the Times of India reported on Monday.

Now, the 40-billion-rupee ($643 million) project is close to acquisition of 1,500 hectares of land, and by April government agencies are believed to start inviting tenders from developers. It is a joint venture of state-run PSU Urja Vikas Nigam with Solar Energy Corporation of India, and at least 20 percent of the energy generated by the plant will be used within the Madhya Pradesh state.

Read more » RT
See more » http://rt.com/news/232675-india-largest-solar-plant/

Titanium jaw created by Israeli dental tech firm on Israeli-developed 3D printer

By BY DAVID SHAMAH

Over the past several years, Israeli hospitals have treated hundreds of victims of the Syrian civil war, but a procedure conducted on a Syrian patient last week at Rambam Hospital in Haifa was easily the most ambitious the institution has ever attempted, according to the hospital

The patient, who sustained severe injuries as a result of fighting on the Syrian side of the Golan border, was brought by the Israeli army to the hospital for treatment. The patient’s lower jaw was completely destroyed as the result of a bullet wound. The man, in critical condition, was unable to eat or to even speak.

Continue reading Titanium jaw created by Israeli dental tech firm on Israeli-developed 3D printer

Bye, the beloved country – why almost 40 percent of Israelis are thinking of emigrating

By and Shanee Shiloh

According to a new survey, more than a third of Israelis would leave the country if they could, citing economic opportunities as the main reason. Who are the wannabe leavers, and what can be done to induce them to stay?

Read more » Haaretz
Learn more » http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/bye-the-beloved-country-why-almost-40-percent-of-israelis-are-thinking-of-emigrating.premium-1.484945

 

 

Netanyahu says European Jews should immigrate to Israel

 

Israeli prime minister pushes plan encouraging Jews to “come home” in wake of deadly attack on Copenhagen synagogue.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for “massive immigration” of European Jews to Israel following the shooting attack outside a Copenhagen synagogue that killed a Danish Jew.

Netanyahu said the government on Sunday will discuss a $46M plan to encourage Jewish immigration from France, Belgium and Ukraine.

“This wave of attacks is expected to continue,” Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting. “Jews deserve security in every country, but we say to our Jewish brothers and sisters, Israel is your home.”

Read more » Aljazeera
Learn more » http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/02/netanyahu-european-jews-immigrate-israel-150215105904162.html

Islamist State fighters seize western Iraqi town – officials

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Islamic State insurgents took control on Thursday of most of the western Iraqi town of al-Baghdadi, threatening an air base where U.S. Marines are training Iraqi troops, officials said.

Al-Baghdadi, about 85 km (50 miles) northwest of Ramadi in Anbar province, had been besieged for months by the radical Sunni Islamist militants who captured vast swathes of Iraq’s north and west last year.

“Ninety percent of al-Baghdadi district has fallen under the control of the insurgents,” district manager Naji Arak told Reuters by phone.

Militants attacked al-Baghdadi from two directions earlier in the day and then advanced on the town, intelligence sources and officials in the Jazeera and Badiya operations commands said.

The officials said another group of insurgents then attacked the heavily-guarded Ain al-Asad air base five km southwest of the town, but were unable to break into it.

About 320 U.S. Marines are training members of the Iraqi 7th Division at the base, which has been struck by mortrar fire on at least one previous occasion since December.

U.S. officials in Iraq were not immediately available for comment, and a defence ministry spokesman declined to comment on the situation in Anbar.

The death toll from the fighting was not immediately clear.

Most of the surrounding towns in Anbar fell under Islamic State control after the group’s rapid advance across the Syrian border last summer.

(Reporting by Saif Hameed; Writing by Stephen Kalin; Editing by Andrew Roche)

News courtesy: Reuters
Learn more » http://in.mobile.reuters.com/article/idINKBN0LG22G20150212?irpc=932

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Darwin Day

“IT’S NOT THE STRONGEST SPECIES THAT SURVIVES, NOR THE MOST INTELLIGENT BUT THE SPECIES THAT RESPONDS BETTER TO CHANGING”. ~ CHARLES DARWIN

Naturalist Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, England, on February 12, 1809. In 1831, he embarked on a five-year survey voyage around the world on the HMS Beagle. His studies of specimens around the globe led him to formulate his theory of evolution and his views on the process of natural selection. In 1859, he published On the Origin of Species. He died on April 19, 1882, in London.

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Obama Is Pursuing Regime Change in Israel

Angered by Netanyahu’s invitation to address Congress, the White House is now quietly working to unsettle the prime minister before elections in Israel.

BY AARON DAVID MILLER

The White House, Secretary of State John Kerry, and assorted U.S. officials have repeatedly made clear that Washington will not intervene in Israeli politics and elections. And, indeed, under normal circumstances, non-intervention is the rule.

But what if Israel suddenly and blatantly intervened in America’s politics? Would an administration already fed up with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — and very much hoping for a new leader to come out of Israel’s March 17 elections — use such an intervention to try to tip what promises to be a close vote to a rival?

Welcome to regime change, Obama style. There are few opportunities to change the mullahcracy in Tehran. But Jerusalem may be another story. By accepting Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to address a joint meeting of Congress — now widely seen as a real bungle, the prime minister has given the Obama administration an opening. And you can bet the White House is taking advantage to make it unmistakably clear that Bibi is bad for the U.S.-Israeli relationship.

The White House has already made clear there will no meeting with President Obama, assuming that Netanyahu sticks to his word and actually shows up in early March. The good news for Netanyahu is that the two won’t have another bad meeting. The not-so-good news is that the White House door will be closed to a sitting Israeli prime minister — that doesn’t happen often. While White House spokesman Josh Earnest has said that the reason is that we’re too close to an Israeli election, that’s a stretch. Trust me: If Obama and Bibi were buddies, they’d be hugging in the Oval Office. Just look at former President Bill Clinton’s efforts to sway the 1996 election in Shimon Peres’s favor, which included seeing him at the White House.

 

Read more » FP
Learn more » http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/02/12/obama-is-pursuing-regime-change-in-israel-bibi-netanyahu-elections/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=%2AEditors%20Picks&utm_campaign=2014_EditorsPicksRS2%2F12

We killed Gandhi, will murder Kejriwal too: Right-wing leader

BY : News Nation Bureau

New Delhi : If competition from Congress and BJP was not enough, now Arvind Kejriwal has got a new rival in the name of Swami Omji who is an independent candidate from New Delhi constituency. His party symbol is flute.

Talking to reporters on Monday, he said, “I am from Hindu Mahasabha but BJP is my party. I am also global president of Om Saiji Party. Since Asaram and Narayan Sai are in jail, therefore the responsibility is with me now.”

Threatening Kejriwal, he said, “I am against Kejriwal, he is anti-national. On 21, January 2014 – I entered Kejriwal’s house and thrashed him.”

He even dared the AAP leader by saying that he will kill anti-nationals like Kejriwal

Claiming to be from Hindu Mahasabha, he mentioned, “We killed Mahatma Gandhi. In the future, we will try to convince anti-nationals like Kejriwal. If he doesn’t listen, we will shoot him and kill him.”

News courtesy: News Nation
Read more » http://www.newsnation.in/article/69352-we-killed-gandhi-murder-kejriwal-too-right-wing-leader.html