Sunday, December 31, 2017

Fwd: Law aiding Monsanto is reason for Delhi’s annual smoke season

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Arvind Kumar

Law aiding Monsanto is reason for Delhi's annual smoke season

By Arvind Kumar | NEW DELHI | 30 December, 2017
Dense smog covers Delhi-Gurugram Expressway in Gurugram on 5 December. IANS
Delhi's problem of being covered by smoke started right after the Punjab Preservation of Subsoil Water Act in 2009, which delayed the burning of crops till late October, was implemented for the first time.

Until a few years ago, when farmers in Punjab burnt the remnants of the rice crops in their fields in preparation for sowing wheat, the smoke from such fires was confined to Punjab. Back then, farmers burnt the straw in late September and early October. According to a publication of the Indian Council of Social Science Research published in 1991, "At the end of September and in early October, it becomes difficult to travel in the rural areas of Punjab because the air is thick with the smoke of burning paddy straw." However, in recent years, farmers have delayed the burning until late October.

This delay is crucial and responsible for the smoke being carried all the way to Delhi. An analysis of the wind flow patterns reveals that wind blows into Delhi primarily from the west during the monsoon season, but changes direction in October when it starts blowing into Delhi from the north.

The decision to delay the clearing of the fields was not the choice of farmers, but was forced on them by the Punjab government, which passed the Punjab Preservation of Subsoil Water Act in 2009. According to this law, farmers can no longer sow rice in April, but have to wait until the middle of June to do so. Haryana too has copied Punjab and passed a similar law. Rice has a 120-day period between germination and harvest, and the restriction on sowing the grain means that the fields would be harvested and cleared only in October, by which time the direction of the wind would have changed. In what has turned out to be a real world example of the Butterfly Effect, Delhi's problem of being covered by smoke started right after this law was implemented for the first time. Before this law was passed, the problem in Delhi was limited to vehicular and industrial pollution, apart from smoke from bonfires in winter, and there were no reports of the entire metropolitan area being enveloped by smoke.

This piece of legislation was passed ostensibly to preserve groundwater, the depletion of which was blamed on rice fields, which supposedly not only used too much water, but also lost a significant quantity of water to evaporation, but this argument is a very tenuous one. According to the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), water in rice fields contributes to recharging the groundwater and very little of it is lost to evaporation. The data from Uttar Pradesh in IWMI's analysis shows that rice fields in the state contributed to increasing the level of the water table, thus supporting the claim that water in rice fields replenishes the aquifers. 

The group that has been primarily responsible for exerting pressure to move away from growing rice in the name of "crop diversification" is the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which operates out of the American embassy. Over a period of several years, it has used the excuse of preventing the decline of groundwater to push this agenda. USAID has a worldwide reputation of behaving like a front group for American multinational corporations such as Monsanto. Former American diplomat Jeanine Jackson recently justified her intervention in favour of Monsanto when she served as the American ambassador to Burkina Faso by claiming that the advocacy of American businesses and investments was the "number one task" for ambassadors.

It should, therefore, come as no surprise that Monsanto will be the primary beneficiary of USAID's purported solution for Punjab's problems. According to their solution, farmers need to stop growing rice and replace it with Monsanto's genetically modified (GMO) maize.

India's surplus food grain supply is an uncomfortable fact for Monsanto and other proponents of GMO food, who insist that the world would face a shortage of food grains if not for genetically engineered plants sold by Monsanto. It is in this light that one must view Monsanto's collusion with the Punjab government and their joint efforts targeting the production of rice in India. In 2012, the then Punjab Chief Minister asked Monsanto to set up a research centre for creating maize seeds and announced plans to reduce the area under the cultivation of rice by around 45% in order to grow maize. Monsanto typically co-opts not only politicians, but also members of the academia and converts them into its shills. Little wonder then that the passage of the law in Punjab was preceded by fear mongering about the cultivation of rice, which reached a feverish pitch a few years back in the form of a campaign advertisement from a group of "eminent scientists" who appealed, "Chonne hetho rakba katao, Pani Bachao, Punjab Bachao (Reduce the area under rice, Save Water, Save Punjab)".

Monsanto now offers the replacement of rice by its GMO crops as a solution that will increase the level of subsoil water, but the multinational corporation is the cause of the problem. Its fertilizers and pesticides have accumulated in the ground over the years, and this has led to poor retention of moisture in the soil, leading farmers to pump out excessive amounts of underground water. The new law, reducing the time period during which farmers are permitted to grow rice, has further accentuated this problem.

Monsanto now offers the replacement of rice by its GMO crops as a solution that will increase the level of subsoil water, but the multinational corporation is the cause of the problem. Its fertilizers and pesticides have accumulated in the ground over the years, and this has led to poor retention of moisture in the soil, leading farmers to pump out excessive amounts of underground water. The new law, reducing the time period during which farmers are permitted to grow rice, has further accentuated this problem. Farmers had developed their own method of crop diversification by growing multiple varieties of rice and staggering the time of sowing these varieties over a period of two months beginning in April. The loss of the ability of farmers to easily diversify their rice crop, combined with the fact that late sown rice is vulnerable to diseases and pests has created a fear in farmers of losing their crop, leading them to use greater amounts of pesticides and fertilizers, further degrading the soil and its ability to retain water.

Monsanto's GMO products are known to cause several problems. Its maize is known for killing bees, leading to a shortage of seeds of plants such as onions which depend on bees for pollination. Several European countries have banned its maize as its pollen has been responsible for killing entire colonies of bees. Monsanto's GMO maize is also not fit for human consumption and is primarily used as chicken feed. Likewise, most of Monsanto's wheat is used to feed animals because it is unfit for human consumption. Thus the government's plan to replace the cultivation of rice—which is the staple food for a large section of the population of India—by Monsanto's chicken feed is a cynical move that will result in government created food shortages in the country.

The problems related to the low levels of groundwater and the inability of the soil to retain moisture must be solved, but the solution should not be a drastic one, such as creating famines by banning food items such as rice. Before the level of groundwater fell in Punjab, the state experienced a problem of water-logging, which was partially solved by pumping out the excess groundwater. Thus, it is clear that an acceptable level of the water table can be maintained by finding a proper balance between the two extreme situations, without replacing any crop.

In 2012, the then Punjab Chief Minister asked Monsanto to set up a research centre for creating maize seeds and announced plans to reduce the area under the cultivation of rice by around 45% in order to grow maize.

Today, farmers burn the residual straw from the cultivation of rice as it is an affordable method of clearing the fields. A ban on such burning will destroy the livelihood of poorer farmers and give way to industrial farming, with a few large corporations such as Monsanto taking over all the land and resources. The government has already helped large corporations through a slew of measures and it must not take any more steps that run the small farmers out of business. Instead, if it wants to prevent burning, it must help small farmers clear the fields between the rice and wheat seasons and help them implement proper water management solutions. This would mean going against the rules set forth by the World Trade Organization, which has mandated that no business other than American multinational corporations can receive aid or subsidies from the government, and any subsidy given to American businesses will be done under the cover of "research grants" funnelled through universities. India should completely ignore these rules and fix its problems, not the least of which is the yearly phenomenon of smoke cover over Delhi.

The Delhi metropolitan area has one of the highest agglomerations of population in the world, and suffocating the people of the area on an annual basis should be treated as a crime against humanity, especially when the cause for such suffocation can be easily controlled. Although smoke from fields remaining within Punjab is also a problem that needs to be addressed, it is not as severe a problem as in Delhi, as the smoke in Punjab would be spread over a larger area with a much lower population density. For now, a step that should be taken immediately in order to prevent Delhi from becoming a gas chamber for several days every November, is to revoke what should rightfully be called the Monsanto Profit Act of 2009 and permit farmers to sow their rice crop whenever they deem it fit to do so.

sent from samsung galaxy note3 neo, so please excuse brevity

Fwd: Pics of Marble Rocks Bhedaghat, Amarkantak+Origin of Chess+Effect of Neem Oil on wounds+Commentary on the Prasna Upanishad

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sanjeev Nayyar

Namaskar and Vannakam Friends,
This newsletter two albums from my Jabalpur trip - the incredible Marble Rocks and Amarkantak ie the source of the Narmada. Pooja tells us about the origin of chess. Dr Rathore's research paper tells us about the effect of Neem Oil on non-healing wounds. Parvez tells us about the sacking of India by Taimur. From the archives is a commentary on Prasna Upanishad + a short insightful piece on Spirituality & Technology.
1. Marble Rocks Bhedagahat Dhuandhar Waterfalls Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh – awesome.
2. AMARKANTAK is the origin of the Holy Narmada
4. Effect of Neem oil and Haridra on non‑healing wounds by Dr Anjali Rathore and others
6. Commentary on the Prasna Upanishad in PDF by late T N Sethumadhavanji
7. Spirituality and Technology by Swami Narasimhananda, Editor of Prabuddha Bharata
Love and Light
sanjeev nayyar
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sent from samsung galaxy note3 neo, so please excuse brevity

Friday, December 29, 2017

Quick notes: Fighter shortfall, Amazon subsidy...

  • Fighter shortfall to worsen during NDA's term: The IAF will have 2-3 fewer squadrons in 2020 than  in 2014,.  

  • Silence of the lambs: Why Trinamool MPs didn't speak on triple talaq bill in Lok Sabha. pSecular games: Trinamul rally of Hindu priests

  • Pro-booze govt: Uttarakhand amends excise rules to allow bars near highways 

  • Subsidized by taxpayer: For every Amazon package it delivers, the Postal Service loses $1.46

  • Micro-grids are the future: A network of about 20,000 homes with solar panels and energy-storage batteries lets its members buy and sell excess energy to each other.

  • No point taking calcium and vitamin D supplements: "Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin in response to ultraviolet-B radiation in sunlight, and dietary sources of vitamin D are limited". Exercising out in the sunshine should provide a person with all the vitamin D they need.

  • Battle against smog: Beijing’s improving air quality stands in stark contrast to India’s capital New Delhi, where pollution has steadily become worse over the past few years, and is now well above Beijing‘s.

  • How to Be a Better Person? Be Empty.

Palestinian Envoy Shares Stage with Hafiz Saeed

Mere days after the release of 26-11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed from the custody of Pak authorities, the Palestinian Ambassador to Pakistan Walid Abu Ali has appeared with him at a public rally:

This also happens on the heels of India's vote in support of Palestine and against Israel & the United States, over the issue of the USA's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Fwd: Looking Back at a Groundbreaking 2017

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rajiv Malhotra



Looking Back at a Groundbreaking 2017


This final episode for 2017 is a recap of some of the important conversations I had with leaders in various fields.

  1. Dr. Subramanian Swamy explains the National Herald case, and the role of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi as the accused out on bail.
  2. Prof. Vaidyanathan (Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore) explains the drop in GDP in 2017, and the status of black money.
  3. The historian Meenakshi Jain explains the historical facts about the Ayodhya dispute.
  4. Aditi Banerjee, an important young scholar who has helped our work for a long time, critiques Jeffrey Kripal's thesis on Sri Ramakrishna.
  5. The persecution of Kanchi Shankaracharya is exposed because the good work he has done with Dalits causes anger among Hinduphobic groups.
  6. I describe the Spiritual But Not Religious movement, and how it compromises Hindu dharma.
  7. I expose the Holy Yoga movement of digesting Yoga into Christianity, and how so many other aspects of dharma keep getting digested; the possibility of Diwali becoming digested.


I hope you will discuss your views on the comment thread. I wish you a happy 2018 year. Let us continue our important work together. I encourage each of you to get seriously involved in a concrete way to help our work.


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ISRO Puts Work First

ISRO keeps itself busy by performing 'work as worship' - a good example for a country where people prefer to celebrate first:

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

China Switching Pak to Yuan Currency

China is helping Pakistan switch to using the Yuan currency for CPEC-related trade, thus lowering Pakistan's exposure to the US Dollar:

Remember that the heavily-indebted USA relies heavily upon the US Dollar's status as Global Reserve Currency, and its use in oil-trade transactions. As China extends its OBOR trading bloc towards the Middle East and Europe in an all-out play for global trade dominance, its attempt to displace the US Dollar with the Chinese Yuan currency will increasingly put the US economy in a riskier position.

Quick notes: Science of learning, Flipkart's weapon...

  • The new science of learning: The best way to learn is taking a mixed up approach to practice. “The ultimate crime is practicing the same thing multiple times in a row”.

  • AI and a decade of data: Flipkart's answer to Amazon.

  • Chinese Innovation: AG600 Kunlong, the impressive amphibious plane/maritime patrol flying boat.

  • India's deadly coal-power plants: Loss of $4.6 bn & 115,000 deaths.

  • UPA-3: scary.

  • Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil

  • Tasty and healthy: “Mustard oil also works well as an antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agent and can help fight bacterial infections in the digestive system.”  Incorporating mustard oil into your daily diet is known to protect against heart disease. The oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, both of which help lower bad cholesterol and raise good HDL cholesterol.

  • Chandro Tomar: At 84, the world's oldest female sharpshooter doesn't miss 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Moves and Counter-Moves at UN

China and Russia have both supported Myanmar by opposing a UN resolution requiring it to repatriate Rohingya refugees, which was sponsored by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation:

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley announced that the US would cut $285 million from the UN budget following the UN resolution opposing US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capitol (also sponsored by OIC):

Even as India seeks better representation for itself at the UN through a permanent seat on the Security Council, in the meantime until that happens, India needs to be willing to weaken and undermine the UN which has become a bastion dominated by the Islamic countries.

Fwd: Medical Geography of India in the Charaka Samhita +Kumarajiva: A Great Buddhist Master+City Palace Udaipur Kartik Poornima

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sanjeev Nayyar

Namaskar and Vanakkam Friends,

In India we rarely get to read a honest account of the plunder by Muslim invaders. We present a article by a retired Pakistan Air Force Officer on sacking on the Indian Sub-continent by Mahmud of Ghazni. In the Ayurveda section we have two articles. One expresses concern of the depletion in forest cover on Ayurveda and the second tells you about the Medical Geography of India when Charaka Samhita was written say about 200 BC. I was fortunate to be invited to the Kartik Purnima function at the City Palace Udaipur. Share pictures of city palace, the Bharatanatyam performance and Zenana Mahal.  Read about Kumarajiva, the scholar who took Buddhism to China.

1. Sacking the Sub-Continent Part 1  By Parvez Mahmood  The author tells you how Mahmud of Ghazni plundered India including Somnath and brought untold misery.

2. Depleting medicinal plant resources: A threat for survival of Ayurveda By Nishteswar K The article tells us about the danger posed by depleting medicinal plant resources.


3. Medical Geography of India in the Charaka Samhita  By KR Bhavana and Shreevathsa This article is an attempt to explore geographical conditions of the ancient India, its geographical position in present India and its medical significance.


4. City Palace Udaipur Kartik Poornima By Sanjeev Nayyar Album has Kartik Poornima celebrations that include Bharatanatyam dance by Ragini Chandrasekhar. It also covers City Palace during day and night.

5. Kumarajiva: A Great Buddhist Master  By Prof Shashi Bala Read about his life and how he took Buddhism to China.

love and light

sanjeev nayyar

to unsubscribe write back

sent from samsung galaxy note3 neo, so please excuse brevity

Thursday, December 21, 2017

2G scammers let off by court

#nehruvianstalinist sentiments suggest to courts:

a) congress may come back, so don't punish congressi looters

b) hindus are expendable, so you can do anything to them

thus diwali banned, but 2G thugs exonerated.

babus, judges, media, academia: all still infested by them.

BJP can't or won't do anything about it.

a sad day indeed. also the last day of dakshinayanam. winter solstice. the shortest day of the year; hope springs as uttarayanam starts tomorrow, but today is the cruelest day. 

Fwd: China’s Creditor Imperialism+ It is hard to find anyone in Afghanistan speak in favour of Pakistan +China and Russia calmly weigh Trump's security strategy

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sanjeev Nayyar

1. Former Pak minister Kasuri's dinner raised a din that served no interest by Kanwal Sibal 20.12.2017
2. The challenge of the new U.S. security strategy 21.12.17 by Harsh Pant
3. It is hard to find anyone in Afghanistan speak in favour of Pakistan 21.12.17 by Zahid Hussein
Our obsession with a 'friendly' Pakhtun-dominated government in the past has hugely contributed to public resentment against Pakistan.
Now many of them are flying to India that is providing a subsidised air travel facility for those requiring medical help. Unnecessary travel restrictions under the pretext of border management have further alienated the Afghans. The move has also affected trade, with Pakistani exporters suffering greater losses.'
4. India cozies up to Tawan in a foolish move 2.12.17
India and Taiwan island signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on December 14 to promote mutual industrial cooperation, an alarming move that could sabotage the recent smoothing of Sino-Indian relations, said Chinese experts on Tuesday.'
7. Pakistan faces external funding gap of around USD 12 Billion 20.12.17
Warm Regards
sanjeev nayyar
to unsubscribe write back

sent from samsung galaxy note3 neo, so please excuse brevity

Fwd: What went wrong for BJP in Gujarat by Sanjeev Nayyar in

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sanjeev Nayyar

8 reasons what went wrong for BJP in Gujarat
By Sanjeev Nayyar
20th December 2017

The BJP must realise that a resurgent Rahul Gandhi will take the battle straight into its camp.'  'He is not going to be held back by the misdeeds of UPA 1 and 2, so there is no point harping on them,' says Sanjeev Nayyar.


Fighting 22 years of incumbency, discontentment over GST, disgruntled Patidars is no easy task.


To that add a resurgent Congress supported by the trio of Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mewani.


Even after all these factors going against them, the Bharatiya Janata Party just about managed to retain Gujarat.


And it is the Congress that has actually emerged as the real winner.


Rahul Gandhi, who recently took over the reins of the Congress party, led such a spirited campaign that no one can now call him Pappu, which saw the Congress tally increase from a low of 51 seats in 2002 to 77 in 2017.


So what went wrong for the BJP?


One, every election since 2002, was fought on the consolidation of the Hindu vote by the BJP, whether it was Godhra in 2002 or statements by Congress leaders like 'maut ka saudagar' (merchant of death) in 2007.


However, this time, the Congress changed the rules of the game.


First it split the Hindu vote by supporting the Patidars, Thakore's OBCs and Mewani's scheduled castes.


Next, it did not woo the Muslim community publicly or make any pro-Muslim statements.


This way the large-scale consolidation of Hindu votes was prevented by them.


The BJP saw through the game, even though a bit late in the day. Hence, Prime Minister Narendra D Modi made statements like Ahmed Patel becoming chief minister if the Congress

came to power, but it was too little, too late.


Two, with a series of questions, Rahul Gandhi put the BJP governments on the defensive. For example: Rahul's questions on performance indicators on nutrition, health, education and unemployment.


He taunted the BJP for not releasing its manifesto and forced them to do so a day before the first phase of polling.


With their chief minister lacking charisma, and a highly centralised campaign, the BJP's response lacked punch.


Three, Rahul Gandhi's visits to temples unnerved the BJP, and it clearly did not know how to respond to this.


Raking up a controversy over why Rahul's name had been entered in the non-Hindu register in the Somnath temple was a trick that would have worked in 2012, but not in 2017.


Four, the deaths of 14 Patidar youth in 2015 during the community's agitation for reservations and the aggressive BJP response alienated sections of the community, who were always the saffron party's vote bank.


Targeting the 23-year-old Hardik Patel with sedition charges and then with an alleged sex video did not go down well either.


These moves by the BJP were more like the Congress of the 1990s and the United Progressive Alliance, and not a party that claimed to be different.


Five, brute display of power during Ahmed Patel's re-election to the Rajya Sabha.


However much Amit A Shah may have been singled out by the Congress or UPA, Patel's re-election was not the time for the BJP president to settle scores.


Income-tax raids on a Karnataka minister and rumours of money changing hands made people perceive that Shah's actions were driven by emotion than reason.


In fact, winning 130 Gujarat seats would have been a smarter way to settle scores with Patel than the abortive attempt to halt his Rajya Sabha entry.


Six, all credit goes to the tireless campaign by Hardik Patel and others.


They connected with the youth and drew large crowds. The BJP simply ad no equivalent local leader.


By depending entirely on Modi, the party's limitations were exposed. By not having a strong state leadership, the BJP is making the same mistake the Congress made earlier.


Seven, the thrashing of Dalits in Una in 2016 was the only such incident reported in recent times from Gujarat.


But the BJP allowed Jignesh Mewani to build a campaign around it as if scheduled castes were being ill-treated all over the state under the BJP.


Where was the BJP's rebuttal? They never spoke about the action taken against the culprits.


Eight, the BJP's failure to anticipate and address rural discontent.


It resulted in the BJP losing 12 seats in Saurashtra-Kutch where the party's tally fell to 23.

Gujarati asmita, chaiwala, neech no longer stirs the electorate. The BJP now needs new astras.


All this implied that the BJP's narrative had become stale and it lacked new ideas.


The results have also showed that the Modi-Shah duo can be beatable even in their home state.


Having done exceptionally well in Gujarat, what should the new Congress president's approach be for 2019?


Besides promising development, Rahul Gandhi, who is assured of Muslim votes, must continue to woo the Hindus. Here is what he can do.


One, free Hindu temples from government control.


This means that the government will not be involved in the management of temples, and donations by devotees will not become part of the state treasury. The funds would be kept in trusts that would be managed by Hindus.


In order to show he means business Rahul Gandhi can make this a part of the Congress manifesto in Karnataka where elections are due next year. If re-elected in the state, he can effect the change in 2018 itself.


Two, run a campaign to define secularism as 'equal treatment for all irrespective of religion'.


The word 'secular' was made part of the Preamble of our Constitution during the Emergency, but the term has been left undefined.


When the Janata Party came to power in 1977, an attempt was made to define 'secular republic' to mean a 'republic in which there is equal respect for all religions'.


The Janata government had a majority in the Lok Sabha but was a minority in the Rajya Sabha where the attempt was voted down by the Congress.


By defining secularism properly, Rahul can make amends for mistake the Congress made in 1977.


Three, for all the noise that the BJP makes, how many Bangladeshis has the government deported?


After assuring Indian Muslims that only illegal immigrants would be deported, Rahul should ask the BJP to deliver on this election promise.


Four, reverse the UPA's decision on missionary visas.


In 2012 the UPA government relaxed restrictions on the entry and stay of foreign missionaries in the country.

These restrictions had been enforced on the recommendations of the Niyogi Commission, appointed to investigate the activities of missionaries in Madhya Pradesh, which submitted its report to the Union government in 1956.


The missionary visa is issued to those going to India 'for a religious purpose'. The creation of a special category of visa for missionaries by the UPA may legitimately be considered as official patronage for Christian conversions in India.


Five, he should apologise for the 2G and Coalgate scams under the UPA and assure the nation that such things will never recur if the Congress came to power at the Centre.


Six, Rahul must lift the fog over his religion. He may have declared his family to be of Shiv bhakts, and visited scores of temples in the recent past, but he has never admitted to what his religion is, fobbing off questions saying it is a personal matter. Don't we have a right to know?


In conclusion, the BJP must realise that a resurgent Rahul Gandhi will take the battle straight into its camp. He is not going to be held back by the misdeeds of UPA 1 and 2, so there is no point harping on them.


The premature India Shining campaign by the National Democratic Alliance contributed to their loss in 2004. Gujarat 13 years later has been kind and returned the BJP to power but its message is to not take its support for granted.


The Modi Sarkar must remember that it was elected not only for vikas, but to correct civilisational distortions that took place under successive Congress governments.


For now, the Gujarat election result calls for deep introspection by the BJP.


About Author: Sanjeev is an independent columnist and founder


sent from samsung galaxy note3 neo, so please excuse brevity

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Quick notes: Gwadar's future, Iran's rise...

  • China in Gwadar: Indigenous residents’ fear of becoming a minority is inevitable with Gwadar’s population expected to jump more than 15-fold in coming decades. China will receive 91% of revenues until the port is returned to Pakistan in four decades’ time.

  • Is Iran the Mideast's new superpower? “For stopping ISIS in Afghanistan, the best alternative is the Taliban, so it is easy for Iran to support the Taliban. The Taliban hung them, ISIS people, out on trees for weeks, and no one was allowed to take them down, When Iran hit them strongly, [the ISIS fighters] moved to the east.”  That narrative is borne out by a map used by Afghanistan’s intelligence service. It shows ISIS emerging at points along Iran’s border in 2014-15, and then shifting east toward Pakistan’s border. “It’s a smart policy, to be honest,” says a Western official in Kabul.

  • France wants parental permission for kids under 16 to go on Facebook: "Exploiting human psychology by feedback loops, driven by dopamine and 'social validation'."

  • India better be cautious: Uber accused of espionage, hacking and bribery in bombshell letter

  • China's AI awakening: China’s AI push calls for homegrown AI to match that developed in the West within three years, for China’s researchers to be making “major breakthroughs” by 2025, and for Chinese AI to be the envy of the world by 2030. 

  • Gabriella Burnel: Promoting Sanskrit

  • Christian Nationalism: White Evangelicals voted en masse for Roy Moore in Alabama, to no one's surprise

BJP wins small in gujarat; ok in himachal. good outcome

the narrow victory for the bjp is the best outcome, i think. after all the bhageeratha prayatnam the fact that they had to squeak through is a warning signal that suggests several things:

1. they have the urban vote, which has recovered from demonetization and GST, but that's not enough

2. they are losing the rural vote, because the vikas is not reaching them, and a friend told me, verbatim: "the farmer belt in gujarat rejected modi en masse. we know this from bt cotton work and the mess niti ayog is making wrt agri"

3. if they had won big, allegations of EVM fraud would have been louder, but they are now muted

4. it's not a vote for congress, but we can see that they're not to be written off even with that rahul heading it. it's no different from that sonia heading it, it has powerful patrons including #breakingindia types, has the babus, judges etc in their pockets still

5. the muslim vote is solidly behind congress as usual. fragmenting the hindu vote with caste politics is effective still, and the hindu charade by rahul hasn't necessarily hurt them.

6. hindu issues may well be further pushed down the pile (RTE, 370, hindu temples out of govt clutches) as that is stuff the urban voter cares about, and the urban voter is with the BJP anyway

7. we'll probably see a slew of rural-oriented sops and giveaways and waivers in the run up to the next set of polls

8. it would be a bad idea to bring forward the 2019 polls to 2018 to link it to state polls (we know what happened in 2004). make efforts for the synchronization, but let the deadline be after 2019

9. now's the time to use this as an excuse to get rid of poor performers in government and clean up babudom

Fwd: Indians and Black Americans unite against White Supremacy in USA and Colonial Rule in India

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rajiv Malhotra



Indians and Black Americans unite against White Supremacy

in USA and Colonial Rule in India


This is the fourth episode in the mini-series. Topics covered:

1. Slavery was abolished in USA. But a backlash by White Supremacists led to criminal laws of racial segregation (called Jim Crow Laws).

2. Eminent Black leaders saw Indians colonized by the British as brothers in their struggle.

3. Lala Lajpat Rai, a major freedom fighter in India and Arya Samaj leader, spent 5 years in USA building political support with Black groups.

4. Black press in USA became active in presenting the Indian side and helped spread awareness.

5. Top Black leaders visited India.

6. Mohandas Gandhi became a major source of inspiration for the mentors of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

7. The Civil Rights movement of Blacks led to new laws on immigration. This is how Indians started entering the USA in large numbers 50 years ago.



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This message was sent to from

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Infinity Foundation
174 Nassau Street #400
Princeton, NJ 08542

incredible video on hindu/indic spiritual influence on japan

i have seen hindu deities, for example at the great kamakura buddha temple, but didn't know this was so widespread. 

come to think of it, the temples of japan and of bali are almost exactly the same: multi level structures.

sent from samsung galaxy note3 neo, so please excuse brevity

Fwd: China has India surrounded in their new Great Game + India must stop ignoring the Andamans +My Experiences as the Chinese Top Diplomat in Sri Lanka

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sanjeev Nayyar

1. Engaging with an assertive China by Swaran Singh 19.12.17
Speaking in Beijing on the eve of his India visit last week, Wang Yi put forward the Chinese version of the Dokalam disengagement of 28 August. While praising the "sincerity" demonstrated by Beijing and New Delhi, he underlined how the two sides "handled the issue of cross-border incursions by the Indian border troops into China's Donglang (Dokalam) area... the Indian side withdrew its equipment and personnel". This is not how New Delhi projected it.
China bars external influence in its domestic politics while influencing the politics of other, especially democratic, nations. The recent resignation of Australian senator Sam Dastyari reinforces this thesis. This also explains why Moscow is drifting towards Beijing and why Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov was pushing for India's participation in the BRI last week.
1a. China has India surrounded in their new Great Game 19.12.17 by Yuji Kuronuma
'In August, India began negotiating a 40-year lease of Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport in Sri Lanka, near Hambantota. Meanwhile, over in Bangladesh, a plan to have China back the development of the port of Sonadia appears to have been scrapped.
2 Russia, Egypt align amid Trump's offense 18.12.17
3. Drones and Lasers – Rapid Development is Vital by Lt Gen Prakash Katoch 19.12.17
4. Simmering Cauldron in the Himalayas by K N Pandita 17.12.17
5. India needs to be wary of 'Tibet Development'  18.12.17 by Claude Arpi
6. India must stop ignoring the Andamans 19.12.17 by Admiral Premvir Das
8. Bangladesh, Myanmar form joint working group for Rohingya repatriation 19.12.17
SN – When will India send back the Rohingyas – SC has put issue on the backburner. Tareek pe Tareek.
9. My Experiences as the Chinese Top Diplomat in Sri Lanka 18.12.17 by Xi Y
Warm Regards
sanjeev nayyar
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sent from samsung galaxy note3 neo, so please excuse brevity