Monday, October 29, 2007

Nuclear Deal: Can't Make Up Our Mind



Under pressure from the Left parties to make clear whether the Indo-US nuclear deal is on or off, government on Monday said the operationalisation of the deal will take place in accordance with the UPA-Left committee's findings. External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee made this clear after a meeting between leaders of the Left parties and the UPA coalition formed to go into the concerns of the allies on the nuclear deal. The minister announced that the committee would meet again on November 16. - The Times Of India, 22 October 2007

Monday, October 08, 2007

New Delhi Blues



A speeding Blueline bus mows down a group of people crossing a road in South Delhi, killing five women and a man (Updated: and a child). Eight others, including some who were crossing the road, were injured when the bus ran into a crowd while trying to overtake a stationary Delhi Transport Corp (DTC) bus from the wrong side at Aali Goan, near Badarpur. Sunday's accident takes the number of people killed by the rampaging Blueline buses in the capital this year to 93.- Hindustan Times, 7 October 2007

Sunday, October 07, 2007

YanGOONS



A relentless crackdown on Myanmar's pro-democracy activists showed no sign of easing with the junta announcing on Sunday that 78 more people have been detained in spite of global outrage and new sanctions. The latest arrests, reported by the state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper, brought to nearly 1,000 the number of people the military regime acknowledges holding in detention centers. In addition, it says 135 Buddhist monks remain in custody. - The Times Of India, 7 October 2007
You can go to Amnesty.org to voice your concern.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Judiciary Bullying



Mid Day, a Delhi tabloid, ran a series of stories in May which said Y.K. Sabharwal, until recently the most powerful man in the Indian judiciary, had used his office to benefit his sons' businesses, among other allegations. Last week, Delhi High Court sentenced two editors who reported the stories, the paper's publisher and a cartoonist to four months in jail for criminal contempt of court, although they were released on bail while they appeal. - Reuters India, 28 September 2007

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Ram Setu Fiasco



"It was a classic case of how the government was casual and careless in dealing with such sensitive issues which hurt the sentiments of crores of people," Venkaiah Naidu said. In a damage control exercise, the government suspended two officers of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and withdrew the controversial affidavit on Lord Ram, the BJP leader said, adding that the extent of damage would be known when Congress party goes to the people.
The image of both Central and state governments has taken a severe beating because of the way the government has been handling sensitive issues like Ram Setu, Indo-US deal and farmers problems. - The Hindu, 16 September 2007

Sunday, July 22, 2007

President Who??!!



But when was the last time you were presented with a complete unknown as your next president? Kalam, Zail Singh, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, V.V. Giri, Sanjeeva Reddy were all people you had seen long enough in public life, so you were unlikely to discover any surprises about them. This is where the Congress went wrong with Pratibha Patil. The Congress’s guilt is not so much about who they chose for the job as it is about how it trivialised that job, to begin with. - Shekhar Gupta, Indian Express, 30 June 2007

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Terrorism Backfires in Pakistan



Altogether 102 people have died in the operation, including 10 Army officers, a Ranger and 91 civilians according to a report in the Dawn which quoted the interior minister Mr Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao. The admission came two days after President Pervez Musharraf hinted in a televised address to the nation, that some women and children had died in the fierce clash which turned the capital into a battleground. - The Statesman, 14 July 2007

Saturday, July 07, 2007

US Missile Chaos



The US will not allow Russia to stop it from deploying anti-missile defences in Europe, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said in Moscow. "I don't think anyone expects the United States to permit a veto on American security interests," she said after meeting President Vladimir Putin. But she also said: "If there are concerns about how the United States has and is continuing to exercise power, absolutely, we can have that discussion." - BBC, 15 May 2007

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Presidential Puppet Show



Leader of Opposition L K Advani has “appealed” to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) to withdraw its candidate Pratibha Patil from the race for the president of India taking into account the “list of scandals and controversies with which her name is associated.” - Indian Express, 29 June 2007

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Exercise Your Right To Information



Triveni is a poor woman. She lives in a slum in East Delhi. She holds an Antyodaya card issued by the government to the poorest of the poor. However, it isn't easy to get ration from a ration shop. She didn't receive any grains for the last six months. Whenever she would go to the shop, the shop would either be closed or the shopkeeper would say that there was no stock. In February 2003, Triveni filed an application under the Right to Information Act asking for the quantity of ration issued to her as per records and also copies of cash memos purported to have been issued to her. Before she could take any action, the shopkeeper came to her house and pleaded with her not to take any action and that he would mend his ways in future. Since then, Triveni is getting right amount of ration at the right price. - www.parivartan.com

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

US H1B Protectionism



NASSCOM, the body that represents Indian software companies, has once again refuted claims made by some US senators that Indian IT companies are abusing H1B visas. H1B visas have nothing to do with US job losses and wants to speak to US senators. “H1B visa is not limited to the IT sector or Indians alone and any move to prohibit companies from hiring H1B visa holders is "protectionist",” says NASSCOM. -CNN-IBN, 30 May 2007

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Blame it on Gujjars



Gujjars and Meenas who lived peacefully as neighbours for decades are today at daggers drawn. Lifelong friends have developed visceral hatred for each other. As politicians play their games, the nation is being torn apart. Those who think the crisis has ended need to re-think. The crisis has begun. It will spread to other states, among other communities. Sociologists are poring over data to determine which caste fits which category. Politicians and media are busy analyzing recent political moves for the blame game. Why don't they see the big picture? - Outlook, 12 June 2007

Saturday, June 09, 2007

G8 Hypocrisy



India and China are coming under increasing pressure to sign up to a mandatory limit on greenhouse gas emissions at the G8 summit in Germany. But, India says it cannot take steps which will retard its economic growth which is the only way to deliver the vast majority of its people from poverty. Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon says it is unfair to target India when the problem of global warming has been created by the industrialised countries. "Once our per capita emission levels reach the same as those of the industrialised countries, we'll be very happy to do our share too." - BBC News, 06 June 2007

Mobile Rules No# 06


Friday, June 01, 2007

India: A Failing State of Affairs



The UPA Government completed three years at the Centre on Tuesday but rising inflation and an agrarian crisis seem to have put a dampener on any plans for a celebration. - CNN-IBN, 22 May 2007

General Injustice



The government banned demonstrations in Pakistan's capital Friday, the latest effort to quell mounting political turmoil over President Gen. Pervez Musharraf's decision to suspend the chief justice. Thousands of Pakistanis have joined a series of protests since the March 9 ouster of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, accusing Musharraf of trying to sideline the independent-minded judge before elections this year. Riots erupted last month when authorities stopped Chaudhry from leading a demonstration in the city of Karachi, leaving more than 40 people dead. - Washington Post, 01 June 2007
Then, on ‘Black Saturday’, armed members of opposing political parties converted the streets of Karachi into a battle zone. Almost 50 were dead by the end of the carnage and hundreds wounded. The Karachi killings became a sideshow in the running battle of nerves between General Pervez Musharraf and Iftikhar Chaudhry, the chief justice he is attempting to oust. A lawyer-led mass movement has emerged against the president, with the chief justice as an icon and rallying point. Despite heavy-handed police action against lawyers’ demonstrations and fundamentalist-engineered diversions, the tide of support for Chaudhry has not slowed. - www.himalmag.com

Monday, May 28, 2007

Just Buy It



India Inc is on a merger and acquisition (M&A) binge like never before, as the takeover fever has gripped India Inc. For the first time, outbound investments from India have surpassed inbound investments. According to reports, there were 80 M&A deals with a total value of about $10.73 billion till October 2006. The total M&A deals between January and October 2006 have been about 380 with an announced value of $24.4 billion. - NDTV, 3 March 2007

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mobile Rules #02


Mobile Rules #01


Middle East Relay



To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coƶperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda. - The Newyorker, 5 March 2007

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Fake Encounter



Three IPS officers are under arrest for the murders of Soharabbudin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi. Sheikh was gunned down in a fake encounter in November 2005 near Ahmedabad and Kauser Bi was killed later. The murders have embarrassed the Narendra Modi government and raised question whether the police was acting alone or following orders of their political bosses. - CNN-IBN, 06 May 2007

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Rahul Gandhi: The Future Is Dim



Rahul Gandhi, the heir of India's Nehru-Gandhi family, has sparked a political storm with a series of controversial remarks that analysts said showed the immaturity of a likely future national leader. First, Rahul said that had his family been in power in 1992, it would have stopped Hindu mobs from razing a controversial mosque in Uttar Pradesh. Then last week, Rahul claimed family credit for India getting independence from Britain in 1947 and also for saying his family was responsible for the division of Pakistan and the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. - Reuters, 17 April 2007

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Babubhai Travels



BJP MP Babubhai Katara could be in a bigger soup as the police is now probing whether he was in possession of more passports allegedly used for trafficking people out of the country. Besides, the police have sent teams to Gujarat and some other states to nab the travel agents who had been allegedly hob-nobbing with Katara, who was arrested here while making an unsuccessful bid to smuggle a woman and a boy to Canada. - Indian Express, 20 April 2007

Lal Masjid Fiasco



A radical cleric set up a vigilante Islamic court in Pakistan's capital yesterday and threatened to unleash a wave of suicide bombs if the government tried to repress his Taliban-style movement. The challenge to the authority of President Pervez Musharraf, by a firebrand cleric, Maulana Abdul Aziz, came amid growing fears of what the local media has dubbed a "creeping Talibanisation" across Pakistan. "Our youths will shake their palaces with their suicide attacks," said Maulana (Father) Aziz in a sermon delivered to thousands of his followers at Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, in central Islamabad.- Telegraph, 07 April 2007

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Agni III Test



In a significant leap for the country’s missile programme, India today successfully test-fired Agni-III, a nuclear-capable intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) designed to reach over 3,000 km. Today’s test comes after the aborted mission in July last year when a wire cable in the missile got burnt because of suction of warm air near the control system. It was rectified with the installation of a heat shield in the missile. - Indian Express, 13 April 2007

Shashi Tharoor & The Saree Saga



Feedback is, of course, the life blood of the columnist, but sometimes you get so much feedback it amounts to a transfusion. That's what happened to your beleaguered columnist (Shashi Tharoor) after the appearance of my appeal to 'Save the sari from a sorry fate' (March 25). Practically every woman in India with access to a keyboard rose up to deliver the equivalent of a smack across the face with the wet end of a pallu. - Shashi Tharoor, Times of India, 15 April 2007

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Congress: Non Starter In U.P.



Rahul Gandhi, probably Congress’s last hope in UP, has almost conceded defeat. While his roadshows through Samajwadi Party strongholds of Bhartana and Lalitpur in southern UP have drawn good responses, Rahul is now cautioning everyone not to expect immediate results. Talking with reporters in Kanpur in central UP, the Gandhi family's scion said that this was just the beginning of a long journey for Congress. CNN-IBN, 04 April 2007

Surprise! Tigers Can Fly!!



India is seriously concerned by the audacious air attack mounted by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka on Monday, official sources said even as the External Affairs Ministry remained silent. According to the sources, the attack showed that the Tigers had the ability to take their military prowess to a new level. It displayed a capability the LTTE so far did not possess, they added. - The Hindu, 27 March 2007

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Iraq Exit



President Bush called it “political theater” and an “abdication of responsibilities” by Democrats. But for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, passage of legislation ordering troops home from Iraq next year was sweet victory. “Proudly, this new Congress voted to bring an end to the war in Iraq,” she said after the House vote Friday. - KansasCity.com, 24 March 2007

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Mulayam's Undisclosed Assets



A whopping Rs275.5 million. That is the difference between assets declared by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav before the returning officer and the figure submitted in the Supreme Court. - Khaleej Times, 22 March 2007

Indian World Cup (Non) Performance



India's World Cup bandwagon hit an abrupt dead-end after a thorough thrashing at the hands of Sri Lanka in their last league match. No one in India was smiling. Their World Cup was over in eight days, their team had lost to Bangladesh, and had just been humiliated by Sri Lanka, that record 413 against Bermuda now just a pathetic joke. Except for a mathematical probability (see table on page 20), which comes into play only if rank outsiders Bermuda upset Bangladesh in their last league match, the 69-run defeat virtually means the end of road for India at the 2007 Caribbean carnival. - Indian Express, 25 March 2007

Killing Cricket



The hunt for Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer's killers may take the lid off cricket's darkest secret - match-fixing and betting, a racket worth crores of rupees that has tainted the gentleman's game. - NDTV, 25 March 2007

Monday, March 19, 2007

See No Evil, Shoot No Evil



The French constitutional council has approved a law that criminalises the filming or broadcasting of acts of violence by people other than professional journalists. Perpetrators face up to five years in prison and a fine of €75,000 (£51,000). According to a French civil liberties group, the law could also be used against eyewitnesses who video acts of police violence, and the website operators who publish such images. - Excerpts from http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/greenslade, 08 March 2007

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Human Rights & Wrongs



This year's State Department annual report on human rights practices around the world puts China at the top of the list of violators repressing freedom of speech and information, including blocking access to Internet sites.
For the last eight years, China has issued a rebuttal in the form of its "Human Rights Record of the United States." This year is no different. In its annual 'back-at-ya' document, China criticizes the United States for using its military might to trespass on the sovereignty of other countries and for violating human rights domestically and across the globe. - ABC News, 08 March 2007

America Goes Green 2



The ethanol boom is coming. The twin threats of climate change and energy security are creating an unprecedented thirst for alternative energy with ethanol leading the way. That process is set to reach a landmark on Thursday when the US President, George Bush, arrives in Brazil to kick-start the creation of an international market for ethanol that could one day rival oil as a global commodity. The expected creation of an "Opec for ethanol" replicating the cartel of major oil producers has spurred frenzied investment in biofuels across the Americas. - The Independant, 05 March 2007

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Hide & Seek



The cat-and-mouse game involving Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi has taken a dramatic turn. Even as the Supreme Court took exception on Monday to being kept in the dark about Quattrocchi's detention, the government let on that the fugitive, who is wanted in the Bofors payoffs case, had secured bail on Friday—the very day the CBI formally announced his detention in Argentina. - Times of India, 27 February 2007

Monday, March 05, 2007

Pakistan Acting On Terror



America warns Pakistan to act on terror. Vice President Dick Cheney made an unannounced trip to Pakistan on Monday to deliver what officials in Washington described as an unusually tough message to General Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, warning him that the newly Democratic Congress could cut aid to his country unless his forces become far more aggressive in hunting down operatives with Al Qaeda. - Indian Express, 26 February 2007

IT MATters



Reacting a good four hours after the FM finished his Union Budget speech in which he sought to levy a minimum alternate tax on 11.33% on IT companies, the main lobbying association for the sector Nasscom said in a carefully worded statement that it was dismayed at the proposal and described it as a “regressive step”. - Indiatimes Infotech, 28 February 2007

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Common Indian: Born Victim



Indian President APJ Kalam has expressed concerns over the country's rising inflation, saying the government will strive to keep it in check. India's inflation has soared to over 6.5% this year, exceeding the government's annual target. - BBC.co.uk, 23 February 2007. This in the same week where another bomb went off in a train in Panipat, India killing almost 70.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Killer Policies



70 Farmer Suicides in Vidarbha in 2007. In the last three days, nine more farmers have committed suicide in Vidarbha. This brings the number of suicides in six districts of Vidarbha to 1000 – after the visit by the PM and an announcement of a special package of Rs 3750 Crores on July 1st, 2006. Even official data shows that the state of cotton growers in west Vidarbha has worsened with the wrong policies of the state, and free trade policies tied to economic liberalization. - www.thesouthasian.org, 11 February 2007

Blinded By Capitalism



The world sat up and listened when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its report released last week in Paris, said that climate change was real and man-made. The first report said that temperatures in the next century are expected to go up by 2.5 to 4.5 degrees Centigrade. What does this exactly translate for India? Most figures add up to a serious shortage of water and threat to food security. It just might be the wake up call that policy-makers in India need. - Indian Express, 12 February 2007

And The Future Is...


Monday, February 12, 2007

Indibloggies 2006

.pOINT_bLANK has been nominated for the most humorous Indiblog at Indibloggies 2006.



To vote go to www.indibloggies.org. Voting is open till 20th Feb 2007. Some say that the ballot is stronger than bullets. Thank You!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Nero Of Bengal



Violence rocked Singur again as members of the Singur Save Land Committee who tried to uproot fences at four places around the project area clashed with the police who lathicharged and then lobbed tear gas shells to turn them away. The protesters alleged that the police also fired rubber bullets, but the police refuted the charge. - Indian Express, 8 February 2007
Violence erupted for the second time today since the first outburst on January 3 when people protesting against land acquisition for a proposed SEZ in Bhawanipore near Nandigram murdered a policeman of the district intelligence bureau around noon today. - Indian Express, 8 February 2007

Bail The Rich, Jail The Rest



Relatives of the 1993 blasts convicts reiterated their demand that other convicts too be given bail and discharged from TADA charges, like Sanjay Dutt. "Is Sanjay God that only he is being talked about? Aren't the others human beings?" asked convict Yusuf Kasim Khan's wife Rubina at a press conference organised by Jan Morcha. - Indian Express, 10 February 2007