Sorted by :  February  2009
by Ramtanu Maitra on 28 Feb 2009 4 Comments

U.S. President Barack Obama is in the process of formulating a policy, implementation of which would apparently lead to the end of militancy in Afghanistan and peace in the region, we have been told. From the noises made by the media, and the talking heads of Washington, a number of old formulations, put in a new bottle, are about to be peddled as

by Rodger Baker on 28 Feb 2009 0 Comment

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is making her first official overseas visit [16 Feb.], with scheduled stops in Tokyo; Jakarta, Indonesia; Seoul, South Korea; and Beijing. The choice of Asia as her first destination is intended to signal a more global focus for US President Barack Obama’s administration, as opposed to the heavy emphasis

by Vivek Arya on 27 Feb 2009 12 Comments

Latest research published in the December 2008 issue of Indian Pediatrics deals with foetal alcohol spectrum disorders, or FASD. This is a disorder commonly found among women who consume alcohol during pregnancy, which affects their offspring in terms of growth retardation, intellectual dysfunction, and behavioural problems. Alcohol is found to be

by Sandhya Jain on 26 Feb 2009 10 Comments

VinayakDamodar Savarkar, or Veer Savarkar as he was popularly designated, is a son ofmodern India who was denied recognition for his puissant nationalism, vibrantintellect, and personal valour, due to the pusillanimity of the powers that bein independent India. What distinguishes Savarkar from a legion of dedicatedfreedom fighters is his articulati

by S V Badri on 25 Feb 2009 92 Comments

This is not to belittle the genius and success of A R Rahman. This is just to connect his recent statement at the Oscars to his background, and to reveal the unknown face Rahman was so clever as to keep under wraps. This is to bring to surface the second Rahman – one who took to hating his natal religion the moment he took to Islam. To the en

by José Miguel Alonso Trabanco on 25 Feb 2009 0 Comment

The financial and economic turmoil the world is currently experiencing will certainly have many serious consequences beyond those fields. Indeed, its geo-political fallout could be far more serious than commonly acknowledged and it is an element that cannot be neglected by neither statesmen nor analysts.Some scholars frequently hold that politics a

by F. William Engdahl on 25 Feb 2009 0 Comment

European banks face an entirely new wave of losses in coming months not yet calculated in any government bank rescue aid to date. Unlike the losses of US banks which derive initially from their exposures to low-quality sub-prime real estate and other securitized lending, the problems of western European banks, most especially in Austria, Sweden and

by Virendra Parekh on 24 Feb 2009 4 Comments

If all religions preach love, amity and peace, why are there so much hatred, strife and violence in the name of religion? This question has often baffled not just atheists and agnostics, but also quite a few devout souls. The short answer is that every religion wants unity of mankind under its own banner - the operative word here is ‘banner&r

by Rick Rozoff on 24 Feb 2009 0 Comment

At a meeting of the European Union’s General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels on May 26 of last year, Poland, seconded by Sweden, first proposed what has come to be known as the Eastern Partnership, a programme to ‘integrate’ all the European and South Caucasus former Soviet nations - except for Russia - not alre

by Surjit Singh on 23 Feb 2009 102 Comments

[On 21 Feb. 2009, scores of ex-servicemen, including officers, returned their medals to the government to protest non-implementation of the demand for “one rank, one pension” in the armed forces. This was the second protest after 8 Feb., when retired officers and jawans under the banner of Indian Ex-servicemen Movement surrendered their

by Koenraad Elst on 23 Feb 2009 4 Comments

On 25 and 26 September 2008, the Paris-based South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal (SAMAJ) held a conference about “outraged communities: investigating the politicisation of emotions in South Asia”. The texts of the contributed presentations have now been published in the December 2008 issue of SAMAJ (integrally on-line at http:

by Sandhya Jain on 22 Feb 2009 7 Comments

Is it time to scrap the Sharda Act? Once hailed as one of modern India’s most progressive legislations, the Sharda Act and its associated objectives are being currently undermined by an insidious secular conspiracy that promotes free adolescent sex in the name of individual liberty. Modern India will have to take a call on the social and cult

by Eric Walberg on 21 Feb 2009 1 Comment

As Obama prepares to transfer troops from Iraq to Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda and other jihadists are also “transferring” there according to Afghan Defence Minister General Abdul Rahim Wardak, giving the country the dubious distinction of remaining the centre of the “war on terror”. Throwing down the gauntlet to Obama, the Taliban

by Michael Hudson on 21 Feb 2009 0 Comment

Martin Wolf started off his Financial Times column today (February 11) with the bold question: “Has Barack Obama's presidency already failed?”[1] The stock market had a similar opinion, plunging 382 points. Having promised “change,” Mr. Obama is giving us more Clinton-Bush via Robert Rubin's protégé, Tim Geithn

by George Friedman on 20 Feb 2009 0 Comment

While the Munich Security Conference brought together senior leaders from most major countries and many minor ones last weekend [7-8 Feb.], none was more significant than US Vice President Joe Biden. This is because Biden provided the first glimpse of US foreign policy under President Barack Obama. Most conference attendees were looking forward to

by Kurt Nimmo on 20 Feb 2009 0 Comment

It is yet another glaring example there is no difference between Bush, Obama, or anybody else anointed by the global elite to serve as presidential window dressing - the Daily Telegraph reports this morning [7 Feb. 2009] that former Reichsminister of State and Rockefeller minion Henry Kissinger was dispatched by the Obama administration to talk wit

by Ramtanu Maitra on 19 Feb 2009 2 Comments

On Jan. 25, as the Sri Lankan Army moved in to capture Mullaitivu town, the military capital of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), better known as the Tamil Tigers, it became evident that this 15,000-strong terrorist army will be homeless within weeks.In London, the first overseas headquarters of the Tigers, set up in 1984, the crisis is

by Tom Engelhardt on 18 Feb 2009 0 Comment

It is now a commonplace - as a lead article in the New York Times' Week in Review pointed out recently - that Afghanistan is “the graveyard of empires.” Given Barack Obama's call for a greater focus on the Afghan War (“we took our eye off the ball when we invaded Iraq...”), and given indications that a “surge” of

by Sandhya Jain on 17 Feb 2009 1 Comment

Given its position that Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami lacks the authority to recommend removal of his colleague Navin Chawla without a Presidential reference, and the Law Minister’s bald assertion that Mr. Chawla will most likely be elevated as CEC in view of his current seniority, it is not surprising that the UPA has decided no

by Tom Burghardt on 16 Feb 2009 0 Comment

With the situation on the ground rapidly deteriorating, U.S. imperialism's South Asian adventure is going off the rails. The New York Times reported February 4 that supplies “intended for NATO forces in Afghanistan were suspended Tuesday after Taliban militants blew up a highway bridge in the Khyber Pass region, a lawless northwestern tribal

by Rick Rozoff on 15 Feb 2009 0 Comment

Lost amid the national and international fanfare accompanying the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States is attention to the person who is slated to be the next major foreign policy architect and executor, retired US Marine General James Jones.In nearly identical phraseology that cannot be construed as either fortuitous or without

by Elie Elhadj on 15 Feb 2009 1 Comment

For a durable solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Bible and the Quran must be de-politicized. In political terms, de-politicization means a single secular democratic state for Jews and Palestinians.De-politicize the Bible and the QuranThe Arab Israeli conflict has become a religious war. Politicizing the Bible’s Genesis 15:18 politiciz

by Chalmers Johnson on 14 Feb 2009 0 Comment

Like much of the rest of the world, Americans know that the U.S. automotive industry is in the grips of what may be a fatal decline. Unless it receives emergency financing and undergoes significant reform, it is undoubtedly headed for the graveyard in which many American industries are already buried, including those that made televisions and other

by Rebecca Solnit on 13 Feb 2009 0 Comment

In December, reports surfaced that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson pushed his Wall Street bailout package by suggesting that, without it, civil unrest in the United States might grow so dangerous that martial law would have to be declared. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), warned of the same risk o

by Sandhya Jain on 12 Feb 2009 7 Comments

“Didi,” panted the desperate male, “I got my Pink Chaddi. Even I wore it. Now please help me, where shall I go with it?”“Shut up, you pervert,” I screamed. “We are not that type of website. Ghar mein Ma Behen nahi hai? Shut up, or I’ll call the police.”“Didi, please, don’t misunderst

by Ramtanu Maitra on 11 Feb 2009 0 Comment

The Indian Ocean FactorPerhaps the most fundamental factor driving New Delhi’s policy toward Zimbabwe and Africa generally concerns the Indian Ocean and its place in India’s security. Simply put, the Indian Ocean is India’s lifeline. India’s access to the Americas, Africa, Europe and parts of East Asia requires a non-threate

by Ramtanu Maitra on 10 Feb 2009 0 Comment

At the time of writing, South African President Thabo Mbeki, backed by the African Union and supported by the 118-member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) nations, is presiding over power-sharing talks between Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (August 2008). While the outcome of these talks is not the subjec

by Karin Friedemann on 10 Feb 2009 2 Comments

Gideon Levy, a Ha’aretz newspaper reporter, recently asked: “If Israelis were so sure of the rightness of their cause, why the violent intolerance they display toward everyone who tries to make a different case?”In “Survival Instinct or Jewish Paranoia?” my favourite shrink, ex-Israeli Avigail Barbanel writes that, &ld

by Sandhya Jain on 09 Feb 2009 13 Comments

No matter how liberal a country’s ethos, no matter how depraved and debauched its social reality, no polity in the world will permit a minister or public servant to call for a “Pub Bharo” movement in support of the Christian festival, Valentine’s Day, which falls on 14 February.It is not just a question of public decorum or

by Joseph E. Stiglitz on 09 Feb 2009 0 Comment

America's recession is moving into its second year, with the situation only worsening. The hope that President Obama will be able to get us out of the mess is tempered by the reality that throwing hundreds of billions of dollars at the banks has failed to restore them to health, or even to resuscitate the flow of lending. Every day brings further e

by Krishen Kak on 08 Feb 2009 3 Comments

In the book “The Imperial Animal,” anthropologists Lionel Tiger and Robin Fox explain that a breeding system is one that operates to survive, defend and perpetuate itself, and that a political system is a form of breeding system. They point out the applicability of “lust” to both sex and political power.  In a curious w

by John McMurtry on 07 Feb 2009 0 Comment

When the U.S. Treasury gave away $700 billion to Wall Street banks with no strings attached in October of 2008, the Obama team gave a green light. A popular insurgence was soon silenced, with public wrath directed instead at the U.S. auto producers (and unions) who followed with a request for $25 billion. The auto companies ended up with a loan of

by Ramtanu Maitra on 06 Feb 2009 0 Comment

As a new U.S. President Barack Obama moves into the White House, he inherits a financial system in rubble, and a worst-ever explosion of violence and drugs in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, where almost 50,000 U.S. troops are fighting a seemingly lost war. At the same time, the latest election results in Bangladesh have given the new American adm

by Fred Burton and Scott Stewart on 06 Feb 2009 0 Comment

The media wing of one of al Qaeda’s Yemeni franchises, al Qaeda in Yemen, released a statement on online jihadist forums Jan. 20 from the group’s leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi, announcing the formation of a single al Qaeda group for the Arabian Peninsula under his command. According to al-Wuhayshi, the new group, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peni

by Ajay Chrungoo on 05 Feb 2009 2 Comments

The 2008 elections are now over. A power shift has taken place. The PDP-Congress alliance has been replaced in the state by the NC-Congress alliance. The Chief Ministership has reverted back to a Kashmiri for full six years, if the alliance lasts that long. All the major portfolios like home, finance, planning, revenue and power have been retained

by George Friedman on 05 Feb 2009 0 Comment

Washington’s attention is now zeroing in on Afghanistan. There is talk of doubling U.S. forces there, and preparations are being made for another supply line into Afghanistan — this one running through the former Soviet Union — as an alternative or a supplement to the current Pakistani route. To free up more resources for Afghanis

by Michael Hudson on 04 Feb 2009 0 Comment

After (1) threatening for eight years that the prospect of a trillion-dollar deficit spread over a generation or so is sufficient reason to stiff Social Security recipients and abolish debts to the nation's retirees, and (2) after the Bush administration provided $8 trillion over the past three months in cash-for-trash swaps of good Treasury bonds

by Sandhya Jain on 03 Feb 2009 6 Comments

Sonia Gandhi and her former Left comrades are in the dock in the current turmoil in the Election Commission, although it is true that the crisis began with BJP’s petition to President APJ Abdul Kalam seeking removal of Election Commissioner Navin Chawla on grounds of his pro-Congress affiliations.As if to underline the extent to which constit

by Sandhya Jain on 03 Feb 2009 3 Comments

The Supreme Court today stands at an historic crossroads: it can choose the path of transparency and public honour, or the one that leads to opacity and doubt. By a curious coincidence, public confidence in some of the Republic’s most trusted institutions is under strain at a difficult moment in the nation’s history, and it is up to tho

by Surjit Singh on 02 Feb 2009 5 Comments

“Honours and awards distinguish the mediocre. While the superior are embarrassed by them, the decoration itself gets devalued when awarded for lesser deeds”The Param Vir Chakra (PVC) and the Ashok Chakra (AC) are the highest gallantry medals awarded in India. The essential wording for both these decorations is the same; they are granted

by Vladimir Putin on 02 Feb 2009 0 Comment

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's speech at the opening ceremony of the World Economic Forum Davos, Switzerland January 28, 2009Good afternoon, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,I would like to thank the forum's organisers for this opportunity to share my thoughts on global economic developments and to share our plans and proposals. The world is

by S.V. Badri on 01 Feb 2009 1 Comment

This is an age-old tradition that thankfully continues: the Pandalam Raja remains custodian of the Tiruvabaranam (jewels for Bhagawan Ayyappa and Maligapuram Amma). These celestial jewels are displayed at Pandalam Palace Mandir during the Mandalam/Makaram period (end December through January 11) every year.  Three teakwood boxes, Tiruvaba

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