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Showing posts from January 5, 2017

The Trump challenge to António Guterres (the hindu)

Soon after Portugal’s António Guterres was picked to succeed Ban Ki-moon as the United Nations Secretary-General, commentary on the major challenges awaiting him was dominated by the Security Council’s paralysis in resolving the Syrian conflict. There was also mention of climate change, North Korea’s nukes, Africa’s wars and the refugee crisis engulfing Europe. Nobody had anticipated then that Mr. Guterres would be presented with a new challenge of a different kind: Donald Trump.

Last week, reacting to the decision by the Obama administration not to veto the resolution condemning Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, a resolution passed 14-0 in the 15-member Security Council with American abstention, a miffed Mr. Trump trashed the UN as “just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time.” A not-so-veiled threat followed: “As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th.” That is when Mr. Trump officially succeeds President Obama as U.S. Presi…

Nagas’ talks with P.M.(dated January 6, 1967)(Hindu)

Talks between the Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, and the underground Naga leaders which concluded to-day [January 5, New Delhi] have been described by both sides as “a serious effort to narrow the differences”. Neither the spokesman of the Government of India nor Mr. Z. Ramyo, who spoke for the Nagas, would elaborate on this statement. Both sides stated that the talks were “free and frank”. The spokesman of the Government of India said that the two sides “agreed to think over what has been discussed.”

Being factual in the post-truth era (Hindu)

Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, for all practical purposes, recently threatened Israel with a retaliatory nuclear attack, in response to a fake news report that the Israelis had said they would use nuclear weapons against Pakistan if it sent ground troops to Syria. Earlier, a man fired an assault rifle in a pizzeria in Washington, D.C. after reading online that it was involved in a child trafficking ring linked to Hillary Clinton. In India, a fake story said there was a GPS tracking chip embedded in the new Rs.2,000 note. Fake news — the deliberate creation of factually incorrect content to mislead people for some gain — is becoming an increasingly serious problem. And tackling it is imperative in a perpetually wired and click-happy world. Everyone with an Internet connection and a social media presence is now a content generator. Access to the web at all times on mobile platforms has raised expectations for real-time news and constant entertainment, and competitio…

Being factual in the post-truth era

kistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, for all practical purposes, recently threatened Israel with a retaliatory nuclear attack, in response to a fake news report that the Israelis had said they would use nuclear weapons against Pakistan if it sent ground troops to Syria. Earlier, a man fired an assault rifle in a pizzeria in Washington, D.C. after reading online that it was involved in a child trafficking ring linked to Hillary Clinton. In India, a fake story said there was a GPS tracking chip embedded in the new Rs.2,000 note. Fake news — the deliberate creation of factually incorrect content to mislead people for some gain — is becoming an increasingly serious problem. And tackling it is imperative in a perpetually wired and click-happy world. Everyone with an Internet connection and a social media presence is now a content generator. Access to the web at all times on mobile platforms has raised expectations for real-time news and constant entertainment, and competition …

GST: No accord on dual control (the hindu)

The eighth meeting of the Goods and Services Tax Council failed yet again to reach a consensus on the critical issue of dual control, a major roadblock in the finalisation of the draft GST laws, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Wednesday. The Council will meet again on January 16.

Mr. Jaitley, briefing reporters on the two-day meeting, said he expected both direct and indirect tax collections at the end of the year to exceed the budget estimates.

After the first day of the meeting on Tuesday, several State Finance Ministers said the April 1 deadline for the rollout of GST looked unlikely, with the likelihood of a July or September rollout increasing.

“The legal drafts of the draft laws with gaps have been sent for legal vetting and will be presented before the GST Council,” Mr. Jaitley said.

“The gaps refer to two broad areas. The first is the definition of the word ‘territory’, and the second has to do with the issue of dual control and cross empowerment.

“The territory i…

Rural India on the National Optic Fibre Network: What Happens Next?(hindu)

As one of the world’s largest rural connectivity endeavours, the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project has been the subject of immense policy interest for the potential it holds to deliver high speed broadband internet to rural India. The building of infrastructure on a scale of this kind was acknowledged as an audacious move owing to the nature of transformation that this could herald in the way rural India could ride the digital information highway. The project, however, has been subject to numerous delays and deadline extensions for its completion are now a matter of routine. The pilot projects for NOFN were rolled out in the year 2012 in three States—Tripura, Rajasthan, and Andhra Pradesh—and they received functional internet connectivity from 2013 onwards.
This study visits the three pilot project sites to find out how the NOFN infrastructure is faring three years after it was first rolled out to 58 gram panchayats (village local bodies) in India. Adopting a qualitative …

For a level playing field (he hindu)

While the stories of women wrestlers may well help create a more equal society, they are often satisfying ends to what at the outset was driven by pure love of sport

Ever since Sushil Kumar won a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, wrestling has, without doubt, grown by leaps and bounds. A series of successes followed, from Yogeshwar Dutt to the Phogat sisters to Sakshi Malik.

What was until then a sport predominantly of the hinterlands received wider recognition as television and newspapers began discovering it. Now, it has reached a stage where Sakshi’s Olympic bronze is expected to do to women’s wrestling what Sushil’s did to wrestling in general.

Even to the uninitiated, the sport’s rich moral, philosophical and mystical heritage — with links first to the Ramayana and the Mahabharata through the likes of Hanuman and Bhima, and then to the Mughals and Maratha kings, who were huge patrons of the sport — has always appealed.

Also, independent India’s first individual Olympic …

Supreme Court brings Indian cricket into the 21st century (the hindu,)

.the BCCI brought about its own downfall, aided by nothing more than its hubris and cavalier disregard for the laws of the land

The world’s most successful secret society has been given a lesson in transparency and that is cause for celebration.

No tears need be wasted on the panjandrums who have been running the Board of Control for Cricket in India and its State associations like personal fiefdoms.

The Supreme Court finally reeled in the long rope it had given the BCCI, and so tripped up its senior officials. If there was contrition among the officials, these remained unexpressed. Yesterday’s powerhouses will be tomorrow’s forgotten men, their frown and wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command erased forever.

Inevitably, some good men will be thrown out with the bad, and there will be much churning as the old order makes way for the new. The saner elements of the board will wonder if it had to come to this, when, with greater maturity and common sense, the BCCI might have emerged wit…