Category Archives: Islamophobia

Palestine flag would be raised at UN

Palestine flag would be raised at UN
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
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Obviously, there is a broad light not just in the Mideast tunnels, but also in the corridors of UN General Assembly building with UN itself getting ready to greet the Palestinians, longing for freedom and sovereignty from the occupation forces of Israel, with their official flag unfurled at the UN to decorate the global forum.

The United Nations is expected on 10 September to allow Palestine to raise its flag at its headquarters in New York in a symbolic move highlighting Palestinian aspirations for statehood. The General Assembly will vote at 3 pm (2330 IST) on a draft resolution that diplomats say is almost certain to garner a majority in the 193-nation forum. The Palestinian representative to the UN Riyad Mansour said that it is a positively symbolic thing, but another step to solidify the pillars of the state of Palestine in the international arena.

The UN General Assembly upgraded the status of the Palestinians to that of non-member observer state in 2012, signaling a full statehood for Palestine in due course. Palestinians have been pressing for statehood for years but Israel, brutally occupying the Palestinian territories, employs manipulative strategy to obstruct the Palestinian move for their legitimate rights to have their own home on their own lands.

Every Zionist action, including aggression and expansionist ideology has so far, unfortunately, had the backing of the USA, the most powerful nation on earth and USA has used its veto to shield the Israeli military crimes against humanity.

The UN General Assembly resolution would allow the flags of Palestine and the Holy See — both of which have non-member observer status — to be hoisted alongside those of the member states. If adopted, the UN would have 20 days to implement the move, which would be in time for a visit by president Mahmud Abbas on 30 September.

Mansour said the initiative had the potential to “give our people some hope that the international community is still supporting the independence of the state of Palestine. “Things are bleak, gloomy, the political process is dead, Gaza is being suffocated. This flag resolution is like the small light of a candle to keep hope alive for the Palestinian people.”

Diplomats say the only unknown is how broad support for the resolution will be, and in particular the attitude of the Europeans who have been divided over the initiative. Most Europeans voted for Palestine against the wishes of USA and Israel.

Israel and USA have always hijacked the UN and other world bodies by using the US veto and their coercive efforts to influence many nations. Both Israel and the United States have, as their joint colonialist policy, expressed strong opposition, with Israel’s ambassador to the body Ron Prosor slamming “a blatant attempt to hijack the UN.”

Upon the UN vote last time, making Palestine a observer state, USA is reportedly considering sympathetically the Palestine claims and it supports the Palestine efforts for full membership on UN, it would regain its lost glory of a genuine mediator in regional disputes.

However, US State Department spokesman Mark Toner called it a “counterproductive” attempt to pursue statehood claims outside of a negotiated settlement which is being prolonged by Israel. Officially Washington does not want to seen to abandon a basically criminal state like Israel that kill Palestine children to help fascist minded and illegal settlers win in general elections.

Claiming to be the lone democracy in West Asia with Palestinian blood on its palms, Israel continues to play mischief with Palestinians and UN. Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli PM Netanyahu are among world leaders converging on UN headquarters as of 25 September for an anti-poverty summit and the annual General Assembly debate.

Pope Francis is expected to make a much-anticipated address on 25 September.

The Vatican has officially recognized Palestine as a state.

The very sight of Palestine flag at the UN when it appears would be a positive signal for all freedom seeking nations on this planet.

US President Obama musters more Senate votes for peace, in favor of nuclear deal with Iran!

US President Obama musters more Senate votes for peace, in favor of nuclear deal with Iran!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
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US President Barack Obama has secured 42 US Senate votes for the international nuclear deal with Iran, more than enough to keep Congress from passing a resolution disapproving of the pact., more than enough to block the Senate from passing a Republican-backed resolution to disapprove the deal and to ensure that the Iran nuclear deal will go into effect even as the US Congress returns on 09 September to begin a frenzied fall legislative session to debate the nuclear deal, which will include votes on the Iran deal before a Sept. 17 deadline.
Forty-two votes is one more than the minimum needed in the 100-member Senate to block a Republican-backed resolution of disapproval of the nuclear deal, announced on July 14. That would spare Obama the embarrassment of having to use his veto power to protect a deal reached with five other world powers, seen as a potential legacy foreign policy achievement for his administration.
Obama had been guaranteed enough votes to sustain a veto once he reached 34 “yes” votes in the Senate, but backers say avoiding the veto process would send an important message to Iran, and the world: Washington is unified behind it.

Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal, Gary Peters, Ron Wyden and Maria Cantwell announced they would support the agreement, just as lawmakers returned to Washington from a month-long summer recess. The last hope of bipartisan Senate support was dashed when Senator Susan Collins, the chamber’s last undecided Republican, announced her opposition.
All of the senators supporting the deal are Democrats or independents who caucus with them. Every supporter in the House of Representatives is a Democrat. At least 17 House Democrats have also said they would vote with Republicans against it. Senator Joe Manchin became the fourth Senate Democrat voting against the deal.

As Obama’s support reached on 08th September 41 in the Senate in favor of the Iran nuclear agreement, enough to block the Senate from passing a Republican-backed resolution to disapprove the deal, opponents of the deal began criticizing Democrats for, as they say, preventing an up-or-down vote on the deal by blocking its forward motion.

Republicans are trying to turn the vote for nuclear deal into anti-Iran vote. But Democrats gave President Barack Obama the votes he needs to prevent the Senate from passing a measure disapproving of the Iran nuclear deal. Reaching the threshold to filibuster means the President likely won’t need to veto the measure, even though opposition to the Iran deal enjoys majority support in the House and Senate. Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Michigan Sen. Gary Peters and Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden all announced in rapid fire succession they would support the deal, putting Obama at 41 votes of support in the Senate.
That would leave Republicans short of the 60 votes needed to force a Senate vote, unless some members who support the Iran deal argue that the chamber should have a chance to vote on it. The legislation permitting an up-or-down vote was agreed to by Obama after weeks of bipartisan pressure for Congress to have a say. The Senate would need 60 votes to advance a measure rejecting the deal for a floor vote. If all 41 Democrats who support the deal vote to filibuster, it would not reach a final vote in the Senate. Not all have pledged to do so, though they have pledged to vote with the President on the deal otherwise.
Senators Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Gary Peters of Michigan and Ron Wyden of Oregon said they will support the deal. The three new Democrats’ support came as another member of the party announced his opposition to the Iran deal. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin made a total of four Democrats who have come out against the deal. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said he opposes the agreement. The other Senate Democrats opposing the deal are Chuck Schumer of New York, Ben Cardin of Maryland and Bob Menendez of New Jersey. Only one, Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, remains undecided.
A few senators said they would “reluctantly” vote against a motion of disapproval because I believe that doing so will protect the credibility of the United States to hold Iran accountable to adhere to every single obligation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Many pro-deal senators believe that many overlapping provisions will make it exceedingly difficult for the Iranians to build a nuclear weapon in the short term and will lengthen the time required should they choose to break their commitments and try to build one in the future. “While this is not the agreement I would have accepted at the negotiating table, it is better than no deal at all,” Blumenthal said.
Both camps have been increasing their lobbying efforts on the deal. Republican presidential candidates including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and real estate mogul Donald Trump will headline an anti-Iran deal rally on Capitol Hill. And former Vice President Dick Cheney delivered a fiery speech against the deal, calling it “madness”. Opponents also circulated a letter from 15 governors voicing their opposition to the deal and pledging to keep state-level sanctions on Iran in place. All four of the current governors running for president signed, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. India wants Jindal an Indian to be the next US president.
It seems there is no precedent in recent history for an issue of this magnitude getting consideration in the Senate without having to secure 60 votes. The deal would ease economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs on the country’s nuclear program. Obama has lobbied hard for Democratic support and has made pitches to US Jewish leaders to counter opposition to the deal by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said he will insist that 60 Senate votes are required to pass a resolution of disapproval.
Obama’s 41 votes will ultimately protect the Iran deal, seven more than needed to uphold his veto of any measure of disapproval passed by Congress. The 435-seat House has more than the 218 votes needed to pass a resolution of disapproval in that chamber. At least 230 Republicans and 15 Democrats are opposed to the deal. At least 105 of the chamber’s Democrats support the agreement, while the rest have yet to announce their position.
Democratic front-runner and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will deliver her own speech on the Iran deal, where she’s expected to unequivocally supporting it. US Congress could still oppose the deal, but Obama has now enough votes to override any resolution of disapproval. He has said the deal cuts off every pathway to a nuclear weapon for Iran. Republicans like Israelis have been unified in their opposition to the Iran accord, saying the deal would only “embolden” Iran.
Like Israel, the republicans are annoyed and disappointed that their dream of a war with Iran has been short lived.
However, it was not just USA or Iran that won the deal but active and pro-active diplomacy did the magic for humanity which is seeking peace in West Asia baldy.
One fails to know as to why Israel is so deadly interested in defeating the Obama deal with Iran, causing damages to US diplomacy and Obama’s efforts for peace in West Asia.
However, that does not matter at all!

Turkey to hold second parliamentary poll on November 1

Turkey to hold second parliamentary poll on November 1
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
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Turkey is heading towards a new election amid escalating violence between Turkey’s security forces and Kurdish rebels, and as Turkey is taking a more active role in the US-led campaign against Islamic State.
President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during televised remarks on August 21 that the second legislative election will be held on November 1 this year and so the Turks will be back to the ballot box once again, after the poll produced a hung parliament and parties failed to agree on a coalition in an initial round.
The election board had proposed the date November 1, according the state-run Anadolu news agency. The official 45-day mandate to form a government ends on Sunday, after which the date for the fresh election can be made formal. It is meant to be set by the election commission.
Erdoğan’s Justice and Development party (AKP) lost its overall majority in the June election for the first time since it came to power in 2002. Coalition talks saw wide divides between the AKP and the other three parties in parliament, in part over the role Erdogan would play in governance. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, now the leader of the AKP, already announced this week he was giving up trying to form a coalition with a junior partner. Davutoğlu formally told Erdoğan this week that he had failed to form a coalition government. Erdoğan told reporters he had no intention of giving Turkey’s opposition leader the mandate to try and form a government.
The snap elections come just months after the last poll in June, which saw the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which Erdogan helped found, fail to achieve a majority in parliament for the first time since it swept to power in 2002. AKP has been facing discontentment among sections of population fueled by the essentially anti-Islamic opposition on account of policies like part destruction and Erdogan’s fight with his one time ally Golan.
However, Erdogan was directly elected as president last year. He has since taken on powers not wielded by his predecessor as head of state and has called for this de facto situation to be recognized through constitutional changes.
In the campaign before the last election, Erdogan had urged voters to back the AKP so it could enact legal amendments and empower the presidency, but this bid failed.
Erdogan is expected to meet the speaker of parliament on 24 August to prepare for the next stages, including the formation of a temporary government to carry the country over until the election. This government could contain members of all parties in parliament, should they be willing.
The June election also saw the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) enter parliament for the first time. Last month, the ceasefire between the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the state broke down, putting pressure both on the ruling party and the pro-Kurdish civilian movement.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey will hold a snap election with an interim government to be formed in the meantime, if necessary with members from outside parliament,. The president will ask Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu early next week to form the temporary power-sharing government, senior officials said, after weeks of efforts to agree a coalition with opposition parties before a 23 August deadline failed.
Erdoğan said he would form an interim government that will lead Turkey until the election, and could appoint figures who currently don’t hold seats in parliament. Turkish law requires that the interim government include members of all four parties represented in parliament, but two opposition parties have already said they would not participate.
Erdoğan appears to be betting that a new ballot could revive the fortunes of his Islamic-rooted party which he founded and led for more than a decade, and thus put him back on course to reshape Turkey’s democracy into a system in which the president would have executive powers. A coalition government would also have limited his ability to influence the government.
Dozens of people have been killed in renewed clashes between Turkey’s military and rebels of the Kurdistan Workers’ party, or PKK. Last month, Turkish jets raided Isis targets in Syria and PKK targets in Iraq while US jets also launched their first air strikes against Isis targets from a Turkish air base near Syria.
Opponents have accused Erdoğan of attacking the PKK in a bid to win nationalists’ support and discredit a pro-Kurdish party, whose gains in the June elections deprived the ruling party of its majority. “God willing, on November 1st, Turkey will go through what I like to call repeat elections,” said Erdogan.

End of era of a patriotic phenomenon called Bharat Ratna Dr. Abdul Kalam!

End of era of a patriotic phenomenon called Bharat Ratna Dr. Abdul Kalam!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

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Former Indian president Dr. Abdul Kalam, who passed away upon accomplishing his life mission, is a historic phenomenon. Born in Muslim fishermen family (Marakkar) and sold newspapers to add to his father’s income, Kalam rose to become first ever poor citizen to decorate Indian presidential palace (Rashtrapati Bhawan)

The final journey of a great Indian by name APJ Abdul Kalam who died on July 27 of cardiac arrest in Shillong while giving a lecture to students of the IIM (Indian Institute of Management) in Shillong took place in his home town Rameswaram, Tamilnadu. He was 83.  People flock to the funeral procession of former president APJ Abdul Kalam to pay last respects. Sea of people of India bid a grand farewell to their beloved president who was buried with military salutations, including a 21-gun salute.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi led nation in offering last respects to Bharat Ratna Kalam at Rameswaram. PM Modi, Tamil Nadu Governor K. Rosaiah, Chief Ministers of neighbouring States, Union Ministers, and State Ministers were among thousands who took part in the funeral. After a guard of honour given by the tri-forces, the Prime Minister laid a wreath and paid his last respects to the 11th President of the country. He was followed by Rosaiah, Union Ministers Venkaiah Naidu, Manohar Parikkar and MoS Pon. Radhakrishnan. Later, Tamil Nadu Ministers, led by Finance Minister, O. Pannerselvam, paid a floral tribute on behalf of the State Government as the indisposed Chief Minister Jayalalithaa could not attend the funeral. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and former Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad also paid their respects.  Kalam’s elder brother, 98-year-old A.P.J. Maraikkayar, was present on the occasion.

Defence personnel of the tri-services formally handed over the body to the relatives of  Kalam. After a series of rituals and prayers, the body was interned in the cemetry amidst shouting of slogan “Bharat Matha Ki Jai,” by thousands of mourners who attended the funeral at Pei Karumbu along Madurai highway.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa did not participate in the funeral as she, the state government said, is not well, but she sent seven ministers. Kerala Governor N. Sadasivam, Chief Ministers Siddharamaiah of Karnataka, N. Chandrababu Naidu of Andhra Pradesh, and Oommen Chandy of Kerala, his predecessor, V.S. Achuthanandan, Leader of the Opposition in Tamil Nadu Assembly, Vijayakanth, leaders of political parties, E.V.K.S. Elangovan (Congress), G.K. Vasan (Tamil Maanila Congress) and Tamilisai Soundarajan (BJP), R. Anbumani (PMK), Vaiko (MDMK) were among those present.

Earlier the body was brought in a procession from his home, House of Kalam, before rituals were performed in a local mosque. Thousands of people from across the State joined in the last procession of the People’s President.

An Air Force helicopter carrying the body of former President APJ Abdul Kalam landed on July 29 in Rameswaram, the Tamil Nadu town where Dr Kalam was born. Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu was among three ministers who accompanied Dr Kalam’s body today from Delhi to Madurai in Tamil Nadu and then to Rameswaram.

With the funeral of former President Kalam slated on July 30 in Rameswaram, the Tamil Nadu government has announced a public holiday on that day (Thursday)  to private and government educational institutions and establishments under the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881″as a mark of respect” to the departed soul.

People in Rameswaram in long queues on the sunny day paid their last respects to Dr Kalam at a ground near the bus terminus where his body has been taken now. Hundreds had visited 10 Rajaji Marg, Dr Kalam’s Delhi residence, on July 28 to pay tribute to the People’s President. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, had visited the Delhi bungalow where Dr Kalam lived for the last seven years after leaving the Presidential palace.

Penning his tribute to the ‘missile man’ and who was felicitated with the highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, PM Modi said, “Bharat has lost a Ratna”. “Our scientist-President – and one who was genuinely loved and admired across the masses – never measured success by material possessions. For him, the counterpoint to poverty was the wealth of knowledge, in both its scientific and spiritual manifestations,” the Prime Minister said.

PM Modi remembered President Kalam as one who took little from the world, and gave all he could to the society. “Kalamji refused to be defeated by circumstances. His character, commitment and inspirational vision shine through his life. He was unencumbered by ego; flattery left him cold,” Modi said.

PM Modi said his profound idealism was secure because it rested on a foundation of realism. President Kalam was “equally at ease before an audience of suave, globe-trotting ministers and a class of young students”. Describing him as a “hero” of India’s defence, the Prime Minister said his contributions to “our nuclear and space achievements have given India the muscle to be confident of her place in the region and the world.”

Tamil superstar Rajinikanth has called Kalam another Mahatma as he feels “blessed enough” to have lived during a time that had a “mahatma” like former president A P J Abdul Kalam. Paying tribute to Kalam, Rajinikanth today said the scientist inspired millions of people with his life and achievements. “I did not have the privilege of seeing our mahatma Gandhiji, Kamaraj or poet Barathiyaar but was blessed enough to live admist Mahatma Kalamji”. Like Dr. Kalam who was a paper boy in Rameswaram, Rajinikanth also, began life earnestly as a bus conductor in Bangalore city and today he is the king of Tamil cinema.

Apart from leading a simple life throughout even while thinking very high, Dr. Kalam was honest statesman and kept the genuine interest of nation above all other considerations.  He never went after money and never sought to waste nation’s resources even by foreign tours. This distinguishes Dr. Kalam from other presidents of India.

Like Nehru, the first PM of India, Kalam also was fond of children and roses.

Following are among quotes by the scientist, author and former President Kalam:

  1. You have to dream before your dreams can come true.
  2. Excellence is a continuous process and not an accident.
  3. Life is a difficult game. You can win it only by retaining your birthright to be a person.
  4. Man needs his difficulties because they are necessary to enjoy success.
  5. We will be remembered only if we give to our younger generation a prosperous and safe India, resulting out of economic prosperity coupled with civilizational heritage.
  6. Those who cannot work with their hearts achieve but a hollow, half-hearted success that breeds bitterness all around.
  7. Educationists should build the capacities of the spirit of inquiry, creativity, entrepreneurial and moral leadership among students and become their role model.
  8. Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work.
  9. If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher.
  10. My message, especially to young people is to have courage to think differently, courage to invent, to travel the unexplored path, courage to discover the impossible and to conquer the problems and succeed. These are great qualities that they must work towards. This is my message to the young people.

Kalam will be remembered for his engagement with the people – especially children – even after his presidency and the books that he wrote – India 2020 and, of course, igniting minds.   “If you want to shine like a sun, first burn like a sun,” APJ Abdul Kalam had said in one of his inspirational speeches. He certainly did. It was the role he will probably be most remembered for – a president who brought Rashtrapati Bhavan to the people earning him the tribute of the People’s President.

Dr. Kalam was a teacher, mentor, guide, infectiously optimistic; to him there was never an end. Uniqueness was so common to him. He had a voracious appetite for knowledge. The library and reading room occupying half of his 10 Rajaji Marg Road House would be spilling books into bedroom and sometimes right up to the garden. He never departed on a journey without carrying a couple of books in his hand baggage. On the very last day of life he carried books. he line which separated Dr. Kalam from the rest was not just his knowledge. It was his sensitivity and humility. He always introduced everybody as friend — whether it be his secretaries, his driver, his gardener, his cook or the people who maintained his house or even a stranger he just met.  He had the gift of empathy – and his memory of other people’s difficulties was impeccable. That was his art of winning over people.

“If you are blessed with intelligence, and empowered with education – it is your responsibility to change the world” – Dr. Kalam told and his greatest faith was the nation and its youth.  He trusted the youth, particularly his students, to come up with a solution for these issues. He was an eternal believer in the power of the ignited mind of the youth – which he termed as most powerful, on the earth, above the earth and under the earth. Obviously, blessed are his students.

The house of Kalam at No.10 Rajaji Marg in Delhi is likely to be converted into a Children’s Art Gallery, said Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu. After visiting ‘House of Kalam,’ the ancestral house of the former President , Naidu told reporters that Kalam’s family members had expressed the desire that the house be converted into a children’s art gallery and the Centre would take an appropriate decision.

Naidu said a memorial at the site at Pei Karumbu near here where Kalam was laid to rest in Rameswaram would be built to h great son of India.  “we can’t take any momentary decision as lot of suggestions were pouring in from various State governments and organisations. A decision will be taken shortly.”  Naidu, who is also the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, said that the former President, distressed over the non-functioning of Parliament for the last few months, wanted to discuss the issue. “We politicians should remember the important issue raised by Kalam, adhere to a system and conduct the Parliamentary proceedings in a dignified manner,” Naidu said.  Pointing out that more than three lakh people have poured into the island to pay homage to the former President, the Union Minister said this showed that Kalam has a special place in the hearts of Indians.

After Mahatma Gandhi, Kalam had enormous influence on the minds of the people, particularly, the younger generation.  People were more attracted to his Vision 2020 and firmly believed that he would lead them to a better future.

Many young Indians swear Kalam would live in the hearts and minds of  the youth.

Russian president Putin calls USA a racial state!

Russian president Putin calls USA a racial state!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

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Behind all nice “value” smiles and “hearty” talks about democracy and its place in any civilized society, Americans, generally speaking, are also racial by nature and instinct. The regular incidents of attacks on blacks in United States reveal American brand racism even under a Black president which demolishes their claim of being the most civilized people on earth the people from entire world must learn a lot from.

Targeting weak nations to destabilize them, committing awful genocides freely is one thing, but attacking minority people in a country on the on the basis of the skin color is another.  As the only superpower, United States of America, unfortunately, pursues both. However, Americans do not criticize the negative phenomena.

However, facts reveal that the real picture of social relations in USA is quite different from what is being reported in the US media. Racial slurs and attacks on the Blacks, among other minorities, are a common phenomenon across the USA.

The incumbent US President Barack Obama, himself a Black but successful politician, also, like predecessors who were Whites, does not seem to take steps to end racial discriminations in the country.  Racal discriminations have been on the rise even in America.

It is not at all shocking, but quite a valid statement, therefore, that Russian President Vladimir Putin has said racial intolerance in America would have shocked Martin Luther King Jr. In his National Breakfast address in Kremlin on May 13, Putin said that America was “full of magnificent travesty – a place where, in past many years, people of a particular color have, on several or most of occasions, been targeted by peoples of white color, simply due to their skin color and their racism.”

This startling comment from Putin comes on the backdrop of recent racial tensions in United States of America. There were incidents of unrest in Ferguson over shooting of Afro-American youth by a White police. Even after protests and pressure, the deaths of blacks in the hand of white police never reduced. Last week, yet another racial minority youth was killed in police custody.

Explaining to his audience, Putin continued, “It will be better if Obama and his America cared about their internal problems before trying to poke their nose into our affairs. They cry about Crimea, but look at their Crime rates. The rate at which American do crime, they can change their country name to Crimea, so that I can invade it next year.”

After a round of laughter from the audience, Putin continued, “America had blacks as slaves, then they fought a war among themselves on whether to keep blacks as slaves or not. Then, they fought with blacks on suffrage rights of blacks, educational right of blacks, employment rights of blacks. Martin Luther King Jr sacrificed his life to uplift black and end racial discrimination in America. But, now, seeing the current plight of blacks in his country, MLK would have cried in his grave. This kind of racial intolerance in America would have shocked him. I feel sorry for him.”

Raising a cup of wine for a toast, Putin concluded, “I just want to remind Obama to look after his own country and try to solve the racial riots that are happening under his nose. If a black president was unable to create an amicable situation for blacks in USA, then I wonder what the whites will do to those minorities. Stop the killing of blacks or resign Mr. Obama”.

Russians resent anti-Russia rhetoric of US leaders and western media lords made on a regular basis to belittle that nation especially when sanctions have been slapped on it by USA and EU. Putin has repeatedly said anti-Russia campaign is a roaring business of many Americans and it must stop. Maybe, his comments on racial discriminations in USA are to drive home the point that attacking Russian brand democracy cannot go on forever.

Maybe, President Barack Obama thinks the racial discriminations are a necessary evil that needs to be supported for some political expediency reasons, but the approach, if any, is totally wrong and anti-human as it works against the real progress of minorities in the country.

USA should shed its  racist slur and discriminatory practices and become a model secular and truly democratic state for all other nations to emulate.

US-Russia nuclear arms race: Kremlin to face NATO provocation!

US-Russia nuclear arms race:  Kremlin to face NATO provocation!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

___________________

With Russian President Vladimir Putin warning on June 19 Western countries against  meddling in Moscow’s affairs and that no one should speak to Russia through ultimatums, fears of a new nuclear arms race are being rekindled by the actions of arch rivals USA and Russia.

There are reasons to believe that Russia is angry with NATO’s attempt to contain Russia, the leader of former Soviet Union. In facing the containment policy of USA by using former Soviet republics, Vladimir Putin said on June 16 that Russia would add more than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles to its nuclear arsenal this year.

Putin made his announcement a day after Russian officials denounced a US plan to station tanks and heavy weapons in NATO states on Russia’s border as the most aggressive act by Washington since the Cold War. Intercontinental ballistic missiles have a minimum range of more than 5,500 km (3,400 miles). Putin gave no more details of which missiles were being added to the nuclear arsenal. He has said several times that Russia must maintain its nuclear deterrence to counter what he sees as growing security threats, and Moscow reserves the right to deploy nuclear weapons in Crimea. Following annexation of Crimea, the West, led by the European Union and United States, has imposed punitive economic sanctions on Russia.

The Kremlin portrays spending on the Russian arms sector as a driver of economic growth, but Putin’s critics say it is excessive and comes at the expense of social needs. “More than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles able to overcome even the most technically advanced anti-missile defence systems will be added to the make-up of the nuclear arsenal this year,” Putin, flanked by army officers, said in a speech at an arms fair west of Moscow.

Such comments have helped whip up anti-Western sentiment in the former Soviet space and rally support behind Putin but have caused concern in the West, particularly countries on or near Russia’s borders. Russian officials warned that Moscow would retaliate if the United States carried out its plan to store heavy military equipment in Eastern Europe, including in the Baltic States that were once in the Soviet Union. “The feeling is that our colleagues from NATO countries are pushing us into an arms race,” RIA news agency quoted Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov as saying during “Army 2015”, a fair at which arms and other military equipment are on show.

This Russian action would likely to increase alarm in the West. Tension has resurged between Russia and Western powers over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis, in which pro-Russian separatist forces have seized a large part of the country’s eastern provinces after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in early 2014.

Putin has however added Moscow will not be drawn into a new arms race although Russia is modernizing its armed forces. Putin said in his speech that 70 percent of the military equipment in use would by 2020 be the most up-to-date and top-quality. But lavish military spending is weighing heavily on Russia’s national budget at a time when the economy is sliding towards recession, hit by low oil prices and Western sanctions.

With the USA and Russia in a state of renewed cold war for over a year now, it was inevitable that the nuclear arms race, far more important attribute of the first Cold War, would soon return with more force.

Russian president was speaking at an arms race fair and his plan for more than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles into service in 2015 as part of a wide-reaching program to modernize the military not a joke.

The move is in response to what Russia has slammed as an aggressive expansion of military presence in NATO states in Eastern Europe, which would provoke Russia to respond by stationing its army on its western borders. Stationing of heavy US military equipment in the Baltic States and Eastern Europe would amount to the most aggressive step by the Pentagon and NATO since the Cold War. Interfax news agency quoted a Russian Defense Ministry official General Yuri Yakubov as saying:”Russia would be left with no other option but to boost its troops and forces on the western flank.” 

The U.S. Navy is among those participating in a NATO landing exercise in Sweden. Around the same time, U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah James announced that it could be sending some of its most advanced warplanes to Europe in a show of force. Already, the Pentagon has rotated B-2 and B-52 bombers, F-15Cs and A-10 attack planes as well as Army and Navy assets through Europe for exercises with allies under what’s called Operation Atlantic Resolve. James said the F-22 Raptor, the Pentagon’s premier fighter, could soon join them. This is all in addition to previous U.S. military actions in support of Ukraine and several Baltic countries, some of whom fear Russian President Putin — either directly or indirectly — will come after them next.

In reaction, Russia’s foreign ministry on Monday accused NATO countries of “sliding into a new military confrontation with destructive consequences.” That’s not to say Moscow hasn’t taken military action of its alone — most conspicuously with its aircraft.  The NATO late last year announced that it intercepted more than 400 Russian military planes in 2014 alone — a 50% increase from the previous year. Then there was the Russian jet in May came within 10 feet of an American military plane in international airspace above the Black Sea. Putin upped the ante beyond provocative aerial maneuvers that same day, as he announced that he is buttressing his country’s nuclear arsenal with an additional 40 intercontinental ballistic missiles.

USA and European leaders are already considering an additional round of sanctions they would impose on Moscow if it makes further military moves in Ukraine.

And since nuclear escalation usually takes place in a tit-for-tat mutual defection regime, earlier it was reported that the Americans are preparing a set of various measures, and among them the placement of heavy weaponry in Poland and other countries will be very important. And sure enough Russia, which it says is merely responding to NATO escalation, was promptly accused of escalating even more by the same NATO that keeps parking its own forces ever since the US-orchestrated Ukraine presidential coup was meant to convert Kiev into a potential NATO country and military base.

Nato and Western leaders accused Russia of sending soldiers and heavy weapons, including tanks and missiles, to the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. Russia has repeatedly denied this, insisting that any Russians fighting there are “volunteers”. Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the statement from Putin was “confirming the pattern and behavior of Russia over a period of time; we have seen Russia is investing more in defense in general and in its nuclear capability in particular”. He said: “This nuclear sabre-rattling of Russia is unjustified, it’s destabilising and it’s dangerous.”

And just to stabilize things, NATO may well deploy some of its own tactical nukes in the region as a deterrence measure now that the second nuclear arms race is fully up and running. To be sure Stoltenberg essentially admitted that the next retaliation by NATO countries will also be a nuclear one: that “what NATO now does in the eastern part of the alliance is something that is proportionate, that is defensive and that is fully in line with our international commitments.

the BBC’s estimate of Russia’s existing nuclear arsenal: Military stockpile of approximately 4,500 nuclear warheads; These include nearly 1,800 strategic warheads deployed on missiles and at bomber bases; Another 700 strategic warheads are in storage along with roughly 2,700 non-strategic warheads; A large number – perhaps 3,500 – of retired, but still largely intact warheads await dismantlement.

Back in December 2013 Russia stationed nuclear-capable Iskander (ss-26) missile launchers, as one of the first nuclear moves in the current Cold War 2.0 arms race, along the polish border to deter the US missile defense system in Poland. As such, all that the current second nuclear arms race needs is a spark. Incidentally, back in 1937 a comparable Fed rate hike such to the one the Fed is currently contemplating, led to a 50% crash in the stock market. More importantly, less than two years later, World War II broke out. On the day after the crash, investigators said they had reviewed the flight recorders, and confirmed that there were no technical problems with the Soviet-built aeroplane, ruling out initial theories that the 20-year-old aircraft was at fault. The Russian maker of the Buk air defence missile system says it has concluded that Malaysian Airlines flight 17 was downed by an older version of the missile. It says the type is not in service with the Russian military but is in Ukrainian arsenals.

The war of words between America and Russia is escalating. So, too, is the movement of implements of war — from US fighter jets to Russian nuclear weapons. the rhetoric and actions from both sides have definitely ratcheted up in recent days, raising concerns of a new arms race — if not worse — amid tensions both sides blame on each other. The major players all claim their movements are defensive and necessary responses to their foe’s provocation. None has talked of an invasion.

Nearly every American and European attempt at deterring Putin has instead triggered an opposite reaction: more military exercises, more provocative behavior and a persistent refusal to back down in the face of Western demands.

US and Russian nuclear arsenals as of April 2010

US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, signed a landmark nuclear arms treaty in the Czech capital, Prague in April 2010. The treaty commits the former Cold War enemies to each reduce the number of deployed strategic warheads to 1,550 – 30% lower than the previous ceiling. Here is a breakdown of their respective arsenals.

USA RUSSIA
Intercontinental ballistic missile
Name No. Warheads Name No. Warheads
Minuteman* 450 550 SS-18 (Satan) 50 500
SS-19 (Stiletto) 60 360
SS-25 (Sickle) 150 150
SS-27 (Topol)* 71 80
SUBTOTAL 450 550 331 1,090
Submarine-launched ballistic missiles
Name No. Warheads Name No. Warheads
Trident 288 1,152 SS-N-18 M1 (Stingray) 64 192
SS-N-23*
(Skiff & Sineva)
96 384
SUBTOTAL 288 1,152 144 576
Bombers
Name No. Warheads Name No. Warheads
B52 Stratofortress 44 350 Tu-95 (Bear) 62 682
B-2A Spirit* 16 150 Tu-160 (Blackjack)* 13 156
SUBTOTAL 60 500 75 838
Nonstrategic (short-range) forces
Name No. Warheads Name No. Warheads
Tomahawk*cruise missile 325 100 53T6 (Gazelle) 68 68
B61 bombs 400 SA-10 (Grumble)* 1,900 630
Bombers/fighters 524 650
Subs/Ships/Air 700
SUBTOTAL 325 500 1,492 2,000
TOTAL 1,123 2,702 2,042 4,600
Source: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Note: The data for the US relates to 2009. That for Russia, 2010.

Former ideological super power rivals USA and Russia with huge piles of arms arsenals do not seem to enforce nuclear disarmament globally. The US vested interests in maintaining upper hand in arms arsenals, especially WMD has emboldened Russia to ignore global nuclear disarmament and go slow in the hopeless arms reduction talks.

Indian Janata constituents to fight elections against BJP’s Hindutva agenda

Indian Janata constituents to fight elections against BJP’s Hindutva agenda

But they project no program for people.

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

_________________

Some socialist constituents of erstwhile Janata Party which had come into existence as the Congress Party withdrew in 1977 the draconian emergency laws imposed by the then PM Indira Gandhi in 1977 following Allahabad High Court setting aside her election to parliament, and won the general poll to from the first ever non-Congress government at centre and later in many states, are now busy recasting their strategy to revive the JP in some form. They have launched it as a testing exercise in Bihar state in north India which is going to poll, scheduled in September-October.

The Janata Party (People’s Party) was an amalgam of Indian political parties opposed to the State of Emergency that was imposed between 1975 and 1977 by the government of India under the prime ministership of Indira Gandhi of Indian national Congress party. In the general election held after the end of the state of emergency in 1977, the Janata party defeated Congress to form the first non-Congress government in the history of the Republic of India. The Janata Party is a child of the most epoch-making struggle in the history of Indian democracy. In March 1977 the people of India, under the inspiring leadership of Jayaprakash Narayanan, elected the Janata Party to power and entrusted it with the task of restoring democracy and freedom to the people and constructing an egalitarian. However, Morarji Desai led Janata government could not complete its full term owing to inner fighting)

The socialist politician who is now in the centre of merger move is the Janata Dal (United) leader and incumbent Bihar CM Nitish Kumar who will lead an anti-BJP coalition for this year’s Bihar Assembly elections. Other two major social leaders and MPs who back him are the Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav (former defence minister) from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar’s Lalu Prasad of the Rashtriya Janata Dal – they have nominated Nitish Kumar to be the alliance’s presumptive chief minister.

The three leaders have declared the defeat of communal BJP as their chief objective of their united front. By making Lalu Prasad recommend Nitish Kumar’s name on June 08, Mulayam Singh Yadav tried to signal unity in the ranks of the nation-wide partnership of socialist parties that he leads. But in a telling appeal, Lalu Prasad asked workers of both the RJD and the JD (U) to ensure the victory of the coalition.

After decades of bitter rivalry, Lalu and Nitish came together last year after being trounced by the BJP in the Parliamentary election. The experiment brought dividend in bye-elections held for 10 seats – they won six. The Congress and other parties that will be a part of the Bihar alliance have said they back projecting Nitish Kumar as chief ministerial candidate.

Mulayam Singh’s announcement ended days of speculation that the proposed alliance between Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JDU and Lalu Prasad’s RJD in the state would be a non-starter, as senior leaders of both parties made tough public statements on the issue of choosing a chief ministerial candidate. By Mulayam Singh’s side at his Delhi residence today sat Lalu Prasad, who said, “I had asked Mulayam ji to decide and said we’ll all accept it. Nitish Kumar is our chief ministerial candidate.”  Prasad added, “No one from the RJD is interested in becoming chief minister.”

Lalu Prasad, also a former chief minister of Bihar and former central Railways minister cannot run for office due to his conviction in a corruption case earlier. Both Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh emphasized that the alliance’s chief aim is to stop the BJP from adding Bihar to its kitty of states. Over the last few weeks, senior RJD leaders like Raghuvansh Prasad Yadav said Nitish Kumar’s candidacy for the chief minister’s post was not acceptable to them. JD(U) leaders hit back, insisting  Kumar must lead any alliance that they are a part of.

Communal riots orchestrated by political organizations and states for power are worst crime on Humanity,  and it is a great move indeed by the Secular Parties in Bihar, from now on Nitish Kumar must be more vigilant with RSS and BJP cadre who are known and proven again and again to be instigating Communal flames across Bihar, the way they did in UP, the slightest incident must be crushed with heavy handedly by Nitish, and should stop the Communal forces to win a single seat in Bihar, like what Arvind Kejriwal did in Delhi, if possible take AAP help in making the Strategy strong and winnable.

The CPI (M) chose to adopt wait-and-watch approach over forming alliance with Janata Parivar saying any decision to go with Janata outfits will be taken after discussing “developments” with other Left outfits. “What we have decided is that strengthening of the Left is only strengthening a force against communal forces. Left has been the most consistent and will remain the most consistent and strong anti-communal force in the country. “We shall meet now with other Left parties and see what are the developments taking place and accordingly, take the decisions. But now, our decision is to contest these elections along with Left parties,” party’s new General Secretary Sitaram Yechury who hails from erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, told reporters. When queried if CPI(M) was open to the idea of tying up with Janata Parivar after JD(U) and RJD came together resolving reported differences between them, Yechury welcomed the development saying it was “very good” that they (the two parties) came together in the fight against communal forces. “Butafter clearing hills in the Himalayas, the Ganga, as it descends into Gangetic plain in Bihar, flows faster. So, a lot of water will flow and hope there is consolidation of the process to meet people’s concerns today and against communalism,” he said. The Rajya Sabha MP added that in Bihar, CPI (M) will contest the polls mainly with CPI and CPI (Marxist-Leninist), which, he said, “was decided some time ago”. Asked if his party’s doors are open for alliance, he said “when time comes, we will see what changes take place.. Our target is communist forces should contest the polls together.” Yechury also said that stronger the Left parties become, stronger will be fight against communal forces.

The whole country has its eyes on the elections in Bihar. The Hindutva communal forces work fast and the alliance should saw the need of the hour. They say “Our hearts have come together, will sort out seats too”.

By declaring Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar as chief ministerial candidate, the Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav tried to signal unity in the ranks of the socialist parties to contest against the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the crucial state assembly polls of Bihar later this year.  But in the coming days the seat distribution, accommodating other allies like the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and even the Left will prove a daunting task for the anti-BJP front.

Knowing full well that he cannot run for office due to his conviction in a corruption case, Lalu who was stated to have been batting to project one of his family members as deputy chief minister had to back out following the Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi sending clear signals that he was backing Nitish Kumar as the chief minister, leaving the old ally the RJD high and dry. Even while announcing the name of Nitish as the chief ministerial candidate, Lalu could not hide his emotions, implying he was doing it under duress and he had run out of options.

Notwithstanding the Janata Parivar alliance Nitish suspects that the RJD chief may not possibly be able to transfer his core Yadav votes to the Janata Dal. He is, therefore, wooing the Congress to be a part of the secular alliance as that will not only keep Lalu under check but will also consolidate Dalit and Muslim votes. Nitish Kumar’s calculation is that the Congress has equal number of votes of Dalits and Muslims as the RJD.

The Janata Dal sources here said though the Congress was not invited to the alliance talks held at the residence of Mulayam Singh, Bihar chief minister called on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to plead with him to be part of the alliance to help defeat the BJP. The Congress sources said while Rahul is still reluctant to have any truck with Lalu, the party will soon start negotiations on seat sharing with the Janata alliance.

Back in Patna, Nitish went on record that there is “no doubt that Congress will be part of JD (U)-RJD alliance for the upcoming Bihar assembly polls.” He said three members each of RJD and JD(U) will meet on June 09 for discussions on the seat distribution. Lalu was initially opposed to projection of Nitish as the chief ministerial candidate of the alliance, but he changed the tune, endorsing his candidature and claiming that no one from the RJD is interested to become the CM. The alliance has planned a rally on June 18 against the controversial land ordinance to test public mood. Sources said the estranged RJD leader Pappu Yadav was giving Lalu trouble. He is reminding the Yadavs, backbone of Lalu’s juggernaut, how badly they were treated during the 10-year rule of Nitish Kumar. Many in JD (U) also, say it would be difficult to sell development agenda, having an alliance with former chief minister Lalu Yadav, whose apathy towards development has been phenomenal during his tenure between 1990 and 2005.

However, this is only the beginning of secular unity move and many issues would crop up soon especially after the Bihar poll if the alliance wins it. There would be fierce competition for PM candidature. The socialist alliance cannot win enough seats to rule India even with the backing of Leftist wings. They will certainly require more non-BJP MPs. If the AAP tires to seriously consider the expansion of  its pro common masses agenda across the nation with genuinely committed party wings, Socialists would do better by  making a common cause of  defeating all communal politics with Kejriwal’s party.

All said and done the emerging alliance is fighting elections without credible popular program but only worried about power and yet to discuss its economic program for the poor and common people. Perhaps the socialist trio must be pondering over this national scenario.

Indian PM Modi in Dhaka: India and Bangladesh settle border dispute, flag off Bangla-India bus services!

With Bangladesh on board, does India seek SAARC without Pakistan?

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

_______________

 

 

Even as Islamabad, as a crucial part of Islamic culture, is fully focused on bilateral joint cricket exercise with India, not only is India trying to belittle China’s economic and military prowess, but it is also simultaneously trying to contain Pakistan.

 

It appears India is trying for an informal SAARC to create an economic corridor by keeping its traditional foe and nuke rival Pakistan out.  New Delhi’s foreign policy strategists view Pakistan as a problematic and unwanted “element” in South Asia and therefore could be kept low by empowering Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and even Sri Lanka. They argue since India is a strong economy today, trying to overtake China, Japan and even USA, can contribute to the development of the region. But Islamabad should, in the process, be isolated in the region.

 

Indian PM Narendra Modi’s recent  trip to Dhaka, Bhutan is meant to  execute the long  term strategy of containing Islamabad effectively- now using its traditional allies in the region. .

 

India believes it is on course.  Already,  New Delhi has alienated Pakistan from its traditional  supporter USA by  tactfully  enacting a strategic partnership with Washington  against the so-called Islamic terrorism, interestingly emanating from Pakistan. So much so, US leaders keep asking Pakistani leadership to “do more and more”.  The US “terror “jolt to Islamabad has become a cool breeze for New Delhi which plans all the time to  make Pakistan irrelevant even for Arab nations. In fact, USA accuses Pakistan for the repeated terror actions in India.

 

PM Modi’s tour of South Asian nations has been successful to some extend.  H

India – The border dispute solution with Bangladesh has sent out positive images of India, though it still refuses to free Jammu Kashmir to exist with sovereignty as  it existed before 1947  when India and Pakistan jointly invaded that  sandwiched nation.

 

The historic  Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) is expected to open Indian floodgates to withdraw all Indian  military forces from Kashmir.  The next big thing after the LBA on the radar screens of Indo-Bangladesh is cross border coastal shipping.  This is a sector which offers myriads of opportunities not only to boost bilateral trade, economic cooperation and people-to-people contacts, but also take this process beyond the shores of India and Bangladesh and integrate Bhutan and Nepal also in the India-Bangladesh growth story.

 

 

In other words, coastal shipping is the key sector for kick starting the concept of BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal) a sub-regional developmental approach within the eight-nation SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation).This was a major thrust area of discussions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina in their two-hour-long delegation-level and restricted format talks in Dhaka on 6 June.

 

True, in terms of the 22 agreements and MoUs that were signed between India and Bangladesh on 6 June obviously the most important was the exchange of Instruments of Ratification of the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) and its Protocol. The two sides also exchanged letters spelling out the shared understanding of the two governments on how to go about implementing the provisions of the Agreement and Protocol, a complicated and time consuming exercise entailing the job of re-aligning the boundary, exchanging the enclaves and enabling the movement of those enclave residents who choose to relocate with minimal inconvenience.

 

The important thing is that the two sides went far beyond the LBA and its Protocol and concluded a major agreement on coastal shipping. Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar highlighted the importance of the coastal shipping agreement as follows, “We see this as really a very key understanding that would allow us to use our common bay and each other’s waterways for movement of cargo. As of now, the bulk of our trade takes place across the land border, and to the extent that we have sea trade this is done through distant ports. The goods are taken to distant ports and then they are reloaded into feeder vessels which then bring them into Chittagong. What this Coastal Shipping Agreement would do is basically enable the direct regular movement of ships between India and Bangladesh, which would bring the shipping time down from 30 to 40 days on average to seven to 10 days.” The impact of the coastal shipping agreement would be two-fold: (i) it would relieve the congestion on Indian Land Customs Stations which is an impediment to trade; and (ii) it would contribute to the growth of the shipping industry in Bangladesh as well as the ancillary services sector.

 

To ensure the success of the coastal shipping agreement, the two sides also agreed on several related agreements. For example, they renewed the Protocol on Inland Waterways and Transport which will boost the Bangladeshi shipping industry and would provide more certainty and predictability to the industry and its investors. Simultaneously, the two sides also inked a key MoU in this sphere relating to access to Chittagong and Mongla ports for the movement of goods to and from India. “With the proposed bridge over Feni river on India-Bangladesh border, there will be road connectivity from Chittagong to Agartala which will allow the movement of goods from Indian ports to Chittagong and Mongla ports which would then obviously could move on to Tripura and other regions of the North East through road,” Foreign Secretary Jaishankar elaborated.

 

All these should be seen in the larger context of the bilateral trade agreement which was also renewed. It allows India on its part to improve access to its northeast region and allows Bangladesh access through India to Nepal and Bhutan.

 

This is the real big picture. Once the tangible benefits of coastal shipping agreement and all the above mentioned agreements start trickling in, two other important and contiguous neighbours of India, namely Bhutan and Nepal, will also start reaping the fruits of development and connectivity. Improved connectivity will enhance mutual trade which in turn will bring a new spurt of growth to the entire region and a new vigour to India’s trade ties in the immediate neighbourhood.

India and Bangladesh have also agreed that Indian Special Economic Zones will be established in Bangladesh, a point specifically mentioned by Sheikh Hasina in her remarks at the conclusion of her talks with PM Modi. This would inevitably help Bangladesh in substantially restoring the bilateral trade balance which is currently loaded heavily against Bangladesh. Of the $6.5 billion bilateral trade, Bangladeshi exports to India account for a mere half a billion dollars.

 

Moreover, the above measures would spark off greater export-led growth in diverse sectors like textiles, leather goods, pharmaceuticals, auto components, ship building and marine food processing, to name a few.  All this is aimed at capacity building through land transit and connectivity. Over and above this, India’s offer of a new line of credit to Bangladesh worth $2 billion will provide the necessary financial cushion to take bilateral trade to a new level. Significantly, the new proposed LoC is broader than the first LoC and includes new areas like roads, ports, power, education and health.

 

While the LBA is now glorious past, costal shipping agreement beckons an even more glorious and bright future for India and Bangladesh. It is time for Bhutan and Nepal to get on to this new bandwagon called BBIN which is low on politics and high on growth-oriented development.

 

G7 summit focuses on global economy, sanctions on Russia!

 

G7 summit focuses on global economy, sanctions on Russia!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

_______________

Leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized countries have convened on their annual summit in Germany, where they are expected to discuss current crises, such as the wars in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya, and long-term issues like climate change and the economy.

The leaders of seven major industrialized countries led by supper power USA are meeting for their annual summit, with the first day devoted to the global economy and talks to liberalize trade rules. But the meeting will now focus on the continued sanctions on Russia. The leaders also want to agree on a climate change policy for a key meeting in Paris in December, where the goal will be to reach a global agreement to reduce carbon emissions.

US President Barack Obama said it is a list of difficult challenges. Obama also said: “We’re going to discuss our shared future,” he said, “the global economy that creates jobs and opportunity, maintaining a strong and prosperous European Union, forging new trade partnerships across the Atlantic, standing up to Russian aggression in Ukraine, combating threats from violent extremism to climate change.”

For the second year, a key topic will be Russia’s involvement in Ukraine. Russia was expelled from the group last year after it invaded and annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region, and it continues to support, train and equip rebels in two eastern regions. (The elite G8 group in which Russia is a member is no more existing) G7 countries are among the leaders of an extensive sanctions regime designed to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to change his policy.   Western powers, annoyed that the Kremlin has taken back the Crimea from Ukraine, now demand Russia to end Ukraine crisis by withdrawing Russian forces from east Ukraine, but Putin says Russia supports Russian fight for freedom but insists that Russian forces have not gone to Ukraine. However, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Moscow has sent 9,000 troops into “the area”, but Russia denies the claim.

 

The West accuses Moscow of supporting the insurgents in eastern Ukraine, a charge that Russia denies. The truce singed by Kyiv, Moscow and separatist rebels at talks mediated by Germany and France requires the warring sides to withdraw heavy weapons from the line of contact, but the provisions have been routinely violated.

President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel say economic sanctions against Russia should only be eased with Moscow’s full implementation of a shaky truce in eastern Ukraine to end fighting between pro-Russian insurgents and Kiev’s forces.

The US and German leaders insist that the sanctions should remain in place. The leaders also expected to discuss world crises including gains by the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria and the crises in Libya and Yemen.  There are also the pressing issues related to China, which is building islands in the Pacific that could be used to control shipping lanes. The American and German leaders met before the G7 summit in the Bavarian Alps. The White House said both leaders agreed the duration of the sanctions should be “clearly linked” to Moscow carrying out February’s cease-fire deal and showing “respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty.”

More than half the meeting Obama had with Merkel was devoted to show unity in confronting Russia over the destabilizing actions in Ukraine,” the White House said in a statement. Merkel told German public broadcaster ARD that Moscow should stay out of the G7 “community of values” over its actions in Ukraine. “There is a barrier at the moment and I cannot really see how it can be overcome,” she said. European Council President Donald Tusk, said the European Union and the G7 leaders remain firm in their support of Ukraine in its fight against pro-Russian separatists.

Before meeting privately, Merkel and Obama drank beer and ate sausages at a table with local residents in the picturesque Alpine village of Kruen, a few kilometers from the summit site.  Chancellor Merkel called the United States “our friend and our partner” and referred to the American leader as “dear Barack.”

the G7 leaders will be joined by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to discuss the fight against Islamic State, and some African leaders will join the meetings for a discussion of development, women’s rights and health policy.

G7 communiques on such issues are often greeted with indifference. In its annual assessment, the G7 Research Group based at the University of Toronto said the G7 does make a difference, particularly on such issues as financial regulations, health care, helping refugees and infrastructure development in Africa.

Like all G7 summits and similar events, this one has attracted Chanting and singing, some of them briefly blocked roads in the area early Sunday, and one group walked across a field where protesters had been allowed to camp out, trying to reach the summit hotel.

More than 15,000 German security personnel are keeping the protesters who blame the 7 big powers for many of the world’s problems, at bay and ensuring the leaders are safe as they uphold the G7 tradition of spending a couple of days largely on their own, discussing the world’s most pressing issues and deciding a common strategy  against their perceived ”foes” like Russia, China and others.  .

 

Unstoppable Indian corruption – Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa’s illegal asset case to go to Supreme Court! (Part 2)

 

 

Unstoppable Indian corruption – Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa’s illegal asset case to go to Supreme Court!  (Part 2)

 -Dr. Abdul Ruff

__________________

 

 

 

It seems corruption with which India has been afflicted badly for years of misrule could stay intact notwithstanding all anti-corruption laws and powerful the anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal. It is primarily because the ruling dispensation of India as well as top political parties and politicians promotes this evil as an unwritten policy of Indian corporatist regime.

 

There is a concerted effort by central government and corporate lords to weaken the Kejriwal’s AAP (Common man’s Party) in Delhi state and obstruct his efforts to cleanse the Delhi polity by containing the corrupt elements.

 

The governments and political parties refuse to acknowledge that t rampant corruption they are promoting to make wealth illegally harms the nation, hampers the life patterns of common masses.

 

Another swearing in

 

 

 

Ms Jayalalithaa was sworn in as Chief Minister for fifth time on May 23, after an eight-month break that was forced upon her when a court in Bengaluru found her guilty of amassing wealth beyond her income during her first term in office two decades ago.  The ruling AIADMK chief was arrested for three weeks before getting bail from the Supreme Court.  She appealed against her conviction in the High Court and won her case this month.  The case against her was originally filed in 1996.  In 2003, the trial was moved to neighbouring Karnataka to ensure that the politics of Tami Nadu would not influence the proceedings.

 

Assembly elections are due in Tamil Nadu elections in less than a year. The choice before Jayalalithaa and the AIADMK is to utilize their limited time in office to win them on sympathy wave. Tamil Nadu can expect more pro-poor welfare measures, fair-price initiatives, market interventions and big bang development announcements to win voters’ attention. In fact, she has already begun that. She does not want to give  the DMK  any chance of returning to power.

 

 

When a trial court in Bangalore had found her guilty in September last year it had led to a short period of imprisonment, disqualification as the Chief Minister, and her disappearance from active public life for nearly eight months.

 

A fresh legal challenge to 67-year old Jayalalithaa has come nine days after she made a triumphant return as Chief Minister with O Panneerselvam making way for her following acquittal by the High Court.

 

 

Ms Jayalalithaa, who has now to win a seat in the state assembly within six months of being sworn in chief minister, is contesting a by-election from Radhakrishnan Nagar constituency later this month. Jaya asked the silting AIADMK MLA to quit enabling herself to contest. 

 

AIADMK’s bitter rival DMK had raised the pitch for filing the appeal against acquittal while the original petitioner Subramanian Swamy had also said he would move the Supreme Court if Karnataka does not challenge the High Court verdict. In a way, Karnataka government has preempted both sources wanting to contest the acquittal in the apex court.

 

Ms Jayalalithaa’s arch rival, former CM M Karunanidhi of the DMK who possibly thinks his time is up in politics, said last week that the Karnataka government must file an appeal against her acquittal. He said in a statement that the DMK too would file its own appeal in the Supreme Court. In the national election last year, the DMK did not win a single seat in Tamil Nadu. Ms Jayalalithaa’s party, the AIADMK, won 37 of the state’s 39, to be the third largest party in the Lok Sabha, (lower house of parliament) after the BJP and the Congress.

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, an eminent lawyer himself at Supreme Court,  backed Karnataka Special Public Prosecutor B V Acharya’s advice to file an appeal against the acquittal of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in the disproportionate assets case. His comments in support of appeal  in the apex court comes in the wake of Acharya and Advocate General Ravivarma Kumar advising the state government to file an appeal against the acquittal of Jayalalithaa, while the legal cell of ruling Congress in the state advising against filing an appeal.

 

Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu welcomed Karnataka government’s decision to appeal against Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s acquittal in a disproportionate assets case, with DMK terming it as the “right” step by the ruling Congress. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) President M Karunanidhi, besides other leaders, had been urging Karnataka government to appeal against Jayalalithaa’s acquittal. Tamil Nadu Congress Committee chief E V K S Elangovan lauded his party-led government in Karnataka for “quickly deciding” on approaching the apex court with an appeal before the 90-day deadline. In his reaction, Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) founder S Ramadoss, who had written to Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah asking his government to appeal against Jayalalithaa’s acquittal, said: “albeit a little delayed decision, it is a welcome one.” He said he had been insisting that the verdict had “loopholes”. Ramadoss said if Karnataka government had immediately heeded to his demand, “at least Jayalalithaa becoming Chief Minister could have been avoided” by trying to secure a stay against the High Court verdict.

 

It appears, the entire opposition tries to be united against Jayalalithaa, but BJP seeking to increase its MLAs in the assembly poll, hasn’t been unequivocal. The party’s central leadership seems to have been sufficiently humored, but its state president has been kept out. The BJP, which like Congress party also promotes corruption, also hasn’t made any official statement against the verdict even after the opposition pointed out the alleged errors, hinting at the possibility of an alliance in the next general elections for more assembly seats.

 

 

Final justice

 

 

In his order, the High Court judge had said that her unaccounted part was less than 10 percent of the total income, which according to a Supreme Court order, was permissible. Opposition parties such as the DMK and the PMK immediately found gaping errors in the arithmetic that fixed the disproportionate income at less than 10 percent. Once corrected, her unaccounted income would exceed the 10 percent limit by a mile, they pointed out. Acharya, as well as Subramanian Swamy, the original complainant in the case, also advanced the same argument and wanted an appeal against the verdict.

 

As the Congress government in Karnataka has decided to appeal against the High Court verdict acquitting J Jayalalithaa in a corruption case, which cleared the way for her comeback as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Karnataka government appeal against the High Court verdict in the Supreme Court is the logical development on the issue.  The state government Advocate General Ravivarma Kumar pointed out, had 90 days to decide on an appeal, but had done so in about 20 days after the High Court verdict.

 

Both Karunanidhi and Subramanian Swamy had made it clear that they would go to Supreme Court if the Karnataka government didn’t.

 

The Karnataka government’s decision to file an appeal against the acquittal of J Jayalalithaa, whose PM dream during the parliamentary poll was crushed by Narendra Modi, may not have surprised the ruling AIADMK and its supremo, but it will certainly bring back the uncertainty over her political future.

 

Now that this 18-year-old case will move again against Jayalalithaa, it won’t be an easy ride for her. Buoyed by the acquittal, she was back in the office and was moving fast with a number of welfare and development projects ahead of the by-election she is planning to contest. The appeal, which will still take a few days, may even affect her re-election and stint in the office.  The Supreme Court is likely to stay the faulty HC verdict.

 

More trouble seems to be waiting for AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa. The case was fit enough for appeal because the High Court verdict allegedly based itself on wrong financial figures. It has been pointed out that the numbers and the reason for her acquittal do not match. While the special public prosecutor in the case, BV Acharya, who was re-inducted at the last minute, wanted the government to go on appeal, the legal cell of the Congress unit in the state opposed his suggestion.

 

Correcting the figures without appropriately revising the judgment that was based on the wrong figures wouldn’t have been sustainable. Since the HC couldn’t revise its own judgment, there was no possibility of correcting the figures alone.

 

If the final verdict goes against her, which is quite logical, the DMK opposition, which is literally out of steam, will have some ammunition in the assembly elections next year. Let that be and court needs not worry about that in the delivery of justice to India which suffers owing to rampant corruption affecting the life of common people. 

 

Supreme Court is expected to give a stay order on the High court judgment and proceed with adjudication. Meanwhile reports suggest the highly influential Jayalalithaa, who deliberately use uneducated poor party people as a political shield, would also file a case in the Supreme Court but no details available. 

 

It appears Jayalalithaa and the government of Karnataka, where Jayalalithaa originally belongs, coordinated their steps with Jayalalithaa assuming office of CM while Karnataka assembly beginning its session. Jayalalithaa knew before hand about the assembly session and decided to be the CM and possibly coerced the Congress government to delay the appeal so that she could be CM albeit for a short period. Her thoroughness needs to be appreciated, however.

 

It is also quite possible that judge Kumaraswami delivered a quick but faulty judgment in order to help Jaya resume power and reacquire the right to contest.   Undoubtedly no one, lawyer or judge, renders such a huge-huge service to billionaire Jayalalithaa for free. 

 

Obviously, a person who powerfully influenced the High court and got all punishments withdrawn is no ordinary manipulator.

 

Now the focus is on the Supreme Court if it would stay the flawed HC order or let Jayalalithaa enjoy her newly found chief ministership longer. Speculation, as you say, is indeed thrilling.

 

One, however, has to wait for the final judgment of Supreme Court.

 

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