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Showing posts from 2008

Democracy Returns in Bangladesh

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Sheikh Hasina Wajed's Awami league won the Bangladesh elections on 30th December 2008 with an overwhelming majority. As a winner of the first parliamentary elections in seven years, she has urged her defeated rival, Khaleda Zia, who leads the rival Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) to accept the results. Hasina has offered cabinet posts to the BNP in return for cooperation. "I think she should accept the people's verdict because this election is a free, fair and transparent election," said Hasina. The Awami League leader said: "We call upon all who participated in the election, that in a parliamentary election, we can all work together. I'm ready to work with everybody."

Bangladesh Awami League has secured more than 260 seats in parliament, while BNP won 31. In 2001 elections, the BNP had got landslide victory. The BNP-led alliance has complained of rigging at more than 200 polling stations.

Backdrop
In the aftermath of the the withdrawal of the st…

Alternatives to US Domination: Prof. Mahmood Mamdani

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At the Press Club of India on 30 December 2008 an unusual lecture on 'The World before and after 9/11: alternatives to US domination' by Prof. Mahmood Mamdani, the author of Good Muslim Bad Muslim: America and the Roots of Terror traced the origin of political Islam in South Asia to the political struggles of 1857. His wife Mira Nair, the Film Director was also present along with the academia and media persons.

Mamdani referred to the influence of Jamaluddin Afghani of Iran, Abu ala Mawdudi and Syed Qutb on political Islam and said, "When I read Syed Qutb’s ’Milestones’, particularly the introduction where he says he wrote it for an Islamic vanguard, I thought I was reading Lenin’s ’What is to be Done?’ When I read the main text, particularly Qutb’s distinction between friend and enemy, a friend as one with whom you must use persuasion but an enemy as one who needs to be dealt with by force, I was reminded of Mao ze Dong’s distinction in his essay ’On the Correct Handlin…

Turkey, Egypt call on Israel immediately to stop Gaza air strikes

Turkey and Egypt has called on Israel immediately to stop bombs and killings in Gaza, killing more than 300 Palestinians.

The Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and his Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Ali Aboul Gheit made a call for immediate cease-fire in Gaza.

Babacan and Gheit held a joint press conference following a tete-a-tete meeting at the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Monday.

"We discussed the developments in Gaza and exchanged opinions on the situation in the region," Babacan said. "In our meeting today, we evaluated what Turkey and Egypt, two influential countries in the region, can do," Babacan said.

"A large number of Palestinians lost lives due to Israel's attack on Gaza. More than 300 people have been killed and hundreds of others were injured in Israel's attacks," Babacan said.

"The developments in the region may hurt the regional stability. The peoples of the region are in a mood of anger. The tenseful atmosphere must be softened. …

‘Terrorism, Rule of Law & Human Rights’: Chief Justice

International conference of jurists on ‘Terrorism, Rule of Law & Human Rights’

Speech by Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Chief Justice of India

Dr. Manmohan Singh / Sh. H.R. Bhardawaj / Esteemed colleagues / members of the bar / Ladies and Gentleman,

From our recent experience, we have learnt that terrorist attacks against innocent and unsuspecting civilians threaten the preservation of rule of law as well as human rights. Terrorism can broadly be identified with the use of violent methods in place of the ordinary tools of civic engagement and political participation. It has become an increasingly recurrent strategy for insurgent movements as well as identity-based groups to make their voice heard through armed attacks and bomb blasts in place of public dialogue. Independent India is no stranger to the problem of tackling armed terrorists and has faced long-running insurgencies as well as sporadic attacks in many parts of the country.

However, in the age of easy international tr…

Failure of the WTO & UN Model

Today, WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy called off his latest attempts to push through a conclusion to the Doha Round of WTO expansion by suspending his call for yet another “mini-Ministerial” meeting this month in Geneva.

Talks aimed at building enough consensus to justify the potential mini-Ministerial broke down this week over additional US demands that developing countries, particularly China and Brazil, reduce their tariffs on certain sectors of industrial goods in their economies to zero. This “market access” demand was even more extreme than the US position in July, which was already viewed by developing countries as too aggressive, given the lack of relative ambition in US and European offers on agriculture.

What is needed now is a significant roll-back of WTO rules so that our government can provide solutions to the Food, Financial, and Economic Crises – and so that governments worldwide can develop a new set of rules to discipline predatory and speculative global investors t…

Most influential politicians

These statesmen have had a powerful impact on global politics, economics and the chemical industry. How will they play their hands in 2009?

Gordon Brown, UK prime minister

Brown has been at the forefront of global economic rescue attempts, including bank bailouts and fiscal stimulus moves with the G20 group of industrialized and developing nations.

Barack Obama, US president-elect

The 44th president of the US faces the challenge of dealing with the worst recession in a generation. Many fear he will rewrite US energy policy with potentially expensive alternatives and increase regulations. He is already calling for immediate action to curb emissions.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, California governor

He has rallied world leaders to call for action on global warming. In November, he convened the Governors' Global Climate Summit, where 12 other US governors and regional leaders in Mexico, Canada, Brazil, India and Indonesia pledged to work together.

Vladimir Putin , Russian prime minister

Continues h…

Defending VS Achuthanandan

Defending VS Achuthanandan is almost like defending sanity

After revealing its true colours by covering Hotel attacks and ignoring Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Teeror Attack, media reveals its bias by unfairly targeting VS Achuthanandan, Chief Minister, Kerala.

Achuthanandan is the man of the masses, media likes only man of certain classes.

Unlike CPI (M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, Achuthanandan is known for his honesty.

Prakash Karat should have stood by Achuthanandan when media, opposition and vested interests misrepresented his visit to a martyr's house. Interestingly, Karat chose to remain silent when Singur and Nandigram happened in West Bengal. Unlike Buddhdev Bhattacharya, Achuthanandan is not a psuedo communist. Unfortunately, political parties of all ilk find such people inconvinent.

Achuthanandan deserves praise for the eviction of encroachers from Munnar hill station. In the first phase of the eviction, about 16,000 acres of government land, encroached by rich …

Manmohan Singh's opening remarks at the All Party Meeting

PM's opening remarks at the All Party Meeting
November 30, 2008
New Delhi

"Esteemed Chairperson UPA, respected colleagues and friends. I thank you all for being here at such short notice.

The ordeal at Mumbai, which occupied the attention of the entire nation, has finally come to an end. All of us share the grief of those who have lost their loved ones in this dastardly and brutal attack and also the pain and anguish of those grievously wounded. We cannot lessen their grief. But we will do all we can to alleviate their suffering. I give you my solemn assurance that we will look after the needs of those who survive this horrible tragedy.

We salute the bravery of our security forces who fought the terrorists in exceptionally difficult circumstances. They tried their utmost to save innocent lives at great personal risk. Twenty officers and men made the ultimate sacrifice by laying down their lives. The entire nation owes a debt of gratitude to these men that we can never repay.

We hav…

Mumbai attacks ‘were a ploy to wreck Obama plan to isolate al-Qaeda’

The carnage may have been an attempt to put Pakistan and India at each other’s throats and kill US hopes for the region

Relations between India and Pakistan were on a knife edge last night amid fears that Delhi’s response to the Mumbai attacks could undermine the Pakistani army’s campaign against Islamic militants on the frontier with Afghanistan.

Officials and analysts in the region believe that last week’s atrocities were designed to provoke a crisis, or even a war, between the nuclear-armed neighbours, diverting Islamabad’s attention from extremism in tribal areas bordering Afghanistan and thus relieving pressure on al-Qaeda, Taleban and other militants based there.

One analyst even described the attacks as a “pre-emptive strike” against Barack Obama’s strategy to put Pakistan and Afghanistan at the centre of US foreign policy.

The United States and its allies now face a balancing act in supporting India’s efforts to investigate the Mumbai attacks, without jeopardizing Pakistan’s cruci…

Joint Statement from Pakistan and India

Joint Statement was released to the press simultaneously in Pakistan and India
November 30 2008

Mumbai bloodbath

We are deeply shocked and horrified at the bloody mayhem in Mumbai, which has claimed more than a hundred and ninty lives and caused grievous injuries to several hundred people, besides sending a wave of panic and terror across South Asia and beyond. We convey our profound feelings of sorrow and sympathies to the grieving families of the unfortunate victims of this heinous crime and express our solidarity with them.

As usual, all sorts of speculations are circulating about the identity of the perpetrators of this act of barbarism. The truth about who are directly involved in this brutal incident and who could be the culprits behind the scene is yet to come out and we do not wish to indulge in any guesswork or blame game at this point. However, one is intrigued at its timing. Can it be termed a coincidence that it has happened on the day the Home Secretaries of the two countr…

Joint Statement from Pakistan and India

This Joint Statement was released to the press simultaneously in Pakistan and India on November 30 2008.

Mumbai bloodbath

We are deeply shocked and horrified at the bloody mayhem in Mumbai, which has claimed more than a hundred and ninty lives and caused grievous injuries to several hundred people, besides sending a wave of panic and terror across South Asia and beyond. We convey our profound feelings of sorrow and sympathies to the grieving families of the unfortunate victims of this heinous crime and express our solidarity with them.

As usual, all sorts of speculations are circulating about the identity of the perpetrators of this act of barbarism. The truth about who are directly involved in this brutal incident and who could be the culprits behind the scene is yet to come out and we do not wish to indulge in any guesswork or blame game at this point. However, one is intrigued at its timing. Can it be termed a coincidence that it has happened on the day the Home Secretaries of the …

Vishwanath Pratap Singh is dead

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Parliamentary Oversight Committee to monitor the functioning of the intelligence agencies

Former Prime Minister V P Singh, who formed a non-Congress coalition government at the Centre dethroning Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress in the 1989 elections, died in New Delhi on Thursday after prolonged illness.

Battling blood cancer since 1991 and suffering from renal failure, 77-year-old Singh, also known as 'Raja of Manda', breathed his last at the Apollo Hospital in Delhi in the afternoon, his close associate Wasim Ahmad said.

"The end came at 1445 hrs," an Apollo Hospital spokesperson said.

Singh is survived by his wife Sita Kumari and two sons Ajeya Singh and Abhay Singh.

In the present scenario where intelligence failure has become rampant, it is noteworthy that former Prime Minister V P Singh had tried to set up a Parliamentary Oversight Committee to monitor the functioning of the intelligence agencies. He failed mainly on account of opposition from the major political partie…

PM's address to the Nation

November 27, 2008
New Delhi

Dear Citizens,

The dastardly terror attacks that took place in Mumbai last night and today leading to the loss of many precious lives and injuries to many others have deeply shocked the nation. I strongly condemn these acts of senseless violence against innocent people, including guests from foreign countries. I offer my deepest condolences to the bereaved families and sympathies to those injured. The Government will take all necessary measures to look after the wellbeing of the affected families, including medical treatment of injured.

The well-planned and well-orchestrated attacks, probably with external linkages, were intended to create a sense of panic, by choosing high profile targets and indiscriminately killing foreigners.

I salute the courage and patriotism of the police officers, including the Chief of the Anti-Terror Squad, Shri Hemant Karkare and men who have laid down their lives in fighting these terrorists. I assure the country that we will attend …

Be 'effectively collaborative': Sonia Gandhi

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Hindustan Times Leadership Summit
Speech of Hon'ble Congress President, Sonia Gandhi

Mrs Shobhana Bhartia,

Mr Vir Sanghvi,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to be back here in this forum where I see so many friends and familiar faces.

I find a certain comfort in this, and applaud the Hindustan Times for having established such a high reputation for organising these interactions.

If I have any reservation, it is in my own ability to add meaningfully to your deliberations. It is not always easy to find something different to say from the same lectern for five consecutive years. But as it happens, I have been rescued from this dilemma by the global economic downturn which is clearly the big issue of the day.

We are meeting in turbulent times, times that overshadow the larger theme of this year's Leadership Summit. Its focus, "Ambitions for the New Century" will, I am afraid, have to wait a while, as we grapple with the cataclysm that has been thrust upon us.

The year that is …