No plans to form govt. with PDP in J&K: Congress

first_imgThe Congress on Monday sought to scotch speculation that the party was exploring the possibilities of forming a government in Jammu and Kashmir with Mehbooba Mufti’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).Emerging from a meeting of key Congress leaders on the Kashmir situation here, former Union Minister Ambika Soni said the party wanted fresh polls in the State that has been placed under Governor’s rule after the BJP withdrew support to the PDP.Announcing that the meeting was held to “discuss the situation arising out of the imposition of Governor’s rule in the State,” Ms. Soni said there was no possibility of an alliance with the PDP, which had failed to fulfil its promises to the people of the State.Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad,and Jammu and Kashmir Congress Committee president Ghulam Ahmad Mir were present in the meeting.‘Not foolish’A Congress delegation will also be visiting Leh, Ladakh and Kargil soon to assess the situation. On Tuesday, about 100 party members will meet in Srinagar for the same purpose.Later, speaking to journalists, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said in reply to a question whether the party was looking to form a government in the State: “We are not as foolish as you [the BJP] think. Our demand is that elections should happen there immediately. First, you destroyed the administration of that State, made an unethical alliance, and today you want to rule there through Governor’s rule. Three years are left there; why don’t you announce elections? Order polls if you have the courage.”“Look at their policies in such a sensitive State and they also thump their chests on nationalism,” he added.Asked about the implications of Ms. Mufti reportedly meeting former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Mr. Singhvi said: “Meeting with somebody has not to be read in terms of all other kinds of conclusions you are drawing. I have made it clear. I don’t think we should jump to conclusions.”However, the Congress media cell denied knowledge of any such meeting.Mr. Singhvi also said that terrorist incidents, army deaths, cross-border attacks and ceasefire violations had increased in the State.last_img read more

Five students run over by truck

first_imgFive school students were killed and four grievously injured when a truck ran over them on NH 16 in Bhadrak district on Thursday.Four of the five victims were girls. The students were returning from Ranital High School when the accident occurred. The injured were taken to Bhadrak district hospital.By the time locals rushed to the spot, the driver and the helper of the truck had already fled. Angry locals set the truck on fire.Expressing grief over the accident, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced an ex gratia of ₹2 lakh each to the family of the deceased.last_img

There will be civil war and bloodbath: Mamata

first_imgWest Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday delivered a loud and clear message that “India needs a change in 2019”.Speaking at a conclave organised by the Catholic Bishops Conference of India on the theme of “Love your neighbour”, Ms. Banerjee said the ruling party’s diktats on “what to eat, what to wear, where to stay” could not be tolerated.“India needs a change and that change has to happen in 2019,” the Chief Minister said. She cautioned the government that there would be a civil war and blood bath in Assam where 40 lakh people had not made it to the final draft list of the National Register for Citizens and faced an uncertain future.“What is going on in Assam? It is not only the Bengalis — it is the minorities, it is Hindus, it is Bengalis, it is Biharis … more than 40 lakh people who voted for the ruling party have suddenly been made refugees in their own country,” Ms. Banerjee said in her 20-minute address.Ms. Banerjee said even members of former President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed’s family had not been included in the NRC. “We can’t let them die,” she said.Against divisions“If Bengalis say Biharis can’t stay in Bengal, South Indian people say North Indians can’t stay there and North Indians say South Indians can’t stay here, what will be [the] state of this country,” she wondered.Referring to the several incidents of lynching across the country, Ms. Banerjee said “I am not that liberal to love people who lynch. I am with the people. If tribals, Dalits and minorities are isolated, it may lead to civil unrest,” she said.Speaking to presspersons, Ms. Banerjee responded sharply to a question on the BJP’s assertion that it would carry out the NRC exercise in West Bengal too. “Who is Amit Shah? Who is BJP? Are they West Bengal’s guardians? Let them first come to power in the State,” the Chief Minister said. (With PTI inputs)last_img read more

Raj Kapoor’s memorial to get world’s largest peace hall in Pune

first_imgLate actor Raj Kapoor’s memorial in Loni Khabhor, Pune, will soon contain the world’s largest peace hall designed by architect and educationist Dr. Viswanath Karad, founder-chairman, MIT University.The hall will be inaugurated on October 2 this year with a World Peace Conference. The hall will be larger than the St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City and house statues of various philosophers, saints as well as scientists. Construction of the monument began in 2005 with no blueprint, sketches or a professional architect, but only with help from local labourers. The structure will stand for world peace and will have bronze structures weighing around 2,000 kilos each. “I had wanted to create a peace monument and started my work 13 years ago on the structure. It was a tribute to Mother India who has withstood the onslaught of time and amalgamated the cultures that came in as her own. It developed with time into a magnificent dome and will now house the world’s largest peace library besides being the world’s largest peace prayer hall,” Dr. Karad said. The memorial, which stands on the same land as the late actor’s farmhouse, was purchased by Dr. Karad from Kapoor’s family 13 years ago, and he began working on the hall shortly thereafter. Kapoor, in his will, had stated that his farmhouse, if ever sold, should go to an educational institution. Kapoor’s bungalow, which still exists on the land, will stand along with statues of him from his best films, a seven-pagoda tribute and the peace hall. “Something more had to be done here. The dome was destined to be on this land,” Dr. Karad said.On being asked about his hidden narrative in his new architectural project Dr. Karad said “Philosophy, spiritualism and science coexist and when they come together, the world becomes a better place to live in. Whether it be my speech in the UN or here, through the statues of the saints, philosophers or scientists who bless us, the mission is world peace and coexistence. The dome was destined to be on this land. I am merely an instrument.”last_img read more

Kejriwal, Amarinder lock horns

first_imgPunjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday lashed out at his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal, asking him to refrain from doing politics on the issue of sacrilege and police firing incidents in Faridkot in 2015.Captain Amrinder’s rebuke came after Mr Kejriwal accused the Congress-led Punjab government of failing to punish those responsible for the sacrilege of the Sikh holy book and deaths of two persons in the alleged police firing at Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan.The Punjab government had set up a five-member SIT to probe the police firing.last_img

Delhi has failed to curb air pollution: Amarinder

first_imgDays after Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal blamed Punjab for the rise in air pollution in the national capital, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday dismissed his claim that stubble burning in the State was solely responsible for the high levels of pollution in Delhi.Capt. Amarinder said Mr. Kejriwal’s remarks were another attempt by him to divert public attention for his own government’s “abysmal failure” on all counts.“Having failed to deliver on governance to the people of Delhi, Mr. Kejriwal is, as usual, trying to take refuge in falsehoods and fabrications,” he said.Capt. Amarinder said the people of Punjab would not take politely to the AAP leader’s attempts to pin the blame for his own failures on their State. “Mr. Kejriwal will see in the Lok Sabha elections what Punjab thinks of him and his AAP,” said the Chief Minister.Local sources of pollutionPointing out that the Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi remains over 300 during December and January every year, when there is no stubble burning in the neighbouring States, Capt. Amarinder said this clearly indicates that Delhi’s environment is impacted by its own sources, which are predominantly vehicular emissions, construction and industrial activities, power plants, burning of solid waste and sweeping.Capt. Amarinder asserted that had stubble burning been the reason for ambient air quality deterioration, then it should have impacted the AQI of the cities of Punjab first. “However, it had been observed that the average AQI of Punjab during October, 2018, was 117, while the average AQI of Delhi hovered around 270. Most of the cities in Punjab have witness clear climate with long distance visibility, in sharp contrast to Delhi,” he said.“The data clearly indicated that Kejriwal’s government in Delhi had failed completely in addressing the problem of pollution in the national capital,” said Capt. Amarinder, adding that Mr. Kejriwal was hunting for scapegoats to put the blame for his own failures.last_img read more

Ram temple: why don’t you bring down Narendra Modi government, Uddhav Thackeray asks RSS

first_imgShiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on November 2, 2018, said the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) should bring down the Narendra Modi government if it felt the need to launch an agitation for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.Earlier in the day, the Sangh said it would not hesitate to launch an agitation on the issue, if needed.Speaking to journalists at the Sena headquarters in Mumbai, Mr. Thackeray said the Modi government ignored the entire agenda of the Sangh. “The issue of Ram temple was sidelined after the Modi government assumed office. When the Sena took up the issue and decided to insist on the construction of a temple, the RSS now feels the need for an agitation to press the demand.” “If you [the RSS] feel the need for an agitation despite having a strong government in place, why don’t you pull down this government,” he said.Bhaiyyaji Joshi’s commentSpeaking to media after the conclusion of a conclave of the Sangh earlier in the day, RSS general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi said the organisation “will not hesitate to launch an agitation for Ram temple if needed” but “there are restrictions” as the matter is before the Supreme Court.Mr. Thackeray said the BJP came to power at the Centre due to the hard work of the RSS, but the Sangh’s entire agenda, including the construction of a Ram temple, the scrapping of Article 370 of the Constitution that accords special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and enacting a uniform civil code, is now shelved.“After we took up the issue of Ram temple and I announced my plan to visit Ayodhya on November 25, others too have started talking about the issue,” Mr. Thackeray claimed.last_img read more

Nirupam Sen, veteran CPI(M) leader, passes away

first_imgNirupam Sen, senior CPI(M) leader, passed away at a Kolkata hospital in the early hours of Monday following a cardiac arrest, the hospital said. He was 72.The former commerce and industry minister of West Bengal (from 2001 to 2011) leaves behind wife, a son and a daughter.The body will be kept in a mortuary during the day and the final rites will be performed on Wednesday in Bardhaman, his hometown. The body will also be taken to CPI(M) party headquarters and the CITU office on Wednesday.“On Wednesday, Sen’s body will be taken to the CITU office here. After that it will be taken to the party’s State head quarters where people will be allowed to pay their last respects,” sources in the party said.Suffered from kidney ailmentsMr. Sen was impaired in 2013 after a health issue. In the past few years, he could be seen attending party events in a wheelchair.The former Polit Bureau member of the party had been on the life support system in the hospital after his health condition deteriorated in the early weeks of December. He had been critical since then.“Sen was fighting kidney ailments. He was impaired by a cerebral attack in 2013,” an official at the hospital said.Mr. Sen was the driving force behind attempts of industrialisation of the State in the last 10 years of the Left Front government led by former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.Born October 8, 1946, his political career began when he became a member of the CPI(M) during his student years. He became the district secretary of the Students Federation of India, students wing of the party in 1966.Though he started his career as a teacher, he became full-time member of the party in 1968. Mr. Sen was district secretary of Bardhaman district CPI(M) from 1989 to 1995. He became MLA from Bardhaman town in 1987, became central committee member of the party in 1998 and Polit Bureau member in 2008.CondolencesCPI (M) West Bengal’s official twitter handle said, “Red Salute Comrade Nirupam Sen. Long Live Comrade Nirupam Sen. He passed away at 5.10 am on Monday at a private hospital. The body will be kept at peace heaven in Kolkata today. Comrade Nirupam Sen’s last rites will be performed on Wednesday.”West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted out her condolences. “Saddened at the passing away of Nirupam Sen, former Minister of West Bengal. Condolences to his family and well wishers,” she said.CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury termed Mr. Sen a dedicated Communist.”Lal Salam, Comrade Nirupam Sen. We lost him this morning. A dedicated Communist, who devoted his entire life to the cause of the working class and the peasantry. He served in various capacities including as a member, Polit Bureau and a senior Minister in Left Front governments,” Mr Yechury tweeted.(With inputs from PTI)last_img read more

‘Cover lotus references in cityschools that are polling stations’

first_imgAn election observer on Thursday asked for ‘Rashtriya Phool – Kamal (national flower – lotus)’ embossed on a school building wall in West Delhi to be covered as it is a violation of the model code of conduct. Lotus is the BJP’s election symbol.A police officer said that the observer has asked them to identify such walls in schools that are listed as polling stations in Delhi.During a visit to polling stations, the election observer found that in several schools information such as national bird, national animal among other things were mentioned on the walls. “We have been instructed to cover the word ‘Kamal’ painted/embossed on the walls in schools where polling will be held on May 12. We are in the process of identifying such walls and they will be covered with the help of the district administration,” said the police officer.The election observer has also asked for photos of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and B.R. Ambedkar to be covered in schools listed as polling stations.Reacting to the observer’s objection, a schoolteacher said: “There are so many parties and each of them has an election symbol that represents something that we use in schools. It doesn’t mean they start covering everything.”In 2012, the Election Commission had ordered to cover up the statues of then U.P. Chief Minister Mayawati and elephant, the symbol of her Bahujan Samaj Party, ahead of the Assembly polls. The same have not been covered this time.last_img read more

Odisha’s wildlife sanctuaries ravaged by Fani

first_imgCyclone Fani: Anger boils over in hungry Puri  “As per eye estimate, the cyclone damaged nearly 55 lakh trees, mostly casuarinas,” said Harsabardhan Udgatta, Divisional Forest Officer of Puri (wildlife) division. “As many as 20% of the trees were uprooted, while the rest were found snapped and broken. The devastation has left around 400 spotted deer homeless,” he said.Apart from deer, the sanctuary, spread over an area of 87 sq km, was home to wild boar, jackals, striped hyenas, wolves and mongooses. While the DFO asserted that no carcasses of spotted deer had been sighted, it was hard to imagine that the animals had actually escaped the cyclone’s fury.Nandankanan closedIn Bhubaneswar, the cyclone had uprooted decades-old trees inside the Nandankanan Zoological Park. Several animal enclosures too have been affected forcing authorities to shut down the zoo for an indefinite period. The Chandaka Wildlife Sanctuary, which is close by, has also been impacted with thousands of trees uprooted. Authorities are attempting to assess the extent of damage.As a result, hundreds of displaced monkeys have now entered residential colonies in the periphery of Bhubaneswar. Residents have reported cases of the simians iattacking people after loss of habitat and food sources. Severe Cyclone Fani rendered not only several thousand people homeless as it tore along India’s east coast last week, but also dealt a body blow to wildlife and forest resources in the region.The scenic stretch along the tree-lined Marine Drive that bisects the Balukhand Wildlife Sanctuary adjacent to the Bay of Bengal between Puri and Konark, is now a wasteland with hardly any tree left untouched, wildlife officials said.Also Readlast_img read more

Effort to Require Labeling of Genetically Modified Foods Losing in Washington State

first_img Voters in Washington state appear to be rejecting an initiative that would require companies to label food products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs), according to early results. Votes against the initiative were leading 55% to 45% according to a report in The Seattle Times, which predicted opponents would win out even after mailed absentee ballots are counted later this week. Backers had hoped the measure, known as I-522, would make Washington the first U.S. state with such a mandate.The initiative has been controversial and costly. Supporters, arguing that consumers have a right to know how their food is produced, raised nearly $9 million. Opponents, who call the initiative unnecessary and costly to consumers, raised a state record-breaking $22 million with support from agribusiness.Though scientific evidence has shown that eating GM foods poses no threat to human health, some pro-labeling groups worry that it’s too soon to declare GMO products safe. Others cite possible damage to the environment, such as the potential for increased herbicide use on resistant engineered crops. But advocacy against the measure was powerful and ultimately persuasive to voters, says Julie Caswell, an applied economist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who specializes in the economics of food quality. Polls suggest that one influential argument against the measure was that companies would be obligated to source more costly non-GMO products, driving up prices at the grocery store. But that claim is likely overblown, Caswell says.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Caswell predicts that a loss for the Washington initiative, combined with a similar failed attempt in California last November, may cause advocates of labeling to rethink statewide initiatives and instead support voluntary labeling systems driven by increasing consumer pressure. “Companies that want to yield to consumers who don’t want GMO products are free to do so,” she says. Trailing. An initiative to require the labeling of genetically modified foods in Washington state is trailing at the polls. Yes on 522 last_img read more

U.S. Biomedical Research ‘Unsustainable,’ Prominent Researchers Warn

first_imgThe U.S. biomedical science system “is on an unsustainable path” and needs major reform, four prominent researchers write in an opinion piece published today by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers should “confront the dangers at hand,” the authors write, and “rethink” how academic research is funded, staffed, and organized, according to Science Careers (published by AAAS, which also publishes ScienceInsider).The four authors are Bruce Alberts, former president of the National Academy of Sciences and former editor-in-chief of Science; Marc Kirschner, founding chair of the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School; Shirley Tilghman, former president of Princeton University; and Harold Varmus, Nobel laureate and current director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Among other issues, they suggest that the system may be producing too many new researchers and forcing them to compete for a stagnating pool of funding.It’s not the first time research leaders have raised such alarms. In 2012, Tilghman co-chaired an advisory panel to the National Institutes of Health, NCI’s parent and the nation’s major biomedical research funder, that suggested a glut of trainees and a dearth of academic positions were creating a dysfunctional biomedical research system.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

BPO firms with Indian operations have a 3-step plan to manage anti-offshoring wave

first_imgEvery BPM firm has warned shareholders about protectionism, where outsourcing and immigration reform has been a focus of the current US administration. Just a few weeks ago, Sherrod Brown, Senator from Ohio, talked up protecting call centre jobs in the US yet again. Before the latest round of rhetoric, he had earlier in the year introduced a bill —for a US Call Centre Workers and Consumer Protection Act — to end offshoring and support American workers. Read it at Economic Times Related Itemslast_img

If You’s Brown

first_imgTravel season is winding down and parents are busy shopping for school supplies. Indian tourists are glad to be done with travel; the experiencethis summer has been disconcerting. But back to school doesn’t quite get usaway from what ruined summer vacation in the first place: backpacks. The recent bombings in London, a whole spate of them, were brutal and reckless. The events made everyday life more fragile. That was no doubt their purpose. Londoners, like the citizens of Madrid earlier, realized that life could not go on as usual. Since the terrorists were brown, of South Asian origin in particular, their appearance became suspicious. As the terrorists had recruited backpacks as accessories for their crime, backpacks became suspicious as well. Put the combination of the two together, and you have now a definition of what suspicious looks like.Incidents were reported in major cities all over the world of police rounding up suspicious looking people, or raiding their homes. In most cases, these were brown men. In New York, police pulled over a sight-seeing bus in July in the middle of Times Square on the suspicion that terrorists were aboard. It became clear very quickly that the dark skinned men, British citizens all, were ordinary tourists. The mayor quickly apologized. But the image of the five South Asian Britishers kneeling on a public street with their hands tied behind their backs has been alarming.Now the whole city is sensitive to brown people with backpacks. This in a city where people have gotten used to ignoring people talking loudly to imaginary friends or those who forgot to tidy up their zippers. New York takes pride in permitting all sorts of abnormalities to pass for normal. But now, we have antennas pointed at a new identity, suspicion has taken on a new face.There are plenty of apologists for this behavior. Many think it is the inevitable norm and we should just get used to it. We are well past the racial profiling debate. It is not about stopping black men on highways and streets, but a caliberated precaution to assure safety for everyone.The Brazilian man shot by London police two months ago turned out to be innocent. He was also entirely un-suspicious. Initial reports carried fantasy stories by the police that he avoided them; that he wore an abnormally heavy jacket in the hot weather; that he fled from them; that he jumped a turnstile, all turned out to be untrue. He was simply shot because someone on the force decided that this is what the target looks like these days. To top it all, London¹s Police Commissioner warned it could wellhappen again and again.Big Bill Broonzy’s blues told us some time ago, ‘If you was white, you be alright, you was brown, stick around (But as you’s black, oh, brother, get back, get back, get back).’Perhaps things haven’t changed any for blacks, but he might well now croon, ‘you was brown, get down, get down, get down.’ Related Itemslast_img read more

Asian Indian Population 2005

first_imgThe Asian Indian population in the United States grew 38%, almost 15 times the national growth rate, between 2000-2005, according to the 2005 American Community Survey, which provides a window to the U.S. population at the middle of the century. Wyoming, South Dakota and Montana, each of which have exceedingly small Indian populations, recorded the highest growth rate; however, the rates mask significant margins of error, which make the estimates for each of the three states dubious. Maine and Rhode Island, recorded a decline in the Indian population, but those numbers are also dubious because of the margin of error.Asian Indian Population 2005 State  2005 2000-2005 GrowthCalifornia 449,72243%New York 336,42334%New Jersey 228,25035%Texas 175,60836%Illinois 157,12626%Florida 95,04334%Georgia 79,16972%Michigan 78,46644%Virginia 77,20858%Pennsylvania 75,15931%Maryland 67,24135%Massachusetts 55,84027%Ohio 46,70221%Washington 41,58373%North Carolina 39,81552%Connecticut 32,98839%Minnesota 30,46880%Arizona 22,02949%Tennessee 21,41667%Wisconsin 19,67255%Indiana 16,30611%Colorado 16,15038%Missouri 15,75529%Oregon 12,65032%Louisiana 10,94232%Oklahoma 10,57724%Kansas 10,46828%South Carolina 9,45813%Delaware 8,55062%Nevada 8,17848%Kentucky 8,17621%Alabama 7,81313%Iowa 7,34030%New Hampshire 575949%Nebraska 572475%Utah 4,65252%Mississippi 4,121 8%New Mexico 3,70319%Arkansas 3,48312%West Virginia 3,24714%District of Columbia 3,109 9%Rhode Island 2,295-22%Hawaii 2,10446%Idaho 2,07061%North Dakota 1,33062%South Dakota 1,286110%Alaska 1,09051%Maine 987-3%Vermont 97514%Montana 72992%Wyoming 267663%Total 2,319,22238%Source: American Community Survey 2005  Related Itemslast_img read more

India Shuts Down Several Tourism Offices Overseas

first_imgThe Indian Ministry of Tourism office in Toronto was the latest one to close operations last week after the government issued directions to shut down some of its overseas offices earlier this year. The Toronto office, which worked as a bridge between India and Canada for nearly 58 years, has moved its operations to New York, the  Hindustan Times reported.The New York office will handle matters relating to representation of India across Canada, as the Los Angeles office was also shut down. “It’s a part of our restructuring exercise. We feel that our office in New York will cater to our needs in Toronto,” Meenakshi Sharma, additional director general, Ministry of Tourism, was quoted as saying by the publication.The employees of the Toronto office, who worked to promote India as destination for Canadians in advertisements in public transports and dailies, received communication in this matter by mid-March, the report added.“Now, we will perhaps have 7-8 hubs where we will have our presence through these foreign offices,” Rashmi Verma secretary, Ministry of Tourism, had said earlier. “In rest of the countries, we will be having India Tourism Marketing Representatives (ITMR), and they will be carrying out work under direction of these hubs, which we will be creating in our key markets. Also, these hubs will be engaging PR agencies, who will be working in some of these key markets and emerging markets.”India Tourism offices in Paris, Milan and Amsterdam have also been closed, and Frankfurt will now serve as the European hub. Singapore, on the other hand, will act as the hub for Australasia region while Dubai will cater to the Middle East. Offices in Sydney and Johannesburg was also closed down as part of the global cost cutting and rationalization measure undertaken by the Ministry of Tourism, the HT report added.The move is also being attributed to factors such as lack of senior officials in key positions, inability of current staff to adapt to requirements of changing markets, and, most importantly, the question on the viability of having physical tourist offices in the age of internet, according to Indian Link.The development was met with disappointment in the affected countries, especially since it comes at the heels of increase in global travel trends. The number of Canadians visiting India was 259,017 in 2011 and the provisional figures show that the number increased to 338,925 for 2017. Indians visiting Canada increased from 139,213 to 190,565 in the same period.Since an increase has been seen in inflow of tourists from Russia, an office will be opened in Moscow, the ministry had said. Related ItemsCanadaTourismlast_img read more

The Decline and Fall of the American Empire

first_imgA soft landing for America 40 years from now? Don’t bet on it. The demise of the United States as the global superpower could come far more quickly than anyone imagines. If Washington is dreaming of 2040 or 2050 as the end of the American Century, a more realistic assessment of domestic and global trends suggests that in 2025, just 15 years from now, it could all be over except for the shouting.Despite the aura of omnipotence most empires project, a look at their history should remind us that they are fragile organisms. So delicate is their ecology of power that, when things start to go truly bad, empires regularly unravel with unholy speed: just a year for Portugal, two years for the Soviet Union, eight years for France, 11 years for the Ottomans, 17 years for Great Britain, and, in all likelihood, 22 years for the United States, counting from the crucial year 2003.Future historians are likely to identify the Bush administration’s rash invasion of Iraq in that year as the start of America’s downfall. However, instead of the bloodshed that marked the end of so many past empires, with cities burning and civilians slaughtered, this twenty-first century imperial collapse could come relatively quietly through the invisible tendrils of economic collapse or cyberwarfare.But have no doubt: when Washington’s global dominion finally ends, there will be painful daily reminders of what such a loss of power means for Americans in every walk of life. As a half-dozen European nations have discovered, imperial decline tends to have a remarkably demoralizing impact on a society, regularly bringing at least a generation of economic privation. As the economy cools, political temperatures rise, often sparking serious domestic unrest.Available economic, educational, and military data indicate that, when it comes to U.S. global power, negative trends will aggregate rapidly by 2020 and are likely to reach a critical mass no later than 2030. The American Century, proclaimed so triumphantly at the start of World War II, will be tattered and fading by 2025, its eighth decade, and could be history by 2030.Significantly, in 2008, the U.S. National Intelligence Council admitted for the first time that America’s global power was indeed on a declining trajectory. In one of its periodic futuristic reports, Global Trends 2025, the Council cited “the transfer of global wealth and economic power now under way, roughly from West to East” and “without precedent in modern history,” as the primary factor in the decline of the “United States’ relative strength — even in the military realm.” Like many in Washington, however, the Council’s analysts anticipated a very long, very soft landing for American global preeminence, and harbored the hope that somehow the U.S. would long “retain unique military capabilities… to project military power globally” for decades to come.No such luck. Under current projections, the United States will find itself in second place behind China (already the world’s second largest economy) in economic output around 2026, and behind India by 2050. Similarly, Chinese innovation is on a trajectory toward world leadership in applied science and military technology sometime between 2020 and 2030, just as America’s current supply of brilliant scientists and engineers retires, without adequate replacement by an ill-educated younger generation.By 2020, according to current plans, the Pentagon will throw a military Hail Mary pass for a dying empire. It will launch a lethal triple canopy of advanced aerospace robotics that represents Washington’s last best hope of retaining global power despite its waning economic influence. By that year, however, China’s global network of communications satellites, backed by the world’s most powerful supercomputers, will also be fully operational, providing Beijing with an independent platform for the weaponization of space and a powerful communications system for missile- or cyber-strikes into every quadrant of the globe.Wrapped in imperial hubris, like Whitehall or Quai d’Orsay before it, the White House still seems to imagine that American decline will be gradual, gentle, and partial. In his State of the Union address last January, President Obama offered the reassurance that “I do not accept second place for the United States of America.” A few days later, Vice President Biden ridiculed the very idea that “we are destined to fulfill [historian Paul] Kennedy’s prophecy that we are going to be a great nation that has failed because we lost control of our economy and overextended.” Similarly, writing in the November issue of the establishment journal Foreign Affairs, neo-liberal foreign policy guru Joseph Nye waved away talk of China’s economic and military rise, dismissing “misleading metaphors of organic decline” and denying that any deterioration in U.S. global power was underway.Ordinary Americans, watching their jobs head overseas, have a more realistic view than their cosseted leaders. An opinion poll in August 2010 found that 65% of Americans believed the country was now “in a state of decline.” Already, Australia and Turkey, traditional U.S. military allies, are using their American-manufactured weapons for joint air and naval maneuvers with China. Already, America’s closest economic partners are backing away from Washington’s opposition to China’s rigged currency rates. As the president flew back from his Asian tour last month, a gloomy New York Times headline summed the moment up this way: “Obama’s Economic View Is Rejected on World Stage, China, Britain and Germany Challenge U.S., Trade Talks With Seoul Fail, Too.”Viewed historically, the question is not whether the United States will lose its unchallenged global power, but just how precipitous and wrenching the decline will be. In place of Washington’s wishful thinking, let’s use the National Intelligence Council’s own futuristic methodology to suggest four realistic scenarios for how, whether with a bang or a whimper, U.S. global power could reach its end in the 2020s (along with four accompanying assessments of just where we are today). The future scenarios include: economic decline, oil shock, military misadventure, and World War III. While these are hardly the only possibilities when it comes to American decline or even collapse, they offer a window into an onrushing future. Economic Decline:Present SituationToday, three main threats exist to America’s dominant position in the global economy: loss of economic clout thanks to a shrinking share of world trade, the decline of American technological innovation, and the end of the dollar’s privileged status as the global reserve currency.By 2008, the United States had already fallen to number three in global merchandise exports, with just 11% of them compared to 12% for China and 16% for the European Union. There is no reason to believe that this trend will reverse itself.Similarly, American leadership in technological innovation is on the wane. In 2008, the U.S. was still number two behind Japan in worldwide patent applications with 232,000, but China was closing fast at 195,000, thanks to a blistering 400% increase since 2000. A harbinger of further decline: in 2009 the U.S. hit rock bottom in ranking among the 40 nations surveyed by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation when it came to “change” in “global innovation-based competitiveness” during the previous decade. Adding substance to these statistics, in October China’s Defense Ministry unveiled the world’s fastest supercomputer, the Tianhe-1A, so powerful, said one U.S. expert, that it “blows away the existing No. 1 machine” in America.Add to this clear evidence that the U.S. education system, that source of future scientists and innovators, has been falling behind its competitors. After leading the world for decades in 25- to 34-year-olds with university degrees, the country sank to 12th place in 2010. The World Economic Forum ranked the United States at a mediocre 52nd among 139 nations in the quality of its university math and science instruction in 2010. Nearly half of all graduate students in the sciences in the U.S. are now foreigners, most of whom will be heading home, not staying here as once would have happened. By 2025, in other words, the United States is likely to face a critical shortage of talented scientists.Such negative trends are encouraging increasingly sharp criticism of the dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency. “Other countries are no longer willing to buy into the idea that the U.S. knows best on economic policy,” observed Kenneth S. Rogoff, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. In mid-2009, with the world’s central banks holding an astronomical $4 trillion in U.S. Treasury notes, Russian president Dimitri Medvedev insisted that it was time to end “the artificially maintained unipolar system” based on “one formerly strong reserve currency.”Simultaneously, China’s central bank governor suggested that the future might lie with a global reserve currency “disconnected from individual nations” (that is, the U.S. dollar). Take these as signposts of a world to come, and of a possible attempt, as economist Michael Hudson has argued, “to hasten the bankruptcy of the U.S. financial-military world order.” Economic Decline:Scenario 2020After years of swelling deficits fed by incessant warfare in distant lands, in 2020, as long expected, the U.S. dollar finally loses its special status as the world’s reserve currency. Suddenly, the cost of imports soars. Unable to pay for swelling deficits by selling now-devalued Treasury notes abroad, Washington is finally forced to slash its bloated military budget. Under pressure at home and abroad, Washington slowly pulls U.S. forces back from hundreds of overseas bases to a continental perimeter. By now, however, it is far too late.Faced with a fading superpower incapable of paying the bills, China, India, Iran, Russia, and other powers, great and regional, provocatively challenge U.S. dominion over the oceans, space, and cyberspace. Meanwhile, amid soaring prices, ever-rising unemployment, and a continuing decline in real wages, domestic divisions widen into violent clashes and divisive debates, often over remarkably irrelevant issues. Riding a political tide of disillusionment and despair, a far-right patriot captures the presidency with thundering rhetoric, demanding respect for American authority and threatening military retaliation or economic reprisal. The world pays next to no attention as the American Century ends in silence. Oil Shock: Present SituationOne casualty of America’s waning economic power has been its lock on global oil supplies. Speeding by America’s gas-guzzling economy in the passing lane, China became the world’s number one energy consumer this summer, a position the U.S. had held for over a century. Energy specialist Michael Klare has argued that this change means China will “set the pace in shaping our global future.”By 2025, Iran and Russia will control almost half of the world’s natural gas supply, which will potentially give them enormous leverage over energy-starved Europe. Add petroleum reserves to the mix and, as the National Intelligence Council has warned, in just 15 years two countries, Russia and Iran, could “emerge as energy kingpins.”Despite remarkable ingenuity, the major oil powers are now draining the big basins of petroleum reserves that are amenable to easy, cheap extraction. The real lesson of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was not BP’s sloppy safety standards, but the simple fact everyone saw on “spillcam”: one of the corporate energy giants had little choice but to search for what Klare calls “tough oil” miles beneath the surface of the ocean to keep its profits up.Compounding the problem, the Chinese and Indians have suddenly become far heavier energy consumers. Even if fossil fuel supplies were to remain constant (which they won’t), demand, and so costs, are almost certain to rise — and sharply at that. Other developed nations are meeting this threat aggressively by plunging into experimental programs to develop alternative energy sources. The United States has taken a different path, doing far too little to develop alternative sources while, in the last three decades, doubling its dependence on foreign oil imports. Between 1973 and 2007, oil imports have risen from 36% of energy consumed in the U.S. to 66%. Oil Shock: Scenario 2025The United States remains so dependent upon foreign oil that a few adverse developments in the global energy market in 2025 spark an oil shock. By comparison, it makes the 1973 oil shock (when prices quadrupled in just months) look like the proverbial molehill. Angered at the dollar’s plummeting value, OPEC oil ministers, meeting in Riyadh, demand future energy payments in a “basket” of Yen, Yuan, and Euros. That only hikes the cost of U.S. oil imports further. At the same moment, while signing a new series of long-term delivery contracts with China, the Saudis stabilize their own foreign exchange reserves by switching to the Yuan.Meanwhile, China pours countless billions into building a massive trans-Asia pipeline and funding Iran’s exploitation of the world largest natural gas field at South Pars in the Persian Gulf.Concerned that the U.S. Navy might no longer be able to protect the oil tankers traveling from the Persian Gulf to fuel East Asia, a coalition of Tehran, Riyadh, and Abu Dhabi form an unexpected new Gulf alliance and affirm that China’s new fleet of swift aircraft carriers will henceforth patrol the Persian Gulf from a base on the Gulf of Oman. Under heavy economic pressure, London agrees to cancel the U.S. lease on its Indian Ocean island base of Diego Garcia, while Canberra, pressured by the Chinese, informs Washington that the Seventh Fleet is no longer welcome to use Fremantle as a homeport, effectively evicting the U.S. Navy from the Indian Ocean.With just a few strokes of the pen and some terse announcements, the “Carter Doctrine,” by which U.S. military power was to eternally protect the Persian Gulf, is laid to rest in 2025. All the elements that long assured the United States limitless supplies of low-cost oil from that region — logistics, exchange rates, and naval power — evaporate. At this point, the U.S. can still cover only an insignificant 12% of its energy needs from its nascent alternative energy industry, and remains dependent on imported oil for half of its energy consumption.The oil shock that follows hits the country like a hurricane, sending prices to startling heights, making travel a staggeringly expensive proposition, putting real wages (which had long been declining) into freefall, and rendering non-competitive whatever American exports remained. With thermostats dropping, gas prices climbing through the roof, and dollars flowing overseas in return for costly oil, the American economy is paralyzed. With long-fraying alliances at an end and fiscal pressures mounting, U.S. military forces finally begin a staged withdrawal from their overseas bases.Within a few years, the U.S. is functionally bankrupt and the clock is ticking toward midnight on the American Century. Military Misadventure:Present SituationCounterintuitively, as their power wanes, empires often plunge into ill-advised military misadventures. This phenomenon is known among historians of empire as “micro-militarism” and seems to involve psychologically compensatory efforts to salve the sting of retreat or defeat by occupying new territories, however briefly and catastrophically. These operations, irrational even from an imperial point of view, often yield hemorrhaging expenditures or humiliating defeats that only accelerate the loss of power.Embattled empires through the ages suffer an arrogance that drives them to plunge ever deeper into military misadventures until defeat becomes debacle. In 413 BCE, a weakened Athens sent 200 ships to be slaughtered in Sicily. In 1921, a dying imperial Spain dispatched 20,000 soldiers to be massacred by Berber guerrillas in Morocco. In 1956, a fading British Empire destroyed its prestige by attacking Suez. And in 2001 and 2003, the U.S. occupied Afghanistan and invaded Iraq. With the hubris that marks empires over the millennia, Washington has increased its troops in Afghanistan to 100,000, expanded the war into Pakistan, and extended its commitment to 2014 and beyond, courting disasters large and small in this guerilla-infested, nuclear-armed graveyard of empires. Military Misadventure: Scenario 2014So irrational, so unpredictable is “micro-militarism” that seemingly fanciful scenarios are soon outdone by actual events. With the U.S. military stretched thin from Somalia to the Philippines and tensions rising in Israel, Iran, and Korea, possible combinations for a disastrous military crisis abroad are multifold.It’s mid-summer 2014 and a drawn-down U.S. garrison in embattled Kandahar in southern Afghanistan is suddenly, unexpectedly overrun by Taliban guerrillas, while U.S. aircraft are grounded by a blinding sandstorm. Heavy loses are taken and in retaliation, an embarrassed American war commander looses B-1 bombers and F-16 fighters to demolish whole neighborhoods of the city that are believed to be under Taliban control, while AC-130U “Spooky” gunships rake the rubble with devastating cannon fire.Soon, mullahs are preaching jihad from mosques throughout the region, and Afghan Army units, long trained by American forces to turn the tide of the war, begin to desert en masse. Taliban fighters then launch a series of remarkably sophisticated strikes aimed at U.S. garrisons across the country, sending American casualties soaring. In scenes reminiscent of Saigon in 1975, U.S. helicopters rescue American soldiers and civilians from rooftops in Kabul and Kandahar.Meanwhile, angry at the endless, decades-long stalemate over Palestine, OPEC’s leaders impose a new oil embargo on the U.S. to protest its backing of Israel as well as the killing of untold numbers of Muslim civilians in its ongoing wars across the Greater Middle East. With gas prices soaring and refineries running dry, Washington makes its move, sending in Special Operations forces to seize oil ports in the Persian Gulf. This, in turn, sparks a rash of suicide attacks and the sabotage of pipelines and oil wells. As black clouds billow skyward and diplomats rise at the U.N. to bitterly denounce American actions, commentators worldwide reach back into history to brand this “America’s Suez,” a telling reference to the 1956 debacle that marked the end of the British Empire. World War III:Present SituationIn the summer of 2010, military tensions between the U.S. and China began to rise in the western Pacific, once considered an American “lake.” Even a year earlier no one would have predicted such a development. As Washington played upon its alliance with London to appropriate much of Britain’s global power after World War II, so China is now using the profits from its export trade with the U.S. to fund what is likely to become a military challenge to American dominion over the waterways of Asia and the Pacific.With its growing resources, Beijing is claiming a vast maritime arc from Korea to Indonesia long dominated by the U.S. Navy. In August, after Washington expressed a “national interest” in the South China Sea and conducted naval exercises there to reinforce that claim, Beijing’s official Global Times responded angrily, saying, “The U.S.-China wrestling match over the South China Sea issue has raised the stakes in deciding who the real future ruler of the planet will be.”Amid growing tensions, the Pentagon reported that Beijing now holds “the capability to attack… [U.S.] aircraft carriers in the western Pacific Ocean” and target “nuclear forces throughout… the continental United States.” By developing “offensive nuclear, space, and cyber warfare capabilities,” China seems determined to vie for dominance of what the Pentagon calls “the information spectrum in all dimensions of the modern battlespace.” With ongoing development of the powerful Long March V booster rocket, as well as the launch of two satellites in January 2010 and another in July, for a total of five, Beijing signaled that the country was making rapid strides toward an “independent” network of 35 satellites for global positioning, communications, and reconnaissance capabilities by 2020.To check China and extend its military position globally, Washington is intent on building a new digital network of air and space robotics, advanced cyberwarfare capabilities, and electronic surveillance. Military planners expect this integrated system to envelop the Earth in a cyber-grid capable of blinding entire armies on the battlefield or taking out a single terrorist in field or favela. By 2020, if all goes according to plan, the Pentagon will launch a three-tiered shield of space drones — reaching from stratosphere to exosphere, armed with agile missiles, linked by a resilient modular satellite system, and operated through total telescopic surveillance.Last April, the Pentagon made history. It extended drone operations into the exosphere by quietly launching the X-37B unmanned space shuttle into a low orbit 255 miles above the planet. The X-37B is the first in a new generation of unmanned vehicles that will mark the full weaponization of space, creating an arena for future warfare unlike anything that has gone before. World War III: Scenario 2025The technology of space and cyberwarfare is so new and untested that even the most outlandish scenarios may soon be superseded by a reality still hard to conceive. If we simply employ the sort of scenarios that the Air Force itself used in its 2009 Future Capabilities Game, however, we can gain “a better understanding of how air, space and cyberspace overlap in warfare,” and so begin to imagine how the next world war might actually be fought.It’s 11:59 p.m. on Thanksgiving Thursday in 2025. While cyber-shoppers pound the portals of Best Buy for deep discounts on the latest home electronics from China, U.S. Air Force technicians at the Space Surveillance Telescope (SST) on Maui choke on their coffee as their panoramic screens suddenly blip to black. Thousands of miles away at the U.S. CyberCommand’s operations center in Texas, cyberwarriors soon detect malicious binaries that, though fired anonymously, show the distinctive digital fingerprints of China’s People’s Liberation Army.The first overt strike is one nobody predicted. Chinese “malware” seizes control of the robotics aboard an unmanned solar-powered U.S. “Vulture” drone as it flies at 70,000 feet over the Tsushima Strait between Korea and Japan. It suddenly fires all the rocket pods beneath its enormous 400-foot wingspan, sending dozens of lethal missiles plunging harmlessly into the Yellow Sea, effectively disarming this formidable weapon.Determined to fight fire with fire, the White House authorizes a retaliatory strike. Confident that its F-6 “Fractionated, Free-Flying” satellite system is impenetrable, Air Force commanders in California transmit robotic codes to the flotilla of X-37B space drones orbiting 250 miles above the Earth, ordering them to launch their “Triple Terminator” missiles at China’s 35 satellites. Zero response. In near panic, the Air Force launches its Falcon Hypersonic Cruise Vehicle into an arc 100 miles above the Pacific Ocean and then, just 20 minutes later, sends the computer codes to fire missiles at seven Chinese satellites in nearby orbits. The launch codes are suddenly inoperative.As the Chinese virus spreads uncontrollably through the F-6 satellite architecture, while those second-rate U.S. supercomputers fail to crack the malware’s devilishly complex code, GPS signals crucial to the navigation of U.S. ships and aircraft worldwide are compromised. Carrier fleets begin steaming in circles in the mid-Pacific. Fighter squadrons are grounded. Reaper drones fly aimlessly toward the horizon, crashing when their fuel is exhausted. Suddenly, the United States loses what the U.S. Air Force has long called “the ultimate high ground”: space. Within hours, the military power that had dominated the globe for nearly a century has been defeated in World War III without a single human casualty. A New World Order?Even if future events prove duller than these four scenarios suggest, every significant trend points toward a far more striking decline in American global power by 2025 than anything Washington now seems to be envisioning.As allies worldwide begin to realign their policies to take cognizance of rising Asian powers, the cost of maintaining 800 or more overseas military bases will simply become unsustainable, finally forcing a staged withdrawal on a still-unwilling Washington. With both the U.S. and China in a race to weaponize space and cyberspace, tensions between the two powers are bound to rise, making military conflict by 2025 at least feasible, if hardly guaranteed.Complicating matters even more, the economic, military, and technological trends outlined above will not operate in tidy isolation. As happened to European empires after World War II, such negative forces will undoubtedly prove synergistic. They will combine in thoroughly unexpected ways, create crises for which Americans are remarkably unprepared, and threaten to spin the economy into a sudden downward spiral, consigning this country to a generation or more of economic misery.As U.S. power recedes, the past offers a spectrum of possibilities for a future world order. At one end of this spectrum, the rise of a new global superpower, however unlikely, cannot be ruled out. Yet both China and Russia evince self-referential cultures, recondite non-roman scripts, regional defense strategies, and underdeveloped legal systems, denying them key instruments for global dominion. At the moment then, no single superpower seems to be on the horizon likely to succeed the U.S.In a dark, dystopian version of our global future, a coalition of transnational corporations, multilateral forces like NATO, and an international financial elite could conceivably forge a single, possibly unstable, supra-national nexus that would make it no longer meaningful to speak of national empires at all. While denationalized corporations and multinational elites would assumedly rule such a world from secure urban enclaves, the multitudes would be relegated to urban and rural wastelands.In Planet of Slums,** Mike Davis offers at least a partial vision of such a world from the bottom up. He argues that the billion people already packed into fetid favela-style slums worldwide (rising to two billion by 2030) will make “the ‘feral, failed cities’ of the Third World… the distinctive battlespace of the twenty-first century.” As darkness settles over some future super-favela, “the empire can deploy Orwellian technologies of repression” as “hornet-like helicopter gun-ships stalk enigmatic enemies in the narrow streets of the slum districts… Every morning the slums reply with suicide bombers and eloquent explosions.”At a midpoint on the spectrum of possible futures, a new global oligopoly might emerge between 2020 and 2040, with rising powers China, Russia, India, and Brazil collaborating with receding powers like Britain, Germany, Japan, and the United States to enforce an ad hoc global dominion, akin to the loose alliance of European empires that ruled half of humanity circa 1900.Another possibility: the rise of regional hegemons in a return to something reminiscent of the international system that operated before modern empires took shape. In this neo-Westphalian world order, with its endless vistas of micro-violence and unchecked exploitation, each hegemon would dominate its immediate region — Brasilia in South America, Washington in North America, Pretoria in southern Africa, and so on. Space, cyberspace, and the maritime deeps, removed from the control of the former planetary “policeman,” the United States, might even become a new global commons, controlled through an expanded U.N. Security Council or some ad hoc body.All of these scenarios extrapolate existing trends into the future on the assumption that Americans, blinded by the arrogance of decades of historically unparalleled power, cannot or will not take steps to manage the unchecked erosion of their global position.If America’s decline is in fact on a 22-year trajectory from 2003 to 2025, then we have already frittered away most of the first decade of that decline with wars that distracted us from long-term problems and, like water tossed onto desert sands, wasted trillions of desperately needed dollars.If only 15 years remain, the odds of frittering them all away still remain high. Congress and the president are now in gridlock; the American system is flooded with corporate money meant to jam up the works; and there is little suggestion that any issues of significance, including our wars, our bloated national security state, our starved education system, and our antiquated energy supplies, will be addressed with sufficient seriousness to assure the sort of soft landing that might maximize our country’s role and prosperity in a changing world.Europe’s empires are gone and America’s imperium is going. It seems increasingly doubtful that the United States will have anything like Britain’s success in shaping a succeeding world order that protects its interests, preserves its prosperity, and bears the imprint of its best values.Reprinted with permission from Tom Dispatch.com Related Itemslast_img read more

3 killed, 14 injured as bus hits truck in Maharashtra

first_imgThree people were killed and nearly 14 others injured when a bus hit a stationary truck on the Mumbai-Pune highway here in Maharashtra early in the morning of October 21, a police official said. The mishap took place in Kamshet area around 4 am when the private bus, carrying around 35 passengers, was on way to Kolhapur from Mumbai, he said. The bus driver apparently lost control over the wheels following which the vehicle hit a truck, which was parked on a roadside after it broke down, deputy superintendent of police, Lonavla division, Navneet Kanwat said.“Three people were killed in the mishap. Around 12 to 14 others were injured. They were rushed to a hospital in Talegaon where they were undergoing treatment,” he said.last_img

Congress team to assess Naga pact situation leaves Imphal

first_imgA six-member Congress team that arrived on Sunday afternoon left Imphal on Monday morning. The team is visiting a few northeastern States to study the situation arising out of the Naga agreement and other related issues. The members will visit Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh where the people have the same apprehension. The team was formed under the instruction of AICC president Sonia Gandhi.Jairam Ramesh, MP and former Minister, who led the team, said that while welcoming peace talks, the Congress would not remain silent if the agreements hurt the interests of the northeastern States. “The solution should not be at the cost of other sections of the people”, Mr. Ramesh said.Also read: Why have the Naga peace talks stumbled?Former Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi said, “If the appeasement policy is for one particular community only, the Congress party shall not remain silent”.  Meanwhile, the 11 leaders of COCOMI, an apex body of five social organisations, had a protracted meeting with Chief Minister N. Biren on Sunday night. Taking to reporters, Sunil Karam, a leader of the COCOMI, said: “We had demanded a special Assembly session to discuss the agreement between the Centre and the NSCN(IM)”.The activists said that it was yet to be seen whether the Biren government translated the assurance into action.Meanwhile, huge numbers of people took out torchlight processions on Sunday night demanding that the Naga agreement should not affect the integrity and unity in Manipur. A large number of security personnel have been brought to Manipur from Tripura and other States to cope with possible mass protests in the State. A background to the Naga accordVolume 90%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard ShortcutsPlay/PauseSPACEIncrease Volume↑Decrease Volume↓Seek Forward→Seek Backward←Captions On/OffcFullscreen/Exit FullscreenfMute/UnmutemSeek %0-9Live00:0002:1702:17  center_img A background to the Naga accordlast_img read more