Saturday, October 3, 2015

“It is just heartbreaking, it is sickening to me to see another massacre. People should not have to be afraid to go to college, like this one, or go to the movie theater, or go to bible study. What is wrong with us that we can’t stand up to the NRA and the gun lobby and the gun manufacturers they represent?
You know, this is not just tragic. We don’t just need to pray for people. We need to act. And we need to build a movement. It’s infuriating. Every time there’s another massacre Republicans and the NRA say, now is not the time to talk about guns. Yes, it is. But more than talk, it is time to act.
But Republicans keep refusing to do anything to protect our communities. They put the NRA ahead of American families. It is wrong and we need to make every politician who sides with them to look into the eyes of parents whose children have been murdered and explain why they listen to the gun lobbyist instead.
Now, I am well aware that this is a political mountain to climb. But you don’t get anything done in this country if you don’t start by calling it out. And we have had too many murders, too many people who should have never gotten guns in the first place taking out whatever their rage, their fury, their mental problems are by killing other people. And I will, as your president, never relent on trying to work on this.” -Hillary today in Florida

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 A BI-WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST ON INDIA’S FOREIGN POLICYSeptember 17th – September 30th, 2015 | VOLUME 2/15
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Top Stories​
Dream to Make India $20 Trillion Economy: PM Modi at Facebook Townhall
PTI / NDTV | September 28th, 2015
Projecting India as a “heaven” for investors, PM Modi said Delhi is working on deregulation and ensuring ‘ease of doing business.’ He said his government was laying thrust on three sectors particularly – agriculture, services and manufacturing – along with building the physical and digital infrastructure simultaneously.
Modi meets Obama, Cameron, Hollande; gets support for India’s permanent membership in UNSC
The Indian Express | 29thSeptember
The United States, Britain and France today reaffirmed their support to India’s permanent membership of the UN Security Council as text-based negotiations to expand the most powerful wing of the world body begins in November.

Five key announcements by US tech titans during Modi’s Silicon Valley visit
PTI / Live Mint | September 27th, 2015
“We believe that low-cost broadband connectivity coupled with the scale of cloud computing intelligence that can be harnessed from data can help drive creativity, efficiency and productivity across governments and businesses of all sizes,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Modi meets Bhutan PM, Sri Lanka president
IANS / Business Standard | September 26th, 2015
PM Modi complimented Sri Lankan President Sirisena on the successful and peaceful completion of parliamentary elections and said it showed a deep-rooted commitment to democracy, a trait shared with India. Bhutan PM Tshering Tobgay suggested extending the Bhutan-Bangladesh-India-Nepal connectivity project beyond the motorway to other types of links.
India ready to give preferential tariffs to all SAARC members
PTI / Zee News | September 29th, 2015
India is ready to give preferential duty concessions on all products to SAARC members to give a boost to free trade in the region, Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Tuesday. At present, India gives zero-duty access for least developed countries (LDCs) of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) for 100 percent of tariff lines, except for alcohol and tobacco.
PM Modi and Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina Review Progress in Bilateral Relations
PTI / NDTV | September 25th, 2015
Expressing satisfaction over the smooth implementation of the Land Boundary Agreement between India and Bangladesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a very good meeting with his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina in New York. “Both of them expressed great happiness at the very smooth manner in which the land boundary agreement had been implemented. They look forward to the continued implementation of the agreement in the coming months,” said Vikas Swarup, spokesperson for the ministry of external affairs.
India steps up efforts to quell Nepal crisis
Live Mint (PTI contributed to this story) | September 22nd, 2015
The new Constitution defines Nepal as a secular republic and redraws the nation into seven provinces. At least two communities in Nepal, the Madhesi and Tharu, are concerned about the proposed boundaries of the new provinces as they could lead to their political marginalization.
Protesters block Nepal’s major trade checkpoint with India
PTI / The Economic Times | September 25th, 2015
Hundreds of trucks loaded with essential goods, cooking gas cylinders and petroleum products were stalled at the Nepal-India border due to the agitation. The protesters belonging to the Joint Madhesi Front were opposing the provision in the new Constitution that divides the country into seven federal provinces.
India hopes ‘difficult days’ will not affect Indo-Nepal ties
PTI / India TV News | 29th September
“We welcome the recent steps taken by the government of Nepal to hold dialogue with the agitating groups to end the existing political crisis in a peaceful manner,” Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae said. He said India wants stability in Nepal and it was not against the new Constitution.

The United States
Text of PM Modi’s statement after meeting with Obama
The Times of India | 28th September
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday met US President Barack Obama in New York and sought American support to complete the UN reform process “within a fixed time frame.”
US CEOs seek faster reforms; PM promises speedier decisions
PTI / Deccan Herald | September 25th, 2015
Inviting the US companies to set up manufacturing units in India, PM Modi told them, “Reform in governance is my No 1 priority. We are for simplified procedures, speedy decision making, transparency and accountability.”
PM Modi to Silicon Valley: Digital India ‘unmatched in history’
The Indian Express | September 28th, 2015
“Digital India is an enterprise for the transformation of India in a scale unmatched in human history. Nothing else will do in a country with 800 million impatient youths waiting for change,” Modi told business heads in San Jose.
Nitin Gadkari to Visit Iran; Government Plans Rs. 1 Lakh Crore Investment
PTI / NDTV | September 27th, 2015
A high-level delegation led by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari will soon visit Iran with proposals to make big ticket investments that could be worth more than Rs. 1 lakh crore. The visit will take place amid negotiations between the two countries on gas price for a urea plant to be set up in Iran. While Iran is offering to supply natural gas at USD 2.95 for the plant that India proposes to set up at Chabahar port SEZ, India is insisting for lowering the rates to USD 1.5.

India, US Sign Agreement on Energy Security and Climate Change
PTI / NDTV | September 23rd, 2015
India and the US have signed a significant MoU on energy security, climate change and clean energy which Secretary of State John Kerry said reflects the commitment of the two countries to make the Paris summit later this year a success. “We have concluded a very significant Memorandum of Understanding on energy security, climate change, and clean energy,” Mr Kerry said at a joint news conference with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj, US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
India to submit INDCs on reducing emissions next week
PTI / Zee News | September 28th, 2015
India will submit its ambitious and “balanced” national contributions on reducing emissions next week to coincide with the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has said. “If human intervention has caused climate change, then human instinct and intelligence will bring out solutions,” Javadekar told PTI.
PM Modi asks international community to unitedly combat terrorism
PTI / Business Standard | 28th September
Observing that India has been a victim of terrorism for the past 40 years, Modi said the West and many other countries woke up to the menace of terrorism only after bomb blasts or terror attacks in their nation.
UNSC must include world’s largest democracies, PM Modi says at G4 summit
The Times of India (With inputs from agencies) | September 26th, 2015
“The UNSC must include the world’s largest democracies (that are) major locomotives of the global economy, and voices from all the major continents,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said. “The reform of the security council, within a fixed time frame, has become an urgent and important task,” he added.
PM Modi’s US visit: 7 MoUs signed to boost startups in India
PTI / The Economic Times | September 28th, 2015
Aimed at giving a big boost to startups in India, as many as seven MoUs have been signed between various organisations of India and the US. The MoUs were signed as Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the India-US Start-up Konnect 2015.
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UN Millennium Development Goals replaced by new ‘distraction gimmicks’

Patrick Bond (2015-09-30)

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The ubiquitous ‘development goals’ chosen by the United Nations – first Millennium (MDGs) in 2000 and now Sustainable (SDGs) – were and are and will be a distraction from the real work of fighting poverty done by social justice activists, including Africans.

The Burkina Faso coup: An(other) opportunity to rethink the nation-state

Joshua Myers (2015-09-29)

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The supposedly self-evident idea that the nation-state is the logical form of political organization for the destruction of colonialism and for the remaking of African lives is patently false. True African liberation will not occur within the colonial structures of power erected by – and inherited from – Empire.

#PunchBack: Behind the crisis in Burkina Faso


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The hugely unpopular failed coup in the land of Thomas Sankara represents a clash between retrogressive forces supporting the status quo and the popular struggles of determined citizens demanding an end to imperialist dominance of the country’s public life by France and its allies. For more, watch Pambazuka’s new video blog#PunchBack

The 8th Pan African Congress: Between opportunism and rejuvenation

Zaya Yeebo (2015-10-01)

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On 9 July, 2015, the Local Organizing Committee of the 8th Pan African Congress presented its final report to President John Mahama of Ghana. Zaya Yeebo presents his personal reflections of the 8th Congress held in Accra in March, 2015, observing that the Congress sought to revive the Movement, to reaffirm its anti-imperialist, anti-neo-colonialist nature and helped to define a path for the continued growth and regeneration of African economies and politics.

Maximizing the benefits of oil and water discoveries in Turkana, Kenya

John O. Kakonge (2015-10-01)

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Kenya’s newly discovered oil is located in a part of the country marked by extreme poverty, high levels of illiteracy and insecurity primarily arising from years of neglect by successive governments. With the discovery of large water reserves as well, hopes in the region are high that life is set to improve for the people. But how can these dreams be realised?

Terror as method: A journalist’s search for truth in Rwanda

Lara Santoro (2015-09-29)

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Intimidated for exposing the dark secrets of an African regime out of control, Canadian journalist Judi Rever drew the line at having the life of her own children threatened.

Cessation of Rwandan refugee status: Two years on

John Osmers (2015-09-29)

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Twenty-one years after the genocide, and despite a rosy picture created internationally of a healing nation, many Rwandan refugees are reluctant to return home for fear of persecution by the current regime. After those living in Zambia lost their official refugees status, Kigali is pursuing forced repatriation or issuance of Rwandan passports. Neither of these options is safe for the affected persons.

The disease & the cure

Ahmed M.I. Egal (2015-09-29)

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To much of the outside world, the self-declared republic of Somaliland is a success story that, although lacking international recognition, contrasts sharply with the collapsed nation of Somalia. Not so. In the past five years, the government of President Ahmed Mohamoud Silanyo has been engaged in a sustained campaign of self-enrichment and aggrandizement as it suppressed dissent and debased political debate through the overt promotion of tribal politics. The people must now mobilise to restore Somaliland to its founding tenets.

ICT for innovation: e-Learning for Africa in the cyber-age

Odomaro Mubangizi (2015-09-29)

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E-learning offers a range of benefits to students and society as it is cheap and based on resources that are becoming more available on the African continent. Rather than solely relying on traditional education, Africa needs to leap forward and realize the potential of e-learning in creating innovators and curbing mass youth unemployment.

Britain should pay for slavery in the Caribbean

Hilary Beckles (2015-09-30)

Caribbean nations are calling on Britain to pay billions of pounds in reparations for slavery. Ahead of Prime Minister David Cameron’s first official visit to Jamaica next Tuesday, Sir Hilary Beckles, chair of the Caricom Reparations Commission and vice-chancellor of the University of West Indies, has asked Cameron to start talks on making amends for slavery. Here’s Sir Hilary’s letter in full:

British atrocities in colonial Kenya: The Canadian connection

Yves Engler (2015-09-29)

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As colonial Britain unleashed terrible violence in Kenya, Canada strengthened the British military. It’s almost certain that some of the British pilots who dropped bombs on Mau Mau hideouts were trained in Canada. There were Canadian men on the ground in Kenya involved in the colonial violence. Should Canada apologise for its role?

Grandpa, what will be the fate of Planet Earth?

Cameron Duodu (2015-09-29)

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“I became depressed on behalf of my age group; for clearly, we have failed our offspring who are to inherit the earth after us. What sort of earth shall we leave behind for them? Will my great-great-great grand-children have any tilapia to eat?”

Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis lift the Doubles Trophy of WTA Wuhan

Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis today lift the Doubles Trophy of WTA Wuhan Open Tennis tournament in China
Oct 3
Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis today lifted the Doubles Trophy of the WTA Wuhan Open Tennis tournament in China. In the title clash, the top seeded Indo-Swiss pair beat the Romanian team of Irina-Camelia Begu and Monica Niculescu, 6-2, 6-3 to win their seventh title of the season.
In the semi-finals, Sania and Hingis had defeated the Chinese Taipean pair of Hao-Ching Chan and Yung-Jan Chan.
The Indo-Swiss pair had recently won the Guangzhou Open. They had also bagged 2 of the 4 Grand Slams this year, the Wimbledon and the US Open.

Sonia Gandhi criticises PM Modi in Bihar rally

Oct 3,
Congress president Sonia Gandhi today criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government and alleged that incorrect policies of Modi government is adversely affecting workers, weavers and farmers . She was addressing an election rally in support of Congress and allies candidates for Bihar assembly elections at Kahalgaon in Bhagalpur district today .
Mrs. Gandhi hit back Prime Minister Modi’s government and commented that no achievement was registered in last seventeen months of his government. Rejecting NDA leaders allegations on previous UPA government, the Congress president said that during UPA regime many important works had been done by Manmohan Singh government .She referred MGNREGA (Mahatama Gandhi national rural employment guarantee act) and underlined that through this scheme a large number of employment was provided in rural areas of Bihar too. She said many schemes for poor were initiated by Manmohan singh government only.
Mrs. Gandhi also alleged that Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders are misleading people of Bihar in their campaigning.Mrs Gandhi countered the prime Minister’s claimed for special package for Bihar and said that Mr. Modi and his government is expert in repackaging of a package. She appreciated Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and said he has good image as a chief minister.
In her second rally at Wazirganj of Gaya Mrs. Gandhi raised issues of health and other social sector schemes and crticises Modi government for reducing budgets for these sectors. Mrs Gandhi also made responsible NDA government for high prices of food items. She blamed that modi government is narrow minded and claimed that grand alliance is for all and not based on cast and religion.
The rally was attended by congress national general secretary Shakil Ahmed khan, senior leader C.P Joshi, two Bhagalpur sitting MLAs Sadanand Singh and Ajit Sharma and state congress president Ashok Chaudhary.

Pak apprehends 12 boats, 65 fishermen off Gujarat coast

Oct 3
Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) today apprehended around 65 Indian fishermen along with their 12 boats off the Gujarat coast, officials of National Fishworkers Forum (NFF) said.
This is the biggest and the fourth major incident of apprehending Indian fishermen by PMSA since January this year.
According to the Secretary of NFF the fishermen from Okha and Porbandar town of the state sailed off the coast of Gujarat four to five days ago and today they were held captive.
The NFF official said he got to know about the incident from the fishermen who were in contact with him through a wireless phone set.
All those 65 fishermen are still in the middle of the Arabian sea and surrounded by the PMSA personnel when one of the sailors gave me this information the secretary said.

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