Saturday, June 24, 2006

Highlights 24th June 2006

ACTIONABLE INTELLIGENCE

GLOBAL

1. I think I will face a lot of criticism for my Iran/Al-Qaeda chapter from the Muslim media. I am going to reveal facts that nobody can deny. I am very careful. I wrote each and every word only after many cross-checks. I even cross-checked the claims made by Osama Bin Laden. I will definitely raise some issues like why he is still at large, and I'll have to talk about the weaknesses of the Pakistani and American secret services. I will not enjoy the publication of my book because I do not live in an ideal democracy. I am not bothered by who might benefit from my research. I have only one objective in mind; to keep the historical record straight. .............
Global Jihad: Al-Qaeda's Hidden Arsenal and Sponsors -Interview Hamid Mir

2. Suspected Ottawa terrorist Mohamed Harkat was freed on bail yesterday as evidence emerged that a former "high-ranking" al-Qaeda informant who triggered his arrest was, in fact, a relatively minor and "certifiably insane" operative. What's more, Abu Zubaydah only revealed his information, including now questionable details about supposed al-Qaeda plots against the United States, while being tortured by Central Intelligence Agency interrogators.............
Global Jihad: Harkat informant called 'insane'

3. The head scarf continues to be perceived in the West as a symbol of religious cruelty. A survey last year by the Council on American-Islamic Relations found that more than half of the 1,000 U.S. respondents believe that Islam encourages the oppression of women. Actually, many women in Middle East and Islamic countries are free; others are working to bring about more change. That's probably news to many Americans. Next week, for instance, Kuwaiti women will participate in parliamentary elections for the first time in the country's history. Iqbal al-Ahmed, a women's rights activist, sees this as an opportunity for Kuwaiti women. "In their first two elections, they will make little difference," Ahmed told The Associated Press. "But when the society absorbs (the idea), they will become a force and they will acquire more confidence that they can bring about change." While progress in these regions might not measure up to Western standards of freedom, an examination of education, political participation and social reforms shows that women in Muslim countries have made considerable strides. Attitudes, too, are shifting.......
A veil doesn't mean 'oppressed'

4. The utter ruthlessness of the Amen Corner's tactics resembles nothing so much as the tactics and methods of a covert action carried out by agents of a foreign power, and, indeed, some of these people – such as Larry Franklin, for example, along with his accomplices – are foreign agents, who would stop at nothing to achieve their goals. Character assassination is, for them, a routine matter – and, in certain cases, physical assassination is not out of the question. The news that Lebanon has uncovered an Israeli spy ring that routinely engaged in a number of assassinations ought not surprise anyone. With all the mysterious explosions occurring in that tortured land, and with Israel's long history of involvement – both open and clandestine – in that country, this hardly comes as a shock. Perhaps now the great mystery of who killed Rafik Harriri – a heinous act somewhat dubiously attributed by UN investigators to Syria – will be opened up to some new interpretations...............
The Assassins

5. Long before there was war in Iraq, long before US foreign policy was frowned upon by much of the wider world, there was an empire that controlled 1/3 of the known world. The British Empire fucked over the New World, royally screwed what later became India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and generally did nasty things for King (Queen) and Country. Loyalist patriotic songs like "Rule Britannia" concealed the great evil of the Monarchy and the entirity of the British Empire and when the Americans said they'd had enough and wanted representation, the British commited a series of Intollerable Acts that built up to their declaration of Independence. But that still wasn't enough for the British to actually fuck off, things would turn very ugly before they got a lot better.........
American Revolutionary War

6. The surreptitious sale of Chinese arms becomes easier because China has not signed up with any multilateral agency to ban sale of its arms to undemocratic regimes. China does not support international initiatives for an arms trade treaty. The Amnesty report says that China supplied 200 military trucks to Sudan and weapons to Myanmar while Nepal was sent consignments of rifles and grenades. Sudan faces a severe internal strife that shows no signs of abating. The military junta in Myanmar has turned down all pleas from the international community to introduce democracy. Nepal was lucky as the people's movement there finally brought a repressive monarch down on his knees. The Chinese weapons did not help him much..................
Guns and bombs from China

7. Eager to assert itself internationally, the Chinese government is itself on a drive to promote Mandarin abroad in hopes of putting it on a par with English. "Promoting the use of Chinese among overseas people has gone beyond purely cultural issues," said Hu Youqing, a National People's Congress deputy and Chinese-language professor at Nanjing University, in an interview with the government-owned China Daily. "It can help build up our national strength and should be taken as a way to develop our country's 'soft power.'" To that end, over the past two years Beijing has opened language and cultural centers called Confucius Institutes—modeled on Spain's Instituto Cervantes or Germany's Goethe-Institut—in more than 30 countries, including Australia, Japan, Kenya, the U.S. and Sweden. China has also deployed more than 2,000 Peace Corps-like volunteers to teach Mandarin overseas, mostly in Asian nations such as Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea. Meanwhile, back home, China has been rapidly upgrading Mandarin-language schools to handle a rising influx of overseas students..........
China's economic rise means the world has a new second language—and it isn't English

8. MI6 and the International Atomic Energy Agency believe the scientists have played a major role in enabling Iran to be "well advanced in providing uranium enriched materials for nuclear bombs," said Alexander Cirilovic, a nuclear terrorism expert in Paris. Both high-level MI6 and CIA sources have confirmed the scientists would only have been allowed to assist al-Qaida with the authority of Iran's unpredictable President Mahmoud hmadinejad. The revelation comes at a time when Washington has increased pressure on Tehran to give up its nuclear weapons program. The scientists worked for Dr. A.Q. Khan, the "father of the Islamic bomb," who is now under house arrest in Pakistan after confessing he had provided both Iran and North Korea with details of how to make their own nuclear bombs. ..............
Brit MI6 Confirms Bin Laden Nukes

9. The members of the CFR dominate almost every aspect of American life, yet most Americans have never even heard of the Council on Foreign Relations. One reason for this is probably because there are over 170 journalists, correspondents, and communications executives who are members of the CFR, and who do not write about the organization. Also, it is an express condition of membership that no one is to disclose what goes on at CFR meetings..............
The two organizations that run the United States

10. In the follow-up interviews, the U.S.- led war in Iraq, now in its fourth year, was cited by Muslims and Westerners alike as another primary cause of bad relations. Muslims, in comments reflecting historic tensions with Christianity, described Iraq and the Bush administration's war on terrorism as a "crusade" against Islam, while in the West people said that terrorist attacks by Muslims had undermined trust. European Muslims lined up with European general publics on some issues, indicating that integration might be moving ahead better than recent events would suggest. While Muslims outside Europe generally saw Westerners as violent and immoral, for example, this view was not shared by Muslims in France, Germany and Spain. But British Muslims were highly critical of Westerners, the survey found, holding negative views resembling those of Muslims in Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, and Nigeria. In Turkey, negative opinions of the West have increased in tandem with opposition across Europe to Turkish admission to the European Union. Only 16 percent of those surveyed in Turkey now hold a positive view of Christians, down from 31 percent in 2004.....................
Muslims and the West: Antipathy and mistrust

BANGLADESH

11. The very foundation of Bangladesh and its ability to function as a sovereign member of the family of Nations is under debate. It has led to some foreign pundits suggesting, most controversially, that we are a 'failing State.' Others have given the Fatwa that we are on the threshold of being not only a source of international concern but are gradually evolving into a Taliban stronghold. This is indeed contrary to the current Government's views that the country is moving forward supported by a 'joar' (flood) of economic development. I am afraid that ordinary citizens like me are unable to really see evidence of such glorious development. Security of the person, of the individual, of the institutions associated with the family or in the wider sense with the State is in a state of ruination. I have to wear glasses now a days. I need it to be able to read. I probably need better spectacles, which will permit me to see the flow of water when I open my tap in the morning or to feel the breeze of the fan when I switch it on it in the afternoon. Our house, Bangladesh, is seriously unstable. We might be able to build a strong wall around the perimeter and think that we are well protected. That is however not the case. Our Armed Forces can protect us from external aggression. We have also shown in 1971 that Bangalees are adept in guerilla warfare. I am not worried about that security. I am anxious about the division within that is distinctly becoming a security threat................
Do we have a security policy for Bangladesh?

12. Sources said Hasina will not receive the award as questions arose in the Indian foreign ministry over the credibility of the organisation that nominated Hasina for the award for her contribution to parliamentary democracy. A high official of Kolkata police said the question of credibility of the organisation has existed all along and it was informed to the government. The organisation had nominated a few other celebrities, including Nelson Mandela, for the award in the last four years, but nobody went to receive it.............
Hasina won't receive award in Kolkata

13. Informed sources said that the Leader of the Opposition could hardly afford a visit to India to receive "Mother Teresa Award" from a little-known organisation in Kolkata at a time when her party and the 14-party alliance that it leads have unleashed a programme of movement to compel restructuring the Election Commission and reform of the Caretaker Government. The sources said the AL Chief before her departure for New Delhi on Wednesday had a meeting with a key western diplomat along with selected leaders of her party in Dhaka. It is believed that Sheikh Hasina carried some briefs from the said diplomat to Delhi where she attended a high profile dinner yesterday at the invitation of an Indian Minister..............
Hasina's Delhi visit raises questions

14. According to a news item published in The Asian Age yesterday with the headline "No official status for Hasina's five-day visit" said, "New Delhi, in a balancing act, politely declined to confer "official" status on her visit in her capacity as Leader of the Opposition. New Delhi also discouraged the hosting of a seminar on the subject of future of democracy in Bangladesh, which Ms Hasina was expected to address in the capital." Quoting sources The Asian Age said New Delhi wanted to maintain bilateral relations on an even keel ahead of the Bangladesh parliamentary elections in early 2007. It did not want to send out "wrong signals" to the BNP-led government of Khaleda Zia, especially after an upturn in bilateral relations following her India visit. The policy of "distinct engagement" being followed by the Bangladesh premier has helped remove certain "misunderstanding" that had crept into the bilateral ties and restore, of late, a certain degree of amity in the interactions between the two sides, the sources added. ............
Delhi not giving state protocol during Hasina's tour

15. The appreciation came during the FBI boss' meeting with Bangladesh State Minister for Home Affairs Lutfozzaman Babar, who is now in Washington on an official visit, on Wednesday, according to a home ministry press release. Both Muller and Babar expressed mutual satisfaction at the present level of cooperation between the two governments and desired to remain constantly engaged for furthering the relationship to a newer height, said the release. Muller offered to extend further assistance for capacity building...................
FBI director praises Dhaka's anti-terror campaign

16. The case for Bangladesh to plan for large scale generation of nuclear power should be examined with seriousness. Nuclear power generation is also cheap. Counting out the initial establishment costs, the per unit of electricity generated from nuclear power plant is said to be much like that of a coal or gas fired plant. Bangladesh would do best to get Chinese assistance to build a number of nuclear power plants and train manpower for the purpose within a short time-frame. Possibilities for similar cooperation may be explored also with other countries............
The Nuclear Power Option in Bangladesh

17. In the first months of 1971 uprising in Bangladesh, the Pakistan Army had taken recourse to all possible means of quelling the resistance posed by the coalition of rebellious Bangladeshi soldiers, police, ansars, and the barely armed youths. These were in the forms of armed attacks in different district and subdivisions, shooting battles, and arsons in suspected areas of insurgent hideouts. These activities, known as "operations against miscreants" would be followed by massive arrests of suspected individuals...........
Dealing with 1971 Insurgency: Pak Army's Frustrated Response From The Pages of History

18. According to Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) sources, the BSF men opened fire on the Bangladeshi cattle traders at Ghojadanga, a bordering village about 500 yards inside the Indian territory at Basirhat of 24 Parganas, at about 10:00pm while they were returning back home from India. Manirul Islam, 24, son of Sirajul Islam, and Mokammel Haque, 19, son of Abdul Aziz of Mahmudpur village, and Khokon, 20, son of Shahidul Islam of Gayeshpur village in sadar upazila of Satkhira district died on the spot.............
Four Bangladeshis killed in BSF firing

19. Despite some corrective measures by India in this area, no tangible result in reducing the gap has been visible. Some economists suggest that one of the ways of reducing the trade deficit is the economic and trade cooperation between Bangladesh and the northeastern states of India (NEI). A few of them even advocate that closer integration of Bangladesh's economy with that of northeastern states is likely to have drastic reduction of trade gap between the countries. Furthermore the integration will have two results: (a) bigger market for Bangladeshi goods in the northeastern states, and (b) access of Bangladesh to minerals of the Indian states for its industrial use. ..................
Bangladesh's trade deficit with India: What is to de done?

20. Bangladesh contingent deployed in United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) provided Human Resources Development training to 200 Liberian Youths under Human Resources Development Project (HRD Project), says BSS. They were imparted training in areas of tailoring, generator mechanics, first aid and computer operations, said an ISPR Press release in Dhaka on Monday. The Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for Operations and Rule of Law Luiz Carlos DA Costa attended the closing ceremony of six-week long HRD Project as chief guest. He lauded the Bangladesh contingent for going beyond their mandate of peacekeeping by engaging themselves in humanitarian activities...............
Bangladesh Army provides training to Liberian youths

21. Foreign satellite channels, that have been airing programmes of various kinds in the country, are making a phenomenal profit taking away about Tk 60 crore every year. There are about 300,000 subscribers of foreign channels. Banking on this huge number of viewers, the channels earn Tk 2.35 crore every month, according to an estimate of cable operators.The viewers who subscribe to Star Movies, Star Plus, National Geography, Star World, Star Gold, Zee Cinema, Zee TV, Cartoon Network, Alpha Bangla, Sony TV, Sony Max, AXN TV, Discovery, Ten Sports, Star Sports and ESPN, have to pay Tk 235.29 a month. Of the payable amount, the government is supposed to get 32.25 per cent as value added tax (VAT).Viewers have to pay the cable operators Tk 22.48 for HBO, Tk 44.97 for Star Sports and ESPN, Tk 10.58 for Cartoon Network, Tk 13.23 for Ten Sports, Tk 40.47 for Sony, Tk 35.71 for Zee channels and Tk 67.65 for Star channels.........................
Pay channels take away Tk 60 crore

22. According to the Indian intelligence reports, the drug traffickers at the directives of their international bosses, carry heroin to Bangladesh from one of the Indian states Bihar. Apart from Cox's Bazar sea routes, the miscreants generally operate through border areas of Dinajpur-Rajshahi and other parts of the northern region of Bangladesh. The drug traffickers also prefer to carry heroin through border areas of Lalgola of Murshidabad, Islampur and Maldah in the Indian state of West Bengal, according to the intelligence reports available. It is learnt that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has identified those routes for drug trafficking on the basis of statement of an arrested drug trafficker, who was earlier detained by police in Bihar.The CBI reports also said that the drug traffickers use routes of several Indian states to send consignments of heroin to different European countries through Bangladesh. As per reports of the CBI and the Bangladesh Intelligence sources, the drug traffickers usually use mobile phones to communicate with the syndicate for drug trafficking..............
Bangladesh safe route of drug traffickers

23. A recent report on wildlife in the Sundarbans, as appeared in our national dailies, the other day, saddened me and prompted me to write this article. The Forest and Environment Minister is reported to have said, without any remorse I suppose, that in the Sundarbans nearly 40,000 deer fell prey to the Royal Bengal Tigers each year. He again disclosed that the present strength of tigers is around 450 in number. There was no mention of any sub-species - whether there are different species of the tiger having particular size, waist shape, size of their nose and thinner or more closely spaced strips, as found among the species....................
Protecting wildlife of the Sundarbans

INDIA

24. CPI (M) central committee member Hemen Das today stoutly refuted a UNI report published in The Sentinel on February 14 which had quoted him as having said that Bangladesh-based fundamentalist forces weretrying to create a "greater Islamic state comprising Bangladesh, Assam, Tripura and North Bengal". Das, while talking to The Sentinel today, said that although the CPI(M) has not ruled out the possibility of a reported design of the ISI-CIA backed fundamentalist forces to destabilize the north-eastern region, as alleged by the CPI State Committee recently, the party thinks that it is not possible for the secessionist forces to disintegrate India.............
.Dismembering India impossible : Das CPI-M doesn't see Bangladesh design

25. One matter cannot be over-looked. The visit of Indian artistes, litterateurs, journalists and intellectuals to Bangladesh has increased to a great extent. They are taking part in various meetings and seminars of our country and giving various types of sermons. Most of them are making undesirable comments on undivided India, United Bengal etc, which is not their point of discussion. Some local 'progressive' cultural activists and intellectuals are also echoing similar tone. It is notable that after independence a group of intellectuals of West Bengal are making publicity in newspapers on United Bengal or greater Bengal in the name of East Bengal-West Bengal friendship. Some time back Shib Narayan Ray, an Indian intellectual, spoke highly on Undivided Bengal while he was in a visit to Bangladesh. In an interview with a weekly he told that both the parts of Bengal will be inevitably united. But he did not clarify anything about how both the portion of Bengal will be merged, whether Indian administered Bengal well be freed from her (Indian) subjugation and will be united with Bangladesh or Bangladesh will be included with India-controlled West Bengal. Needless to say that there is no difference of slogans like Unification of India-controlled West Bengal and Bangladesh , United Bengal, movement for revival of sub-continent or undivided India . Such attitude was also prevalent in a teleserial 'Purbo-Poschim' (East-West) adapted from a novel written by Sunil Gangopadhaya, which aims at establishing undivided India. .................
Indian move to establish United India through United Bengal

26. In the talks in the Netherlands, the NSCN-IM is likely to put pressure to get "some kind of concession" from New Delhi on its charter of demands, including autonomy for Nagaland, official sources said. The NSCN-IM, which began talks with the government in 1997 after the two sides agreed to a ceasefire, is likely to submit a fresh proposal on the kind of autonomy it wants for evaluation by the Centre, they said. An Assam government team led by Chief Secretary S Kabilan is understood to have briefed Union Home Ministry officials here today about the situation in the state, especially in the wake of a series of blasts this month that killed seven people and injured 25. The state government team reportedly suggested that only threeof the five jailed ULFA leaders could be released. The Assam officials said ULFA ideologue Bhimakanta Buragohain, vice chairman Pradip Gogoi and cultural secretary Pranati Deka could be set free. ................
Centre to hold talks on Northeast insurgency

27. Assam Rifles jawans top in the list to have endured with AIDS/ HIV while among the three defence forces Army jawans rank highest to have contacted with this dreaded diseases, said Director General of Armed Forces Medical Services (DGFAMS), V.K.Singh. "The Assam Rifles rank highest mainly because most of the troops were continuously based in the vulnerable international border of this region," pointed out the DGFAMS while informing that the diseases has come in the three armed forces to 20 per cent less than the national average of nine per cent. ....................
Assam Rifles top in AIDS/HIV

28. ULFA's demand for releasing five of its senior leaders currently in jail on charges ranging from murder to secession was seen as one of the last big thorns in the road to peace. ULFA, which has been fighting for an independent Assamese homeland since 1979, last October appointed an 11-member People's Consultative Group (PCG) comprising prominent civil society members to represent it in the talks with the government. The stage is now set for direct talks between the elusive ULFA leadership led by chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa and commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah - according to Indian intelligence officials, both were believed to be operating out of Bangladesh in carrying out their hit-and-run guerrilla strikes in Assam....................
New Delhi clears thorn in road to peace in Assam

29. The peace talks with ULFA have reached a very crucial stage. Till the assembly elections Central as well as State government were successful in buying time by avoiding difficult issues like the issue of 'sovereignty' or the release of ULFA leaders lodged in jail. But now the government will have to come out with its stand on these issues. After returning to power in this year's assembly polls, Tarun Gogoi has vowed to end 27 years of insurgency in the state by bringing the rebels to the table for talks.. In his enthusiasm to remove all potential hurdles in the way of a Delhi-ULFA dialogue, the Tarun Gogoi government has decided to recommend the release of even recently arrested militant leader Mrinal Hazarika. But unfortunately, the ULFA appears to be as unpredictable as ever. The terror strike by the outfit has already vitiated the atmosphere. Hopefully, the facilitator of the talk Indira Goswami must be aware of the limitations of the Central government. If she is able to persuade ULFA to concede ground on the issue of sovereignty only then some positive outcome is expected from the talks. In any case, now the majority in Assam has rejected the ULFA's demand for 'sovereignty' as the survey conducted by the PCG has shown. But if the talks between the UPA government and ULFA fail, it will be the biggest blow to CM Tarun Gogoi, who has been trying to buy peace with militant outfits since taking over the reins for the first time in 2001. .................
Assam : Peace Talks under the Shadow of Terror

30. Is the Prime Minister's condemnation of an attack going to dissuade terrorists from carrying out their murderous activities? When will the Government finally take effective action? The usual excuse given by the 'secular' media is that Islamic terrorism against Indian targets is a consequence of the 'pogrom' initiated by Narendra Modi in Gujarat following the Godhra 'incident'. That absolves Muslim terrorists of all crimes committed against innocent people. What the media needs to be reminded of is the statement made by Mohammad Amir Shakeel Ahmed as long ago as 1999 at a conference of Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) that his nation is not India, but Islam. Listening to him was one of the founding fathers of the Laskar-e-Toiba's Indian operations, Azam Ghauri who happened to be killed six months later in a shoot-out with the Andhra Pradesh Police. ................
Warn the United States and Pakistan—Now!

31. A fact that exposes mainland India's links with the region is the thriving militancy in most of the northeast states. The demands of the different militant groups range from autonomy within the provisions of the Indian constitution to outright secession. Such militant movements started early with India's independence in 1947. At one point, more than 120 militant groups operated in India's northeast. In recent years, the Indian government has had some success in achieving stability in the region, using tactics from negotiations to military operations to root out militants. Nevertheless, the region remains a potential tinderbox. Militants in India's northeast once enjoyed vast popular support since they in their formative years, voiced genuine grievances of the people such as poor governance, alienation, lack of development and an apathetic attitude from the central government in New Delhi; in recent years, however, this influence has been reduced. Nevertheless, in most of the states in the northeast, anti-government militants often indulge in successful strikes against government interests............
North East India: A volatile tinderbox

32. Security for Taslima Nasreen has been tightened since yesterday following a threat issued by the imams of several mosques and some city-based fundamentalist organisations. They have said they "would not sit idle" if their demand for the controversial Bangladeshi authoress to be "thrown out of India" was not immediately responded to by the governments in New Delhi and Kolkata. Armed plainclothesmen are keeping round-the-clock vigil and screening all visitors. "I have received threats so my security has been increased," she told The Statesman. Security agencies are trying to find out whether the local fundamentalists have been put up to it by their Bangladeshi brethren, with whom they are said to be linked at several levels. The threat has come at a time when the Bangladesh High Court has summoned her to be in Dhaka within the next few days for a case filed by an author who has complained that she, in writing one of her books, has hurt his religious sentiments. ..................
Security tightened for Taslima

33. The Chinese may not talk about it in public, but they are concerned over the emerging close relations between India and the US---not because of the military potential of an India-US axis, but because of its moral potential. They fear the likely infectious effect of our democracy in their border areas more than our nuclear weapons. They fear the US ability to use the people power as it did in East Europe, Ukraine and Georgia more than the USA's military strength. In reality, the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) is not meant to protect the member-countries from external military threats. It is essentially meant to protect them from sections of their own people in the form of what they project as extremism and separatism. They may outwardly project themselves as unconcerned over the implications of the India-US relationship for their stability, national security and regional pre-eminence, but they are. In our understandable keenness to see only the positive in China, we should not overlook certain constants in their policy. One of these constants is to give Pakistan a psychological feeling of parity with India militarily and economically and to buttress the self-confidence of Bangladesh vis-a-vis India. China is not a South Asian power, but look at the way they have built for themselves a growing South Asian presence..................
India and China: See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil

34. With its new wealth, China has been inventively building trade and transportation links to further its larger interests. Such links around India's periphery are already bringing this country under strategic pressure on three separate flanks. China is fashioning two north-south strategic corridors on either side of India — the Trans-Karakoram Corridor stretching right up to Gwadar, at the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz; and the Irrawaddy Corridor involving road, river and rail links from Yunnan right up to the Burmese ports. In addition, it is shoring up an east-west strategic corridor in Tibet across India's northern frontiers...............
India: Dragon designs

35. As developed by Ross Mallick, the reasons leading to the Morichjhanpi massacre have to be understood in relation to the long history which led to the partition of Bengal and the intricacies of caste, class and communal differences. Briefly, in the colonial period, the East Bengal namasudra movement had been one of the most powerful and politically mobilised dalit movements in India.5 In alliance with the Muslims, they had kept the Bengal Congress Party in opposition from the 1920s. The exclusion of the bhadralok from power led to the Hindu elite and eventually the Congress, pressing for the partition of Bengal at independence, so that at least the western half would return to their control.6 Partition, however, meant that dalits lost their bargaining power when divided along religious lines of Hindus and Muslims and became politically marginalised minorities in both countries.With the partition of India, threatened by their Muslim and lower-caste tenants, the upper-caste landed elite formed the first wave of migrants from East Pakistan into West Bengal. Subsequent migrants were rural middle class cultivators and artisans. If the richest amongst them found a niche amongst relatives and friends in Kolkata and its outskirts, the poorer amongst them squatted on public and private land and tried to resist eviction. In the 1960s and 1970s (especially after the Bangladesh war of independence in 1971, Mujibur Rahman's assassination in 1975 and Zia-ur-Rahman's coming to power) communal agitations started to hereafter be directed against the poorest and low caste Hindus who had remained in East Bengal. They now sought refuge in West Bengal.................
Dwelling on Morichjhanpi

36. Maoist militants, known here as Naxalites, have been fighting in India since the late 1960s. Until recently, they have basically been in pockets in the jungles in India's poorest states. More recently there has been more unity between these groups. Analysts talk now about the emergence of the Red Corridor, a great swathe of Maoist militancy which stretches all the way from the border with Nepal, south through India to the sea. Later I was introduced to a senior Maoist commander, Gopanna Markam, a veteran of 25 years with the guerrilla force. I asked him how he would describe what he was fighting for. "We're fighting for a new democratic revolution in this country," he said. "People are hungry, there's nothing to eat. They have no clothes. They have no jobs. We want development for the people. That's why people are coming to this fight."..............
India faces Maoist 'Red Salute'

37. Pointing out that civil aviation minister had denied Jet chairman Naresh Goyal clearance because of the serious concerns raised by the home ministry, JD(U) chief and former civil aviation minister Sharad Yadav wondered "why is the security clearance being given" to the Jet chief now? He also released the report from the country's external intelligence agency, RAW, which the home ministry had cited to deny the clearance to Goyal. In its letter to the home ministry, RAW had referred to concerns expressed by investigating agencies about the "large dubious investments" by Gulf sheikhs, Mumbai underworld as well as smugglers in the airlines. ..............
Yadav releases RAW report on Jet Air

NEPAL

38. King Gyanendra, who seized power and sacked the elected government in February last year, has no one but himself to blame for his isolation, Dahal said. "He is now a detached figure and he himself created this situation because he responded very late to the people's movement. He fell into his own trap," Dahal said. It has been a long fall for the monarch, seen by some devout Hindus as a reincarnation of Vishnu, the god of protection. "He has become powerless and even his divine-like status is in jeopardy. For the king, it is never going to be the same again," said Manoj Shrestha, 30, the owner of a small Internet cafe in the capital. "His own arrogance and over-ambitiousness put him in this position. That's why he is quiet," Shrestha said. Some feel that since the new government stripped the king of his control of the army and removed him from political life, his role has become significantly less relevant. "The king is no different from the ordinary civilian now. His role in politics has ended," said Narayan Man Bijukchhe, chairman of the Nepal Workers and Peasants Party, a small parliamentary group............
Nepal's king lies low as country mulls his future

39. Events in Nepal are moving in a dizzying pace. Add to this the bewildering number statements being made by the leaders of SPA and positions taken on one day and given up soon after. It is getting more and more difficult for analysts to examine what is going on at all. But amidst all this confusion, the Maoists are going about with a clear agenda and a road map and they have so far been able to get what they wanted without giving in on any of their core issues. The Seven Party Alliance on the other hand appears to have no bottom line and have been giving up without much of a fight on many of the issues which one thought they would be firm. In the press conference given by Prachanda and the seven party leaders after the meeting on the 16 th, the body language of the Alliance leaders gave the impression of being on the defensive and Prachanda hogged the whole limelight. Even Madhav Nepal a senior leader in his own right was seen to be quiet. One gets the feeling that the Maoists are going to have their way...............
The Maoists have their way so far

40. Maoist rebels in Nepal have said they will not lay down arms until elections are held for a body which will draw up a new constitution . A rebel spokesman said they were ready to demobilise their fighters but would not disarm them at the moment. His statement came a day after Nepal's home minister said the government would not share power with the rebels until they had given up their weapons. Both sides clinched a landmark power-sharing deal last week. As part of the agreement, the government said it would dissolve parliament and set up an interim government that would include the Maoists. .............
Nepal Maoists 'will not disarm'

PAKISTAN

41. What the pen-pushers and spooks in the Ministry seem to have forgotten is that they are the ones who permitted an army of foreign militants into this country, ostensibly to fight in Afghanistan. Many of these foreign agents stayed on, and are now busy killing our people, including our soldiers. In fact, Pakistan must be the most welcoming country in the world for illegal migrants: literally millions of Bengalis and Afghans have settled anywhere they chose to without any questions being asked. If anything, officials of the Interior Ministry have colluded in this influx by handing out ID cards and passports to tens of thousands of illegal immigrants. ...............
Pakistan: Paranoia and patriotism

END

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