MH 370 located in Bay of Bengal (maybe)

We have stopped covering this grisly business since there remains so much uncertainty. Now however there is a flicker of hope- there is actually a wreckage which has multi-element match with that of a Boeing 777 (not previously detected in the same sector).

If this is indeed confirmed it will be a major technical miracle.

On reflection, Bay of Bengal was always a more likely theater than Southern Indian Ocean, if there was foul play (likely) and especially if there was malfunctioning, it makes no sense that MH370 will continue to fly for so long.
Australian marine exploration company has claimed that it has found the
wreckage of the crashed Malaysian plane in the Bay of Bengal, 5,000 km
away from the current search location in the Indian Ocean.

Adelaide-based GeoResonance said it had begun its own search for the
missing flight MH370 on March 10 and that it has detected possible
wreckage in the Bay of Bengal, 5000km away from the current search
location, the Star newspaper reported.

GeoResonance’s search
covered 2,000,000 square kilometres of the possible crash zone, using
images obtained from satellites and aircraft, with company scientists
focusing their efforts north of plane’s last known location, using over
20 technologies to analyze the data, company
spokesperson David Pope said.

He claimed his company used technology originally designed to find nuclear warheads and submarines.

Pope said GeoResonance compared their findings with images taken on
March 5, three days before MH370 went missing, and did not find what
they had detected at the spot.

“The wreckage wasn’t there prior
to the disappearance of MH370. We’re not trying to say it definitely is
MH370. However, it is a lead we feel should be followed up,” said Pope.  

Another GeoResonance spokesperson, Pavel Kursa, said several elements
found in commercial airliners were detected at the Bay of Bengal spot
identified by GeoResonance. “We identified chemical elements and
materials that make up a Boeing 777, these are aluminium, titanium,
copper, steel alloys and other materials,” said Kursa in a statement.



Slum-dog vs. Hans Solo

John Oliver is a British comedian, an Emmy winning writer and has his own HBO show (Last Week Tonight with J.O.). He makes a few salient points about Indian elections.

Re: why America should care-“Don’t pretend you aren’t interested
in this, America. The last time you heard a rags-to-riches story about a
tea-selling Indian kid, you threw a fcuking Oscar at it.”

Re: evidence America does not care-   ….a clip of debates on American news
channels about the Indian elections, where a guest can be seen saying,
“India is not even in the same hemisphere and there’s no point of
discussing it.”

Re: Rahul Gandhi-
Rahul Gandhi, calling him ‘Indian Hans Solo’ and pointing out
how despite his political lineage is likely to lose to a ‘tea seller’
Re: Narendra Modi-
“No election is
complete—or entertaining—without a little scandal, a ‘je ne sais,

Re: Western Media-
CNN in
India for using the title “One Billion Votes” for a story about the
election, when India actually has only 800 million voters, saying “Their
own graphic is wrong by the entire population of Brazil.”

Re: India Media-
“Do you have a ludicrous number of people
shouting at each other in a TV debate? Check.




Is Gypsy really a bad word?

First things first, Madonna: never call a Gypsy a gypsy.


There are somewhere between 8-10 million Roma or Romani (derogatively referred to as “gypsy”, the lowercase “g” insinuating that it’s not a proper noun) currently living in Eastern Europe. It’s impossible to get an accurate count because of the number of Roma who are undocumented by governments that still refuse to claim them or to acknowledge their existence as anything other than outsider.
With the resurgence of hate crimes against the Roma throughout Eastern Europe, the Western World is starting to ask, “Who are these people exactly?” Even though the Roma have been persecuted and murdered in droves since well before WWII, it has taken the general global public decades to become interested.

– See more at:

From what I can remember the root of the word Gypsy is the same as Egypt or Copt (as the Gypsies were initially assumed to be from Egypt) so it’s not in itself derogatory.

In vein of this piece, I remember this paragraph by Steve:

Millions of people permanently lose the thread. Unlike academic specialists, they have other, more personally important things to think about than the changing names of distant ethnic groups. Thus, they never make the mental connection that the mysterious new Inuit their children are studying in school are actually those Eskimos that they liked reading about when they were the same age, or that these new-fangled Roma aren’t Romans or Romanians, but are actually the Gypsies who play that wonderful violin music.
In attempts to create a new name unburdened by old prejudices, the name game can end up dissipating the goodwill built up toward the old one.

Read more: Feature: Name game – ‘Inuit’ or ‘Eskimo’?

The part in bold is a nod to nonsensical name change in India in the 90’s. If India were to ever rename itself Bharat or Egypt to Misr that would trash billions of dollars of PR. As we learnt from the debacle of New Coke never f*ck with the brand people and there was no better brand than Bombay.

Having an insider knowledge

Steve Sailer references Siamak Ebrahimi Nehoray, the lawyer for Ms. Stiviano in the Sterling Clipper scandal

Siamak Ebrahim Nehoray is a graduate of Memphis State (maybe he met some ballers there?) and the University of Laverne College of Law. He was suspended in 2004 by the state bar association for playing fast and loose with a small amount of a client’s funds.

An anonymous commentator wrote:

Anonymous said…

The Wikipedia says that Siamak is a Persian name. A Google search for Nehoray brings up some Israelis. The lawyer could be an Iranian Jew.4/28/14, 7:52 PM

I’ve posted a comment but it’s pending but this is sort of the immediate flicker of recognition about the name. Siamak is a name from the Shahnameh and is rife with Zoroastrian/Aryan/Shahi connotations whereas Ebrahimi is a super-orthodox Muslim Semitic name (Abraham). Now an Iranian with a Shahi Zoroastrian first name and a Muslim family name is quite common* but to have an authentically Persian first name and super-strong Semitic middle name is a stretch too far for most Iranians, who are virulently divided in the cultural chasm between Islamism & Iranianism. Baha’is can bridge the gap but even so rarely will their names reflect such a stark divide** so the only ethnicity left would be the Iranian Jews. Of course the fact that he was a Persian Californian lawyer only reinforced the immediate connection.

*People can’t pick their surnames though some do change them, I thought Trita Parsi had changed his but turns out he’s actually Zoroastrian but I never the Iranians to have Parsi as a surname.

** If anything Baha’i names will have a Western name somewhere since we are more globalist in our approach. Ergo even though I’m written as Zachary alot of people tend to call me Zachariah (I don’t notice that).


Why Hamid Mir was shot..

This video will give you an idea

It is about 2 years old. On this particular issue, he has been (surprisingly) vocal from day one. For that he should get credit. A lot of people are digging up old segments in which Hamid Mir professes the kind of Paknationalist idiocies and Islamist fantasies that are a staple of mainstream media in Pakistan. And yes, he is certainly capable of those. He is, after all, a mainstream Pakistani journalist. Others have pointed out that his behavior within the GEO organization was rather haughty and he did not treat his colleagues and staff in a nice manner (for example, a journalist complained that she was told by a flunkey to leave the elevator because “sahib is coming”…it was Hamid Mir coming to work). That may be true, I have no idea. But he has certainly tried to publicize the Balochistan issue when no one else in the electronic media was touching it. And for that, he may have been shot.
It is still possible he was shot by someone else. Possible, but hardly likely.

His own article about this shooting:

Hamid Mir
Monday, April 28, 2014

Karachi is the largest city of Pakistan but some consider it the most dangerous city as well. When Geo — the biggest Pakistani TV channel — was launched in 2002 from Karachi, I stayed there for three months for training.
During the training, one morning a powerful bombing took place near the US Consulate while I was busy in my training session at a 5-Star hotel not far from the consulate. The explosion was so powerful that many pieces of broken glass fell on me. The deafening sound of the blast gripped me and many of my colleagues. We completed our training in this very incomprehensible fear.
When I returned to the capital as Bureau Chief of Geo TV, high-ups in the government followed me and tried to instill in my mind that ‘Geo TV is an anti-state channel and that a patriotic journalist like me should stay away from it.’
My response was very simple: “This country is run by an army chief. If I am shown the proof that Geo TV is anti-state, I would quit the channel.”No proof was shown; however, the torch-bearers of patriotism got angry with me.
In Pakistan, the start of private electronic media was not so pleasant. The government in power wanted to keep the channels under its thumb in order to get results of October 2002 general elections of its liking. On the one hand, to please the West, the Musharraf government initiated the farce of giving freedom to the media, while on the other hand dangers for media persons started increasing.
The media persons were the most favourite target of extremists as well as the secret agencies. Some journalists became spokespersons for secret agencies in the name of patriotism. Some started supporting the extremists in the name of Islam. Some of them were caught in the cobweb of nationalists.
Space started narrowing for media persons in the country conceived by Quaid-i-Azam. Killing and kidnapping of journalists became the order of the day and the media industry started losing the sense of protection.
Gen Pervez Musharraf’s emergency of 2007 divided the media in two distinct groups. One group became a plaything in the hands of powerful secret agencies. The other group that stuck to the right was dubbed ‘traitor and anti-state’. This division was not restricted to the media alone, it made its appearance among the politicians too.
When on the orders of the Supreme Court, the case of high treason for violation of the Constitution was initiated against Pervez Musharraf, this division assumed the form of confrontation. Musharraf’s trial started sending many important national issues to the backburner. The biggest problem Pakistan faces today is terrorism. Some said if drone attacks stop, terrorism will come to an end. However, terrorism persisted even after no drone struck for 100 days. Some said if talks with the Taliban are held, everything will be hunky dory. Drones stopped and negotiations with the Taliban also started, but still terrorism continued unabated. The Geo TV arranged a special discussion on this vital issue.
I proceeded to Karachi by air on the noon of 19 April. I have conducted many programmes in Karachi but I must admit that my every journey to Karachi started with an unspecified fear. It is very easy in Karachi for the sleuths of secret agencies to eliminate unwanted media persons. However, if a journalist like me shies away from going to Karachi due to this lurking fear, how can I claim to represent the popular sentiments? These very thoughts encouraged me to overcome the old fear with respect to Karachi and I decided to go on with the visit.
I asked my wife to sacrifice a black goat, as weak media persons like me consider such a sacrifice sufficient for their safety. After this sacrifice, I proceeded to Karachi on Saturday morning. As soon as I landed at the Karachi Airport, I received a message from my co-producer that Asad Umar of PTI who had to represent his party in tomorrow’s special discussion had regretted that he would not be able to attend. I asked the co-producer to invite PTI leader Shah Farman from Peshawar.
Engrossed in these thoughts I came out of the airport and got into the car. I asked the driver about the security guard. The driver told me that he was standing outside the airport. After a short while the security guard also got into the car which came out of the airport. Once again, I started sending an SMS to my co-producer asking the time of the next day’s meeting.
Meanwhile, I was discomfited to hear firing shots. When I saw the right window of the car smashing, I realized I was the target. A bullet had already pierced my shoulder. I asked the driver to look sharp. But we were caught in a jungle of traffic.
Firing continued and bullets were penetrating my legs. When the motorcyclist and car drivers realised that a car was being fired upon, they started making way for us. Firing still continued and I felt another bullet piercing the left of my waist. I started reciting the Kalima Tayyaba. The attackers were still following our car and went on firing without a gap. I started telling my colleagues in the office that I am being shot at. I asked the driver to rush to a hospital as two more bullets had pierced my belly. Wading through a flood of traffic, hounded by the attackers and myself perspiring profusely, we somehow were able to reach the Emergency of the Aga Khan Hospital. Darkness began to appear before my eyes. I mustered the courage to come out of the car and fell on a stretcher. Then I lost consciousness and do not know what happened.
On the third day of the attack, I regained consciousness and doctors began to disclose gradually that I had received six bullets but was safe. At that time, I was thinking about the animosity the attackers could have had against me. Then I concluded that the culprit was not the attacker but the one who had planned the attack.
Faces of many ‘planners’ flashed before my eyes. I could ignite new pits of fire by narrating incidents taking place within the first two weeks of April alone, and this could ignite a horrible fire and bring more destruction. Then I thought that in that case there would be no difference between me and a terrorist. Those who dubbed Geo TV traitor in 2002 are once again dubbing it traitor today. They neither had any proof then, nor do they have now. I leave all this to my Allah Almighty and to the courts.
I only want to share my feelings with you. I wish to tell you about so many ups and downs of the acute pain during the seven days of stay at the Aga Khan Hospital. But one thing is certain: the excruciating pain I passed through has only served to consolidate my faith, my courage and my determination. I express my profound thanks to all those who stood by me in this hour of trial and prayed for my health. I am feeling great pain even now as I write these lines. I am bearing this pain only to promise you that I will use the cuts made by six bullets in my body to illuminate the nation to dissipate the darkness of illiteracy.

The six bullets and seven nights spent at the Aga Khan Hospital have convinced me that it is not the common populace of the country that in fact wields the real power and rights. It is someone else. The destination of pure independence is still far away. Disappointment is a sin. The last to laugh will be the common man. We still need lots of sacrifices to reach that destination.

Selfie (833AM), self-less (834AM)

Often we see youngsters going for study/work while listening to music, texting etc. in the bus/train without paying any attention to what happens around them. We frequently read about fatalities caused by this behavior and each time anxiety mounts: are our loved ones next on the grim reaper’s list?

Now a new fad is up and running and (apart from the business of self-harm) now one has to worry about collateral damage (that famous word again). It is sad that a young lady had to die to make the point, but this being the “young invincibles” generation, we are not sure what else will get the message across. Our sympathies are (unfortunately but firmly) with the 73 year-old gentleman who is sure to have nightmares for the rest of his life.

Please do not take selfies while driving. Do not text. Do not update Facebook. Do keep your attention (every moment) on the road. 

A woman has died in a head-on collision on a US
highway just seconds after she posted selfies and updated her status on
Facebook, police have said.

At 8.33am on Thursday a post appeared on 32-year-old Courtney
Sanford’s Facebook timeline which read: “The happy song makes me so
HAPPY.” At 8.34am police were called to reports of a crash.

said Ms Sanford was alone in her car when it crossed the central
reservation, crashed into a recycling truck and burst into flames,
forcing the other vehicle off the road.

She was on her way to work
along Interstate 85 in North Carolina at the time, and police said they
found no evidence that drink, drugs or speed were factors in the

The link to Facebook only emerged this weekend after
friends of Ms Sanford came forward to tell police that a number of her
posts online appeared to come from a similar time to the incident

High Point Police Department spokesperson Lt Chris Weisner
told the WGHP TV station that the crash was a real-life public service
advert “showing what happens when you text and drive”.

Lt Weisner said that as well as the status update seconds before the
crash, evidence from Ms Sanford’s social media profiles showed she had
also been taking pictures of herself while on the highway.

“In a
matter of seconds, a life was over just so she could notify some friends
that she was happy. It’s really not worth it,” he said. “As sad as it is, it is also a grim reminder for everyone… you just have to pay attention while you are in the car.”

Police said that the truck was being driven by 73-year-old John Wallace Thompson, who walked away unharmed.



How to safeguard against the coming extinctions

I was reading that one of the most heavily fortified facilities in the world is the Seed Centre in the Arctic, which preserves flora & fauna biodiversity so that if the day ever comes that we are threatened with mass crop extinctions (the cavendish banana, which is 90% of the world production & consumption, is threatened by a virus that wipes out the crop, each banana is an identical clone of another) we have a bio bank to start over.

During my travels it’s increasingly obvious to me that English is the new Latin. Maybe a millennia from now different planets will spawn their own Vulgar English dialects that will emerge as lingua Franca in their own right. But as of right now the ongoing linguistic consolidation (the Tesot mother speaks Luganda as a first language and will only speak to her children in English) means that Uganda’s tremendous linguistic & tribal diversity (in the dozens) is soon going to become Luglish (Luganda + English. Hinglish is not an isolated phenomenon..
Perhaps we need a linguistic bank where we record native speakers and record their language to store (after all our data capacity is rising on a geometric if not exponential level, apparently the internet weighs a millionth of an ounce) for the long years ahead.
Of course Baha’u’llah for saw this and cautioned us 150yrs ago to set an auxiliary language so that we both have global unity but maintain local diversity. But while we wait for the New World Order it may be prudent to save the bulk of the 6,000 or so languages that will soon diminish to a few hundred..

An Atheist upgrades to Allah (via Jesus )

A fascinating interview with Prof. Reza Aslan in which he explains why it is perfectly OK to be traditional, why Al-Qaeda is not anti-modern, and that religious radicalism is on the rise only as a reaction to progressivism (which is also on the rise).

Is there really a religious gene? People (especially in the West) are turning more and more to atheism as they become disillusioned with organized religion. Then again there are others who find profound meaning in religion.

One thing that seems to be of immense significance (and a point not discussed in the article) is that Reza Aslan’s father was an atheist, so what was the trigger that led him to reject the ways of his dad and embrace religion? Also he explains why/how he adopted Christianity (but not why he left) and also his reasons for (presently) preferring Islam.
You first converted to Christianity and then to Islam. Can you take us through your personal journey of faith?

father is a devout atheist, and I grew up without any religious
instruction although I was always very deeply interested in religion and
My family moved to the United States from Iran in 1979,
after Ayatollah Khomeini decided to return to the country. It wasn’t
particularly a very good time for Muslims to be in America either, so I
spent most of my early 30s pretending to be Mexican.

It was at an
evangelical youth camp where I first listened to the incredible story of
Jesus Christ’s life and teachings in the Gospel — It moved me so much
that I immediately gave my life to Jesus.
I spent the next couple of
years preaching the Gospel to everyone — whether they wanted to hear it
or not.

As a professor of religions,
do you feel that religions are misunderstood or misinterpreted in the
modern world? Is it fair to state that religions are undergoing an
identity crisis, which in turn, is turning religions towards more
extremist and intolerant ideas?

I don’t think that’s
true at all. Religion is more of a force today than it was more than 100
years ago. I think that religions are in a constant state of evolution.
I also believe that religious diversity and religious pluralism are on
the rise, but the problem is that people assume that religious
radicalism is on the rise.

In part, this is because radicalism
and fundamentalism are reactionary phenomena. They are a reaction to
liberalism and pluralism. If you see certain spikes in religious
radicalism, it’s not because religious radicalism is independent or
free, or because radicalism is on the rise; it’s because its
progressivism, liberalism and diversity is on the rise.

people — for one reason or another — feel left behind in a progressive
society, they will rebel and react against it. I think that’s what’s
happening right now.

Do you think there is disconnect
between modernity and being traditionally religious? Do you think this
dichotomy fuels intolerance and rigidity?

First of all
there is nothing wrong with traditionalism and there is nothing wrong
with rejecting modernity. That is not a problem we are facing as a
society; the problem is with extremism not traditionalism. That’s what
we need to constantly remind ourselves of.

The problem we are
facing is of radicalism and violence. I think it’s a mistake to say
radicalism and violence is a direct result of traditionalism or
conservatism. As I have mentioned in my second book, the mistake we
often make is in thinking that groups like Al-Qaeda are anti-modern; in
fact, they are actually products of modernity. They don’t reject
modernity, but in a quite sophisticated way, they present an alternative
version of modernity.

But why does religion remain an overly convenient tool for extremism and violence?
religion by no means has a monopoly on extremism. If you look at the
last century, which by far has been the bloodiest epoch in human
existence, millions of people have been slaughtered in the name of
secularism, in the name of atheism, Maoism, Fascism, even nationalism.
It is a very narrow view of faith and belief if it is said that religion
is a cause of violence. If anything, it is nationalism that has a
greater propensity to create violence, not religion.

But perhaps,
it is to say that violence is in human nature. We will kill each other
because of our identity. And we will use any form of identity in order
to differentiate from each other or to enact violence against each other
— sometimes in the name of religion, at other times in the name of
socialism, race, tribe or something else.



Sindh celebrates the girl child (and humanity)

It was very much of a Papa dont preach, keep your rosaries off my ovaries moment- an excellent day to be a denizen of Sindh – especially if you are a girl child.  The consequences of child marriage are terrible for mind and body alike.

Sharmila Farooqi and Rubina Qaimkhani are our heroes for having placed their lives on the line by leading on this bill. Interestingly enough, we have friends named Sharmila and Rubina- both Hindu Bengalis.

However as we see elsewhere in SAsia and on other humanitarian projects (for e.g. administering polio drops), passing laws is a necessary first step but only tight enforcement and co-opting of community leaders will make this a properly functional barrier against the sea of misogyny.
The Sindh Assembly on Monday passed the Sindh Child Marriages
Restraint Bill, 2014 prohibiting marriage of children below 18 years.

The assembly is the first provincial legislature in the country to approve a bill to curb child marriages.
the bill, the minimum for marriage is 18 years. Those found violating
the law would be punished in line with the penalty suggested in the
legislation. According to the law, in cases of underage
marriages, those involved can be sentenced to three years in prison and
they can also be fined.

The bill was first presented in the assembly in 2013 by Sharmila Farooqi and Rubina Qaimkhani.



Reposted from Latif’s Cavern
In Midnight’s Children there was a quotation where the Brits had forbidden the Indian Royalty from passing on their titles to children of mixed marriages. The reasoning went that if this was allowed within a few generations Indian Royalty would have become entirely European.
This is certainly borne out by the Aga Khan who at last count is a quarter Indo-Persian the rest Europe and all of his descendant have married Europeans (his grandson, potentially the future Aga Khan would be a sixteenth Indo-Persian).
At any rate I’m beginning to see this borne out in the Desi Elite among Kampala. The Ismaili intermarriage rate (the Aga Khan of course is their leader) is substantially higher than either that of the Muslim or Hindu communities. Of course the Ismailis tend to prefer conversion of the foreign spouses but even so it’s interesting to see that even the “halves” among the Ismaili community are so much more (they’ve been inter-marrying for more than a generation and even with Africans so it’s rather non-discriminatory even though heavily tiled towards Europeans). 
I know that the Aga Khan kept his titles despite intermarrying and even though he is both Royal & Spiritual leader I wonder how much of the British injunction against Royal intermarriage has actually kept desi marrying rates much lower than they should be. I don’t have the stars but observationally British Asians have the lowest out-marriage rates among the ethnic minorities.
The Parsis have strong admixtures (the Tatas have Europeans married in) and so do some elite Muslim families (Cipla’s founder has a Lithuianian Jewish mother) and of course so do the Nehrus but perhaps if the Brits had allowed intermarriage and not been so paternalistic India (the Indian world from Afghanistan to Burma at it’s greatest stretch) would have been far more anchored in Western ways?