I speak to CNBC Africa on Uganda’s economic prospects in light of the recent laws and electricity hikes:
The only good thing that will come out of this is that passengers will be encouraged to send frequent messages indicating where they are. Still if a pilot wants to commit harakiri no technology will stop that.
a British satellite telecommunications provider and the UK Air
Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) have concluded that the missing
Malaysian Airlines flight went down in the southern Indian Ocean near
Perth “with no possible landing sites”.
Almost 16 days after MH
370 disappeared, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on
Monday that the London based satellite company Inmarsat had tracked the
final trajectory of the airline and “it is with deep sadness and regret
that I must inform you that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean”.
The prime minister said that Inmarsat had used the most advanced
technology available to confirm that the airline had been in the air
almost eight hours after it was believed that it had crashed.
Inmarsat had earlier announced that the ill-fated aircraft sent out
“keep-alive messages” establishing that the plane’s communications
system were still switched on — hours after civilian radars lost contact
Inmarsat said the missing plane was equipped with one
of its signalling systems which actually sent out a barrage of messages
much after it was lost to the world.
Razak said Inmarsat used a “type of analysis never before used in an investigation of this sort”.
Inmarsat’s calculations concluded that the airline flew along the
southern corridor and its last position was in middle of the Indian
Ocean, west of Perth.
It is believed that the British intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6 have also been briefed about the latest finding.
Malaysian Airlines says it now has to assume “beyond any reasonable
doubt” that missing flight has been lost and there are no survivors.
Summary: India is considered a more promising future ally of the USA (ranked above China, Japan, and Europe) by US foreign policy experts. That conclusion seems to be on the money, unless a certain strong-man desires a closer Indo-China link (in preference to the USA).
The US public’s view of India has soured in recent years. In 2008, the year of the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement,
63 per cent of Americans surveyed by the Pew Research Center had a
favourable perception of India. This year, that positive opinion has
fallen sharply to 46 per cent.
US attitudes toward India vary dramatically by demographic group. About
six-in-10 Americans with a college degree (61 per cent) hold a
favorable view. But only 36 per cent of those with a high school
education or less see India positively.
The perception of India among some US foreign policy experts is more
favourable. When members of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a
grouping of former diplomats, government officials and international
relations specialists were asked in a separate Pew Research survey about
which countries will be more important to the United States in the
future, 37 per cent named India, while 35 per cent said China
and 25 per cent identified Japan. Only 20 per cent said the European
Union. Nevertheless, this is a smaller portion of the CFR membership who
named India than just four years ago, when 55 per cent saw India as a
key future ally.
Moreover, 62 per cent of Americans support foreign firms setting up
operations in their country, which should be good news to Indian
investors, who had $7 billion in direct investments in America at the
end of 2012.
There is less good news for Delhi on a neuralgic friction point in
Indo-American relations: access to the US labour market for high-skilled
Indian workers. The US Congress is currently debating immigration
reform, and the US Senate has passed a Bill that would increase the
number of H1B visas often used to bring Indian information technology
workers to the United States for short stays. But it would also make it
harder and more expensive for Indian companies to make use of the
programme. Americans are effectively divided on the issue: 50 per cent
say more people coming to the US to work in high-skilled jobs would
mostly hurt the US economy, while 46 per cent say it would mostly help.
The divisions within American society on high-skilled immigration are
quite illuminating. Men (51 per cent) are more supportive than women (41
per cent). Six-in-10 (60 per cent) people with at least a college
education support high-skilled immigration, but only 38 per cent of
those with a high school education or less are supportive. There is no
major partisan divide on this issue between Republicans and Democrats.
More broadly, on foreign policy issues of concern to Indians, the survey
found that Americans aren’t buying the Obama administration’s pivot to
Asia. They say Europe (50 per cent) is the most important area to the
United States, rather than Asia (35 per cent).
But this trans-Atlantic
foreign policy focus may not last. It is largely the view of aging baby
boomers. Americans aged 18 to 29, the next generation, share a
trans-Pacific sensibility. They say Asia is the most important, by a
margin of 52 per cent to 37 per cent.
So, while Americans are more open to economic engagement than they have
been in the past, they also continue to exhibit a wariness about
refocusing US policy toward Asia and have misgivings about accepting
more high-skilled immigrants. Deepening and broadening the Indian-US
relationship in the near term may prove an uphill struggle in this
If petty issues prevent muslims from being united against a common enemy…well that is pretty much the story of India is it not? Hindus have their Jaichand, Muslims have their Mir Jafar, either way Indians have (always) lost out due to in-fighting. This is why people must make an effort to read history (and to learn from history).
Despite the clarion call by Shia cleric Kalbe Jawwad to defeat the Congress
and the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls, Narendra Modi is surprisingly garnering
support from over 35,000-strong Shia community in Varanasi.
Excited by the response, the BJP also asked its minority cell to woo the
Shia Muslims. Varanasi has nearly three lakh Muslims, most of whom are weavers.
Also, the Gujarat riots have taken a back seat with local issues gaining
“There is no doubt that Shia Muslims in Varanasi are supporting Modi. The
support will come mainly from Dosipura, which is a Shia-dominated area,”
Maulana Mohammad Aqeel, Imam-e-Juma Dara Nagar Masjid in Varanasi told The
He also reminded that in 2009, BJP’s M M Joshi victory margin was only
17,000.Dosipura includes as many as three to four localities, all dominated by
Shias whose number is around 15,000-20,000. Religious acrimony between Sunni
weavers and Shias will tilt the scale in favour of Modi.
Shias are supporting BJP because of local issues. Muslims from the Sunni
sect oppose our Taziya procession and Azadari during Moharram in Dosipura.
There is also a dispute over an Imambada land. BJP openly supports us and now
we will support in return,” Maulana Aqeel said. Another Shia cleric, Baqar
Balliavi, based in Varanasi also admitted that Shias will vote for Modi.
Another Shia cleric Baqar Balliavi based at Varanasi also admitted that
Shias will vote for Modi. “No party supported Shias in their Azadari issues.
BJP openly supported us so Shias will support Modi here,” Baqar stated. He is
also a Pesh-e-Imam of Aurangabad Masjid, another prominent mosque of Shia
Muslims in Varanasi, and also runs a religious school.
Shias are also concentrated in Madanpura, Dal Mandi, Badi Bazar locality. “A
large section of Shias in these locality will also support BJP. It is
surprising for others, but not for us. The proportion of Shia support can
increase if other local clerics are mobilised,” Baqar added.
The BJP has asked its state general secretary (minority cell) Haider Abbas,
who also hails from Varanasi to motivate Shia Muslims. “Local issues are
affecting the polling in favour of BJP. But we are also placing larger issues
like development before them,” said Abbas.
Summary: AAP is still a bachha- cant be trusted to play with the big boys, regional outfits- cant be bothered to know about them and how they may actually hold the balance of power, it is the one and only Congress that must rise like a phoenix and erect a lakshman-rekha around the crown jewels (which are actually locked away in the British Museum).
The liberals (and not so liberals) may still get their wish, if the BJP scores less than 200 seats, and the total count (along with mercenaries) does not rise up to 272.
If the BJP gets about 230 seats the sun will be setting on another distinguished dynasty. Were they as great as the Mauryas and the Guptas (and of course the Romans)? Only time will tell.
If the first play-book is picked expect quite a bit of turbulence, there will be a coalition of the rough which may soon collapse under its own weight. In the long run it will be difficult to stop BJP because of its reserve strength in the RSS and the serious leadership problems in Congress which the Guardian (understandably) brushes under the carpet.
Living next door to another coming country, China, means India’s arc is often overlooked. Forthcoming elections
in the world’s largest democracy will, however, be an event of global
significance, an awe-inspiring logistical exercise. Voting begins on 7
April and continues for six weeks in nine separate tranches because of
the logistical Everest of balloting an electorate of more than 814
Congress will likely plump for Rahul Gandhi
as its new prime ministerial candidate. At 43, the scion of Rajiv and
Sonia should at least appeal to the young electorate: two-thirds of the
population are under 35 and 150 million are eligible to vote for the
first time. But while Mr Gandhi bears the gift and burden of the family
name, he is inexperienced and, as yet, appears to lack the political
touch of his father, the authority of his grandmother, or the legendary
status of his great-grandfather. For these reasons and others,
Congress will likely take a pasting.
Though polling in such a large
country is more alchemy than science, there is a strong possibility that
the BJP will form the next government, probably with Mr Modi as prime
minister. Mr Modi is one of the most polarising politicians to have
walked India’s political stage for many years. He is the candidate of
change, and has established a reputation as an effective manager, which
appeals deeply to voters who spend their lives trying to negotiate
bureaucracy. But he has been repeatedly accused (and cleared) of stoking
anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat in 2002, in which a thousand or more
people were killed. It was only in 2012 that the UK decided to end a
boycott of Mr Modi by senior officials. The US has followed suit in
A third force is the new Aam Admi party,
which has its roots in a broad anti-corruption movement and has made a
point of transparency and accountability. Yet the AAP remains a reaction
to India’s political woes and not, or at least not yet, a solution for
India needs change. It needs reform, infrastructure and jobs
for hundreds of millions of young people. The best hope of resisting
the nationalist BJP, now or in 2019, lies with Congress, the party that
has dominated Indian politics for best part of 70 years.
That said, if Punjabis prefer to call themselves al-Bunjabis there is not much need for hand-wringing.
Losing your native culture (or elements of it) is not that bad if substituted by something of equal (or greater) value. In this case it is the language of Gods (Arabic) supplanting the language of poets (Urdu). Or in the eyes of the Taliban pure words replacing impure ones.
This can (may) trigger an identity crisis amongst the older generation, in India the worry is that the youth are becoming Americanized (as seen in the emergence of Hinglish). Even the Tamil-firsters admit that while they fought (and won) the battle against Hindi, they lost the war against English!!! The pull of a more powerful culture will not be denied regardless of how much ever heart-break it inflicts.
Columnist, analyst, journalist and culture critic Raza Rumi’s take
is: “Nothing is more telling than the literal identity shift of Pakistan
taking place in Punjab. Number plates with Al Bakistan amounts to
changing the name of the country. I would suffer from an identity crisis
if I were to be called Rada instead of Raza. Intriguing how the
administrative apparatus in charge of issuing number plates and
registration is complicit in the Arabisation process. I also saw a much
higher number of camels during the last Eidul Azha (please note it is
not Adha for most of us but will be soon called that). Allah Hafiz.”
these the first few signs Pakistan is moving towards Arabisation? Is
the land of five rivers slowly giving way to sand dunes, camels and date
trees? Well, maybe not.
“I had gone to Dubai a few years ago
where I saw similar number plates that I liked. They somehow looked
cool. On my return I thought why not get one for my car, but with a
twist. A few months after I got my car’s number plate designed with some
Arabic, I saw a lot of vehicles bearing the same design. I felt good to
be a trendsetter of sorts,” Abuzar Butt, a young car showroom owner,
Hafiz Muhammad Ali, a bike owner, who also had the same
kind of number plate, said: “I saw so many cars with these fascinating
new number plates. I clicked a photo of one, took it to a plate maker
and got one made for my bike too.”
The number plate makers can’t
be blamed for this for they are merely doing their job. “I’m just a
regular plate maker. I will make a plate according to any design you
provide me. And this is also the case with these Arabic ones. I get the
designs and I make them,” said Niaz, a number plate maker on Jail Road.
everyone is amused by vehicles becoming ‘Arabised’. Rizwan Saleemi, a
businessman, says: “Most of the people who are doing this belong to
upper-middle class Punjabi families based mostly in Lahore and other
cities of Punjab. They are going through some kind of a paradox. They
want to enjoy everything modern consumerism has to offer; a good car,
preferably modified, mind/ear blowing sound system, giving their
girlfriends a spin in their brand new Corollas and Civics every now and
then. But wait a second, what about the fancy Altima they had when they
used to roam around Riyadh, Dubai or Qatar? They had a nice Arabic plate
on that elegant ride; let’s get made one for my car here in Pakistan.”
The second reason, he says, is the “ridiculous amount of romanticism of Punjabi middle classes with their presumed Arab roots”.
plates, sadly, look fancy to the majority, but I personally despise
them. This is surely one of the signs we are adopting Arabic culture,
and we have seen many already. Basically, culture thrives on middle
classes, and Punjabi middle classes are no more there for their culture
and language. So more Arab culture to see in the coming days,” the angry
young man speaks his heart out. Hold on … how do you say “angry young
man” in Arabic.
Still it makes no sense to deny education, the girls are no longer in a mood to accept anyway. Why not encourage (secular) marriage across barriers- just like Sharukh and Gauri Khan (and Saif/Kareena and Amir/Kiran and Salman/???). These folks after all are the true idols worshiped by the new generation. They should use more of their star power for encouraging education. Amir already does a lot of public good with Satyameva Jayate, then again he is special.
In West Bengal there were at least 10 muslim families (and
five tribal ones) in the news last year, where the girls were about to be forced into
under-age marriages and displayed astounding bravery by calling in the social service.
The calls to the police followed the same script and articulated the same plea: Kaku ami aro portey chai (uncle, we want to keep on studying). These girls know full well that education is the golden ticket out of a lifetime of servitude.
It is heartening to note that girls are refusing to be door-mats anymore (which is what the various personal laws would like to impose on them) and are also taking advantage of (free) educational opportunities in far greater numbers than the men.
Even if the promised reservations materialize for muslims (as promised by many parties, including the Congress) it appears as if the girls will continue to jump ahead of the boys. This is a potential (social) time-bomb in the making.
However if the emancipation of muslim women triggers a grass-roots movement for reforming of gender inequities that would be a blessing in disguise. If and when this happens it will be truly deserving of the moniker of a “silent revolution” (see below).
This phenomena is across the board amongst all weaker communities and will (must) eventually lead to a breakdown in caste barriers (guardians will just not be able to put up enough barriers between educated youngsters).
In the case of religion however there is less reason for optimism. A Hindu girl may marry into a muslim family (after conversion) but this will not be acceptable for muslim girls.
match-maker, Shahid Farooqui, has been faced with an unusual problem of
late: of ‘over qualified’ brides-to-be. Though his bag is teaming with
profiles of several eligible women from the Muslim community between 23
and 35 years of age, he has been struggling to get many of them a
perfect match. Reason? All these girls are armed with
graduate/post-graduate degrees (M Sc, B Ed, M Tech or even B Tech) now a
trend, almost unheard of until a few years ago. As a result, Farooqui
says, it’s become a herculean task to find these educated women, equally
“Seven out of 10 women seeking alliances
these days are well educated. Given that several men aren’t still
particularly interested in a girl’s education (many aren’t qualified
themselves) and pay more attention to her looks and financial status,
it’s getting difficult to find these prospective brides an appropriate
match,” the middle-aged marriage ‘guru’ says while also adding how a lot
of families from the lower rungs of society are, thus, forced to
Take for instance, Roshna (name changed) of
Mallepally. Despite a B Ed degree in her kitty the young girl was forced
to marry a school drop out, as the family failed to find her a better
match. Ditto a graduate from Yakutpura who eventually married a
man with no degree. The only bright spot: the decent returns from the
groom’s family transport business.
Sadly, such a predicament,
observers rue, is often visible in other marginalised communities too.
Take for instance, 33-year-old Harika (name changed). This doctor from
Madiga Community who registered with a matrimonial site three years ago,
is still anxiously waiting to find her ‘Mr Right’-a doctor from her own
community. “If a man earns well, families overlook his
qualification. Mostly, it’s the women who end up compromising,”
reiterates Yogita K from the matrimonial site shaadi.com. Clearly, Harika’s MBBS education, which might be good news for a country
slogging to improve its literacy rate, has its flipside.
Similar sentiments were echoed by Jaleesa Sultana
Yaseen, member of the Muslim Women Intellectual Forum: “There was a lot
of insecurity among women until a few years ago and they took to
education to support themselves. But that brought along a lot of
practical problems which we need address to correct this imbalance.
Parents need to push male children to study to resolve this,” she says.
But not many college-going girl students from the community are so
optimistic. The current trend has, in fact, instilled in them a fear of
losing out on their studies. “My parents did not want me to take up
post-graduate studies [for the same reason] but I somehow managed to
allay their concerns. Now, seeing so many women who are struggling to
find suitable matches around me, I am not sure what will happen,” said
Suhela Sheikh, who is pursuing M Sc (Nutrition) at a private college.
According to activist and writer Kancha Illaiah this problem is more
prominent in the middle and lower rungs society as higher education
within this section is mostly first generational. “Girls don’t get well
educated grooms within their own caste. Unless the caste problem is over
come, this cannot be done away with,” he stresses.
Mustafa Ali Sarwari of Maulana Azad National University, meanwhile,
considers it a serious social issue. Taking it a step further he says,
“If these girls (out of lack of choice) get married to men who are less
educated, compatibility issues are bound to crop up.”
nonetheless, educationists are happy with the trend, with those like
just-retired professor of Osmania University, B S Rao, even terming this
rise in women education as a “silent revolution” – a stark contrast to
the feelings of Farooqui who confesses to be reeling under “bad
However if one wants to see a true police state in operation, then modern day Egypt can serve as a fine example. There are many many private horrors on a daily basis, this one below is an example of a public horror show.
As a model these states can choose to follow the rightist thugs-in-chief (Pinochet, Franco etc) or the leftist ones (Mao, Stalin etc.). True they are not as evil as the full blown crazies (Pol Pot, Kim Jong-un, Mullah Omar, Assad etc.) but that is the only nice thing going for them.
court in southern Egyptian has convicted 529 supporters of ousted
Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, sentencing them to death on charges
of murdering a policeman and attacking police.
The court in
Minya issued its ruling on Monday after only two sessions in which the
defendants’ lawyers complained they had no chance to present their case.
Those convicted are part of a group of 545 defendants on trial
for the killing of a police officer, attempted killing of two others,
attacking a police station and other acts of violence.
More than 150 suspects stood trial, the others were tried in absentia. Sixteen were acquitted.
The defendants were arrested after violent demonstrations that were a
backlash for the police crackdown in August on pro-Morsi sit-ins in
Cairo that killed hundreds of people.
Congress is banking on the votes of the loyal generation (post-partition), rural pockets may still vote for Samajwadi Party and other regional outfits, and most recently the Aam Aadmi Party is making its mark in urban areas, with the young people and the liberal minded.
In the last group belongs the elite alumnii of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU)– which has historically been the seat of muslim activism and (pan) nationalism (as distinct from muslim feudalism) since its founding in 1875, Wiki refers to AMU as the epi-center of the Pakistan movement.
However the key challenge is for muslims to vote tactically in each constituency, else the BJP wins everywhere.
has surprisingly endeared a part of the AMU fraternity, both teachers and
students, to AAP. Finding AAP’s policy ‘inclusive’ — Kejriwal has not made
many community-specific promises in Aligarh – a number of AMU graduates now
settled in the UAE, UK, USA and Europe are campaigning hard online for what
they see as the ‘new hope’.
On “World of Aligs”, one of the largest
online communities of AMU alumni, the party’s been steadily beginning to become
a part of the discussions. In the beginning of March, when BJP workers had
attacked the AAP party office in Delhi, Kaleem Kawaja, a US-based AMU
graduate had posted, “AAP’s intense struggle against BJP can help
The discussion has now veered around to
how the party is making realistic promises like good governance. “Earlier,
Muslims followed the promises doled out by traditional parties but Kejriwal is
not promising anything to anyone from any faith or community,” said Mohsin
Raza, a senior surgeon and moderator of “World of Aligs.”
“His goal is clean governance, which includes Hindus as well as Muslims.
for him because Muslims have understood that parties keep the community in good
humour during elections and then forget about them.”
In such a scenario, critics point out that Kejriwal has an eye on the Muslim
vote bank which is why he has fielded Sabir Rahi, a Muslim from Aligarh, a
constituency, which contrary to perception, has more Hindu voters than Muslim.
AAP having a Muslim face here is expected to go down well with the
the issue of compensation of riot victims as well as Section 341 of the IPC
which deals with punishment for wrongful restraint. In addition, Kejriwal has
been making statements like “communalism is a bigger threat than
agenda of AAP, which is the fight against corruption, is what draws the
intelligentsia, including Muslims, to it. “AAP is not working on the lines
of a secular and communal debate. Their main fight is against corruption, which
affects all regardless of their faith and class.”
It should be considered a minor blessing that the directions are so crystal clear. Now you know what to do in order to protect yourself while visiting the UK- always leave a football match by half-time, dont stay in the Savoy, avoid Cheltenham and Epsom etc etc.
most important citizen – the Queen, the country’s most important
sporting events – Wimbledon, English Premiere League matches and horse
race at Cheltenham and the country’s most revered hotel – The Savoy in
London are now the target of jihadis returning to UK from Syria.
al-Qaida has urged “lone wolf” jihadists returning from Syria to carry
out bomb attacks at sporting events in Britain specially those attended
by the Queen. Wimbledon fortnight and FA Cup matches are right on top the hit list as al-Qaida calls for “maximum carnage”.
The terror group recommends that such operations be carried out either
by a “martyrdom bomber” or with explosives linked to a timer or a remote
An English-language publication, produced by al-Qaida outlines a list of possible targets in Britain, America and France. Britain and France’s seaside towns to be the home of thousands of
tourists as summer months inch closer will also be prime targets,
according to Britain’s intelligence agencies.
al-Qaida asks the jihadis “Hit two birds with one stone; both the
English and the French. In the beginning of summer we have Cheltenham,
and at the end of summer we have Epsom, whereby horse races are attended
by thousands from around the kingdom including the Queen”.
author, named as al-Qaida Chef, adds “You have soccer stadiums,
especially during Premier League and FA Cup matches. They have worldwide
live media coverage. The best time is after the final whistle, when
huge crowds leave the stadium and celebrate around the entrances”.
The magazine, published on March 14, encourages readers to build their
own car bomb – which it provides instructions of how to do – and
detonate it outside the hotel.
Britain’s home minister Theresa
May has removed the citizenship of 37 people since May 2010 for joining
terror forces in Syria. In 2013, the home minister has revoked the British citizenship of 20 people.
Britain’s foreign minister William Hague recently told parliament that
Syria is now the “number one destination for jihadists anywhere in the
world” including “70 to 100 individuals connected with the United
Kingdom”. “The conflict is creating opportunities for extremist groups,” Hague said.