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26 May 2011 - 24 Apr 2021
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Exhuming the Indian Army's Brutality in Kashmir: Choudhury
By Chandrahas Choudhury Oct 11, 2011 2:35 PM GMT+0000 Comments
Late last month, the Hindu newspaper published an interview with Parveena Ahangar, the chairperson of an organization with one of the strangest and saddest names: the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons in Kashmir. The persons who "disappeared," now numbering in the thousands, were all Kashmiri youths. Picked up by the police or the Indian Army over the last two decades, they were never seen again, and remain alive in public memory only because of the collective will of their grieving parents.
For years, the parents of the disappeared have tried not to make the traumatic connection between their missing sons and unofficial reports of bodies buried secretly, sometimes by the dozen, by Indian security forces after "encounters" with alleged militants in the restive, unhappy and highly militarized Kashmir Valley. In turn, the Indian state denied that it killed anybody other than militants, and insisted that the missing had escaped across the Kashmiri border into Pakistan.
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What to Say to a Veto from the Comrades: Noe & Raad
By Nicholas Noe & Walid Raad Oct 10, 2011 3:01 PM GMT+0000 Comments
Oct. 10 -- China and Russia put Arab commentators in a tough spot after exercising a rare double veto against a UN Security Council resolution condemning Syria's regime for its violent crackdown on protests.
The immediate impulse of many in the Arab world was to side with the two countries against the European powers and the U.S., which led the effort to pass the resolution last week. As columnist Hazim Saghiyeh wrote in the Saudi-owned, London-based Al-Hayat daily, "Whenever Russia and China are mentioned together, a positive meaning emerges in the Arab conscience." The typical calculation is "what weakens America strengthens us, and what strengthens it weakens us."
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Ominous Musings and Grand Designs in Moscow: Jeffrey Tayler
By Jeffrey Tayler Oct 10, 2011 7:28 AM GMT+0000 Comments
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s impending reinstatement as president, expected though it was, has provoked a surprisingly negative reaction in the vestiges of the country’s free press.
“It is a measure of Russia’s lack of civil society and the subservience of its political class that, even though no one wants Putin back, no one doubts for a second that he will win next year’s presidential election,” wrote Alexei Bayer in an op-ed for The Moscow Times. "Members of the country’s bureaucratic class, having prospered in the cesspool of corruption created and deepened during Putin’s rule, are more than glad to have their license to steal renewed for another six or more years.”
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Judge’s Murder Shows Rio’s ‘Problem of the Decade’: Dom Phillips
By Dom Phillips Oct 6, 2011 8:44 AM GMT+0000 Comments
Even in a city as murderous as Rio de Janeiro, the killing of Judge Patricia Acioli on Aug. 12 was a shock. According to police she was ambushed by two motorbikes and at least one car as she returned to her condominium that morning, and killed in a hail of 21 bullets. She left behind three children.
The assassination continues to reverberate in the local media almost two months later, not only for its brutality, but because it was apparently carried out by corrupt police -- highlighting a growing menace as Brazil tries to get its crime-ridden favelas under control.
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Gujarat Firebrand Faces More Questions: Choudhury
By Chandrahas Choudhury Oct 5, 2011 11:44 AM GMT+0000 Comments
The skeletons in the cupboard of Narendra Modi, the controversial Chief Minister of Gujarat, have once again spilled out into the open.
Last week, a suspended police officer who had turned whistleblower in the investigation of the gruesome Gujarat riots of 2002 was suddenly arrested on the charge of fabricating evidence and taken into judicial custody. The controversy broke out less than two weeks after Modi had organized an ornate, even narcissistic, three-day pageant of "goodwill" in his state after escaping censure from India's Supreme Court in another case pertaining to the riots.
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King Solves Gender Inequality, Saudi Media Say: Noe & Raad
By Nicholas Noe & Walid Raad Oct 4, 2011 7:45 AM GMT+0000 Comments
Oct. 4 -- It's to be expected that commentators writing in Saudi-owned media will be friendly toward royal initiatives, especially those undertaken by King Abdullah.
But they went overboard last week, responding to the king's announcement that women would be allowed to vote and stand for election in 2015 municipal polls as well as serve on the Consultative Council whose members he alone appoints. Neither the consultative nor the municipal councils wield real power, since both are advisory bodies. Half the members of the 285 municipal councils are directly appointed by the king. And the rights of women remain seriously curtailed in the kingdom: for instance, a woman will have to secure permission from a male guardian to vote or stand as a candidate, and women still cannot legally drive  or travel without permission of a male guardian. Yet the media acted as if Abdullah had ushered in a golden era of democracy and gender equality.
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Russian Leaders Switch Roles, Russians Want Out: Jeffrey Tayler
By Jeffrey Tayler Sep 30, 2011 7:05 AM GMT+0000 Comments
The unsurprising role switch between Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitri Medvedev did yield one surprise: the ouster of Alexei Kudrin, the Putin-allied finance minister beloved of foreign investors and esteemed for his fiscal conservancy, after he loudly voiced his reluctance to serve under future Prime Minister Medvedev.
Russian media immediately started speculating about who should become Kudrin's permanent replacement, and who should populate the rest of Medvedev's government, when the switcheroo happens next year. The newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets termed the finance minister's defiance “political suicide,” and, sidestepping scuttlebutt about whether Kudrin himself had hoped to occupy the spot beside the throne, pointed out that “an unending stream of capital is fleeing, not entering Russia." To lure the money back, Russia “requires new managers. Not bureaucrats, not macroeconomists, not defenders of the state budget, but investment bankers who know not just how to save money but how to create it." Veterans of the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 might beg to differ.
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Shanghai Rail Commuters Get Onboard With a Prayer: Adam Minter
By Adam Minter Sep 29, 2011 7:43 AM GMT+0000 Comments
On Sept. 27, two trains in Shanghai's subway system collided, injuring more than 280 commuters. Shortly after the news began to circulate in the late afternoon, I received a text message from a Chinese friend that simply said: “Shanghai too.”
I went online to watch a live Internet telecast of the crash site and saw Chinese netizens' comments streaming alongside the video. Commentators quickly linked “Shanghai” with “Wenzhou,” the site of July’s deadly high-speed rail collision. As images of emergency vehicles and injured survivors of the Shanghai crash flashed across the computer screen, the commentators posited that this was yet another result of corruption and incompetence.
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Criolo, Brazil's Philosopher-Rapper, Hits Big Time: Dom Phillips
By Dom Phillips Sep 28, 2011 11:49 AM GMT+0000 Comments
Criolo, the 35-year-old Sao Paulo rapper, is ensconced on the cover of another fashionable magazine, this time, a glossy monthly called Trip that focuses on surf, street culture, music and scantily clad young women. The accompanying article sums up a good year for Criolo:
Author of the most praised album of the year, lionized by reviews and a devoted mass of fans, nominated for five Brazilian MTV Awards, crowded shows. Criolo is on top, there's no discussion.
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Is a New Boss a New Line for Al Jazeera?: Noe & Raad
By Bloomberg Sep 27, 2011 3:34 PM GMT+0000 Comments
(Corrects 12th paragraph in article published Sept. 26 to say Khanfar not Haddad supported the Islamist role)
By Nicholas Noe & Walid Raad
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Minter is writing the forthcoming "Wasted: Inside the Multi-Billion Dollar Trade in American Trash" and blogs at
Phillips is a correspondent for the Times of London and the author of "Superstar DJs Here We Go." He writes for the Financial Times, People, the Daily Beast and other publications.
Choudhury is the author of the novel "Arzee the Dwarf" and the editor of "India: A Traveler's Literary Companion."
Tayler is a contributing editor at the Atlantic and the author of six books, including "Murderers in Mausoleums."
Noe is a co-founder of the news media monitoring service and the editor of "Voice of Hezbollah: The Statements of Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah."
Raad is an associate professor of international relations at Lebanese International University and a senior translator at Mideastwire.
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