Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Massive Kabul Blast Kills Nearly 100, Injures Nearly 500

The death toll is over 80 and rising, with nearly 500 wounded, after a massive car bomb detonated in Kabul:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/31/world/asia/kabul-explosion-afghanistan.html


Notice how Taliban and ISIS have arranged a perverse pact on how to mutually benefit in such atrocities:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/who-set-off-the-enormous-bomb-in-kabul-not-us-say-taliban-dont-believe-it

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Competitive Connectivity - OBOR vs AAGC

Here's a new buzzword for you - "competitive connectivity" - as exemplified by the emerging rivalry between China's OBOR and the Indo-Japanese response, AAGC:

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201705291054092997-us-cold-war-obor/


If your trade route is the better one, then you get a bigger slice of the economic pie - but if somebody else's trade route is better, then you get squeezed out.

Unfortunately, the Russians will be siding against us this time, because they stand to benefit from OBOR.

So if Orwell was right, we must be Oceania, and we're now at war with Eurasia, while getting help from North America.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Merkel 'Looks East' in Meeting with Modi

A day after warning Germany's traditional Western partners, US and UK, Chancellor Angela Merkel shows that she can 'look East' as she meets with India's Modi:

http://www.euronews.com/2017/05/29/modis-berlin-visit-signals-asian-pivot-for-atlanticist-merkel


“I am very optimistic about our future partnership.” Merkel’s remarks, made to her Christian Democrat party’s Bavarian allies in Munich, were all the more striking since Merkel, a fan of the United States as a teenager in Communist East Germany, has always been known as a convinced Atlanticist.

Looks like the Atlanticist camp's worst fears are being realized.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/merkel-us-relations-important-but-must-also-look-elsewhere/2017/05/30/424ea4d2-4524-11e7-8de1-cec59a9bf4b1_story.html

Meanwhile, Germany is a leader in renewable energy technology, which could be very useful for India's energy independence:

http://m.timesofindia.com/world/pm-narendra-modi-germany-visit-top-developments/articleshow/58910699.cms

Visas to US for Indians Increase, Decrease for Pakistanis

US visas issued to Indians have shown a 28% increase, while visas issued to Pakistanis have decreased by 40%:

http://www.timesofindia.com/articleshow_comments/58895148.cms

Sunday, May 28, 2017

techno-doomsday


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: S

The following piece by Yuval Noah Harari may interest you, if you haven't seen it already. A very bleak prediction and absolutely plausible.


"Bioengineering coupled with the rise of AI may result in the separation of humankind into a small class of superhumans, and a massive underclass of "useless" people." The 21st century could be looking at creating a world with much greater inequity than anything seen before in human history.


2017 Incredible Ladakh Special


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sanjeev Nayyar

Namaskar,
 
Ladakh is amongst the most beautiful parts of India. The region is so huge that could be a State by itself. We present the best of eSamskriti pictures on Ladakh.
 
1. Drive from Manali to Leh by Vikram Oberoi http://www.esamskriti.com/photo-detail/Leh-to-Manali-drive.aspx
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
At 18,380 feet it is the highest motorable road in the world.
 
 
 
 
 
 
11. Turtuk near Nubra Valley wow by Dr Salil Choksi http://www.esamskriti.com/photo-detail/Turtuk.aspx
 
 
 
 
 
 
17. Army Goodwill School Harkabahadur super near Kargil http://www.esamskriti.com/photo-detail/AGS-Harka-Bahadur.aspx
 
 
 
 
Love and Light
sanjeev
to unsubscribe write back
 
 
 
 

 



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Fwd: Coming from a long-standing Sinophile, this is significant....


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: V

Towards the end, he tries to soften the blow and downplay his concerns. But, they are unmistakable.


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Fwd: Eileen Battersby's lovely take-down of Ms. Roy's latest gibberish





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Merkel: US & Britain No Longer Reliable

Trump's blunt speech to the NATO alliance membership has provoked a response from Germany's Angela Merkel, who made a speech warning that the US and Britain can no longer be seen as reliable partners:

http://www.dw.com/en/merkel-europe-can-no-longer-rely-on-us-and-britain/a-39018097


http://zeihan.com/life-after-nato/


Atlanticists everywhere are now panicking and lashing out against the sudden new spiraling trans-Atlantic tensions, which some see as a threat to the foundation of Western unity.

It's doubtful that Germany could expect overwhelming success in charting a separate path for Europe that would take it away from the USA, while also rallying all of Europe to follow. Given that France is a vital partner for Germany in Europe, without which nothing could be accomplished, and given that LePen was a serious contender to win the French elections and is expected to only grow in strength in the future, then Germany may find itself in a precarious position.

Expect Atlanticists to be pulling out all stops to get rid of the spoiler Trump.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Arnab Flays Communist Leader

Arnab Goswami lays into Kerala's Communist Party spokesman for his leader's comments against the Indian Army:



pretty much how christians steal hindu culture in india

not only does every church in kerala now sport a hindu golden flagpole (with a cross on top) they have also put a big cross on every hilltop in kerala and claimed it as theirs. just like that. 

hans in AI. where is india?

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/05/27/technology/china-us-ai-artificial-intelligence.html

the three big things now are AI/machine learning, blockchain, CRISPR-Cas9. india is nowhere in any of them. 

india sucks at R&D. thank you, #rememberingnehru

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the end of IT services... or not?

Brzezinski Dead at 89

Zbigniew Brzezinski , former Natural Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter, is dead at 89:


https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/zbigniew-brzezinski-foreign-policy-intellectual-who-served-as-carters-national-security-adviser-dies-at-89/2017/05/26/84cf5d5c-3f42-11e7-adba-394ee67a7582_story.html


https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/26/us/zbigniew-brzezinski-dead-national-security-adviser-to-carter.html

Friday, May 26, 2017

Quick notes: Executive compensation, Radio-inactive...

  • Amid IT job cuts and bleak outlook: Infosys offers hefty stock compensation to top executives 


  • Radio-Inactive: Switzerland to phase out nuclear power and replace it with renewable energy


  • Radioactive math: “Nuclear waste processing is an extremely complicated technical problem. We haven’t fully cracked it yet.” 


  • Countering OBOR: The US has revived two major infrastructure projects in South and Southeast Asia in which India would be a vital player.


  • Kashmiri tragedy: Nehru was distrustful of the army, interfered in military operations, and succumbed to civilian advice in 1948 just when the army was gaining initiative and could deliver far larger gains if they were allowed to do their job. In 1962, he trusted Krishna Menon’s assessment over the professionalism of his army chief even when Chinese troops were killing Indian soldiers.


  • A classic Telugu song composed in Chinese language:



  • Instagram worst social media app for young people's mental health: Only YouTube had a net-positive effect among the respondents. Every other social network came back with a net-negative effect. (In order from least negative to most, they were: Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram.) "It is easy for our perspective of reality to become distorted. Socializing from behind a screen can also be uniquely isolating, obscuring mental health challenges even more than usual."


  • Solar Hazard! How do you shut system down a photo voltaic system in case of fire? On the PV array side of the switch, the conductors are generally energized during daylight hours—typically at voltages of 300 volts dc or more. On the other side of the switch, often connected to an inverter with large input capacitors, the capacitors and parallel PV array circuits can keep that part of the circuit energized long after the switch is opened.



Fwd: CPEC is a sea change+Global Consequences of the Trump Presidency+Pakistan’s Womb Bomb: Deadlier than its Nuclear Bomb


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sanjeev Nayyar


1. China's imperial overreach by Brahma C 25.5.17 https://chellaney.net/2017/05/25/chinas-imperial-overreach/
 
2. How 2001 Parliament attack allowed Osama bin Laden's escape from Tora Bora 25.5.17 by sandeep unnithan  http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/india-parliament-attack-bin-laden-al-qaeda-tora-bora/1/956631.html
 
3. CPEC is a sea change: It transforms the matrix of opportunities and threats in India's neighbourhood 25.5.17 by swagota ganguly http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/all-that-is-solid-melts/cpec-is-a-sea-change-it-transforms-the-matrix-of-opportunities-and-threats-in-indias-neighbourhood/
'Most Marshall Plan aid was in the form of grants instead of loans; Europeans themselves were asked to create their own plans to rebuild their countries; technical assistance was provided to European manufacturers. Moreover the Americans extended Marshall Plan-like aid to Asian countries such as Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, and opened their market to them without reciprocal benefits.
According to Ruchir Sharma, Morgan Stanley's chief global strategist, China has kept its growth going after the 2008 financial crash mainly through stimulus measures, by pumping debt into wasteful projects. China's public and private debts have grown from a manageable 150% of GDP during the boom years to an unsustainable 260% now. '
Pakistan was made to refuse a loan offer from the multilateral Asian Development Bank for its $8 billion Peshawar-Karachi railway line, whose funds must be drawn from a Chinese bank instead.'
 
4. China's Belt and Road Initiative: India must Stay Out by brig gurmeet kanwal 25.5.17 http://www.vifindia.org/article/2017/may/25/china-s-belt-and-road-initiative-india-must-stay-out
 
5. Global Consequences of the Trump Presidency 26.5.17 by deepal kapoor http://www.idsa.in/idsacomments/global-consequences-of-the-trump-presidency_dkapoor_260517
 
6. Pakistan's Womb Bomb: Deadlier than its Nuclear Bomb 26.5.17 by col anil athale http://www.indiandefencereview.com/news/pakistans-womb-bomb-deadlier-than-its-nuclear-bomb/
 
7. US warship sends vague message in South China Sea 25.5.17 \OPED http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1048620.shtml
 
8. Is Singapore exploited by India in joint military drill to 'contain' China? OPED 25.5.17 http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1048683.shtml
'China and India also have territorial disputes and India is known to shelter Tibetan separatists. India also views the China-Pakistan relationship with concern.'
 
9. Pakistan's US problem first betrayal 26.5.17 by dr rabia akhtar https://tribune.com.pk/story/1419333/pakistans-us-problem-first-betrayal/
Johnson categorically told Ayub that if Pakistan-US alliance had any chance of survival in future, Pakistan would need to stay away from China. '
 
10. Indian armed forces joint doctrine: Elusive quest for integration 26.5.17 by pushpan das http://www.orfonline.org/research/indian-armed-forces-joint-doctrine-elusive-quest-for-integration/
 
11. Manchester attack aftermath: 'Good terrorist, bad terrorist' syndrome must end quickly'  25.5.17 by lt gen prakash katoch http://www.firstpost.com/world/manchester-attack-aftermath-good-terrorist-bad-terrorist-syndrome-must-end-quickly-3482489.html
Warm Regards
sanjeev nayyar
to unsubscribe write back



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Fwd: The controversy on KANYADAANA


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Bharat Gupt Please read and respond
Many things like this have to be taken up.
 
It is disgusting that some senior BJP leadership has fallen victim to this
Marxist deconstruction of the serious concept of Daana.
 
There is a section in the BJP which is ready to reform and re-edit
even the Manusmriti. They want to bring out a modern expunged edition
of dharmashastras, and this, seeing the absence of professional 
scholars in the ranks of BJP,  will result in towing the Marxist discourse
internalised by some modern right wing reformists.
 
These reformists are not even the NRI anglophones but desi bhaashaawaalaas.
 
They do not know how they are being made into useful idiots
by Marxist discourse.
 
Let us not allow pseudo reformists do cause great harm.
 
A major political family in Nagpur from the BJP has prided in performing vivaah without kanyadaan. This sort of bravado shows a complete ignorance of tradition…
LikeShow more reactions
CommentShare
Bharat Gupt
Former Faculty, Delhi University,
Trustee and Executive Member
INDIRA GANDHI NATIONAL CENTER FOR THE ARTS
(Ministry of Culture), New Delhi
mobile:+91- 98100 77914
home phones: +91-11-2724-1490.
email: bharatgupt@vsnl.com
homepage: http://www.bharatgupt.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bharat_Gupt
 

 



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KPS Gill passes on

shanti. the great cop who broke the back of pak-instigated revolt in punjab. we need someone like him to do the same for pak-instigated revolt in J&K

of course he was rewarded for his success with a witch-hunt in which he was accused of sexual assault on women. i have no idea if it was true or not, but the commies/lefties succeeded in humiliating him. 

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

are india's startups losing their sheen?

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/24/are-indias-top-start-ups-losing-their-sheen.html

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ft on the prospects of india's growth (book review)

https://www.ft.com/content/d5cf8bb0-3fc3-11e7-9d56-25f963e998b2

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china is biting off more than it can chew: chellaney

https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/chinas-imperial-overreach/

imperial hubris. america's was that it could fight a bunch of wars at the same time. china's is that it can get an empire by stealth by fooling all its neighbors

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India Most Populous Nation, Not China: Chinese Scholar

Chinese scholar Yi Fuxian says that India has already passed China to become the world's most populous country, due to overestimates of China's population by its govt. India's population is currently at 1.32 billion, while China's population has been revised downward from 1.38 billion to 1.29 billion.

http://www.firstpost.com/world/india-has-overtaken-china-as-worlds-most-populous-nation-claims-chinese-academic-3477708.html


http://www.iol.co.za/business-report/the-negative-economic-impact-of-the-china-one-child-policy-9314223

Bellatrix Aerospace Approaches Capital Markets

Bellatrix Aerospace has decided to go into defense contracting - presumably because it will get them money faster. They expect to raise the required capital in the next few months:

http://www.thehindu.com/business/defence-firm-bellatrix-eyes-funding/article18516138.ece


Hopefully they'll continue towards their space dreams.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

China's Credit Rating Downgraded

Moody's has downgraded China's sovereign credit rating:

http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/23/investing/china-debt-downgrade/index.html


http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/23/moodys-downgrades-china-rating-to-a1-from-aa3-with-stable-outlook.html



Moody's warns another downgrade may happen in the future:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-economy-rating-idUSKBN18M06Z?il=0

22 Killed in Manchester Bombing

A suicide bomber detonated a blast at a concert for Ariana Grande, whose main fans are young girls. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, in which 22 have died so far (more are in critical condition):

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/lone-attacker-detonated-device-at-manchester-concert-killing-22-including-children/2017/05/23/027d414c-3f57-11e7-b29f-f40ffced2ddb_story.html

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-40020168

The bomber has been identified as 22-year old Salman Abedi, a British born person of Libyan descent.







Monday, May 22, 2017

Fwd: Water pincer against India+The Agni-II Trial Failure+ Furthering India-Japan Defence Cooperation


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sanjeev Nayyar

1. German Analyst Siegfried Wolf gives his assessment on China's OBOR scheme, and why the EU has misgivings about it: http://www.dw.com/en/new-silk-road-and-chinas-hegemonic-ambitions/a-38843212
 
2. Water pincer against India by Brahma C 16.5.17 http://www.esamskriti.com/photo-detail/Sangai-Festival-2014.aspx
The Bunji and Bhasha dams, which will largely benefit the dominant Punjab province, located downstream, are set to enlarge China's strategic footprint in the restive, Shia-majority Gilgit-Baltistan.
The Bhasha Dam alone will flood 200 square kilometers of Gilgit-Baltistan, displacing at least 28,000 residents and submerging some significant archaeological sites.
The IWT is binational but China has emerged as the third party through its Gilgit dam activities and upstream control of two of the six Indus-system rivers.'
 
2a. Skipping OBOR Summit would reflect 'India First' Policy 16.5.17 maj gen sb asthana http://www.indiandefencereview.com/news/skipping-obor-summit-would-reflect-india-first-policy/
 
3. India needs to think beyond rift with China 16.5.17 OPED http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1047098.shtml
Rising nationalism has made Indian public opinion extremely sensitive on China-related issues. Indians are keen to compare themselves with China on development and international status, but meanwhile strongly object to China developing friendly cooperation with Pakistan, for fear that Sino-Pakistani ties are targeting India.'
 
4. India should rethink its position on B&R initiative, find solutions: experts 16.5.17 http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1047057.shtml
 
5. Where Chinese media get India wrong by sanjeev nayyar May 2017 http://www.rediff.com/news/column/where-chinese-media-get-india-wrong/20170410.htm
 
6. Furthering India-Japan Defence Cooperation: Arun Jaitley indicates a new approach 15.5.17 by amit cowshish http://www.idsa.in/idsacomments/india-japan-defence-cooperation-arun-jaitley-approach_acowshish_150517
 
7. The Agni-II Trial Failure: Evaluation rather than Flagellation is needed 15.5.17 by sanjay badri maharaj http://www.idsa.in/idsacomments/agni-ii-trial-failure-evaluation-rather-than-flagellation-is-needed_sbmaharaj_150517 
'On May 4, 2017, India's Strategic Forces Command (SFC) conducted an unsuccessful user trial of the Agni-II Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM). This failure marks the third unsuccessful test – either development flight or user trial – of the missile and comes after a series of five consecutive successful user trials.'
 
8. The Law keeper and the soldier by noel ellis 4.5.17 http://noelellisblog.com/the-law-keepers-and-the-soldier/
 
9.
 
Warm Regards
sanjeev nayyar
to unsubscribe write back



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Sunday, May 21, 2017

CPEC: Paki-Chini Bhai-Bhai

Pakistan's Dawn newspaper published a leaked copy of the CPEC agreement, which Pakistan signed onto with China at the OBOR summit:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1333101


The details aren't very rosy for Pakistan at all - it's more like a way for Pakistan to become indentured to China. Pakistan will be able to borrow $50B to spend on infrastructure projects - contracted out to Chinese companies - and it will have to pay that money back at relatively high rates of interest, including a requirement for timebound repayment of the principal. Islam may not approve of high interest rates, but obviously China doesn't mind them. China will help to set up a lot of surveillance technology for the Pak govt, which may not be to the benefit of Pakistan's general population. The money Pakistan borrows must be spent on Chinese contractors and Chinese goods - and the terms of this deal are to be deliberately kept hidden from public scrutiny - the better to hide the kickbacks.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/205702-Understanding-CPEC

http://nation.com.pk/blogs/22-May-2017/cpec-marks-the-end-of-free-speech-in-pakistan

Meanwhile the Baloch Liberation Army has just carried out a fresh attack on Pak Army near the CPEC route at Turbat:


Saturday, May 20, 2017

China Kills/Imprisons 20 CIA Spies in 2 Years

China was able to achieve a ruthless purge of CIA informants from its govt, to cripple US spying operations against it:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/20/world/asia/china-cia-spies-espionage.html

From the final weeks of 2010 through the end of 2012, according to former American officials, the Chinese killed at least a dozen of the C.I.A.’s sources. According to three of the officials, one was shot in front of his colleagues in the courtyard of a government building — a message to others who might have been working for the C.I.A.

ELM Channels Balk At Ratings As Arnab's RepublicTV Sweeps

Controversy has erupted as major english-language news channels withdraw from the existing ratings service for measuring viewership, accusing it of reporting inflated numbers for Arnab's RepublicTV:


http://www.adageindia.in/media/how-pulling-out-of-barc-will-impact-ad-revenues-of-english-news-channels/articleshow/58757309.cms


http://www.indiantelevision.com/television/tv-channels/viewership/news-channel-controversy-barc-india-says-it-was-set-up-to-to-measure-what-india-watches-and-it-is-doing-that-170519

http://www.indiantelevision.com/television/tv-channels/news-broadcasting/barc-nba-face-off-experts-feel-ad-agencies-tv-channels-will-take-individual-call-resolution-best-option

Reacting to an observation made on Facebook on an indiantelevision.com report detailing the decision of a  few English TV news channels to boycott BARC, Joshi observed, “What the recalcitrant measurement subjects need to introspect on are the following two issues: how many times have they used multiple frequencies? How long will their advertising proposition survive without a credible, agnostic measure? Many of them (the boycotting TV news channels) also have print businesses and (they) can't be oblivious to the havoc wreaked upon revenues by the absence of a readership measure for an indefinitely long period.”


The whiners are themselves hypocrites, because they themselves have engaged in the same tactics they accuse RepublicTV of.

What's clear is that Arnab & RepublicTV are able to attract far more english-language viewers than the rest of ELM - and this has the ELM terrified. With a much larger english-language viewership, RepublicTV will be able to suck advertisers away from the ELM establishment. This will hit them where it hurts most - in their pocketbook.

What's amazing is that it's taken this long to mount a challenge against the ELM on their own turf - this should have been done a couple of decades ago. Now that the game is on, it's best for iron-clad methods of measurement to be adopted, in order to provide iron-clad proof to advertisers on whom the market really prefers, and thereby give ELM the drubbing they deserve, in front of everyone.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Quick notes: Jobless growth, Madras triple helix...

  • Big red blotch on the Modi govt: Employment growth at 8-year low, tough times ahead for the young 


  • More taxpayers: India added a country’s population worth of taxpayers after Modi’s crackdown on illegal wealth 


  • After H-1B, Strong Rupee The New Worry For Indian Tech Companies: Each 1 percent upward move in the rupee against the dollar will erode the margins of Indian IT exporters by 25-30 basis points


  • Foe turned friend:  India has opened talks with Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a long-time enemy of New Delhi and close ally of Pakistan, marking a dramatic break in its policy towards Kabul.


  • Madras triple helix: GNR came up with the very grammar of protein folding. To this day, researchers use the Ramachandran Plot to validate protein structures. Like the Raman Effect, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, or Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, the Ramachandran Plot has rendered the scientist behind it immortal.


  • Cars As A Service (CaaS): The cost reduction for going to a service like Uber, which may provide subscription services -- a monthly fee for all you can ride -- should be massive. What that suggests is that the market for new cars should collapse in favor of Cars as a Service. Only the very rich will own cars, as a sign of status.


  • 'Supercomputer-as-a-Service': Rent a Cray in-the-Cloud


  • Against green mobility: Clubbing of hybrid vehicles along with luxury cars in GST rates is a regressive step


  • Sadguru shuts up Journalist:



  • Waiting for rakshaks: cows in India are choking on plastic


Thursday, May 18, 2017

East India Company Revisited

Some commentators are referring to China's OBOR enterprise as a new East India Company, designed to colonize the region purely in pursuit of profits for mother country China.

https://www.ft.com/content/05979e18-2fe4-11e7-9555-23ef563ecf9a

https://www.the-american-interest.com/2017/05/17/pakistan-chinas-next-economic-colony/

https://scroll.in/article/837920/another-east-india-company-will-one-belt-one-road-make-pakistan-a-chinese-quasi-colony

https://www.forbes.com/sites/anderscorr/2017/05/15/china-will-suppress-terrorism-diversity-and-democracy-in-pakistan/#63c84f545cd6


Meanwhile, the founder of Blackwater International feels that it's time to adopt an East India Company approach in Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban:

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Advanced Mass Transportation Network

Elon Musk has finally announced his greater plans behind starting a tunnel-boring company. He's looking to accomplish more than just boring tunnels - he wants to provide the means of transport through them:

https://futurism.com/5-elon-musk-has-finally-confirmed-what-the-boring-tunnels-hes-making-are-for/

https://www.boringcompany.com/faq/

To solve the problem of soul-destroying traffic...


  • Increased safety. A fully stabilized autonomous vehicle eliminates human error and the ability to “swerve off-course.”
  • Increased speed. The controlled autonomous sled allows for speeds of 125 miles per hour in urban settings.
  • Multiple payloads. The electric skate can transport automobiles, goods, and/or people. And if one adds a vacuum shell, it is now a Hyperloop Pod which can travel at 600+ miles per hour.
  • Eliminating hazardous emissions. Electric sleds are zero-emission vehicles, and thus do not output hazardous gases like internal combustion cars do.  Every mile the sled transports a gas-burning vehicle becomes a zero-emission mile.

Musk is actually maneuvering to replace existing mass transportation (train/subway/bus) with a fleet of smaller automated vehicles, each of which is capable of independently carrying people or goods from any place to any other. Think of how the internet works - it's a digital packet-switching network for information transport - able to route all kinds of packets of information from any point to any other, on a massive scale. So imagine being able to do this with people or goods, instead of just information. Self-driving technology is the key to implementing this kind of system. Experts have said that driverless cars will never really take off until they have their own exclusive dedicated highways, to avoid problems with non-autonomous vehicles. Musk's tunnels may be turning out to be such a separate dedicated transit network, capable of higher-efficiency throughput.

With India being an underdeveloped country lacking all kinds of infrastructure, such new transportation technology could be easier to implement, because there's not as much already-existing infrastructure to disrupt - it would be like writing on a clean slate. Post-war Japan and Korea were able to gain tremendous competitive advantage when they rebuilt their destroyed infrastructure from scratch with all-new infrastructure.

India also has a much poorer population base, for whom affordability of automobile ownership is a big hurdle - that's why we're a "2-wheeler economy". Driving safety is also an issue, and many car owners actually have drivers to drive for them.The availability of vast fleets/pools of independent autonomous vehicles to serve the needs of the general population on demand, would mean a lower overall number of vehicles required by society, while improving safety and reducing insurance costs. It would also radically reduce the congestion problem, and this includes reducing the need for parking. Instead of parking your car somewhere to have it sit there unproductively, as soon as you step out of a vehicle it then immediately departs to be used by someone else. Such congestion relief could be particularly crucial for an overcrowded country like India.

A personalized mass-transport system which allows everyone access to the same convenience of travel, means a more egalitarian society where everyone's needs are better served - which can translate into votes. Modi has certain pet projects like GIFT (Gujarat International Finance Tech-City) which could perhaps be used to test out these kinds of new ideas.

Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari has also come out with some initiatives in support of advanced transportation - perhaps he should add this latest idea to his list:

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/electric-vehicle-policy-by-december-nitin-gadkari/articleshow/58685330.cms

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/niti-aayog-may-seek-trial-run-of-hyperloop-nitin-gadkari/articleshow/56363675.cms

http://www.livemint.com/Politics/8fnjxsUr13noU98kvkPerO/Transport-ministry-to-explore-6-new-mass-rapid-transportatio.html

If India were to become an early adopter, it could gain valuable experience and intellectual property in the development of such technology, and eventually export it to other countries.

India & Japan to Join in Rival Effort Against OBOR

India and Japan will mount a joint effort for their own rival proposition to China's OBOR:

http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/race-for-supremacy-india-japan-plan-alternative-to-china-s-obor-117051501273_1.html

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Stephen Cohen Warns About Deep State

Longtime veteran foreign policy expert Stephen Cohen warns that America has a hidden '4th branch of government' (ie. Deep State composed of powerful intelligence agencies) which is seeking to manipulate and control the direction of American foreign policy:





ISRO Unions Oppose Privatization

Worker unions at ISRO are seeking to oppose privatization:

http://www.timesofindia.com/city/thiruvananthapuram/staff-raise-concerns-over-privatization-of-isro-centres/articleshow/58695790.cms

Given how expensive space launch activities are, and how rapidly other competitors are dropping their prices, I don't see how India can afford not to pursue privatization.

Monday, May 15, 2017

SpaceX's Mueller on Competition, Future Plans

SpaceX's Tom Mueller, said to be perhaps the smartest rocket engineer alive, recently gave a talk on Skype which was recorded and posted online:

Video linked here:

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/139688943


Transcript linked here:

https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/6b043z/tom_mueller_interview_speech_skype_call_02_may/dhiygzm/


He gave his blunt/frank feelings on his assessments of competitors in the space race, as well as interesting details on SpaceX's technology and its future plans.

EU's Misgivings on China's OBOR

German Analyst Siegfried Wolf gives his assessment on China's OBOR scheme, and why the EU has misgivings about it:

http://www.dw.com/en/new-silk-road-and-chinas-hegemonic-ambitions/a-38843212

Likewise, The Economist gives their view on OBOR, and they clearly don't like it either:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2017/05/economist-explains-11

Chinese businessmen in central Asia call it “One Road, One Trap”

So EU/Germany is very wary of OBOR - that may explain why NYT is using phrases like "Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir" while critiquing the OBOR project, since NYT's stances always reliably align with EU's interests - and same goes for The Economist. Germany didn't plow all that money/effort into building EU, just to have China swallow it all into its larger fold. That would reduce Germany's relative local economic pre-eminence, and make it play second-fiddle to the Chinese Far Emperor. How can Brussels be a centre of power, if the real power lies in Beijing - who would take them seriously? Why would any junior members want to put up with tolerating EU's onerous restrictions, if big Emperor China is offering a bigger party?

Western-sanctioned Russia of course would be happy at OBOR's long-term effect of diminishing and even sidelining Western power (particularly American power), even though OBOR would be more China-centric than the ShanghaiFive Cooperation Organization, which previously had Moscow and Beijing as co-equal founders.

Not sure why Trump has now suddenly flipflopped to be sending a US delegation to the OBOR Summit (maybe he really is appeasing Russian interests?) The inherent national interest of the US would be to avoid allowing itself to be marginalized by OBOR, and see its power diminished and overtaken by China. Coupled with EU's misgivings about OBOR, then India should not have to be alone in opposing OBOR and its initial CPEC keystone. It should also create the conditions for everyone to become much more interested in the Balochistan issue.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

BLADE RUNNER 2049 - Official Trailer




When Ridley Scott's Blade Runner came out (based on Philip K Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"), it was a landmark movie with a very novel stylized visualization of the future. The trailer for the sequel shows more of it - the drab smog-filled atmosphere, the congested urban megalopolis on a blighted landscape, and the yawning divide between rich and poor, with the former living high above in their towering cathedrals-pyramids-skyscrapers, and the lowly poor scratching out a living on the streets below. India may have its own version of this in the decades to come.

The trailer's voice dialogue once again takes up the theme of slavery as the engine underpinning economic growth. Who will keep India's "replicants" in line?

China's Silk Road Spending Entails Risks

NYT notes that most of the countries China is giving financial support to as part of its Silk Road initiative are ranked below investment grade:

https://nyti.ms/2rc1mKd

This is also the first time I've seen NYT use the phrase "Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir"

$500M Pak-China Deals Signed for OBOR

Pakistan has signed $500M of deals with China during the OBOR summit, for the development of the its segment of OBOR:

https://www.usnews.com/news/technology/articles/2017-05-13/pakistan-signs-nearly-500-million-in-china-deals-at-silk-road-summit

Some countries are wary of the debt burden that the Chinese financing could create.
Pakistan, however, has expressed an optimistic view, with the government's chief economist telling Reuters this week that the repayments will peak at around $5 billion in 2022, but will be more than offset by transit fees charged on the new transport corridor.
Meanwhile, an uptick in violence in Baluchistan is already starting:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/05/gunmen-kill-10-labourers-balochistan-gwadar-170513111330168.html


Friday, May 12, 2017

China Sucks More Countries into OBOR




China has been roping in a broad range of countries to get their support for its "One Belt, One Road" (OBOR) initiative. This is causing increasing concern to Indian strategic experts.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/as-india-looks-on-warily-nepal-joins-china-s-obor-initiative-117051200583_1.html

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/us-makes-u-turn-to-drive-down-one-belt-one-road-initiative/articleshow/58652294.cms

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/05/12/nixonian-thing-trump-today-nothing-comey/

http://thediplomat.com/2017/05/one-belt-one-road-one-hegemon-the-geopolitics-of-chinas-obor-initiative/

I can see some potential problems happening down the road, which the Chinese leadership's army of Yes-men groupthink followers may be ignoring due to their rose-colored glasses. The lessons of EU loom large for grand schemers who suffer from self-deception.

By pushing high-interest loans onto OBOR collaborators to finance its development, China is basically imposing a mercantilist vendor-financing model to keep its vassals indentured and on the hook to repay Sugardaddy China. The reality is that the populations of these underdeveloped partner countries will ultimately rebel and force their govts to renegotiate - a la Greece. Then China will be on the hook for monies that the others refuse to repay. OBOR could become a big Ponzi scheme. If only Goldman-Sachs were to get involved, as it did in helping Greece rack up bad debt.

Nextly, while Pakistan may be an asset for China militarily, it's a liability for economic trading purposes. This is because of Pakistan's irredentist obsession with India and Kashmir - which may be consistent with war-mongering ambitions, but is entirely contrary to the needs of trade and economic growth, which require peace to be successful. We can already see China experiencing similar problems with its other irredentist client state North Korea, which cannot refrain from its Pak-like obsession against South Korea. Remember the cautionary tale of the Fox and the Scorpion:


Pro-Pak Cyber-Jihad Exposed by RepublicTV

Arnab's team at RepublicTV have exposed a Pak-orchestrated cyber-jihad to promote separatism against India:



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Quick notes: Kurds advance, 5th gen fighter...

India is 'China 2.0' Frets Chinese Think Tank

A Chinese think tank warns that India could become 'China 2.0' and that China should develop a response strategy for this:

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/china-india-economic-competition-modi-make-in-india/1/950912.html

Monday, May 08, 2017

WaPo Quotes Kerala Marxist in 'Nazi' Smear

Washington Post's Annie Gowen decides to parrot Kerala Marxist Angshukanta Chakraborty's claim that "Evil Hindoo Nationalists" are demonstrating their "Nazi" inclinations by conducting eugenics experiments with babies:


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/05/08/straight-out-of-the-nazi-playbook-hindu-nationalists-try-to-engineer-genius-babies-in-india/

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Bahubali Sequel Breaks Rs.1000 Crore Mark

The movie sequel Bahubali 2, starring Prabhas, Rana Dagubatti and Anushka Shetty, and directed by SS Rajamouli, has now crossed the Rs.1000 crore mark in box office earnings:

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/the-fun-is-in-making-and-breaking-records-baahubali-writer/1/947873.html

This makes the movie the most successful by far in the history of Indian movies. Normally, earning Rs.100 crores is enough to earn a title of successful blockbuster - but Rs.1000 crores is absolutely unheard of. Some are speculating the movie may even reach the Rs.1500-crore mark, as director Rajamouli is teasing the possibility of a 3rd movie, whose story he says would be substantially different from the 2 preceding films.

Macron Defeats LePen in France

Nationalist Marine LePen has been defeated by Emmanuel Macron in the French elections:

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/07/france-election-2017-president-results-macron-le-pen.html


Macron has been called the 'Useful Infidel' or 'Useful Idiot' of Islamism:

https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/10310/emmanuel-macron-islamism

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Republic TV and the Return of Arnab Goswami

Arnab Goswami, who was forced to leave Newshour due to controversies, has now made his return to primetime news with the launch of Republic TV. We've talked before about the need for a FOX News Channel, and maybe now we'll have that chance.





I think that Republic should try to emulate some of the ideas which FOX News Channel has pioneered. For instance, their business model encourages their guest commentators to also become authors, allowing them to supplement their revenue stream by promoting their books as part of their TV appearances, and this also allows these multiple media streams to simultaneously reinforce each others' messaging.

Rajeev, I think you should bite the bullet and put a book together, so that you can take this route. Get a ghostwriter involved if you have to. You have a lot to say on a variety of crucial topics, and you know how to say it well. The Sun is starting to break through the clouds, and a new phase of battle is now looming. The Shadow Warrior should strive to become a Sun Warrior.