Wednesday, 5 April 2017

What Ensued Between India and China Following the Dalai Lama's Visit

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama arrives to deliver teachings in Bomdila, in Arunachal Pradesh.
Source: PTI

Just as The Dalai Lama sealed a day of his visit in Arunanchal Pradesh, officials of the Chinese government have outspokenly put forward their disconcert over the Tibetan spiritual leader's visit, warning India of "necessary measures" to defend their territorial sovereignty and interests.  

Here's the dialogue that  ensued between China and India regarding the matter:

Speaking to reporters, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying stated this:

India, in disregard to China’s concerns, obstinately arranged the Dalai Lama’s visit to the disputed part of the eastern part of the China-India border, causing serious damage to China’s interests and China-India relations. 

China firmly opposes this move and will lodge representations with the Indian side.

China’s stand on the eastern part of the borders is consistent and clear. India is keenly aware of the role played by the 14th Dalai Lama. Arranging his visit to those sensitive and disputed areas not only runs counter to the Indian side’s commitment to the issues related to Tibet but also escalate disputes over the border area.

It goes against the momentum of the sound growth of bilateral relations and will not benefit India in anyway.

China will firmly take necessary measures to defend its territorial sovereignty and legitimate rights and interests. We demand the Indian side immediately stop its actions using the Dalai Lama to undermine China’s interests and not hype up sensitive issues between the two countries, not artificially damage the foundation of the talks between the two countries on the border issues and bilateral legislation and take concrete actions to safeguard the China-India relations.

In response to these statements from China, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju had this to say:

When India has never interfered in Beijing’s affairs, and has respected the “One China” policy, China should not interfere in India’s internal affairs or object to the Dalai Lama’s visit. .
There is no political angle behind his holiness’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh. It is completely religious.  No “artificial controversy” should be created about the visit.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, however, rejected the claims put forward by Mr. Rijiju, quoting this:

China upholds the policy of not interfering with other countries internal affairs. This is unquestionable.But in disregard to China’s concerns, India arranged the visit of Dalai Lama to the disputed areas. This issue goes beyond internal affairs. The role played by the Dalai Lama is clear to all. China’s position on the eastern section of the boundary is also very clear.

The arrangement of Dalai’s visit to the disputed area by India runs counter to its commitments on issues related to Tibet and it runs counter to benefits of bilateral relations. We demand that India stop this wrong action.

We have noted the statement of the official from the Indian side.

Could you tell me honestly do you seriously believe that Dalai is only a religious leader? I think the answer is known to all. He is not just a religious figure. Therefore, his visit to the place will not be purely of religious purpose. So using the empty words to defend this arrangement is not reasonable. We demand the Indian side to stop this move of undermining Chinese interests.

It is to be noted that on March 30, 1959, the Dalai Lama and 20 of his guards escaped China and entered India through Kinzmane. He was then brought to Tawang where he was accorded a grand welcome before being finally taken to Dharamshala, the capital of Tibet's government-in-exile.

Three years later, the Chinese decided to attack India through the same area. China claims Arunachal Pradesh to be part of south Tibet. This week, the Dalai Lama is back at Tawang on a religious tour.

Friday, 17 March 2017

The Irreparable Ordeal of The Great Barrier Reef | Scientists Reveal Upsetting Details

Bleached coral is seen on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef near Port Douglas on February 20, 2017 in this handout image from Greenpeace.   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Parts of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef will never recover from the impact of unseasonably warm waters, scientists said on Thursday, as more of the World Heritage Site comes under renewed threat from a recent spike in sea temperatures.

Warm seas around the reef killed some two-thirds of a 700-kilometre (496.4 miles) stretch of coral last year after warm water caused the coral to expel living algae, triggering it to calcify and turn white, a process known as bleaching. That was the worst die-off of coral ever recorded at the reef.

Even the areas that survived will not recover to full health, scientists from ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrated Coral Reef Studies said in a report, as unseasonable hot water becomes more frequent causing more incidents of bleaching.

“Given time, coral can recover from bleaching but the problem comes when you get repeated events. With less time between them, capacity for the coral reef community to recover diminishes rapidly,” Janice Lough, senior principal research scientist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science, revealed in talks with international news agency Reuters.

The conclusion is a major blow for Australia’s tourism industry, with the reef attracting Australian $5.2 billion ($3.9 billion) in spending each year, a 2013 Deloitte Access Economics report estimated.

Repeated damage to the Great Barrier Reef may also see UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee reconsider its decision in 2015 not to put the Great Barrier Reef on its “in danger” list.

Academics said the findings demonstrate the urgency in tackling climate change, which, climate scientists argue, occurs when increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is trapped by heat radiating from earth.

The outlook for the Great Barrier Reef has further darkened with evidence of an unprecedented second consecutive bleaching event this year, researchers at James Cook University said.

Unseasonably warm waters threaten to cause bleaching of the central region of the Great Barrier Reef, which avoided the large-scale damage from the bleaching in 2016.

“We’re hoping that the next two to three weeks will cool off quickly, and this year's bleaching won't be anything like last year,” said Terry Hughes, director of ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.

Report by Reuters

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Shooting at French School | Sources Report Several Injured

Several people were injured in a shooting at a high school in the southern French town of Grasse on Thursday, police said.

One person was arrested and another was on the run after the shooting at the Tocqueville high school, a police source told AFP, asking not to be named.

All schools in the town, some 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Nice, have been locked down, education authorities said.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve cut short a trip to the northern Somme area because of the Grasse shooting, as well as a letter bomb blast at the offices of the International Monetary Fund in Paris on Thursday.

Report by AFP

Bahubali 2 Trailer Out, Wows Audience With a Grander Look

The much awaited trailer of the second instalment of the 2015 blockbuster Bahubali: The Beginning has surfaced over the Internet and is wowing the audience with cinematic elements that are much higher than the prevailing standards in the Indian film industry.

The trailer which runs for a little over a couple of minutes features some brilliantly shot scenes from the movie, teasing the audience with the baffling scene from its first instalment which featured the character Katappa stabbing Bahubali with a sword.

Bahubali 2: The Conclusion stars Prabhas, Rana Daggubati and Anushka Shetty and is ready to hit the theatres on 28th April, 2017.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Pakistan to Reflect on Social Media Ban on Grounds of Blasphemous Content

On account of the spread of 'blasphemous' images online, an Islamabad High Court (IHC) judge has called for a ban on social media sites in Pakistan.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui has come up with a suggestion that people found to have posted blasphemous content online must have their names added to the Exit Control List, thereby prohibiting them from leaving the country. 

“I will go to every extent to bring this case to its logical end and if needed I will even ban social media in Pakistan,” he is reported to have said. 

Claiming to have had lost his sleep since seeing the offensive content, Justice Siddiqui also compared the blasphemers to terrorists.

The blasphemous pages are now being removed with the help of Facebook officials. 

It is to be noted that blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad is punishable by death in Pakistan. The country has a number of religious offences listed in its penal code, including “wounding religious feelings”, “derogatory remarks” and “defiling the Quran”.

Justice Siddiqui has also appealed for the support of Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, asking him to “take some steps in his own supervision to eliminate the evil, even at the cost of blocking the entirety [of] social media.”

The case was filed by Salman Shahid (son-in-law of Maulana Abdul Aziz, of Lal Masjid), who alleged that five bloggers, Salman Haider, Ahmed Waqas Goraya, Asim Saeed, Ahmed Raza Naseer and Samar Abbas, were spreading blasphemous content through pages on social networks.

Over 2,000 people are currently rallying in Islamabad, calling for the government to take stern action. 

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Lipstick Under My Burkha | Shut Down by the Censor Board, Set to Shine in LA

In February, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) of India refused to pass a certain film that goes by the title Lipstick Under My Burkha, stating, “The story is lady oriented, their fantasy above life”, “contanious [sic] sexual scenes”, and “audio pornography”.

What followed was a series of scathing attacks on CBFC from the country's film fraternity, but the board chose to stay adamant on its decision of cutting down the release of the film.

However, the ban on the film didn't stop it from claiming the audience award at the 2017 Glasgow Film Festival, which, by the way speaks volumes about how those in power are clipping the wings of powerful cinema in India.

Interestingly, yet another accomplishment has graced the film: according to a Times of India report, Lipstick Under My Burkha is all set to open at the prestigious Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA).

The film festival is scheduled for April 5 to April 9 at Regal L.A. LIVE: A Barco Innovation Center in Los Angeles, California. The five-day film festival aims at bridging the gap between the two largest entertainment industries in the world - Hollywood and India.

Lipstick Under My Burkha revolves around four women of different ages and how they explore their sexuality and challenge the sexual and social norms of Indian patriarchy.

Reserve Bank to Issue New 10- Rupee Notes

The Reserve Bank of India is reportedly on its way to issue Rs. 10 notes with enhanced security features quite soon.

The banknotes in the Mahatma Gandhi series-2005 are to carry inset letter ‘L’ on both number panels, bearing the signature of Governor Urjit Patel.

The year of printing, 2017, will be on the reverse of the note.

Among other features, numerals on both the panels will be in ascending size from left to right. The first three alpha-numeric characters (prefix) will remain constant in size.

“All the banknotes in the denomination of Rs 10 issued by the bank in the past will continue to be legal tender,” the central bank said in a notification.

Report by PTI