August 22nd – International News Round-Up (Part II)

Ecuador

Ecuador Times

A public prosecutor has found evidence of criminal liability against VP Jorge Glas. However, he cannot be prosecuted without authorization from the legislature.

Society

Vox

Report hung out with Witches during the solar eclipse.

Salem Witch Trials (Image Source: WIki Commons)
Salem Witch Trials (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

Philosophy

Philosophical Disquisitions

An argument on the nature of the Private-Public argument when it comes to services rendered.

“They argue that every privatisation agreement will have to afford the private agent a ‘zone of permissibility’ (or ‘autonomy’) in which they are free to exercise their own judgment about what to do. This zone of permissibility will necessarily remove them from the kind of public deference that is required. The reason for this is that in order to make any sense at all, a privatisation agreement must defer to the skills and judgment of the private agent. Recall, that the whole point of privatisation is that private agents are able to provide a good or service more efficiently than public agents.”

Public Policy

A Dragons Best Friend

A Cambridge citizen on the changing nature of his city and what on earth to do for kicks.

Security

Breitbart News

There’s two sides to the conservative in the United States coin. One wants more troops pumped into Afghanistan, and the other wants nothing to do with foreign wars anymore. Even the ones who want troops in Afghanistan, want them to be private soldiers and not American military. It seems like private security contractors don’t really know how to feel at the moment. America has to win the war. America does not lose. But nobody has the political capital to send more troops into Afghanistan, even with the resurgent Taliban.

August 22nd – International News Round-Up (Part I)

Sudan

Sudan Tribune

Chad’s PM has arrived in Khartoum and will hold talks for three days on the matters of political and security co-operation. The two countries signed a deal in 2010 that normalized relations between them.

Biology

Motherboard

Clever article on how antlion larvae prey on ants and why this results in smaller ants getting devoured. As an interesting thought experiment, does this mean that, eventually, the size of the average ant will get larger and larger and that they will stop falling prey to the antlion pincers and that the antlion will die out? So, a hunting mechanism of an organism could create a vicious cycle of selection in a species that is linked to it and that which could eventually result in its own extinction?

Virtual Reality

Motherboard

Straw Labs is testing how animals perceive their environments using virtual reality systems. Andrew Straw also thanked gamers for having created the demand that has allowed the technology that has helped in the creation of this system, to have been created.

Physics

Motherboard

The physics of diamond rain on some planets and what this implies for the synthesis of elements.

Gun Violence

Vice

Trace, a non-profit did a study on gun control laws. Apparently, the threat of social disorder trumps how people feel about gun control law.

2nd Amendment Rights (Image Source: Flickr)
2nd Amendment Rights (Image Source: Flickr)

Academia

Org Theory

Bog post on the experiences of a graduate student at Chicago.

America

Vice

The person in this article makes a point that I also read somewhere yesterday (I can’t remember where). The Unite the Right rally didn’t help the right wing, or anybody who supports trump. Moderate conservatives who might have wanted to be a part of or in fact were a part of the Unite the Right Valley are now seen as being complicit in what happened. Before, if you were a conservative, you could have made arguments for the fact that the right has shades, just like the left. Instead, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to make that argument.

Bitcoin

Motherboard

Bitcoin isn’t regulated by officials. That’s a good thing.

Turns out, it’s also a bad thing.

Security

Vice

The United States Navy had a collision. Article on the state of the US Navy and the nature of miscommunication in the armed forces.

Gender

The Daily Dot

Pao, who sued members of Silicon Valley has a book coming out.

Right Wing

Right Wing Watch

Ayyadurai has been heavily endorsed by the Right Wing in the United States. He also lays claim to being the “real Indian”. To me, this is also proof that the Right Wing might not be completely about ethnicity and race, and might be more of a shared vision of order and structure. It’s okay if you’re brown, as long as you don’t think brown.

July 29th – National News Round-Up

Gujarat Congress MLA Exodus

The Gujarat Congress unit was afraid enough of the BJP’s reach that they flew 44 legislators to Bangalore. This reminds me of what happened in Tamil Nadu, post the death of Jayalalithaa. The number of defections that have happened in the past couple of days has been outstanding. Every time this happens, one has to wonder how any of these dealings is constitutionally valid. No governor should stand behind this.

Zakir Naik

The controversial preacher has apparently been granted Saudi Arabian citizenship. Also his assets have been seized.

What now?

What’s going to happen to the already tenuous state of the India-Pakistan peace process? The article argues that the very fact that there is going to an interim PM and then a new one means that this is a setback. I kind of feel like this is a good thing, really. Granted, he attended Modi’s swearing in, but I honestly think that he didn’t do enough to challenge the military and the ISI. Bargaining with him was always about fool’s gold, because he was a man with very little leverage. Let the chips fall where they may. Maybe everybody will be better off this way.

Military Preparedness

Article speaks for itself. I would just like to point out one thing though. Why are we talking about air defense preparedness in light of attacks on the India-Pakistan border? Are we really talking about conventional capabilities in 2017?

NDA seat collecting in RS

The BJP can expect to have 57 seats is the RS by the end of the elections. Bring it on par with the Congress. Another blow for the opposition.

Nitish is CM again

This should have been the first headline. My apologies. There was an Op-Ed in the 29th July version of the Hindu (today) on the shrinking space in the opposition and the fact that there is no viable leader around which people like Nitish Kumar can sort of rally behind. There’ll be more to write on this matter in the future, that’s for sure.

Abortion Plea

I’m not trying to make value judgements here. I just want to understand what the rationale behind asking a 10-year-old girl to raise a child is. Also, I thought abortion when the person in question is pregnant post-rape was legal in India? Am I wrong?

BJP Gains

Map of BJP’s electoral gains since 2014.

Gandhi Speaks

Gopalkrishna Gandhi (VP candidate) speaks out on the right to privacy and other issues. Not that it matters anymore. The interview also brings into question how Venkaiah Naidu would behave if and when he is confirmed to have been elected as VP. VPs have generally been very quiet on the national stage, whatever their political affiliations have been.

The Story of Bihar

The story (as far as we know it) of what went down with the grand alliance In Bihar. The Prakash Utsav invitation was the first signs of a problem. I can’t believe that Lalu Prasad did not see this coming. A lot of people have him down as a simpleton who just happens to be in politics, but in my opinion, he is a very shrewd actor. At least he was. He might have been blinded by the fact that his son was the one who had been implicated in corruption allegations. Those are the chains that are the toughest to bear.

Nitish Kumar (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Nitish Kumar (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

C130J Arrives

C130J and the Mountain Strike Corp. Welcome news for the security community.

July 24th – International News Round-Up (Part IV)

United Kingdom

LSE Blog

The increasing polarization of Brexit politics led to an enormous political space in the center. As Labour moved further left and insisted that all immigration was good, the Conservatives moved further right and insisted on being British. The post discusses how neo-liberalism as a political and economic ideology has led to the peculiar character of British politics at the moment.

Jeremy Corbyn (Source: Wiki Commons - https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/10/Jeremy_Corbyn_Bahrain_1.png/1024px-Jeremy_Corbyn_Bahrain_1.png)
Jeremy Corbyn (Source: Wiki Commons)

Libya

Al Jazeera

More reports of executions of ISIS linked rebels. This one is from Libya. According to a video that has been circulated online (which I have not personally watched). General Khalifa Haftar and his soldiers are said to be seen carrying out executions. This adds to the wider trend of executions of ISIS fighters from Iraq to Syria and Libya, after being sentenced by kangaroo courts.

General Haftar and his forces are still in control of the eastern part of Libya, with the backing of the UAE and Egypt.

Cambodia

The Cambodia Daily

The King of Cambodia, Norodom Shiamoni has reportedly left the country.

“His departure follows a formal petition delivered by the CNRP on Thursday asking the king to avoid endorsing the changes, which could hold the party liable for any endorsement of or affiliation with its former, exiled president Sam Rainsy.”

This is the not the first time the Head of State has done this. He made a trip to China during another critical time as negotiations for constitutional laws were taking place. The ruling CPP claims that they have exerted no pressure on the King and that he is acting purely on his own volition.

Security

Small Wars Journal

Trump’s pick for Special Ops and low intensity conflict has floated a scenario in which a commercially available drone could be used to great effect and he says that the future where that would be a reality is just 5 years out.

Jordan

Trend via Reuters

Two Jordanians entered the Israel embassy at Amman under the pretext of being workers and opened fire, before they were shot. Jordan and Israel don’t get into it very often, but Israel and its metal detectors at one of Islam’s holiest sites in the Middle East is causing increasing tension with its otherwise quiet (if reluctantly) neighbors.

Lebanon

Long War Journal

Hezbollah claims to have made advances on the Lebanese border against Sunni jihadist forces.

“Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS), a coalition of different jihadist and rebel groups in Syria in which al Qaeda’s branch operates, has also claimed that its forces killed over 50 Hezbollah fighters and that several attacks were repelled. This number is likely exaggerated.”

Venezuela

Sputnik

President Maduro says that he will arrest all the Supreme Court judges that were appointed by the opposition led parliament. This is in response to what he sees as a new “parallel state” being formed.