Echo

AL Qaeda endorsement  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

Jon stewart of the Daily show has recently mentioned in one his shows satirically that Osama Bin Laden's endorsement to president Bush affected the 2004 presidential election results.

We have recently seen that Sen. McCain has brought the internal security issue again. So one may wonder what new threat from Al Qaeda is coming this time.

This time the water is already been muddied as there was a report that Al Qaeda endorsed McCain:



According to a new report:

An al Qaeda leader has called for President George W. Bush and the Republicans to be "humiliated."
Even Obama was connected with Saddam.

Its really amusing to see all these silly personal attacks by grown up human beings. The reality is that we may see more of these nonsenses.

Video of the day  

Posted by Rezwan in ,



US presidential candidate Barack Obama broadcast one 30 minute infomercial yesterday. Based on production quality and the message, the initiative was extraordinary. It drew 21.7 percent of households as six networks aired the telecast and Obama spent $4 million locking up the time. Was it worth the cost?

Via Beliefnet.

Related link:

The Top Ten Reasons Conservatives Should Vote For Obama

Islam in America  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

I could only watch one of the parts of the series broadcast by Al-Jazeera.

In a special two-part documentary Rageh Omaar traveled across the United States to explore the story of Islam in the country.

He attempts to discover if - far from being fundamentally incompatible – Islamic America holds the seeds of a lasting solution to global discord between east and west.

Thanks to YouTube we can now view the complete series:









This is a must watch for those who are spreading Islamophobia in the USA.

Blood flows in a painful birth for Bangladesh  

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The Sunday Times releases from archive (April 4, 1971) a report of Nicholas Tomalin who witnessed a massacre by the Pakistan army.

"We thought the West Pakistan soldiers were attacking and scattered, only to discover, on a grass patch beside the road, men freshly stabbed and bludgeoned, lying in still-flowing pools of blood. Four of them were still just alive, rolling over and waving their legs and arms. None made any noise.
...
Until about Thursday the West Pakistan garrison, which is about battalion size, was in some kind of control. But these troops started killing people for no discernible reason. The local hospital is filled with 35 wounded men, women and children, who claimed that Punjabi troops fired indiscriminately.

If Jessore is typical, East Pakistan is in for a terrible time in the next months and Karachi’s great gamble – to crush all opposition by one big attack – has failed.
..."

Things that make your children taller, stronger and sharper  

Posted by Rezwan in , ,

First published in Global Voices

Recently two advertisements of childrens food products made by Nestlé and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) aired by a Bangladeshi television channel were banned in UK. The Bangladeshi private TV channel NTV (not Nepali TV as some reports claimed) is rebroadcasted from UK to cover 58 countries in Europe and surrounding areas.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) of UK has banned the adverts because they were misleading and inaccurate. The both ads are made by these multinationals for consumers across the South Asian countries including Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The generic ads are usually made for multiple countries and dubbed in several local languages to be aired by local TV channels.



In the Maggi Noodles (Nestlé) advert, a mother explains to her child: "Maggi is the best because it has essential protein and calcium that help to build strong muscles and bones."

Watch the ad here (in Bangla):



On the other hand the Horlicks (GSK) ad in NTV claimed: "Children have become taller, stronger and sharper. The Horlicks challenge – now proven!"



Sudarshan Banerjee writes at planning-shlanning about a slightly different version of the Horlicks ad aired in Zee Bangla, an Indian regional TV channel:
"The Horlicks Ad would have been banned if it were running on a national channel. Here's how it goes. Scene outside store. Mother and adoloscent child duo - 2 pairs; one Mother's bag showing a refill pack of Complan and the other Mother's bag showing a Horlicks bottle (Both very very CLEARLY - no pixelations, no attempt to hide whatsoever).

The spot goes on with the Complan boy saying, my health drink has 23 nutrients, how much does yours have? To which the Horlicks boy's answer is 23 nutrients and also something (eludes me, at the moment).

The Complan boy goes on to say, Mine makes me 'Taller' with the show of measuring up the height on one's shoulder at the Complan ads, the Horlicks boy replies, mine makes me 'Taller, Stronger & Sharper'.

The Complan boy then says, mine costs Rs.178 and the Horlicks boy replies, mine costs only Rs.124 (please pardon if the prices are off by a few rupees). The Complan boy then jubilantly says, Mummy, In this case we are higher right with the Mother making a grimace of I've-been-had kind of look.

The Ad ends with a couple of people carrying a Horlicks billboard with the 3 tenets of Taller, Stronger & Shraper clearly written in the background."
The truth emerged after both Nestle and GlaxoSmithKline claimed that the ads had been broadcast in the UK without their knowledge or consent. Interestingly GSK said that its claims were accurate for "children in that part of the world" and they complied with the regulatory requirements of Bangladesh. A GlaxoSmithKline spokesman added that the Horlicks sold in India is a completely different formulation and product to the one in the UK.

Arif Jebtik from Bangladesh had this to say [bn]:
এ বিষয়ে নেসলে কোম্পানি নাকি একটা ব্যাখ্যাও দিয়েছে । নাহ, তারা ক্ষমা প্রার্থনা করেনি । তারা বলেছে, এসব বিজ্ঞাপন তৈরী করা হয়েছিল বাংলাদেশের মিডিয়ার জন্য, "ভুলক্রমে" যুক্তরাজ্যে প্রচারিত হয়েছে বলে তারা দূ:খিত !!

ঠিক আছে নেসলে কোম্পানি । সত্য ভাষনের জন্য আপনাদের অভিনন্দন ।

যাবতীয় ইতরামি এই তৃতীয় বিশ্বের দেশটার সাথেই সবাই করছে , আপনারাও করতে থাকুন ।

"Nestle has given an explanation for this. No, they have not apologized. They said that these ads were made for the media in Bangladesh. They regret that it was broadcast in UK.

Its ok Nestle. Congratulations for telling the truth.

Everybody is doing all these evil things with this third world country. Please continue to do it."
Himu writes in the comments section:
নেসলের কোন প্রোডাক্ট খেয়ে বুদ্ধিশুদ্ধি হলে জানায়েন তো একটু ... একজনকে গিফট করবো ... ।

If you find anybody getting sharper after consuming Nestle's products, please let me know. I will present it to ..someone..
The ASA has ruled that the the products should not be advertised in UK without adequate substantiation for the claims made for it but the reality is that the ads will continue be aired in many South Asian countries.

Quote of the day  

Posted by Rezwan in

"On one side, behind barbed wire, stood together the lunatics of India and on the other side, behind more barbed wire, stood the lunatics of Pakistan. In between, on a bit of earth which had no name, lay Toba Tek Singh."
- Toba Tek Singh by Sadat Hasan Manto

Video of the day  

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Transformation by Rufus Cappadocia, the cello maestro

Festival of lights  

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The Berlin Festival of lights is closing in a couple of days. Look at these pictures in Flickr which looks more impressive than what you see being there in person.

Here are more night scenes from Berlin and around the world.

(Image: Gendarmenmarkt by leonwpp used under a creative commons license)

Today's links  

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Its about oil  

Posted by Rezwan in , , ,

Iraqi blogger Raed Jarrar reveals:

I think it's really interesting that while the bush administration are putting the last touches on this long term agreement with their Iraqi allies, bush issued a new presidential signing statement last week specifically to allow the U.S. government to control Iraq's oil resources! The statement was issued as a response to a congressional law that prohibits the U.S. government from taking control over Iraq's oil and gas resources.

What a great message to be given at this time: not only we're planning to occupy your country's military, but we also have the intention of steeling your oil and gas.

Bangladesh slips in press freedom index  

Posted by Rezwan in , ,

Reporters Without Borders compiles an index of the world press freedom index every year. It measures the state of press freedom in the world. It reflects the degree of freedom that journalists and news organisations enjoy in each country, and the efforts made by the authorities to respect and ensure respect for this freedom.

Here is the index for 2008 where Bangladesh slips 2 positions to 136th out of 173 countries. Here are the stats of Bangladesh in the past three years:

  • 2008 - 136th position
  • 2007 - 134th position
  • 2006 - 137th position
It shows that there was no material change in Bangladesh's position in the past three years.

Toiletgate  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

When 122 labourers can be paid to fix a single toilet pan and no one could tell it that its out of the ordinary, you get a country on top of the world's most corrupt list.

Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama  

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Gen. Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama for President. Listen to what he had to say on different issues:

Sculptures, Bigots and Bloggers  

Posted by Rezwan in , ,

First published in Global Voices Online.

A new controversy rattled Bangladesh last week. Authorities in Bangladesh were forced to remove five sculptures of Bauls (mystic folk singers) including Fakir Lalon Shah in front of the Zia International Airport in the face of protests from an Islamist group. They formed a sculpture prevention committee which pressed that they do not want any sculptures in the airport area where the hajj camp is located and they do not want Muslims to start their journey to the Hajj pilgrimage seeing the sculptures. Islam does not allow worship of objects/depictions that represent God or his messengers, or saints. However sculptures are part of the different cultures the Muslim world represents and can be found in every part of the world.

The removal of the sculpture and the inaction of the government has sparked protest across Bangladesh. The Bangladeshi blogosphere had heated debate on this issue.

A guest writer in the Bangla Blogging platform Sachalayatan says:

এয়ারপোর্ট একটি দেশের আন্তর্জাতিক প্রবেশ দ্বার। সবাই চাইবে তার দেশের শিল্প-সংস্কৃতি-ঐতিহ্য কে এখানে সংক্ষেপে তুলে ধরতে। লালন কি কোন ধর্মের মুর্তি? অমার প্রিয় স্বদেশ কি গুটিকয়েক (অসীম!) শক্তির লোকের কারণে অসাম্প্রদায়িক থেকে উগ্র ধর্মীয় দেশের পরিচয় লাভ করবে?
"An airport is the gateway for a nation. Every country will want to display its arts, cultures and traditions here. Is Lalon display of any religion? Will my country be identified as a fundamentalist country from its secular image because of some (mighty!) persons?"

Kowshik Ahmed writes [bn]:
একজন লালন আমাদের বাঙালীত্বের মানবিক স্ফূরণ সম্পাদন করেছেন, সাম্প্রদায়িকতার ঊর্ধ্বে অনুভবের বাস্পায়ন ঘটিয়েছেন। লালন আজ সেই সাম্প্রদায়িকতার বিষবাষ্পে স্খলিত। [..]

ভাষ্কর্য ভাঙা ও মোল্লাদের আবার সংঘ-শক্তি প্রদর্শনে মধ্যবিত্ত বাঙালি মুসলমানদের অনেকেই পরিমিতভাবে বিরক্ত। অনেকেই মৃদুস্বরে ধৈর্যের সাথে প্রতিবাদী কথা বলবার চেষ্টা করছেন।
"Lalon has established the humanist aura in us, the Bengalis, encouraged us to think beyond communalism. Lalon is today being poisoned by the venom of communalism.

The removal of sculptures and the display of the muscle power of the Mullahs have angered many middle class Bengali Muslims. They are trying to voice their protests in a feeble way."


Lalon
The statues being pulled down: Image credit Banglar Joy

Blogger Banglar Joy says:
লালন নয় আমাদের গোটা বাঙালির জন্য অভিশপ্ত অধ্যায় (এটি)! [..] গোটা কিছু পাগড়ী আর উর্দি পরিহিত ফতোয়াবাজদের কাছে চরম ভাবে লাঞ্চিত দেশ, জাতি আর বিবেক! আমাদের সরকার নিরব, জাতির বিবেকবান মানুষ আজ মৃত।
"Its not only for Lalon but a cursed event for the whole nation. [..] The nation is being completely harassed by some people in religious cloths. Our government is silent. The people with conscience are dead."

Journalist Jahangir Alam Akash reminds that the country is under state of of emergency. However these (fundamentalists) are given the impunity by the government.
ওরা জরুরি অবস্থা মানে না কখনই। ওরা ধর্মকে পুঁজি ও ব্যবহার করে যখন যা খুশি তাই করে থাকে। আমাদের কালো বাহিনী, আইন-শৃঙ্খলা রক্ষাকারি বাহিনী কেউ তাদের ধরে না।


"They never abide by the rules of state of emergency (bar on collective protests). They can do anything in the name of religion. Our black forces, Security forces never take actions against them."

Oporajeo Bangla
Image: Dhaka University students protesting with blindfolds in the faces of the statue "Oporajeo Bangla" in the compound. Courtesy: Lal Dorja

Faruq Hasan asks:
এত কিছু থাকতে এখন ভাষ্কর্য নিয়ে টানাটানি কেন? দেশে তো অনেক ভাষ্কর্য আছে। এখন কি সব ভাষ্কর্যই সরিয়ে ফেলতে হবে? হজ্জ্বযাত্রীরা তো উত্তরবঙ্গ থেকেও আসবেন, সেক্ষেত্রে আমরা কি গাজীপুর চৌরাস্তার 'জাগ্রত চৌরঙ্গীর' সেই দৃপ্ত মুক্তিযোদ্ধার ভাষ্কর্যও ভেঙ্গে ফেলবো? বকশিবাজার থেকে যদি কোনো হজ্জ্বযাত্রী বিমানবন্দরের দিকে আসতে চান তাহলে কি আমরা টিএসসি মোড়ের রাজু মনুমেন্ট ভেঙ্গে ফেলবো? যদি এদের না ভেঙ্গে ফেলি তাহলে লালন কি দোষ করলো?
"Of all the things why they are messing with this sculpture? There are many sculptures in the country. So should we remove them all? The Hajj pilgrims will also come from the North Bengal. So should we also remove the glorious sculptures of freedom fighters in Gazipur crossing? If any pilgrim wants to come to the Airport from Bakshi Bazar they will have to travel past the Raju Monument in TSC crossing. So should we remove that too for them? If we choose not to do anything with them then why bother with the Laoln sculptures?"

Yoothochari explains that the sculpture is not impersonating Lalon Shah but a symbol of all baul musicians:
মৃণাল হক যে ভাস্কর্যটি নির্মাণ করছিলেন বিমানবন্দর সড়কে, সেটির নাম "খাঁচার ভিতর অচিন পাখি", সেখানে যে বাউলের ভাস্কর্য করা হচ্ছিলো, সেটি লালনের নয়। লালনের মূর্তি করা সম্ভব না। কেননা লালনের কোনো ছবি বা স্কেচ নাই।
"The sculpture being erected by Sculptor Mrinal Haque in the Airport road, was titled "unknown bird in a cage" (after a song of Lalon meaning soul). The sculpture do not represent Lalon but the Baul musicians because you cannot make a statue of him. There are no pictures or sketches of Lalon available."

Protests
Image: Protest slogans in the streets "Communalism or freedom of expression? Which way is the government?". Courtesy: Lal Dorja

Mahbub Morshed discusses that there is a deeper politics in it and the date coincides with the period when the government was under pressure to execute an arrest warrant against a top religious leader.

Rajorshi says:
এসবই সাম্প্রদায়িক রাজনীতির কুটচাল। এগুলো অনেক আগেই শুরু হয়েছে এদেশে। এভাবে ধর্মকে ব্যবহার করে বিগত কয়েক দশকে কয়েকটা মুফতি (আমীনি, শা হাদিস) নেতা, সাংসদ হয়ে গেছে।
"These are all shrewd tactics of communal politics. It has started in this country long ago. In the past decade many such religious leaders have become members of parliament."

Mahi Rahi says:
আমাদের দেশের কিছু ধর্মীয় গুরু আছেন তারা মনে হয় সবসময় একপায়ে খাড়া আছেন মুর্তি দেখলেই তা ভেংগে গুড়িয়ে ফেলার জন্য। কিন্তু তাদের মনে যে লোভের মুর্তি, খ্যাতির মুর্তি আর ক্ষমতার মুর্তির যে প্রতিনিয়ত পুজা চলে, তাকি তারা কখনো ভাংগতে পারবেন।
"There are some religious leaders in our country who are on their toes to break any statues. But they worship the statue of greed, popularity and power in them everyday. Can they brake them?"

Onrinno posts pictures of a human chain that took place in Dhaka protesting the removal of the sculptures.

Nazrul Islam remembers how he posed as a live sculpture in school events and says:
খুব ইচ্ছা করতেছে বিমানবন্দর চত্বরে সেই বালকবেলার মতো মূর্তি সেজে দাঁড়িয়ে থাকতে। একতারা হাতে...
"I feel an urge to go to the (empty) airport sqaure and stand as a live statue with Ektara in my hand, just like my adolescent days."

There were also some voices for the removal of the statue. Borno says:
মূর্তির সাথে চেতনার কি সম্পর্ক? লালন যদি তার লেখনি দিয়ে মানবতার জন্য কিছু করেই থাকেন তো লালনের গানই লালনকে মানুষের হৃদয়ে স্থান দেবে। এ জন্য মূর্তি বানাতে হবে কেন?

প্রকৃতপক্ষে, ব্যক্তির কাজই তাকে মানুষের হৃদয়ে স্থান দেয়, মুর্তি নয়।
"What is the relation between consciousness and statues? If Lalon did any good to humanity with his writings then the people will place Lalon songs in their hearts. Why we need a statue for that?

In fact, peoples deeds places them in people's hearts, not the statues."


Lalon Fakir's songs has also inspired the rock music scenario of Bangladesh and some of his songs are rendered into popular modern folk rock. One of the rock legends of Bangladesh Maqsoodul Haque suggests to choose silence as a weapon of choice:
The Mullahs and Politicos combine wish us to be reactive and replicate their reactionary character. We do not consider them ‘worthy opponents’ or ‘worthy adversaries’ or even ‘worthy Comrades’. All we say is let us be – for we did not in the first place as a fraternity 'demand' or ask for any Monuments to our glorious ancestors, our forefathers......did we?

Those who have already commenced their ‘protest’ do not have either the bAUL’s or Bengal’s schools of socio-spiritual thoughts as an objective to further. Indeed, their objective and aspirations are narrow – as they wish to piggy-back on the bAUL issue to aspire for even narrower political expediency – the capture of state power – made even more complex give the restlessness prevailing in the country.

This is the oldest game known to mANKIND and epitomized in many bAUL songs:

Go tell the thief to steal
Go tell the peasant to catch him
Why do you then call the children of hUMANs - sINNERs?

[..]

Please keep the pEACE, spread the word and NEVER GIVE UP THE FIGHT.
Mrigrendra recognizes:
তবে ভাস্কর্য থাকুক আর না থাকুক লালন জীবিত আছেন। নিযুত হৃতস্পন্দনে তিনি জীবিত থাকবেন। কোন **বিমানবন্দর গোলচত্বর মুর্তি প্রতিরোধ কমিটি** সেই লালন দড়ি দিয়ে টেনে নামাতে পারবে না।
"Whether the sculpture is there or not Lalon is alive with us. He will live in millions of hearts. No "sculpture prevention committee" can bring that statue down."

*Thumbnail image of Lalon Shah from Wikipedia

The United States of the World  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

This is an evidence of how much the average American know about the Global Current affairs.

(Via Anthony Lowenstein)

Hints of 1971  

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Dr. Irfan Zafar says that the current situation in Pakistan is not much different than 1971 which resulted in the break-up of the country:

The Mukti Bahini was formed to fight off the military crackdown by Pakistan on March 25, 1971. However, with the rising discontentment of the local population against the government, the people in East Pakistan started supporting it which finally led to the popular Bangladesh Liberation War.

In a similar fashion, the Taliban were supported by our government to fight against the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan. At present the Taliban, just like Mukti Bahini, have gained the sympathies of the people who are fed up with the policies of the ruling elite. A stage has come whereas people have started believing in the fact that no matter how bad the Taliban are, they are still better than the present lot ruling this unfortunate land. We lost half of the country living under the illusion that everything was going well in the eastern wing. Let's not repeat the same mistake and lose whatever is left.

Blog Action Day: Poverty and Citizen Media  

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My post on the blog action day has been published in Rising Voices.

Pakistan on the brink?  

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The recent National Intelligence Estimate of USA on Pakistan says that the situation in Pakistan "very bleak". The conclusions about the state of Pakistan in the report was: "no money, no energy, no government." The fear is that an unstable Pakistan will become a center for al-Qaeda plotting against the US.

The last time when we saw such reports were in end March and early April 1971 when Pakistan army were marching with tanks and spraying bullets on the innocent civilians in Dhaka and elsewhere in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) in the name of quashing the rebels (how do they defend it as justice?). We have seen that that led to the independence of Bangladesh and Pakistan lost its part.

The Pakistan economy is on a free fall and reports question whether Pakistan can rescue itself from that severe blow after reeling from suicide bombers and an angry public.

However Professor Juan Cole at 'Informed Comment' says that:

I'm suspicious that all the talk about instability and 'no government' is really a way of saying that US intelligence agencies liked having a military dictatorship there much better than they like having an elected parliamentary regime.

Actually, the Pakistani bureaucracy does a fairly good job for a third world country, and the employees of the bureaucracy at the non-political level don't change with the change of governments. I don't know what they mean by 'no government.' The elected government headed by the Pakistan People's Party has a majority and is not in danger of falling.
Meanwhile an article in the Asia Times suggest that the US is trying to drag India into the Afghan fiasco:
..discussions were going on between the security establishments of India and the US for the past several months regarding an Indian military involvement in Afghanistan. Washington has been pressing for a major Indian role. A two-member Indian team, which visited Kabul in early September, claimed they were on a mission sponsored by the government to make an assessment of the layout for Indian military involvement. The team apparently held discussions with top American diplomats and military officials based in Kabul.
All in all I see more troubles ahead in this region thanks to US policies.

Image of the day  

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The Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen in northern Switzerland are the widest plain waterfalls of Europe. They are 150 m (450 ft) wide and 23 m (75 ft) high.

Today's links  

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Today's links  

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Proof of Ability  

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Congratulations to Bangladesh team for pulling out a victory against New Zealand in the first ODI in Dhaka.

People thought that Bangladesh had weakened by the recent exodus of a few key players to the commercially lucrative ICL. But this victory is the proof of their ability and proof that the team is not dependent on a few players. Its good to see that Bangladesh can still produce more talents.

Lets hope they develop themselves to be more consistent in their performance.

Campaign for Obama and the Internet  

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The US presidential candidate Barack Obama and his supporters are using the power of Internet most for raising funds and spreading the words. Here is one of such initiatives called 30 reasons (to vote for Obama and not for McCain) which can tell you what leverage he is having.

Image by Chaz Maviyane-Davies, Boston, Massachusetts

Image of the day  

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An apple tree in a private garden in Reichenau Island with no one to harvest.

A great Photoblog on Bangladesh  

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Geoffrey Hiller is an widely traveled photojournalist and a multimedia producer. He is currently in Bangladesh on a Fulbright Scholar grant to teach interactive media in the department of Media and Communication of Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB).

Here is a feature on him in the Daily star by one of his students.

The reason I am writing is to highlight his blog "Photos and notes from Bangladesh", which portrays Bangladesh and Bangladeshis in their true selves.

Also don't forget to check his great work "Verve Photo", which portrays the best and upcoming photographers of the world including their works.

Attacks against Christians in India  

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In recent months radical mobs have attacked Christians and their churches in a number of Indian states. Ayesha Saldanha wrote a deep analysis on the issue in Global Voices:

Right-wing Hindu groups, such as the VHP, its youth wing, the Bajrang Dal, and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) accuse Christian groups of converting Hindus, particularly from lower castes and tribal groups. It is alleged that Hindu activists in Orissa have tried to intimidate Christians to reconvert to Hinduism.
The renowned journalist Khushwant Singh explains this conversion business:
To this day, Christian missionaries run the best schools, colleges and hospitals in our country. They are inexpensive and free of corruption. They get converts because of the sense of gratitude they generate. Can this be called forcible conversion? Why donʼt the great champions of Hinduism look within their hearts and find out why so many are disenchanted by their pretensions of piety? Let them first set their own houses in order, purge the caste system out of Hindu society and welcome with open arms all those who wish to join them. No one will then convert from Hinduism to another religion.

On US economy  

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This is quite old (from June '08) and probably had been circulated to millions of email accounts by now. But some pieces are timeless and they can be called a classic.

Here is what Dr. Marc Faber concluded in his monthly bulletin of June 2008:

"The federal government is sending each of us a $600 rebate.
  • If we spend that money at Wal-Mart, the money goes to China.
  • If we spend it on gasoline it goes to the Arabs. If we buy a computer it will go to India.
  • If we purchase fruit and vegetables it will go to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.
  • If we purchase a good car it will go to Germany.
  • If we purchase useless crap it will go to Taiwan and none of it will help the American economy.
The only way to keep that money here at home is to spend it on prostitutes and beer, since these are the only products still produced in US. I’ve been doing my part."
Via Wordbeats.

You're gorgeous, can I hug you?  

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President Asif A. Zardari of Pakistan met with US Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin recently and tried to outsmart himself in front of the attractive lady and spelled some flirtatious words (may be innocently). Well he is not the only one making such mistake. US President George Bush massaged Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel's neck and got away with it.

But the Pakistanis are not Germans. So Zardari's act caused ripple's in the Muslim Pakistani society. His statements are now being dissected, vilified by Pakistanis which can be fathomed by the blogger's reactions.

The commercial enterprises were quick to catch on with the sentiments. Here is the reaction of Nando’s, a popular chicken chain in Karachi:


Image credit: CHUP!

Schwäbische Alb  

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Yesterday we had some great time in the Swabian Alb. From Wikipedia:

"The Swabian Alb (German: Schwäbische Alb) is a low mountain range in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, extending 220 km from southwest to northeast and 40 to 70 km in width. It is named after the region of Swabia.

The Swabian Alb occupies the region bounded by the Danube in the southeast and the upper Neckar in the northwest. In the southwest it rises to the higher mountains of the Black Forest. The highest mountain of the Swabian Alb is the Lemberg (1015 m). The Alb's profile resembles a high plateau, which slowly falls away to the southeast." (Wikipedia)
With magnificent landscapes and numerous castles this is a popular tourist destination. Here are some pictures>

Burg Hohenzollerndam


A church in Burg Hohenzollerndam


Landscape view from Burg Hohenzollerndam


No its not a castle, its a restaurant


In these parts the castles are from fairy tales. View of Lichtenstein Castle.