The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

THAT EVERYDAY JOURNEY

It was a vast expanse, virgin and uncharted
The joy of mapping it day after day
It was like visiting sanctums yet to be seen
The soul had no further expectations then
Than being on a journey to life and beyond
Paths would speak to destinations like routine
Sometimes it would be green of the rain
Or like the blue singing in melancholy quatrains
But all were like the dots waiting to connect
Known, unexpected, all colours would meet
In the freedom of sameness and its shades


©SantoshChaubey

Friday, 21 July 2017

CAN RAM NATH KOVIND, SECOND DALIT PRESIDENT, FOLLOW IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FIRST DALIT PRESIDENT K R NARAYANAN?


India's President-elect Ram Nath Kovind is only the second Dalit President of the country. He won comfortably by cornering 66 per cent of the Presidential electoral college while his rival, another eminent Dalit politician, Meira Kumar got 36 per cent votes.

The result of the presidential election held on 17 July was just a requirement for Kovind to take over India's apex constitutional job and the coveted Rashtrapati Bhawan at the Raisina Hills in Delhi. But since he is the only second Dalit President in the country, he would obviously be compared with the first Dalit President of India, K R Narayanan who was in office from 25 July 1997 to 25 July 2002. 

Former President K R Narayanan, described by Jawaharlal Nehru as the best diplomat of the country, was known as a pro-active President with an official run that saw landmark active presidential interventions and three of them stand out, his flat no to the then BJP led Atal Bihari Vajpayee government on the Constitution's review in favour of Presidential System in India, his conscious decisions of returning the Union Cabinet advice on imposing the President’s Rule in states and his advocacy for weaker sections for their under-representation in Indian judicial service.

THE CONSTITUTION'S REVIEW

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee had to dilute the terms of reference of the National Commission that it had constituted for the Constitution’s review in 2000. After stern message from Narayanan who would go on to say that “we should examine whether the Constitution has failed us or we have failed the Constitution”, that any Constitution review process could only be undertaken within its basic framework only, preserving the sanctity of the Parliamentary System of India, the Atal Government was forced to change the basic mandate of the National Commission from ‘the ‘Constitution’s review to review the working of the Constitution’ with an assurance that the ‘review will be done without interfering with the basic structure of the Construction’.

The other most visible change that the former President’s tough stand brought was on who was going to head the National Commission to review the Constitution. Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his deputy L K Advani, reportedly, had requested former President R Venkataraman, a strong proponent of the Presidential System, to head the National Commission. But Narayanan's reservations on the Presidential System, coupled with objections from the BJP allies like DMK and TDP on Venkataraman, the government had to shed the idea. Then it zeroed in on the name of the former Chief Justice of India (CJI) and former National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Chairman M N Venkatachaliah. But Justice Venkatachaliah only agreed to head the commission after given assurance that the basic structure of parliamentary framework of the Constitution would not be touched and his decision would prevail in recruiting the other ten members of the Commission.

REFUSED TO APPROVE IMPOSITION OF PRESIDENT’S RULE IN UTTAR PRADESH AND BIHAR

This one is a fine example to see how President Narayanan rose above party politics to upheld the dignity of the post that required, theoretically, unflinching loyalty to the Constitution and unwavering impartiality in dealing with the political parties irrespective of the previous political affiliation.

In October 1997, President Narayanan returned the union cabinet decision on imposing President’s Rule under Article 356 in Uttar Pradesh for reconsideration. The United Front Government was led by Congress' I K Gujral. It didn’t matter for Narayanan while returning the decision that he was a career Congress politician brought into politics by Indira Gandhi and was a Union minister in the Rajiv Gandhi cabinet. Gujral government respected his decision and the BJP led UP government of Kalyan Singh escaped the dismissal.

Almost a year after it, in September 1998, Narayanan returned the Union Government’s file on imposition of the President’s Rule in Bihar. The government in centre was of BJPs’, led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee which had recommended the dismissal of the RJD government in Bihar led by Rabri Devi. In a series of dramatic developments, the Rabri government was able to demonstrate that numbers were in its favour – 182 MLAs in a legislative assembly of 325 members. The then NDA government had based its decision on imposing the President’s Rule in Bihar citing corruption and Constitutional breakdown in the state but the clear majority in the Bihar assembly in Rabri Devi’s favour could not override President Narayanan’s conviction that dismissing an elected government in the case would be akin to acting against people’s mandate and thus violating the spirit of the Constitution.

These two decisions of President Narayanan remain unparalleled in the Indian political history. They effectively established the credibility of the institution of the President of India that it was not mere a decorative position with a rubber-stamp President to follow the diktats of the government of the day but an institution that housed the soul of the Indian Constitution.

ADVOCACY FOR WEAKER SECTIONS IN THE INDIAN JUDICIARY

K R Narayanan was vocal about under-representation of Dalits in the higher judiciary. He would often question the judges' appointment and transfer process in the High Courts and the Supreme Court, something that even invited confrontation with the judiciary. Narayanan on record had said even if deserving candidates from the weaker sections were available, they were ignored.

He had written in November 1998, "I would like to record my views that while recommending the appointment of Supreme Court judges, it would be consonant with constitutional principles and the nation's social objectives if persons belonging to weaker sections of society like SCs and STs, who comprise 25 per cent of the population, and women are given due consideration."

Though the then CJI strongly refuted it ruling out any caste-based discrimination in the appointments in the higher judiciary, two successive CJIs, A M Ahmadi and J S Verma, had failed to recommend elevation of any High Court Dalit Justice to the Supreme Court, before CJI M M Punchhi recommended Justice K G Balakrishnan who was then the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court for the Supreme Court in March 1998.

After the strongly-worded suggestion from Narayanan, the judicial circles started trying to figure out whom the President was referring to but CJI A S Anand, who succeeded Punchhi refused to elevate Balakrishnan as he was 53 then while the minimum age for the elevation to the Supreme Court was 55 as per the judicial convention being followed. Though exceptions could have been made for meritorious candidates, the Supreme Court Collegium ruled out doing so in Balakrishnan's case who was finally elevated to the top court in June 2000 after he turned 55 in May 2000.

LIKE NARAYANAN, KOVIND, TOO, COMES FROM A HUMBLE BACKGROUND 

President-elect Ram Nath Kovind, too, comes from a humble background as President Narayanan. They both had their share of struggle before they started on the path to success in life. Kovind though may not have as illustrious a career as Narayanan had who was an IFS officer, a career diplomat, a union minister and the Vice-President before becoming the President of India, he has been a successful lawyer, practicing in India's apex court for years.

And like Narayanan, he has also earned a reputation of playing by the rule book while being Governor of Bihar. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar is all praise for him the way he has discharged his gubernatorial responsibility in the state. Like Narayanan, he has been speaking for the weaker sections going as far as to join agitation against laws that he considered anti SC/ST. His clean and non-controversial record will only help him.

Let's see if he can follow in the footsteps of K R Narayanan, extending the legacy of the Presidents who restored the credibility of the institution. In his post-victory speech, an emotional Kovind said he was going to the Rashtrapati Bhawan as a representative of every Indian citizen who worked hard to arrange for an evening meal. Let's see where his conscience drives him.

©SantoshChaubey

Thursday, 20 July 2017

US KEEPING PAKISTAN ON SAFE HAVEN OF TERRORISTS LIST IS EXTENSION OF MODI-TRUMP'S JOINT STATEMENT


For the first time, the US has directly termed Pakistan a safe haven for terrorists in its annual 'Country Reports on Terrorism' released by the US State Department. The report analysing terror activities in 2016 says various terrorist groups including Afghan Taliban, Haqqani Network, LeT and JeM continue to operate from Pakistan-based safe havens.

The line taken by the US in its annual authoritative report, a first, is a clear extension from the joint statement issued after the summit between US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the latter's US visit in June this year.

In the joint statement, Modi and Trump had asserted that the terrorist safe havens should be rooted out from every part of the world. The joint statement mentioned Pakistan thrice and called on Pakistan to ensure that its territory isn't used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries, and to "expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai, Pathankot, and other cross-border terrorist attacks perpetrated by Pakistan-based groups."

When seen in comparison to Modi-Obama joint statements, it was a clear departure.

The three joint statements after Modi-Obama summits in September 2014, January 2015 and June 2016 mentioned routine themes like expediting trials in the Mumbai and Pathankot attacks and cracking down on terror outfits including Al-Qaeda, ISIS, JeM, LeT, they stopped short of calling these terror groups as even Pakistan-based, let along calling Pakistan directly a safe haven for terrorists, even if Pakistan indeed is a terror state.

The optics that was missing due to diplomatic hesitations got its first clear shot that hesitations were going away in Modi-Trump joint statement. The joint statement, coupled with the US declaring Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin as a global terrorist, went miles ahead when it specifically wrote "cross-border terrorist attacks perpetrated by Pakistan-based groups". It was a clear indication of US' toughening line on Pakistan on support of terror infrastructure in country.

And if we see more tough measures by the US on Pakistan in future, we should not be surprised. Ted Poe, an influential US Congressman and a Republican, has introduced a bill in the US House of Representatives to declare "Pakistan state sponsor of terrorism" citing its pro-terror activities like harbouring Osama bin Laden or many other terror groups. Ted Poe is the chairman of the important "House Subcommittee on Terrorism".

This is not the first time that Ted Poe has brought a legislation for approval on declaring Pakistan a terror state. In September 2016, after the cowardly Uri attack by Pakistan based JeM terrorists on September 18 that killed 17 sleeping Indian soldiers, Ted Poe had introduced "the Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act" calling Pakistan "an untrustworthy ally". And it is not just Ted Poe. There are many other influential Congressmen and politicians who have been voicing to declare Pakistan a terror state or to curb down military aid to the country.

Add to it the well known hostility of Donald Trump, who is a Republican Party politician like Ted Poe, towards Pakistan and writing on the wall is becoming clear now. In Past, Trump has described Pakistan with terms like 'Pakistan is not our friend' and "when it will apologize for providing safe sanctuary to Osama Bin Laden".  In May, when, during his first Presidential foreign tour, Trump had named India as a terror victim along with China, Russia, Australia, European, African and South American countries, while ignoring any Pakistan mention altogether in his first overseas speech, it was a clear message that Pakistan was fast losing its credibility in Washington's strategic circles.

In fact, in its 'Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community' report released in May, the US Government had blamed Pakistan for deteriorating India-Pakistan ties batting for India's growing intolerance over Pakistan's state-sponsored terrorism and in April, Gen HR McMaster, the US National Security Advisor, who was in Pakistan, had bluntly told Pakistan to stop using terror as state policy.

©SantoshChaubey

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

SIKKIM: FROM PROTECTORATE TO 22ND STATE OF THE INDIAN UNION

STATALES

2003: CHINA WENT FOR A SWAP OFFER, SOMETHING THAT IT HAS BEEN TRYING TO DO WITH ARUNACHAL PRADESH - IT AGREED TO FINALLY RECOGNIZE SIKKIM AS AN INDIAN STATE AFTER INDIA AGREED TO DECLARE TIBET A PART OF CHINA.

NATHU LA REOPENING IN 2006: THE FAMED TRADE ROUTE OF ANCIENT DAYS WAS REOPENED AFTER 44 YEARS AFTER IT WAS CLOSED IN THE 1962 WAR. IT EFFECTIVELY PUT TO REST ALL CHINESE DESIGNS ON NOT ACCEPTING SIKKIM AS INDIAN TERRITORY.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

1890 - THE BRITISH-CHINESE CONVENTION: SIKKIM DECLARED A “PROTECTORATE” OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE - LATER ON, IT BECAME A PRINCELY STATE OF THE BRITISH INDIA.  
1947-1950: SIKKIM AS AN INDEPENDENT NATION - AS PEOPLE OF SIKKIM REJECTED THE PROPOSITION TO MERGE INTO INDIA THROUGH A POPULAR VOTE.  

1950: INDO-SIKKIM TREATY WHICH MADE SIKKIM AN INDIAN PROTECTORATE - SIKKIM CONTINUED TO BE A SOVEREIGN NATION - BUT WOULD DEFER TO INDIA IN ISSUES OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS, DEFENCE AND COMMUNICATION.  

1975: CONTINUING ANTI-ROYAL PROTESTS - SIKKIM'S PRIME MINISTER REQUESTED FOR MERGER INTO THE INDIAN UNION.  
  • APRIL 1975: INDIAN ARMY IN GANGTOK - REFERENDUM HELD - 97.5% VOTED TO JOIN INDIA.
  • MAY1975 : KINGDOM OF SIKKIM BECAME INDIA'S 22ND STATE.  
CHINA ON MERGER: CHINA TERMED THE REFERENDUM ILLEGITIMATE, UNDER MILITARY PRESSURE - FOR CHINA, SIKKIM REMAINED AN INDEPENDENT NATION TILL 2003 WHEN THE SIKKIM-TIBET DEAL WAS REACHED AT.  

©SantoshChaubey

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

WHAT DEFINES INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: COMMERCIAL INTERESTS OR STRATEGIC CONCERNS?

What matters more in international relations? What shapes the contours of bilateral ties in contemporary times? Certainly trade is an important factor but it is not the most important factor.

It is always about the engagement on strategic levels that defines bilateral relations between countries or the international alliances of groupings of countries, be it US-Israel or US-UK or NATO and other similar ties and alliances. They have been rock solid ties weathering varying seasons with equal fervour because the cornerstone of these relations have been strategic concerns. Historical linkages are an added advantage.

Though NATO has seen some trouble recently with US President Donald Trump raising objections over skewed funding contribution in the world's most formidable military alliance between countries where the US is the largest contributor, NATO is still sailing smoothly with regular high level US visits to the NATO headquarters at Brussels.

In contrast, trading blocs like WTO, NAFTA, ASEAN, APEC, SCO and so on are basically about commercial engagements and though have increasingly become important in a world globalized by economy, cannot replace the ties built on strategic interests, especially in the times of crisis, like prolonged border standoffs or any aggression inimical to bilateral ties.

Also, when countries are globally important and are slated to become poles in a multi-polar world of future, like India and China are, what is going to define their diplomacy and international politics is how they cultivate their strategic ties.

Because loss of commercial interests can be met with forging other ties and alliances but there is no replacement for a strategic tie that gives a country sense of security or tools to secure its borders and skies.

That is why China doesn't matter for India in case the ongoing border tension in the Sikkim Sector between two countries escalate to severe levels resulting in localized, limited scale military hostilities (because the two nuclear powered nations cannot afford a full-scale war).

China is basically a country engaged in trade relations with India. Relations have failed to go beyond that. There are no cultural ties and people to people contact. Defence and other strategic elements are non-existent from the table. Coupled it with the non-existent India-China bilateral trade in services. All these factors make India to easily look beyond China when it comes to suspending ties.

The bilateral trade between India and China was around $71 Billion in 2016 with a trade deficit highly skewed in Chinese favour - $47.8 Billion. India basically exports diamonds, cotton, yarn, organic chemicals, iron ore and copper worth $12 Billion (2016). Chinese export to India includes fertilizers, antibiotics, electrical machinery, equipments and organic chemicals and the 2016 worth was $59 Billion.

When we see the items of import and export, especially in the context of the stagnating Chinese economy, it is quite clear that India can easily do away with its miniscule Chinese export. But it will be difficult for China to ignore India, the world's fastest growing large economy now for many quarters. Add to it India's projected middle class base of around 450 million people and the country becomes a promising market for any manufacturing hub like China.

The trade deficit with China doesn't hurt us (and won't hurt us), at least in the near future, till the country reaches to a stage where unemployment becomes chronic and threatening for the country's weaving; till the time we have ramped up our infrastructure to be able to make for any future contingency on our manufacturing needs. Till then, it's like we have outsourced our manufacturing needs to countries like China (and with manufacturing bases in many other countries, we can easily find alternatives).  

But China has not this advantage. It is already the manufacturing engine of the world with its majority of population engaged in those small or large factories supplying to the world. They are as dependent on the domestic Chinese consumption as the international demand.

With a slowing down economy, the domestic consumption in China is going to ease and its manufacturing hubs are going to be ever more dependent on big overseas markets and India is a big imperative there. It is important to maintain China's social fabric with flow of jobs and gains of economy in the society and is going to be must for its behemoth economy that needs global markets to lubricate its tentacles. Just a corollary would suffice to prove the point here. Four Chinese manufactures, Xiaomi, Lenovo, Oppo and Vivo, are in top five of the Indian smartphone market. India can easily find alternative smartphone manufacturers with a strong domestic industry to fill the gaps. But these Chinese manufactures cannot find a market like India that has emerged as the world's fastest growing smartphone market.

To continue.... 

©SantoshChaubey

Monday, 17 July 2017

NOT JUST CONGRESS, EVERY GOVERNMENT WANTS 'YES MEN'


A Congress led state government has shunted out an honest IPS officer, DIG (Prisons) Roopa D Moudgil for unearthing corruption in the Bengaluru Central Prison that how jailed AIADMK leader VK Sasikala was getting undue favours by bribing officials. The state administration has alleged that she exceeded her brief by talking to media, even if, in public perception, she has blown the lid off a massive corruption in state prisons which come directly under CM Siddaramaiah who also holds the Home Ministry portfolio of the state.

The opposition BJP in the state is crying hoarse over it and is preparing to raise the Sasikala prison affair in the Parliament tomorrow. Karnataka BJP president Yeddyurappa likened the treatment meted to her as 'punishment for honesty' and said he would raise the issue with India's Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

But just a fortnight ago, a BJP run state government in Uttar Pradesh had shunted out an honest IPS officer, Bulandshahr DSP Shrestha Thakur, for fining a BJP worker who violated traffic rules. BJP city president and other workers rushed to the spot and soon there was an ugly verbal spat reeking arrogance of power as the BJP workers started blaming police for asking for bribe. The DSP went ahead with her action and jailed five BJP workers instead for creating obstruction in discharging government duties. The incident had happened on June 22 and Shrestha Thakur was transferred to Bahraich on July 1. The move was widely seen as a punishment transfer for going against the workers of ruling party in the state.

Also, the Adityanath government's order to transfer Saharanpur SSP Luv Kumar to Gautam Budh Nagar in April, though claimed to be a compromise, was seen as punishment transfer as Raghav Lakhanpal, BJP Lok Sabha MP from Saharanpur, had claimed that he would get the SSP transferred terming him 'naalayak (worthless). Kumar was credited with containing the communal fare-up and had booked Lakhanpal and other BJP MLAs and workers for allegedly inciting rioting and arsoning. He had not allowed BJP procession led by Lakhanpal, commemorating Ambedkar birth anniversary to pass through a restricted route which had angered Lakhanpal.

In May, the AIADMK government of E Palaniswamy in Tamil Nadu had transferred  N K Senthamarai Kannan, North Zone IG, and J Mutharasi, Kancheepuram SP. The government move was seen as reprimanding as both of these officers were responsible for police action at the Golden Bay Resort where VK Sasikala had rounded up AIADMK MLAs to keep her flock intact in the AIADMK faction war between O Panneerselvam and Sasikala to corner the ruling party of Tamil Nadu after J Jayalalithaa's death.  

In November 2015, Fatehabad SP Sangeeta Rani Kalia was transferred by another BJP run state government in Haryana after heated verbal exchange with senior Haryana minister Anil Vij. After a verbal spat on illicit liquor trade, the minister asked the SP to get out of the meeting. The SP responded back by saying the minister could not humiliate her like that and she was not going to leave. The minister then stormed out. The next day, the SP was transferred.

The case of Durga Shakti Nagpal, a young IAS officer from Uttar Pradesh, was a shocking incident and this time it was a Samajwadi Pary (SP) government. She was posted as Sub-Divisional Magistrate in Gautam Budh Nagar's Greater Noida. She was just 28 then but her steely resolve saw effective crackdown on sand-mining mafia of the area many of whom were very near to the power corridors of Lucknow.

Though she was suspended under allegations of inciting communal tension by ordering razing down a mosque boundary wall, it was seen as punishment for taking on sand mafia for which she had won national praise. While she was being charge-sheeted, senior SP leaders were busy making humiliating remarks against her. Senior SP leader Narender Bhati was caught on camera bragging that he got her suspended within 41 hours. Another UP minister called her a liar and CM Akhilesh Yadav himself termed her an errant child. All this when Sonia Gandhi wrote a letter to Manmohan Singh to ensure justice to her; Ram Jethmalani offered to defend her case; and UP and Central IAS Officers Associations petitioned the UP government against her suspension.

From Congress to BJP to AIADMK to SP, these are just some of the incidents to show how political parties treat bureaucrats. The message is clear that they all need just 'yes men'. If someone dares to take a different line based on conscience, the person should be ready to face consequences.

©SantoshChaubey

Saturday, 15 July 2017

CLEANING THE GANGA: GANGA ACTION PLAN PHASE 1

STATALES 


14 JUNE 1985: LAUNCHED 
MARCH 31, 2000: DECLARED CLOSED 

INITIAL OBJECTIVE IN 1985: IMPROVING THE GANGA WATER QUALITY TO ACCEPTABLE STANDARDS (VAGUE)

REVISED AND CLEAR OBJECTIVE – IN 1987: RESTORING THE GANGA WATER QUALITY TO BATHING STANDARD 

COST 
  • RS. 256.26 CRORE: ORIGINAL SANCTIONED COST 
  • RS. 462.04 CRORE: REVISED SANCTIONED COST, APPROVED IN AUGUST 1994
AREA COVERED

25 CLASS-I TOWNS SPREAD ACROSS FOUR STATES 
  • 6 TOWNS: UTTAR PRADESH 
  • 4 TOWNS: BIHAR
  • 15 TOWNS: WEST BENGAL 
STATUS OF SCHEMES 
  • WEST BENGAL: 110 SCHEMES SANCTIONED – ALL COMPLETED 
  • UTTAR PRADESH: 106 SCHEMES SANCTIONED – ALL COMPLETED
  • BIHAR: 45 SCHEMES SANCTIONED – 44 COMPLETED 
WASTEWATER TREATMENT CAPACITY CREATED 
  • 1340 MLD: TOTAL ESTIMATED WASTEWATER IN 25 TOWNS COVERED UNDER PHASE-I
  • 868.69 MLD: SEWAGE TREATMENT CAPACITY CREATED UNDER PHASE-I
  • 882.19 MLD: SEWAGE CAPACITY CREATION TARGET OF GANGA ACTION PLAN PHASE-I
  • WEST BENGAL: 371.06 MLD – 15 PROJECTS 
  • UTTAR PRADESH: 375.09 MLD – 13 PROJECTS 
  • BIHAR: 122 MLD – 6 PROJECTS (TARGET – 7 PROJECTS) 
©SantoshChaubey

Friday, 14 July 2017

TIME COVER CATCHES DONALD TRUMP JR 'RED HANDED'

Time magazine has put Donald Trump Jr. on its cover page with an aptly curated tag - 'red-handed' and the Twitter handle of the magazine has tweeted an interesting video about it.

The video highlights words like 'Russia - Clinton - private and confidential - info - Trump Jr. writing I love it - very high level and ultra-sensitive information' - from Trump Jr. email conversation to on possibility of getting damaging information about Hillary Clinton that he himself had tweeted after the New York Times story about his meeting with a Russian lawyer with Kremlin connection in June 2016 that promised compromising and sensitive information about the democratic rival of his father Donald Trump Sr.  

TIME@TIME
TIME's new cover: How Donald Trump Jr.’s emails have cranked up the heat on his family http://ti.me/2uhMHlm
https://twitter.com/TIME/status/885466401040998400


While releasing the email chain, Trump Jr. had claimed that he was doing so in order to be totally transparent. Trump Sr. appreciated it saying his son Donald did a good job and he was open, transparent and innocent. Trump Sr. then went on to add his routine line about the ongoing FBI probe into Russian meddling into last year's US presidential election - 'this is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!'

Donald Trump Jr.@DonaldJTrumpJr
Here's my statement and the full email chain
8:30 PM - 11 Jul 2017
https://twitter.com/DonaldJTrumpJr/status/884789418455953413

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump
My son Donald did a good job last night. He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!
3:49 PM - 12 Jul 2017
https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/885081181980590084

But the New York Times immediately hit back saying that Trump Jr. was forced to do so as he was aware that the Times was going to release the email conversation. Trump Jr. act has brought a storm in America as it has effectively shut down all those tall claims by Donald Trump, his family and his associates that the whole story about Russian collusion was fake and phony and they had nothing to do with Russians.

Both, Trump Sr. and Trump Jr. used to claim in past that there could not be a bigger lie than the alleged Russian help for the Trump campaign.  But the email conversation clearly proves that the Trump campaign team was in touch with Russians irrespective of the fact the email chain doesn't prove that the Trump team indeed colluded with the Russians. And it has changed the whole discourse about the affair in the American political and media circles with experts even asking if Donald Trump Jr. can go to jail for it.

©SantoshChaubey

LIU XIAOBO IS NO MORE: CHINA KILLS ITS MOST RECOGNIZED DISSIDENT VOICE

Liu Xiaobo, 61, a university professor turned human rights activist, who was China's most known figure raising voice for democracy and political reforms in a country fettered in autocratic chains of one-party dictatorial regime since 1950 has died from terminal liver cancer while in custody. He was China's leading dissident voice and human rights activist.

Liu Xiaobo had been a cynosure for the Chinese power elite ever since 1989 when he took part in protests on the Tiananmen Square as a young academician. China had arrested him four times - the last in 2008. He was detained in December 2008 and sentenced to 11 years in prison in December 2009 for inciting subversion of state power.

The world tried to sent China a message by selecting him for 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. China, a hell for human rights and political reform activists, responded to the decision saying the decision was totally wrong and unacceptable and started threatening countries to boycott the Award Ceremony on December 10, 2010. The Nobel Award ceremony was held with an empty chair representing him.

The power elite of the Chinese Communist Party moved swiftly to crush the every possible mention of Liu Xiaobo in China. They put Liu's wife Liu Xia under house arrest the very day the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced its decision, i.e., October 8, 2010. She has been languishing in such forced conditions since then amid repeated calls by the international community to release her, a call that has got a renewed urge after demise of Liu.

China systematically killed Liu by incarcerating him in tough prison conditions and denying him the medical care that he required, something that deteriorated his health to life threatening condition ultimately. Domestic protests and international outrage mean nothing for China, death of Liu from terminal liver cancer once again proves. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has termed the death as premature and saying that China bears a heavy responsibility for it.

The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Liu was first to any Chinese while still being in China and with his death in captivity, he has become also the first Nobel Peace laureate die in custody in almost eight decades. Before him, German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, who was awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1935, had died in Nazi custody in 1938. 

©SantoshChaubey