Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Pakistan Local Elections; Indian Hindu Extremism; LNG Pricing; Imran-Reham Split

What message do voters send in local body elections in Pakistan? Are recent results unexpected? What do the results mean for PTI? What impact does Imran-Reham Khan divorce news have on PTI's politics and prospects?

Why is Pakistan government trying to sign LNG contract with Qatar when the spot price is falling and forecast to fall even further? Why not buy at spot prices and wait for a better opportunity to sign a more favorable contract in future?

Why are Indian economists warning PM Narendra Modi of the negative impact of Hindu extremism in India? Why are they so concerned?

Is ISIS gaining strength in Middle East? Could the ISIS terrorists have brought down Russian passenger jet near Sharm al Sheikh in Egypt?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with panelists Misbah Azam and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)

http://dai.ly/x3ccasi



Pakistan Local Elections; Indian Hindu... by ViewpointFromOverseas


https://vimeo.com/144586144



Pakistan Local Elections; Indian Hindu Extremism; LNG Pricing; Imran-Reham Split from WBT TV on Vimeo.


https://youtu.be/LZavD-tkReg





Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Potential Economic Impact of Hindu Extremism in India

Pakistan-Qatar LNG Deal

Growing ISIS Threat

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel

VPOS Dailymotion Channel

25 comments:

Riaz Haq said...

Working to saffronize education in entire #India: #RSS ideologue Dina Nath Batra #Modi #BJP http://toi.in/0bg3AZ via @timesofindia

RSS ideologue and Haryana government's school and higher education consultant Dina Nath Batra says he not only wants to 'saffronize' education in the state but in the entire country. He was in Chandigarh on Friday to co-chair the first state-level consultative meeting on the new education policy for Haryana.

Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar chaired the meeting which was attended by a range of people, from vice-chancellors of universities to teachers. Founder of the Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti also indicated that the Bhagwad Gita would be introduced as a moral education subject in schools from class VI to XII from next session. He also clarified that the existing school teachers will teach the Hindu scripture.

"The students will be taught a compilation of two shlokas from every chapter of the Bhagwat Gita,'' he said. The government had announced in December 2014, that it planned to introduce the Gita in schools with many accusing it of trying to saffronize school education in the state. Since then, however, the subject had been in cold storage.

Speaking to TOI later, he said that his own definition of saffornization was not related to any community or religion, but to a set of ideas which give an independent identity to a person. "Saffron is made of a mixture of red and yellow," he said. "Red is symbolic of bravery while yellow symbolizes patience and prosperity. Hence, we need this kind of education."

Batra insisted that he was not working just in Haryana. "I am working for saffronization of education in the whole country, and I want to complete it at the earliest," he said, adding, "let us teach the world about contribution of our experts and expertise towards the global growth." Batra, however, dismissed the allegation that his strategy was part of a larger agenda of the Sangh.

Batra also gave some insight into his vision of education in Haryana. Terming the running of colleges offering Bachelor of Education (BEd) courses as a wasteful exercise, he advocated for an integrated university for training of teachers and certifying the colleges.

"When teachers don't even go to school, how can you expect students to go to the classroom," He asked. "I know many such people are there who have got BEd degrees while sitting at home. Such a system has to be done away with. Education of a teacher needs to be as rigorous as that of a student. We don't favour any dedicated stream. Let the child be groomed in all the streams of arts, medical, non-medical and commerce and core education standards be maintained,'' he said.

Batra had sparked off a major controversy in when he had filed case against Amrican scholar Wendy Doniger's book 'The Hindus: An Alternative History'. The publisher, Penguin India, had decided to destroy all copies of the book.

Riaz Haq said...

In #India, tolerance debate shifts focus from #Modi’s economic growth plans. #BeefMurder #BJP http://on.wsj.com/1WE5lN7 via @WSJ

A year and a half since Prime Minister Narendra Modi swept to power on a promise of rapid economic growth, public debate in India has shifted from development to religious and social intolerance issues that his critics say are unraveling India’s secular fabric.

Prominent Indians, from politicians and scholars to tech entrepreneurs and movie stars, have taken to the airwaves and returned prestigious awards in recent weeks to protest what they see as growing Hindu chauvinism, and to castigate Mr. Modi for not doing more to stamp out prejudice.

The debate flared in late September after a Hindu mob murdered a Muslim man they suspected had slaughtered a cow, an animal revered in Hinduism. At least two other Muslims have since died in similar circumstances, bringing religious enmities to the fore during a pivotal election in the state of Bihar that could shape the rest of Mr. Modi’s term. Official results of the vote are expected Sunday.

“The prime minister is not doing anything, which clearly shows that he approves of these incidents,” said Sonia Gandhi, leader of the opposition Congress party, at a demonstration against what she called a “growing atmosphere of fear, intolerance and intimidation.”

Supporters of the prime minister, a politician with Hindu-nationalist roots, say he is being unfairly targeted by the country’s left-leaning elite, who feel threatened by the rise of Mr. Modi’s conservative Bharatiya Janata Party. The BJP says the party’s senior leaders have condemned the attacks, adding the criticism is meant to derail Mr. Modi’s economic overhauls.

“While the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying to accelerate India’s growth, there are many who have never intellectually accepted the idea of the BJP being in power,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in a Facebook post this week.

Mr. Modi has himself responded to the criticism by pointing to episodes of religious violence during the reign of the opposition Congress party. At a recent rally, Mr. Modi reminded the audience of attacks on Sikhs that killed several thousand across the country in 1984 after Indira Gandhi, then Congress leader and prime minister, was assassinated by Sikh bodyguards.

“That same Congress party is now sermonizing on tolerance?” Mr. Modi asked.

The charged rhetoric has come to dominate national discussion, overshadowing Mr. Modi’s economic program. During last year’s national election, Mr. Modi focused on development and stayed away from issues surrounding India’s culture wars.

Too much focus by Mr. Modi’s party and its right-wing allies on the promotion of a conservative Hindu social and cultural agenda could make it harder for the prime minister to advance his economic plans, said Milan Vaishnav, an India expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “It is starting to filter into conversations about what the priorities of this government are,” Mr. Vaishnav said.

Some analysts say Mr. Modi’s biggest challenge in office is reining in the Hindu nationalist groups he draws support from—a tightrope walk he appears to be struggling with. Campaigning in Bihar, he accused his opponents of plotting to set aside spots in educational institutions and government jobs for “another religious group,” widely interpreted as a veiled reference to Muslims.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's Narendra #Modi concedes defeat in crucial state #BiharElections #BJP http://ti.me/1Qce8li via @TIMEWorld

The BJP's performance in the northern Indian state of Bihar could make it harder for Modi to govern India


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was heading for a crushing defeat in critical state-level elections on Nov. 8, with the rout highlighting his rapidly falling stock among voters after just 18 months in office.

In May 2014, Modi came to power in India with a stunning electoral victory that saw the BJP secure the biggest national parliamentary majority in three decades, including a successful run in Bihar, where the Hindu nationalist party steamrolled a divided opposition.

But on Nov. 8, early results after a month-long contest for seats in the state legislature showed a significant reversal in support for Modi’s party in the face of an opposition alliance that, by late afternoon local time, had won or was leading in nearly 180 seats out of the 243 up for grabs in the Bihar assembly. As the results flooded in, Modi conceded defeat in a phone call to the leader of the opposition alliance, the current Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar.

Modi was not a candidate in the Bihar elections but his party projected him as the face of its campaign, effectively turning the contest into a referendum on his leadership, instead of naming a chief ministerial candidate to take on the united opposition’s nominee. As public debate across India shifted from the economic promises that brought Modi to power in 2014 to questions about religious intolerance under his administration, the BJP faced criticism for running a controversial campaign that attempted to divide the electorate along religious lines in a state where Muslims make up around 17% of the population. (Nationally, Muslims account for around 14% of Indians.)

Issues such as the protection of cows — considered sacred by the majority Hindu community — were raked up, while Modi’s top strategist, the BJP president Amit Shah, sought to whip up nationalist sentiment by telling voters at an October rally that, were his party to lose the polls, celebratory crackers would be lit across India’s western border in Muslim majority Pakistan, the country’s arch regional foe.

Nikolai said...

Having worked in India for 5 years, it is good to see this type of reaction. Every time secularism is challenged many Indians are not afraid to speak. A positive sign for a diverse developing country like India inspite of many challenges

Manoj said...

@Nikolai

I agree with your sentiments. A very few intolerant people in India doesn't make India an intolerant country. Actually far from it. There were many ugly challenges that came after the way the British Raj ended; nonetheless, the democratic experiment (Churchill's words) is not only working, it is thriving!

Riaz Haq said...

Manoj: "the democratic experiment (Churchill's words) is not only working, it is thriving!"

Democracy can easily become the tyranny of the majority. It does nothing by itself to protect freedoms and basic rights of all the people as we saw under Hitler and Mussolini.

Riaz Haq said...

Two-thirds majority for Nitish-Lalu Grand Alliance. #Modi's #BJP bites the dust in #BiharElections -The Hindu #India http://www.thehindu.com/elections/bihar2015/article7858643.ece …
BJP-led NDA bites the dust in bitterly fought Bihar elections; Chief Minister lives up to his reputation of being a ‘Chanakya’; RJD chief back from political wilderness, turns kingmaker

As the Nitish Kumar-Lalu Prasad duo led the Grand Alliance on Sunday to a historic, thumping two-thirds majority, even reviving its junior partner, the Congress, the BJP-led NDA bit the dust — and the curtain came down on what must rate as one of the most bitterly fought Assembly elections in Bihar.
-----

Mr. Modi, who flew to Bihar for a record 26 times to address public meetings, and BJP president Amit Shah crafted the party’s strategy, dominating even the billboards. This gave the grand coalition an opportunity to portray them as baharis (outsiders), even as the BJP leaders and activists sulked, finding themselves on the margins.

Anonymous said...

CPEC project will benefit Pakistan but there are many issues. The experience of some African countries have turned sour after China started buying less commodities due to economic slow down. These countries are still paying Chinese banks for their financed infrastructure projects.

China looks out for itself always. Corruption has also increased in those countries. Pakistan should be careful every step of the way because China will care more about their return on investment. In government so I will comment as anonymous.

Riaz Haq said...

Soul searching for #India's #Modi after crushing #BiharElections defeat http://reut.rs/1OyCZQ3 via @Reuters

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met leaders of his party on Monday to discuss whether to overhaul policies and priorities in the wake of a humiliating defeat in elections in the eastern state of Bihar.

Modi and a dozen senior colleagues of his Hindu nationalist party, including its president Amit Shah, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, gathered at the party's offices to analyze the reasons for the defeat."There are lessons to be learnt," Jaitley told reporters after the meeting, without outlining specifics. "In elections you win some and lose some."

Sunday's loss in Bihar, India's third most populous and poorest state, is the most significant setback for Modi since he won a crushing victory in a general election last year.

For the first time since he came to power, party leaders are openly starting to question the direction of the government.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) office in New Delhi was virtually deserted on Monday, with only a few workers compiling newspaper clippings on the election defeat.

Indian shares, bonds and the rupee opened at six-week lows as investors who had backed Modi worried he would struggle to push economic reforms through parliament against an emboldened opposition. They later regained their footing.

PARLIAMENTARY SETBACKThe Bihar loss may hamper Modi's reform agenda because he needs to win most state elections in the next three years to gain full control of parliament. India's states are represented in the upper house, where the BJP lacks a majority.The government announced on Monday that parliament will resume for the winter session on Nov. 26. Over the last year, Modi has struggled to pass laws, including tax and labor reforms, and now faces an opposition with political momentum.

The election came against a backdrop of concerns in India over incidents in which Muslims have been targeted by Hindu zealots. There have been protests by prominent intellectuals at what they call a climate of rising intolerance.Some BJP lawmakers called for the party to promote a more unifying agenda focusing on economic development, after a campaign in Bihar that sought to polarize voters along caste and religious lines."We have to be single mindedly focused on development, development, development," said Chandan Mitra, a BJP member of parliament. "We can't afford to be distracted by anything else."
----

In contrast, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who led the anti-Modi alliance in Bihar, was able to trade on his record of turning around a state that was once widely considered to be among India's most corrupt and lawless.

Arun Shourie, a minister in the last BJP government, called for a change in course."We should be grateful to the people of Bihar because the direction has been halted," he told NDTV news. Asked what went wrong with the party's Bihar campaign, he said: "Everything".


Read more at Reutershttp://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/09/us-india-bihar-idUSKCN0SY0FK20151109#ix1uk8KdEJgJZzTk.99

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi finalizes $16 billion #LNG deal with #Qatar for 1.6 billion tons a year. http://af.reuters.com/article/nigeriaNews/idAFL9N0VZ00F20151109 …

DOHA Nov 9 (Reuters) - Pakistan has finalised a $16 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) deal with supplier Qatar and shipments are expected to begin next month, Pakistani energy minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said on Monday.

The amount is 1.5 million tonnes per year, the minister said, adding that the two sides had agreed a price.

The two sides have agreed a price, he said without elaborating.

"We have finalised the deal. The first shipment is expected in December," he said. "We are hopeful for similar deals in the future." - Reuters

Riaz Haq said...

Jitan Manjhi blames #beef, RSS chief's #Dalit quota opposition, #Pakistan remarks 4 #Modi's loss in #BiharElections https://shar.es/15wsVD

A day after the NDA’s defeat, BJP ally and former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi identified the beef controversy and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s remarks on reservation as the “turning point” in the Bihar Assembly elections. He also blamed BJP chief Amit Shah’s firecrackers-in-Pakistan remark.
“The beef controversy and remarks about it from various quarters alienated the NDA’s vote base… Amit Shah’s unintended and casual reference to Pakistan bursting crackers in case of the NDA’s defeat was misinterpreted and blown out of proportion by rivals,” said Manjhi. His Hindustani Awami Morcha (Secular) managed to win only one of the 21 seats that it contested.
“What Mohan Bhagwat said about the need for a review of the reservation policy was right. I would agree to his suggestion, but he chose the wrong time to make this remark. Our opponents spread the word that the RSS was preparing to appoint an upper caste chief minister who would scrap reservation benefits,” said Manjhi.

“By the time Prime Minister Narendra Modi clarified the stand on reservation, it was too late,” he said, adding that the Grand Alliance had “succeeded in making it a vital electoral plank” against the NDA.
“After the reservation controversy, it was made out to be a fight between backward and forward castes, and opponents gave BJP the tag of an upper caste party. The EBCs and Dalits were misguided by Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar, who are masters of such campaigns. The Grand Alliance had no electoral plank till they latched on to Bhagwat’s reservation remarks,” said Manjhi.
He added that Nitish also cashed in on the “Bihari versus Bahari” row.
Manjhi said he would remain in the NDA and work as an MLA, inside and outside the assembly. “I am heading a party. I will start campaigning from the panchayat level to spread the message about empowerment of Dalits. Losses and wins are part of the game. I am with the NDA and will speak up against Nitish when needed,” said Manjhi.

Riaz Haq said...

Via @NPR: In #ParisAttack's Wake, France Grapples With What It Means To Be French. #Islamophobia in #France http://n.pr/1j3m8H4


Interview of ex NY Times Paris Correspondent Elaine Sciolino on NPR Fresh Air


If there is a national religion in France it's laïcité, or secularism. ... France is so attached to this republican ideal that over a decade ago, it passed a law forbidding what is called "ostensible signs of religion."

It was basically aimed at Muslims, and it was basically aimed at girls who were wearing headscarves. It caused a complete disruption in the schools. I wrote about it at the time. There were young girls who shaved their heads so that they wouldn't be showing their hair. There was a young girl who started wearing wide bandanas to class, and one of the law-makers said, "We have to have a bandana ban."

It's gotten even worse in recent years, because a few years ago France passed a ban on wearing the full facial coverage by Muslim women in public space, and it was perceived as an anti-Islam move. Where if the French had been more clever they could've just said, "Look, anyone who covers his or her face in public, whether it's with a motorcycle helmet or a ski mask or a facial mask is breaking the law. We have to do this for security reasons; we have to be able to see the faces of people in public space, whether it's a bank or a post office or a governmental building." But Islam has been stigmatized and that is what is so dangerous and troubling.

On anti-Muslim, far right politicians in France

The far right has won in local elections in some small but crucial cities in the south of France. There are some absurd manifestations of some of the things they want to do and have done. For example, some of these mayors have said there are too many kebab shops in France, because kebabs, which are Turkish not even North African Muslim, are not French, so we need to put back our boulangeries and our little French cafes and ban kebab shops from expanding.

Recently there's been a controversy because some of the far right political leaders have called for forcible serving of pork in all public schools. Muslim and Jewish students cannot eat pork. So they're being told, "If you don't want to adhere to our secular republican ideal and what is part of the French cuisine, go to your own private schools."

These attacks were a gift to the far right, wrapped up in a bow before Christmas. This feeds perfectly into the French fear that there's no security on our borders, that immigrants are the enemy, that there aren't enough jobs for "normal" French people so that we have to prevent the other, the alien, the foreigner, from invading our country.

http://www.npr.org/2015/11/16/456194287/journalist-says-paris-attacks-highlight-question-of-what-it-means-to-be-french

Riaz Haq said...

BBC News - #Modi's #India downplays Dalai Lama remarks on 'intolerance' after #BJP loss in #Bihar http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-34829687 …

India's ruling BJP has downplayed remarks by the Dalai Lama that are seen as criticising the government.
The Tibetan spiritual leader said recent elections in Bihar state - which the BJP lost - showed a "majority of Hindus believed in religious harmony".
He was answering a question on "intolerance" in India - an issue that has seen filmmakers, writers and actors return national awards.
The BJP has said the Dalai Lama's remarks should not be "misinterpreted".
The Dalai Lama did not name any political party, but his remarks are being seen as a veiled attack on the government.
The Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 after Chinese troops crushed an attempted uprising in Tibet. Since then, he has been living in exile in India.
In recent months, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP government has come under pressure to act after outrage over the murders of rationalists MM Kalburgi and Govind Pansare, as well as the lynching of a Muslim man over suspicions he consumed beef.
More than 50 historians have returned national and state awards, joining almost 40 writers who have done the same to protest at what they refer to as growing intolerance in India.
Scientists and filmmakers have also joined the protest, while some people in the business community have expressed concerns.
A number of writers, including Salman Rushdie, also wrote to UK Prime minister David Cameron, telling him to ask Mr Modi to act against intolerance.
The Janata Dal United party, which was a part of the "Grand Alliance" that won the Bihar elections, said that the Dalai Lama's statement was an attack on "extremist elements" in the country.
"The statement made by him has given a strong and befitting reply to the extremist groups in India. The results of the Bihar polls show that forces of tolerance are not only active but are in a majority," a party spokesman told the Press Trust of India news agency.
The BJP, however, has warned against "misinterpretation" of the Dalai Lama's remarks, and said that they were no cause of concern for the party.

Riaz Haq said...

Mani Shankar Aiyar to #Pakistan channel: Remove #Modi to resume #India-#Pakistan peace dialogue https://shar.es/15MmIQ via @sharethis

Former union minister and Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar today stoked a fresh controversy by reportedly saying, during a panel discussion on a Pakistani news channel, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs to be removed if talks between the two nations have to resume.
The Congress leader’s comments evoked sharp response from BJP and RJD, with the saffron outfit saying Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi should react to this and let the country know their stand on the issue.
The Congress, however, said BJP’s charges were “absolute nonsense” and that Aiyar communicated to the party that he had not said any such thing.

When the anchor of Duniya TV asked what is to be done to end the stalemate in the relations between the two nations, Aiyar responded, “The first and the foremost thing is to remove Modi. Only then can the talks move forward. We have to wait for four more years. They (panelists) are all optimist and that we can move forward when Modi sahab is there, but I don’t think so.”
He further said, “Bring us (the Congress) back to power and remove them. There is no other way (to better the relations). We will remove them, but till then you (Pakistan) have to wait.” Sought his reaction to the issue, Congress leader Tom Vaddakan said, “This is absolutely nonsense. I have a letter with me written by Mr Aiyer in which he categorically denies saying anything like that. So there is no question of distancing from it.”

Ramesh Raghavan said...

Dear Riaz Hack

I am back.

http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/see-india-as-strong-export-software-engineering-hub-abb_4271001.html

Don't worry, even taller-than-mountains-deeper-than-ocean friend China will not do anything remotely similar in Pak because they know that Pakistanis can't do any engineering and are best employed as toll gate collectors.

Now you understand why we Indians laugh at the state of Pak economy and their standard of education.

Ramesh Raghavan said...

Hey it's me, I am back.

Europe rethinking about their suicidal immigration policies.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44vzMNG2fZc

Riaz Haq said...

RR: "Now you understand why we Indians laugh at the state of Pak economy and their standard of education."

Here's why the world laughs at Indians' delusions of being a global power:


1. Recent World Bank report on student learning in South Asia shows Indian kids perform very poorly on math and reading tests. Buried inside the bad news is a glimmer of what could be considered hope for Pakistan's grade 5 and 8 students outperforming their counterparts in India. While 72% of Pakistan's 8th graders can do simple division, the comparable figure for Indian 8th graders is just 57%. Among 5th graders, 63% of Pakistanis and 73% of Indians CAN NOT divide a 3 digit number by a single digit number, according to the World Bank report titled "Student Learning in South Asia: Challenges, Opportunities, and Policy Priorities". The performance edge of Pakistani kids over their Indian counterparts is particularly noticeable in rural areas. The report also shows that Pakistani children do better than Indian children in reading ability.

http://www.riazhaq.com/2014/08/pakistani-children-outperform-indian.html


2. Indian kids rank at the bottom on international standardized tests like PISA and TIMSS.

http://www.riazhaq.com/2011/12/pisa-timss-confirm-low-quality-of.html


3. Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen has said India will never be a great power with its uneducated and unhealthy population.

In a recent visit to the LSE, Sen laid out his thoughts in black and white. In an interview to Sonali Campion and Taryana Odayar, he explains why the Narendra Modi government's economic philiosophy is completely wrong — and bound to fail.

"India is the only country in the world which is trying to become a global economic power with an uneducated and unhealthy labour force. It’s never been done before, and never will be done in the future either."

"India is trying to be different from America, Europe, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Singapore, China — all of them. This is not good way of thinking of economics."

Sen then warns of the inherent contradictions of this approach:

"The whole idea that you could somehow separate out the process of economic growth from the quality of the labour force is a mistake against which Adam Smith warned in 1776. "

Sen is harshest when asked about the comparison between India and China

"By 2009 they could bring in a scheme of universal healthcare and by 2012 they are well in the 90s in terms of percentage coverage of health insurance. China are able to do that if ten people at the top are persuaded.

In India, ten people is not sufficient. You have to carry the population. Against the blast of propaganda that happened in the general elections last year — fed on one side by the activism of the Hindutva Parivar, and the other side by the gigantic money of the business community — it is slow to correct ongoing deficiencies."​

http://www.outlookindia.com/blogs/post/why-india-will-never-be-a-superpower/3663/12

Riaz Haq said...

RR: "Europe rethinking about their suicidal immigration policies."

Europe's bombers and terrorists are homegrown; born, raised and educated in Europe. They are not immigrants coming from anywhere else. It's Europe's internal failure.

Riaz Haq said...

Indian #Hindu Activists Take Down Floating Cow Exhibit in Jaipur #India - ABC News. #Modi #BJP - http://abcn.ws/1LtKgZZ via @ABC

Right-wing Hindu activists have taken down an exhibit of a Styrofoam cow that was suspended in midair using a balloon, organizers of an art fair in western India and police said Sunday.

R.B. Gauttam, an organizer of the Jaipur Art Summit, said that the exhibit was meant to highlight how cows suffer after ingesting plastic waste at India's many garbage dumps. The activists, however, deemed the exhibit offensive and took it down on Saturday.

Cows are revered by India's majority Hindus, and the slaughter of the animals is banned in several Indian states.

"The activists claimed that the cow in the exhibit looked like it was hanging from a noose and that was disrespectful," Gauttam said. "They argued with us and took the cow down and even put a garland around it."

The cow exhibit continued to be a part of the art fair, but on Sunday it was no longer in midair.

Gauttam said the activists were just "looking for any type of publicity." Mahendra Singh, a police official, said the incident was being investigated.

In recent months, violence based on rumors of beef-eating by India's Muslim minority has spiked. A man was beaten to death by a mob over rumors his family had eaten beef, and two others were killed for allegedly transporting cows for slaughter.

Over the last several weeks, dozens of Indian intellectuals, writers, scientists and filmmakers have blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party for not speaking out against such brutal religious attacks. They say the government's silence has encouraged hard-line Hindu fringe groups to terrorize minorities and assert Hindu superiority.

Riaz Haq said...

#POTUS #Obama To #Trump : 'Perhaps Ignorant Racists Should Wear Special ID Badges Too' #MuslimID http://v.iew.im/kVBV4n via @freewoodpost


For President Obama, the political correctness gloves have been taken off and placed firmly up Donald Trump’s butt. Without the concern of reelection the President has become increasingly vocal, commenting frequently on the barrage of hate, intolerance and ignorance spewing from conservatives. Thursday was no exception as Obama took to Twitter to respond to an interview in which Trump indicated that a Muslim database and special ID badges that identify Muslims are policies he would consider to fight terrorism:

Riaz Haq said...

Aamir Khan can go to #Pakistan, says Shiv Sena Minister of #Maharashtra state. #Modi #BJP #India #Bollywood http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article7913386.ece …

Film star Aamir Khan found himself at the centre of a raging controversy on the issue of tolerance on Tuesday with saffron parties attacking him for stoking “fear” and telling him to “go to Pakistan” if he felt insecure in the country.

But parties at the other end of the spectrum defended the star actor, saying he was only reflecting the prevailing mood in India.

“He was a celebrated actor till now. But now it seems that we handed over milk to a snake. If he does not want to stay here, he can go to Pakistan,” Maharashtra Environment Minister and senior Shiv Sena leader Ramdas Kadam said.

At an event in New Delhi on Monday, the actor said he was alarmed at the rise in intolerance over the past six to eight months and his wife and film-maker, Kiran Rao, had wondered if they should relocate to another country.

“Kiran and I have lived all our lives in India. For the first time, she said should we move out of India? That’s a disastrous and big statement for Kiran to make to me. She fears for her child,” he said.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said: “Instead of branding all those who question the government and Modiji [Prime Minister Narendra Modi] as unpatriotic, anti-national or motivated, the government should reach out to people and understand what’s disturbing them.”

Riaz Haq said...

GLOBAL #LNG-February 2015 prices dip to between $6.90-$7.00 per mmBtu as #Pakistan nears 120 cargo award http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFL8N1473J620151218 …

Asian liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices eased this week as two companies emerged as the front-runners to supply Pakistan with 120 cargoes between 2016 and 2020.

The price of Asian spot cargoes for February delivery was pegged at between $6.90-$7.00 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), down from around $7.10 per mmBtu last week.

Shell and trading house Gunvor are on course to supply Pakistan with 120 cargoes after both companies submitted the lowest offers in two highly sought after tenders.

Jordan's National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) said its floating LNG import terminal was back working at full capacity after adverse weather disrupted operations earlier this month.

NEPCO declared force majeure on the terminal on Dec. 5 due to strong winds requiring it be moved away from the jetty, a spokeswoman for the company said.

Gas supplies to both Jordan and Egypt were disrupted for a few days before the plant initially resumed operation at half capacity, and then finally full capacity, the spokesperson said.

Nigerian exports of LNG are recovering after a disruption in loadings last week led to reduced flows compared with November averages.

LNG exports in November averaged 20 million tonnes/year (mt) while December is averaging just 16 mt/year, according to one industry source. (Reporting by Oleg Vukmanovic in Milan and Sarah McFarlane in London, editing by William Hardy)

Riaz Haq said...

#LNG price could be de-linked from #oil prices for contracts. LNG producers resist fearing further price collapse

http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21689644-it-will-take-time-fragmented-market-verge-going-global-step?fsrc=scn/tw_ec/step_on_it …

Analysts believe that, as a result, the pricing mechanism for natural gas is on the verge of change, and that a real global market will start to emerge, adding Asian trading hubs to those in America and Europe. This should spur the spread of natural gas, the cleanest fossil fuel and one that should be in the vanguard of the battle against global warming. But producers, who fear any change will lead to a drop in prices, are set to resist. They say long-term oil-linked contracts are still needed to offset the risk of their huge investments in LNG. (Gazprom, a Russian producer, has made the same argument in Europe about pipelines.)


Long-term and cyclical shifts explain why the gap between the two fossil fuels has widened. The LNG trade has grown massively in the past decade (see map). Adrian Lunt of the Singapore Exchange says LNG now rivals iron ore as the world’s second-biggest traded commodity, after oil. In the past 40 years natural gas’s share of the energy mix has grown from 16% to more than 21%. Oil’s has shrunk. Gas generates 22% of the world’s electricity; oil only 4%. It might make more sense to tie the price of natural gas to coal, against which it competes as a power source.

Moreover, during the current decade, the outlook for gas prices has become even more bearish than for oil. Sanford C. Bernstein, a research firm, reckons global LNG supply will increase by about a third over the next three years, pushing overcapacity to about 10%. (There is far less spare capacity in the oil market.) At least $130 billion of this investment in supply is in Australia, which within a few years will overtake Qatar as the world’s largest LNG producer. America will also add to the surplus. Its first, much-delayed LNG exports are due to be shipped from the Gulf Coast in weeks.

Investment in the liquefaction trains, tankers, regasification terminals and other paraphernalia needed to ship natural gas was boosted by a surge in demand from Asia. Japan and South Korea scrambled for LNG after Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011 forced them to shut down nuclear reactors. China saw LNG as a way to diversify its energy sources and curb pollution from coal. Last year, however, those countries, which account for more than half of global LNG consumption, unexpectedly slammed on the brakes.

The subsequent supply glut means that the spot price of gas in Asia has plunged. Those buyers who took out long-term oil-indexed contracts when crude was much higher are suffering. Mel Ydreos of the International Gas Union, an industry body, says that Chinese firms saddled with such contracts are urging suppliers to renegotiate them. He notes that a Qatari company recently agreed to renegotiate a long-term contract with an Indian buyer, cutting the price by half.

The drop in Asian prices has brought the cost of natural gas traded in different parts of the world closer to each other. America is an outlier. Thanks to the vast supplies unleashed by the shale revolution, its Henry Hub benchmark is by far the world’s cheapest, at just over $2 per million British thermal units (MBTU). But add liquefaction and transport costs, and American LNG prices rise above $4 per MBTU. In Europe and Asia they are a dollar or two higher. A few years ago the range would have been much wider, from $5 at Henry Hub to $19 in Asia. More homogenous prices are an important step towards a globalised market, says Trevor Sikorski of Energy Aspects, a consultancy.

Riaz Haq said...

A 75% Slump in #LNG Gas Aids #Pakistan's Quest to End #Energy Crisis. #loadshedding http://bloom.bg/1Ko4N8S via @business

A 75 percent drop in liquefied natural gas prices since 2014 is just what Pakistan needed. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government is confident it will help end the nation’s energy crisis by 2018.
In three years, the South Asian nation plans to import as much as 20 million tons of the super-chilled gas annually, according to Pakistan’s Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. That’s enough to feed about 66 percent of Pakistan’s power plants that have a total capacity of 23,840 megawatts. A fuel shortage has rendered half the nation’s generators idle.
“The energy crisis will be solved before the government’s term ends in 2018,” Abbasi said in a phone interview. “When a customer comes to us asking for gas, we can say, yes, we will deliver gas to you on this date. Earlier we said there is no gas, goodbye.”
Sharif’s plan to use LNG and build coal-fired electricity plants will help textile, fertilizer and steel producers boost output and spur growth that the nation’s power regulator estimates is 3 percentage points below potential. Outages lasting 18 hours had led to street protests in Karachi as recently as June, while falling natural gas production at home forced companies such as Tuwairqi Steel Mills Ltd. to idle it’s plant.

Pakistan is going all out for LNG “as it’s become more affordable,” Vahaj Ahmed, an analyst at Exotix Partners LLP in Dubai said by phone. “This gives policy makers room to justify why they are going for it. The difference between imported and natural gas is very small now.”
About 60 million cubic feet per day of LNG imports will be reserved for textile companies that have export orders, according to the finance ministry. The industry accounts for about half of Pakistan’s total exports, which declined 14 percent in the six months to Dec. 31. Fuel pumps, which are often shut for days, will benefit from the imports in the nation that was once the world’s largest compressed natural gas market.
LNG for delivery in Northeast Asia has dropped about 75 percent since 2014, according to World Gas Intelligence data compiled by Bloomberg. Spot price of the supercooled gas is likely to trade between $4 and $5 per million British thermal unit over the next four years, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts including Christian Lelong wrote in a report dated Jan. 31.
Pakistan will become one of the world’s top five buyers of LNG should the government’s plan succeed, according to Abbasi. The nation started importing LNG using a floating facility last year. Two more terminals are scheduled to be completed next year, Mobin Saulat, chief executive officer at Inter State Gas Systems told reporters last month. The nation got its first shipment last year.

The world’s top five LNG importers are Japan, South Korea, China, India and Taiwan, according to International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers. Pakistan also separately agreed on a 15-year contract with Qatar.
LNG will improve diversification of Pakistan’s energy needs but its only one part of the equation, Mervyn Tang, lead analyst for Pakistan at Fitch Ratings Ltd. said in an e-mail. “Progress on multiple fronts could help foster a sustainable stable energy environment, with potential positive knock-on effects for private investment and economic growth,” he said.

Riaz Haq said...

#Qatar Clinches 15-Year Contract to Supply #LNG to #Pakistan. 20 million tons a year for 66% of power http://bloom.bg/1QVqfBB via @business

Qatar Liquefied Gas Co., the world’s biggest producer of liquefied natural gas, signed a 15-year contract to supply Pakistan State Oil Co. with 3.75 million metric tons of fuel annually, the Qatari company said.
The supplier, known as Qatargas, plans to deliver the first cargo in March, the company said Wednesday in an e-mailed statement. Qatargas didn’t disclose the contract’s value. A proposed deal with Qatar for 1.5 million tons of LNG per year was worth $16 billion, Pakistan’s Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said during a visit to Doha in November.
Pakistan plans to import as much as 20 million tons of the super-chilled gas annually, enough to feed about 66 percent of Pakistan’s power plants. A fuel shortage has idled half the nation’s generators. A 75 percent drop in LNG prices since 2014 has reduced the cost of the South Asian country’s energy needs.
Qatargas, with annual capacity of 42 million tons, will supply Pakistan State Oil from joint venture plants it operates with ExxonMobil Corp. and Total SA. Pakistan State Oil shares rose 1.7 percent, the most since Feb. 4, to close as the leading gainer by points in Karachi’s benchmark 100 share index.
Talks between Qatargas and Pakistani officials date back to 2012. Pakistan intended to buy 3 million tons of LNG per year, split between long-term and shorter contracts. The country’s state oil company decided to cancel a tender for 60 cargoes of the fuel in January.