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India in the age of bread and circus - Siddharth Singh, Mint
It is the age of powerlessness at the Centre. For all practical purposes, a lame duck Manmohan Singh is presiding over a system where chief ministers call the shots. Nearly a dozen chief ministers, led by Mamata Banerjee, may have just ensured the freezing of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC). And if any proof of the Union government’s weakness was required, the Prime Minister provided it himself. Read Full Article››
Pakistan’s shrinking minority space - Farahnaz Ispahani, Hindu
The desire of Islamist extremists to ‘purify’ Pakistan has resulted in a major catastrophe for the minorities. The country cannot emerge as a modern pluralist state until the reversal of this culture of intolerance. The murder in Gujranwala of an elderly woman, a seven-year-old girl and an infant in a mob attack on members of the Ahmadi community highlights the continuing deterioration of Pakistan’s treatment of its religious minorities. The mob was incited by an Ahmadi youth allegedly sharing blasphemous material...
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India wastes food worth Rs 45,000 crore a year - Kunal Bose, Hindustan Times
Wastage of all kinds of food during farm-to-fork journey and also because of mindless indulgences by people with dispensable income whenever they visit supermarkets remains a global curse. It is known that over one-third of India’s fruit and vegetables valued at over Rs. 13,000 crore is wasted annually in the absence of adequate refrigerated storage infrastructure and logistics deficiencies. The other villain is the anachronistic distribution system, favouring middlemen...
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Here's to the two of Us - John Kerry & Penny Pritzker, Economic Times
The long-standing partnership between the US and India is on the cusp of an historic transformation. Working together, the world's oldest democracy and the world's largest democracy can forge a new era of shared prosperity and security for hundreds of millions of people in India, across Asia and the world. India's rise will help the Indo-Pacific region become more stable, more prosperous and more free. The strategic choices India makes on how to grow its economy and promote regional security...
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The dynasty factor - Smita Gupta, Hindu
It won’t be easy for the Congress to address its crisis of credibility, circumventing the shortcomings of its impossible-to-change leadership. A defeat as devastating as the one the Congress suffered in the recent general elections in almost any other major political party around the world would have called for a change in leadership. But not in the 128-year-old organisation that brought freedom to India 67 years ago. “Any change that is contemplated,” a former Union Minister, echoing colleagues, said...
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Lalu & Nitish: Hand in hand for first electoral test - Santosh Singh, Indian Express
Forced by circumstances to join hands, former Bihar chief ministers Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar will find their alignment put to the test in byelections to 10 assembly seats on August 21. Their separate fronts having notched a combined tally of more votes than the victorious NDA managed in the Lok Sabha polls, the bypolls will be a test for whether they can retain those shares in alliance against a front that has since settled at the Centre.
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Much ado about nothing: Civil services must pick the best - Srivatsa Krishna, Times of India
Precious time of the nation and its leadership is being wasted on a non-issue, namely Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)’s new Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT). We must be the only country on the planet where candidates protest and want to decide how their aptitude for civil services should be tested! Will the same bunch have the courage to tell IIT/IIM or GMAT examination authorities to drop some sections...
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‘Hindu Rashtra’ Reflects Inclusion, Not Theocracy - Rakesh Sinha, NewIndianExpress
The comment by a Goa minister that India is a Hindu Rashtra is not something which goes against the spirit of the Indian Constitution or annihilation of secularism. The connotation Hindu is inclusive  in its origin and evolution. Any effort to draw a parallel between Hindu nation and theocratic states needs to be contested. India is the only nation in the world which is co-terminus with a civilisation. In other words, India is an organic example of continuity of age-old civilisation.
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Flush out black cash in India - Sandeep Bamzai, Mail Today
The black money conundrum gets more and more convoluted. The haze doesn't seem to lift. Twice last week, Arun Jaitley reiterated the BJP's commitment to bring back the black stash, but as we now know the government doesn't have a 'go to' plan. The worthies who make up the panel constituted by the Supreme Court on black money as Mail Today reported recently, is fighting the problem under the influence of the art...
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'For the Pakistan army, the war against India is a 'jihad' or war of civilizations' - Indrani Bagchi, Times of India
South Asian political and military affairs expert Christine Fair's recent study on the Pakistan Army concludes that Pakistan would not be satisfied even if there was a solution to Kashmir, because for the Pakistan army, the war against India is a 'jihad' or war of civilizations. In India to promote her book, 'Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army's Way of War', Fair tells Indrani Bagchi that she believes Pakistan's North Waziristan terrorist clean-up was just an eye-wash...
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To mock Putin's pride and test his paranoia is folly - Simon Jenkins, Guardian
Why does foreign policy default to stupid? From the moment that we heard of the Malaysian airliner shot down over Ukraine it was clearly an accident. Whoever’s finger was on the trigger, the tragedy cannot have been meant. This was not another 9/11. It was cock-up, not conspiracy. Yet foreign policy craves conspiracy. Vladimir Putin blamed the Ukrainian government. Ukraine blamed the pro-Russian rebels. America’s UN ambassador, Samantha Power, “cannot rule out” Moscow’s responsibility. London howled blue murder all round.
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