I travelled in that region in November 2014, and of course I took a four-day camel trek. It was plenty hot that time of year, so much so that we had to take a three hour siesta each day under whatever bushes we could find. We were in the Thar desert of Rajasthan if you really must know.
Chennai is out of water now.
Time lapse satellite photo of Chennai reservoir disappearing:
News from India says that 21 cities with about a hundred million people, will run out of groundwater by 2020. Yes folks, that’s next year.
Twenty one cities in India including Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad – will run out of groundwater by 2020, affecting around 100 million people, claims a report by NITI Ayog.
The report also says that 40 per cent of India’s population will have no access to drinking water by 2030.The situation is alarming, given the fact that year 2020 is not very far. Three rivers, four water bodies, five wetlands and six forests have completely dried in Chennai despite having better water resources and rains than any other metro cities, the report said. (from www.republicworld.com/…)
I looked up NITI Ayog, wondering how legitimate they are. Turns out they are part of the Government of India.
National Institution for Transforming India, also called NITI Aayog, was formed via a resolution of the Union Cabinet on January 1, 2015. NITI Aayog is the premier policy ‘Think Tank’ of the Government of India, providing both directional and policy inputs. While designing strategic and long term policies and programmes for the Government of India, NITI Aayog also provides relevant technical advice to the Centre and States.
The Government of India, in keeping with its reform agenda, constituted the NITI Aayog to replace the Planning Commission instituted in 1950. This was done in order to better serve the needs and aspirations of the people of India. An important evolutionary change from the past, NITI Aayog acts as the quintessential platform of the Government of India to bring States to act together in national interest, and thereby fosters Cooperative Federalism.
And a report by an international team of scientists started with: The Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH) is a crucially important region for South Asia and China. These mountains are the ‘Water Towers of Asia’, providing water to 1.3 billion people. However, the warming trend in the HKH is higher than the global average –a cause for grave concern. There is no other place in the world where so many people are being affected by climate change so rapidly.
The change is here folks, faster than we ever thought!!
On May 18th we will be marching down the streets of Toronto to honour the Nakba and to call for an end to Israeli Apartheid. The energy and strength of Palestinians has been relentless in resisting colonial violence. Please join us on the streets and support our call by sharing the event with your network of activists and organizers. This is the Facebook page.
We will be gathering at Yonge-Dundas Square at 2PM and marching to Yonge and Bloor to the Israeli Consulate. Please bring your energy and enthusiasm as well as your banners and placards.
We urge you to endorse this day of action and our call for the right of return of Palestinians. An endorsement can mean simply stating your support to us, sharing the event page on Facebook, and/or supporting with resources. Some endorsing organizations include:
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME)
The cruelty and temerity of the people in Gaza once more reached new heights Saturday: dozens of rockets on Israel before the week of its Independence Day, just after its Holocaust Remembrance Day, and worst of all, two weeks before its Eurovision. How dare you Gaza, how dare you.
Israel still hasn’t recovered from the Holocaust, is preening itself for its Independence Day, the musicians are starting to arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport, and you’re firing Qassam rockets. How will we be able to celebrate? News reports give the impression that Israel is under siege; Gaza is threatening to destroy it. Twitter has already suggested “Eva’s Story on the Gaza Border” – a play on the social media campaign about the Holocaust.
Pundits explain that it’s all because of Hamas’ greed. Ramadan is beginning and “they’re under crazy pressure for cash.” Or, “It’s all because of the weak security policy that has gotten the terror groups used to Israel; we only strike buildings.”
And so they shoot, those villains. Hamas wants money, Israel’s too soft on them, they are terror, we are peace; they were born to kill. On Friday the army killed four protesters by the Gaza border fence, but who’s counting. In Israel a teenage boy tripped while running for a shelter. “When a lack of policy and continuity yields to blackmail,” a voice of wisdom mumbled, and nobody could figure out what he was proposing. Benny Gantz, the alternative. This is what we have an opposition for.
Everything is completely disconnected from context and reality, intentionally and willfully. Half a week after Holocaust Remembrance Day, the knowledge that 2 million people have been locked up more than 12 years behind barbed wire in a giant cage doesn’t remind Israel of anything and doesn’t arouse anything. Half a week before Independence Day, the struggle for freedom and independence of another people is perceived as murderous terror for no reason.
Even the desperate attempt to prevent the brink of starvation is perceived as greed; the effort to somehow impart the appearance of a holiday in the holiest month of the year is depicted as extortion. That’s how low the brainwashing goes and no one protests. Everyone accepts it with a shrug. Anyone who doubts how hollow and destructive the inculcation of the Holocaust is in Israel should look at the responses in Israel to this Gaza Ghetto Uprising. Anyone who ignores the reality in Gaza or tries to deny its disaster has learned nothing.
Gaza is a ghetto and what’s happening in the south is a ghetto uprising. There’s no other way to describe it. You can make claims against Hamas but you can’t make any claims against Gaza. It’s fighting for its freedom and no struggle is more just than its struggle, and Hamas is its leader.
The countdown to Hamas’ death has already begun: Only seven more months until the UN report, until Gaza is unfit for human habitation. But Israel yawns and its spokespeople only know how to tout “deterrence,” that monster we’ve created to justify every killing, closure and bout of destruction, as we lie ourselves to death that there’s something to deter 2 million unemployed, desperate, humiliated people, some of whom are hungry or dying for lack of medical care, and all of whom are locked up.
No one in Israel can imagine life in Gaza over the past 12 years. There are people who see to it that we don’t know, including Israel’s ban on the entry of Israeli journalists, which has stoked no protest at all. “Eva’s Story” should be filmed in Gaza way before it’s filmed in the Gaza border area.
A country that is established on the memory of the ghettos, which only a few days ago sanctified that memory, hides its face from the much larger ghetto that it built with its own hands and doesn’t want to see, one hour from the center of that country. A country that was established in a bloody struggle will not recognize the justness of the struggle of another people and wonders whether that people even exists. A society that considers itself exemplary, which was established on the world’s indifference to its suffering, shows monstrous heartlessness to the suffering it is causing.
“What were they before?” a woman asked me Friday in a lecture I gave in Tel Aviv. And what were we? What have we become?
ALBA’s 16th summit ended Friday in Havana. Its final declaration called for a new world order based on democracy, equality, and sovereignty.
The members-states of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our America-Peoples’ Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) gathered in Cuba to celebrate 14 years of working to defend regional peace and consolidate Latin American and Caribbean integration.
“We reiterate our will to continue promoting the construction of a new democratic, fair, inclusive and equitable international order in which sovereign equality between the states and respect for the free self-determination of the peoples is effective,” the summit’s final declaration stated.
“We reaffirm the need to strengthen the community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) as a mechanism of regional political concentration based on respect of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and non-intervention in the internal affairs of each country.”
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said earlier Friday that integration is the only way to face threats from interventionist countries. He also defended Nicaragua and Venezuela, saying that constant political subversion, economic aggression, and threats of the use of force endanger the region’s peace and security.
Diaz-Canel wrote on Twitter: “On the 14th anniversary of #ALBAunited we pay homage to that endeavor, to its realization, to the dream, to the dreamers and to all those who made it possible for us to settle centuries-old debts. #WeareCuba #WeAreContinuity.”
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro urged the members of the alliance to strengthen the platform based on agreement, cooperation, unity, and solidarity.
“We insist that unilateral coercive measures are contrary to the United Nations charter and international law, violate international trade rules, threaten international peace and security, and restrict the enjoyment of human rights,” the final declaration reiterated in a rebuke against the United States blockade of Cuba, its recently-approved NICA Act against Nicaragua, and the economic and financial sanctions against Venezuela.
Bolivia’s President Evo Morales said that the best tribute to the revolutionary leaders, and the main promoters of ALBA, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, would be to commit to the struggles for the liberation of the region and achieve social justice and peace.
“We attended the XVI ALBA-TCP Summit in Havana, Cuba, to commemorate the 14th anniversary of its founding by the commanders Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez and we reaffirmed our willingness to work together to strengthen the brotherhood and integration of Latin America and the Caribbean,” wrote the Bolivian leader on Twitter.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega denounced the interventionist acts of the U.S. against Venezuela and Cuba.
The member states also showed their solidarity with Brazil’s former President Lula Da Silva who was sentenced to 12 years and a month in prison accused of passive corruption and money laundering. Lula denies his involvement in any of the cases and claims he’s the target of political persecution, along with President Dilma Rousseff and their Workers’ Party (PT).
“We reiterate our solidarity with comrade Lula Da Silva, emblematic leader of our America, political prisoner in Brazil,” ALBA’s final declaration states.
The Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves said that a military intervention against Venezuela would have happened if ALBA did not exist.
“Venezuela is not a threat to anyone, it is not disturbing world peace, it is not in the midst of a civil war, there is no condition of international law that allows (the U.S.) to intervene in Venezuela,” the Caribbean leader said.
According to him, these threats from the U.S. should be taken seriously because they are coming from the world’s largest military power. Hence, the ALBA-TCP must respond with greater unity, he said.
Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, ratified the defense of the people’s sovereignty and the validity of the ALBA-TCP, especially for the most vulnerable and marginalized.
“We are interested in solving the problems of the people … that is what will always be done,” said Skerrit.
The general secretary of ALBA-TCP, David Choquehuanca, called for the unity and integration of Latin American peoples within the framework of fraternity and the defense of sovereignty in order to strengthen multilateral development.
Nicolas Maduro wrote on Twitter, “We proposed at the XVI Summit of the ALBA-TCP, to strongly promote the construction of an integrating development model, capable of generating the wealth that allows us to achieve economic liberation, to advance towards a higher level of shared development. #AlbaIstheFuture.”
Choquehuanca highlighted the importance of consolidating the monetary systems developed in the region, referring to the Venezuelan cryptocurrency Petro and the Sucre, as bases for a new economic model.
“We must be active in the multilateral scenario, in the mechanisms of alliances, the social and economic movement, councils of our peoples, who want to integrate, who want to work for their land (…) We must also adapt to work and build that new economic thinking with Sucre and Petro, a new financial architecture that is now a reality,” said the secretary.
He also focused on working with Russia, China, Iran, and Turkey as they are interested in working with the governments ALBA member states. The secretary added that they need to work together with social movements.
“We have to become the spirit of integration of the peoples of the world, to awaken that feeling of brotherhood,” he concluded.
At a Brock University town hall on January 15, Prime Minister Justin
Trudeau was challenged by an audience member who lauded the PM’s apology
for Canada’s role in turning back Jewish refugees from Nazi persecution
during the Second World War, but then went on to dispute the PM’s
understanding of contemporary anti-Semitism. “I believe, to my
consternation,” stated the questioner, “that you equated the BDS
(Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement with anti-Semitism. Will
you take this opportunity today to retract your condemnation of the BDS
movement?” The PM’s response
appeared to come straight from the playbook of Israel-affiliated lobby
groups when he declared that the BDS call is anti-Semitic and that
“Canadian values” dictate that it must be opposed. Indeed, even
Trudeau’s language (“single out Israel,” “delegitimize and demonize”)
directly references Israeli government talking points. Adhering to the
“anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism” position of the Israeli government
and many pro-Israel Jewish organizations, the PM demonizes and
potentially imperils the rights of those who care about and advocate for
Palestinian self-determination and an end to violations of the rights
of the indigenous population of Palestine.
Just how out of step is Justin Trudeau with the Canadian public’s
attitudes towards Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights? The
PM’s most recent attack on the non-violent Palestinian civil society-led
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement appears to be in direct
contradiction to the opinions of the majority of Canadians. The evidence
for this claim can be found in two surveys conducted recently by the
EKOS polling organization. The first survey, conducted in 2017 and sponsored by Independent Jewish Voices Canada and Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East,
revealed that 46 per cent of Canadians hold a negative view of the
Israeli government. In Trudeau’s own Liberal party, the number of those
with negative views was a substantial 55 per cent. Nonetheless, Canada’s
Liberal government continues to demonstrate virtually uncritical
support for Israel. They justify their position by claiming that it is
necessary to “support Jews and to oppose anti-Semitism.” This serves to
perpetuate the misconception, encouraged by Israel-aligned Jewish
communal organizations such as the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
(CIJA) and B’nai Brith Canada, that Jews are ideologically unified in
their support for the Jewish state’s current political regime. A recently released EKOS survey of Canadian Jews’ opinions on Israel, sponsored by Independent Jewish Voices Canada and the United Jewish People’s Order, is the first of its kind and demonstrates conclusively that there is no unity among Canadian Jews regarding Israel’s policies.
Indeed, the study concludes that Jewish Canadians are deeply divided
in their opinions of the Israeli government. More than a third of
Canadian Jews (37 per cent) have a negative opinion of the Israeli
government, while only half view it positively. In addition, almost one
in three Canadian Jews (31 per cent) oppose the military blockade of the
Gaza Strip, and nearly half (45 per cent) oppose the U.S. decision to
recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state. Fifty-eight per
cent of Canadian Jews do not see criticism of Israel as necessarily
anti-Semitic, and 48 per cent believe that charges of anti-Semitism are
often used to silence legitimate criticism of the Jewish state.
Astonishingly, over a third (36 per cent) of Jews in Canada think that
the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israel is reasonable, while 44 per
cent oppose Parliamentary condemnation of those who endorse a boycott
of Israel. Unlike Prime Minister Trudeau, 28 per cent of Canada’s Jews
believe it is reasonable to impose sanctions on Israel for its
violations of Palestinian human rights.
Clearly, Trudeau does not represent general Canadian public opinion
when it comes to Israel/Palestine. Moreover, his opposition to BDS, his
support for measures that would censure anti-Zionist expression, and his
clear mimicking of Israeli Foreign Ministry language and ideology are
unacceptable to significant numbers of Canadian Jews who have parted
ways with those in the community who march in lockstep with the Israeli
government. Trudeau’s position is not only ill-advised, it is dangerous
— dangerous for Palestinians whose situation grows graver by the day,
and dangerous for Jews in the current climate of rising anti-Semitism
from the right. As Oxford philosophy professor Brian Klug
has argued, “When anti-Semitism is everywhere, it is nowhere. And when
every anti-Zionist is an anti-Semite, we no longer know how to recognize
the real thing — the concept of anti-Semitism loses its significance.”
It’s time to bring our government’s policies on Israel’s 51-year
occupation into alignment with the decidedly more critical, and
ultimately more moral, stance of the Canadian public.