Oakville, ON: The Canada India Foundation rejects the Toronto Star editorial “India is on a dangerous path in Kashmir” (13 August).
India does not need to boast that it is the world’s largest democracy. India IS the world’s most populous democracy. India and Canada are the world’s largest democracies by population and area, respectively. This is not a race and even if it were, India does not need to win it.
The 2019 Indian general election saw the highest turnout by women voters, as well as the highest turnout in any general election, among an eligible electorate of 900 million. This is a fact, and a matter of pride. Why the Toronto Star sees it as a boast – and its implication that it is an empty one – is unfathomable. The paper also claims that “India under Modi is moving further away from its proud record as a country that values diversity and guarantees the rights of its many minorities”. If that were indeed the case, why would more Indians than ever before turn out to give even more seats to the BJP itself and to the NDA coalition? In fact, more Muslims than ever before voted for Prime Minister Modi.
The editorial imperiously notes that “as India’s only Muslim-majority territory, Kashmir acts as an essential barometer for the country’s claims to be secular, tolerant and democratic.” India does not need to claim to be secular, tolerant and democratic, because India and Indians have always practiced those values. One of the first acts of the Modi government was to ban the unfair practice of triple-talaq that caused undue hardships to Muslim women. Muslims, just as all minorities, from all over India have achieved unprecedented success in all spheres of life. To say that only the achievements of Kashmiri Muslims count, is to insult Muslims across India.
Two examples are enough to counter the Star’s insolent comment. India’s former President, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, was the head of India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as well as the Indian Space Research Organisation. India’s array of missiles and nuclear weapons with which it is to defend itself at times of war, are thus, thanks to the efforts of a Muslim. One of India’s richest men – Azim Premji – is also a Muslim. Worth US$20 billion, he turned his small company into an I.T. giant providing employment to many. However, as per the Toronto Star, the achievements of Dr. Kalam and Dr. Premji – two of over 170 million Muslims in India – do not count at all, and their continuing contributions to India’s secular democracy is false and unworthy of note.
Missing from all the Star’s criticism is concern for the actual minorities in Kashmir:
It is a fact that the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India. It is also a fact that two-thirds of that territory is occupied by two other countries. Yet, the Toronto Star wants India to account for its actions while accepting the illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir by others.
India is a sovereign country with every right to govern itself as it sees fit whether that involves simple passage of a law or amending its constitution. Just as the Government of Canada is supreme within its borders, the Government of India is supreme within its own. Surely the Toronto Star can respect law and borders.
As a newspaper of record, we urge the Toronto Star to research the matter thoroughly before editorializing. We hope that future Toronto Star coverage of India will be balanced.
Canada India Foundation (CIF) is a national, not-for-profit, nonpartisan, non-governmental organization that aims to foster strong bilateral relations between Canada and India.
Russia, Aug 12 (Canadian-Media): In the wake of ongoing demonstrations for exclusion of opposition candidates from the September ballot, Google had been asked by Russian government not to advertise illegal mass news on YouTube, media reports said.
Google was also warned by the nation’s state communications watchdog, Roscomnadzor, that lack of response by Google would be considered interference in its sovereign affairs and obstruction of democratic elections in Russia, but he did not provided more details of measures he would take.
It had come to Roscomnadzor's notice that tools such as push notifications from YouTube, have been bought by some organizations, to spread news about protests for illegal purposes, such as disrupting elections.
It was reported that on on Saturday, several YouTube channels streamed live broadcasts of the latest protest in Moscow, said to be the nation’s largest demonstration in eight years.
Late last year Google was fined 500,000 roubles, about $7,663 by the Russian government for declining to remove certain entries from its search results.
Manhattan (U.S.), Aug 11 (Canadian-Media): Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, United States (U.S.) has led to major investigations into the circumstances of his death, media reports said.
Epstein, 66, charged with federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges, had been denied bail and faced up to 45 years in prison last month. He had pleaded not guilty awaited trial next year.
Wild theories and the hashtag #EpsteinMurder was trending worldwide emerged after the death of the financier, who was accused of sexually abusing young girls.
Danald Trump, President of U.S., retweeted a post that Epstein had killed himself and included the line “#JefferyEpstein had information on Bill Clinton & now he’s dead”.
“This is another example of our president using this position of public trust to attack his political enemies with unfounded conspiracy theories and also to try and force you and me and all of us to focus on his bizarre behaviour,” O’Rourke told CNN. “He’s changing the conversation if we allow him to do that then we will never be able to focus on the true problem, of which he is a part.”
Trump is among the powerful people who knew Epstein and once described him as a “terrific guy”.
It has been reported Epstein was previously on suicide watch for around a week last month.
An investigation into circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death would be done by FBI and the Department of Justice’s office of the inspector general.
The Republican senator Rick Scott of Florida, the state where some of Epstein’s alleged sexual abuse took place, suggested others might have been involved in Epstein’s death when he called on officials to explain what happened at the prison.
“The Federal Bureau of Prisons must provide answers on what systemic failures of the MCC Manhattan or criminal acts allowed this coward to deny justice to his victims,” he tweeted.
Ottawa, Aug 6 (Canadian-Media): It was announced yesterday by Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs that Rob Oliphant, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, will represent Canada at the International Conference for Democracy in Venezuela on August 6, 2019, in Lima, Peru.
Canada, is an active member of the Lima Group, established on August 8, 2017, in Lima, to coordinate participating countries’ efforts and apply international pressure on the Maduro regime.
Representatives from more than 50 countries would be participating in the conference with the widely shared objective of the international community to resolve the critical and worsening humanitarian, political and economic crisis in Venezuela.
According to the July 2019 report published by Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, over 4 million Venezuelans have been forced to flee their homes since 2015 in search of food, health care and other basic services.
“Millions of people have been affected by the economic, political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. The Venezuelan people continue to suffer every day at the hands of the illegitimate Maduro regime. This tragedy has gone on for too long. It is time for the international community to come together and take a united stand in support of a peaceful return to democracy in Venezuela,” said Oliphant.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
United Kingdom, July 31 (Canadian-Media): The British Broadcast Corporation (BBC)'s flagship news show, The Today Programme, spoke to Donald Trump's former chief strategist about immigration, Brexit and his relationship with Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister and Nigel Farage, a British politician, broadcaster, and political analyst serving as Leader of the Brexit Party since 2019, media reports said.
The BBC has been criticised for giving the far-right US political strategist Steve Bannon airtime to share his views.
Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s former adviser, was interviewed by the broadcaster’s North American editor Jon Sopel for Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday.
Listeners and media commentators condemned the decision to give Mr Bannon a platform, claiming it would help legitimise his extreme agenda.
“WHY? Why would you give him airtime?” said Professor Emily Bell of the Columbia Journalism School. “This interview is embarrassing and irrelevant. Steve Bannon has zero to say of importance on anything and here is a credulous interview on BBC Radio 4.”
#PritiPatel, #IndianOrigin; #UK, #homesecretary
London, July 25 (Canadian-Media): Priti Patel, of Indian origin and known to back India's Narendra Modi government, has been named British home secretary in Prime Minister Boris Johnson's new government, media reports said.
Patel, who is taking over from Pakistani-origin Sajid Javid, who is the new chancellor of the exchequer and said,
"I will do everything in my power to keep our country safe, our people secure, and also to fight the scourge of crime that we see on our streets...I also want to thank my predecessor Sajid Javid for his commitment to the Home Office and law and order.
Patel , 47 is an outspoken critic of former Prime Minister Theresa May's approach to Brexit since she resigned as international development minister in November 2017 over secret meetings with Israeli officials.
Patel will be in charge of police, law and order, intelligence and tackling terrorism.
Boris Johnson intends to positively see the United Kingdom (UK) leave the European Union (EU) by October 31.
#NarendraModi; #world's most admired Indian, Survey; ##YouGov
London, July 19 (Canadian-Media): According to a survey conducted by UK-based internet market research and data analytics firm YouGov., Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gets as world's most admired Indian, and the sixth most admired person in the world, media reports said.
The study covered the views of people in 41 countries with more than 42,000 people being interviewed to compile the list.
#ExclusionofTurkey; #NATO's F-35 fighter jet program
ANKARA, July 18 (Canadian-Media): Decision by U.S. to exclude Turkey from NATO's F-35 fighter jet program was considered to be unilateral that could cause irreversible damage to bilateral relations, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Thursday, Xinhua news reports said.
SAN FRANCISCO, July 17 (Canadian-Media): Boeing said Wednesday it will give 50 million U.S. dollars as financial relief to the families of passengers and crew members who lost their lives in the two deadly air crashes, Xinhua news reporst said.
Expressing sympathy for the victims, Boeing President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg, said this tragedy which had taken many lives weighed heavily on them at Boeing.
Ken Feinberg, U.S. airplane maker said a veteran compensation expert had been hired for the distribution o air crash victims and their families.
"Through our partnership with Feinberg and Biros, we hope affected families receive needed assistance as quickly and efficiently as possible," said Muilenburg.
Since March 2019, the 737 MAX jets have been grounded globally due to safety concerns.
WASHINGTON, July 16 (Canadian-Media) -- A bill was passed Tuesday by the U.S. House of Representatives to condemn U.S. President Donald Trump for his racist comments against four Democratic congresswomen, Xinhua news reports said.
This was a reaction to Trump's racist tweets asking the four congresswomen, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, to leave the country and go back to where they had come from.