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May 21 2018

Save the Constitution!

In the late evening hours of June 25th 1975, Indira Gandhi, the then prime minister, rushed a letter to the president of India. In this letter Mrs Gandhi alerted the president that “information has reached us that indicates that there is an imminent danger to the security of India being threatened by internal disturbances. The matter is extremely urgent”. To move things quickly, Mrs Gandhi had attached a preformulated “proclamation of emergency” that the president could simply sign and return. She also schooled him on the constitution: “Under Article 352, even when there is an imminent danger of such a threat mentioned by me, the necessary Proclamation under Article 352 1 can be issued.” The president obliged, though, perhaps in an desperate act to push back against the unfolding emasculation of his office, made sure he left a mark: Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed changed “Article 352 1” in Mrs Gandhi’s draft to “Article 352 (1)”.

Declaring the state of emergency boosted Mrs Gandhi’s executive powers and clipped Indian citizens of most fundamental rights and civil liberties. But Mrs Gandhi saw this differently. In an interview broadcasted on Thames Television in 1977, shortly after the emergency was revoked, a nosy British reporter pressed Mrs Gandhi to explain if the Allahabad High Court’s stay order, which barred Mrs Gandhi from participating in the Lok Sabha for having fought dirty to win her seat, had anything to do with her plunging into emergency. Mrs Gandhi retorted that she was not intimidated by Indian courts. As Jawaharlal Nehru’s only child and, to cite the colourful phrase of the Congress’s former parliamentary spokesman, “the woman upon whom the Gods have entrusted the destiny of India”, the only thing standing between her and rulership, boasted Mrs Gandhi, was the question “if I want to be prime minister or not”.

Mrs Gandhi’s bearish politics and indifference to the constitution impressed Richard Nixon mightily. After stormy negotiations with Mrs Gandhi on the future of Indo-Pak relations, Nixon confided in a reporter (“don’t quote me on this..hahaha”), that Mrs Gandhi had confirmed his gender theory: When it comes to taking risky foreign policy decisions, “women are really tougher than men”. The worst nightmare in Nixon’s ‘50s chauvinism was consequently “a woman…a CUBAN woman succeeding Fidel Castro! Since we’ve already got enough trouble with him”.

India’s current ruling party, the BJP, broadly Hindu nationalist and pro-market in outlook, interspersed with spasms of leftist regulatory zeal, has not declared a constitutional emergency yet. And it is unlikely to do so. After Narender Modi remade the party in his own image, conjuring up right-wing ideological spectres from Savarkar to Yogi Adityanath and pushing RSS members into every tentacle of the government’s machinery, his regard for legal procedure and measured policy has increasingly given way to his flamboyant clothing style (which is terrific) and extravagant government programs (which are terrible). In one of his fits, aired nation-wide on November 8th 2016, Modi nullified all 500 (€6) and 1000 rupee banknotes to rid India of “black money”, leaving Indians to riddle out how to pay for food and shelter the morning after.

Modi’s politics are far more sophisticated than Mrs Gandhi’s. By playing out the cult around his person against his own party, the opposition, the bureaucracy, the military, and the judiciary, Modi has swooped up a mindboggling amount of institutional power. And all this without ever having to write needy letter to the president. He also receives backing from surprising corners. A former Supreme Court Justice recently trumpeted that the RSS, Modi’s paramilitary volunteer movement, constituted a crucial pillar for public safety.

On April 20th, the opposition flexed its parliamentary muscle to impeach Dipak Misra, the Chief Justice of India, who stands accused of allocating cases to the respective benches at his own, politically right-leaning, whim. Rahul Gandhi, the grandson of Mrs Gandhi and now leader of the Congress party, thundered that the CJI’s behaviour warranted impeachment on the grounds of Article 124 (4): there had clearly been “proven misbehaviour and incapacity”. To avoid abuse, Article 124 prescribes a long-winded and thorny process to hold judges accountable to the constitution. It involves, amongst other things, the Vice-President accepting the motion from the Lok Sabha or the upper house and an inquiry committee to hear the case and base their judgement on the high proof-standard of “beyond reasonable doubt”. All this makes Article 124 undertakings more of a marathon than a sprint.

In this case the race was throttled early by Venkaiah Naidu, the Vice-President, who elaborated in his 10-page order that “there is virtually no concrete verifiable imputation. Either the allegations are within judicial domain and concern the internal judicial processes or there are unsubstantiated surmises and conjectures which hardly merit or necessitate further investigation.” As a direct response to the Vice-President’s decision, the Congress party launched the “Save the Constitution” campaign on April 23rd. Before the next Lok Sabha elections are called, presumably in 2019, Rahul Gandhi wants to crush the Modi cult. In a speech given at the launch event for the campaign, in Delhi’s Talkatora Indoor Stadium, Rahul Gandhi chastised Modi for his ego-centric drive to secure political power: “Modi is only interested in Modi. He does not care about poverty, the raping of girls or dalits [the former lower castes; now a juicy vote-bank]. The only thing he cares about is what he has to do to get re-elected.”

“The Congress party and Ambedkar have given India the constitution. The Congress has defended it for 70 years. Then the BJP came and battered it. But we will not allow the BJP and the RSS to continue with their disregard of the constitution. In the coming elections the Indian citizens will show Modi that they want the Congress back! [loud cheers] … Whenever the BJP will interfere with the rights of women, dalits, and minorities, they will find a Congress flag waving there”. These words sound fair. But Amit Shah, Modi’s right hand man, immediately reprimanded Rahul Gandhi. It was regretful, Amit Shah said, that Rahul Gandhi, while deriving his legitimacy solely from his lineage had such a bad memory when it came to his family’s entanglements with the constitution.

Interview magazine closes, ending a 50-year survey of Manhattan cool

Magazine founded by Andy Warhol closes after months of turmoil, including a lawsuit brought over back pay and the resignation of a fashion director accused of sexual misconduct

Interview magazine, the famous art, fashion, entertainment and pop culture journal of downtown New York founded by Andy Warhol in 1969, has closed down, according to company sources.

The magazine was owned by Peter Brant, a billionaire art collector, who acquired the magazine in 1989. Its closure comes after months of turmoil, including staff being locked out as part of rent dispute, a lawsuit brought by a former editorial director over back pay and the resignation of a fashion director accused of sexual misconduct.

Continue reading...

Making Japan's hot springs more friendly for LGBT folks

"This is the first time I've entered a communal bath in 13 years. It made me so happy!”

Roger Michell obituary

My husband, the potter Roger Michell, who has died aged 70 after a short illness, was best known for the Walking Ware tea service he designed in 1974, its quirky pieces mounted on legs, clad in shoes and stripy socks, and ready to stride out. His highly decorative style came as a breath of fresh air in the world of pottery.

Roger’s pots are held in public collections including that of the V&A, the Glasgow City Museum, the Norwich Castle Museum, the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Staffordshire, and the Tea and Coffee Museum in London. In 2009 I published a book about his work, Walking Ware: A Collector’s Guide.

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Elektromobilität : Auf deutschen Straßen rollen kaum E-Taxis | heise online

Elektromobilität: Auf deutschen Straßen rollen kaum E-Taxis | heise online
https://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Elektromobilitaet-Auf-deutschen-Strassen-rollen-kaum-E-Taxis-4052839.html

Dem Deutschen Taxi- und Mietwagenverband in Frankfurt/Main zufolge waren in Rheinland-Pfalz Ende 2016 knapp 1.700 Taxis und solche Fahrzeuge unterwegs, die sowohl als Taxi und als Mietwagen genutzt werden dürfen. Die (alle vier Jahre erhobene) bundesweite Gesamtzahl beläuft sich auf rund 56.300 Fahrzeuge. Dem gegenüber stehe ein Anteil von bundesweit wahrscheinlich nicht mehr als 100 reinen Elektro-Taxis, sagte der Geschäftsführer des Verbandes, Thomas Grätz.

Den rechtlichen Rahmen hatte die Bundesregierung 2017 dahingehend geändert, dass auch Elektroautos als E-Taxi fungieren dürfen, die vom Hersteller nicht als Taxi vorgesehen sind. Dennoch ist eine Zurückhaltung beim E-Auto auch (aber nicht nur) in der Taxibranche spürbar.

#Taxi #Elektromobilität

Besoin d'utopie

UNE même affiche tapissait, en janvier dernier, les couloirs de divers aéroports d'Europe : pastichant les images de la révolution culturelle chinoise, elle représentait une rangée de personnes avançant en tête de manifestation, visages radieux, brandissant des étendards colorés, agités par le vent et (...) / Citoyenneté, Idées, Idéologie, Mouvement de contestation, Mutation, Solidarité - 1998/05

23. Mai 1618 - Dreißigjähriger Krieg: Versagen, Scheitern, endloses Morden

Vier gewichtige Bücher beleuchten diesen gesamteuropäischen Konflikt, der Millionen Opfer forderte, aus ganz unterschiedlichen Blickwinkeln

Claim: climatic temperature increases cause antibiotic resistance

From BOSTON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL and the “UHI, what’s that?” department Scientists find link between increases in local temperature and antibiotic resistance Boston, MA (May 21, 2018) – Bacteria have long been thought to develop antibiotic resistance largely due to repeated exposure through over-prescribing. But could much bigger environmental pressures be at play? Seeking to better understand…

How Dangerous Is It When A Mother Sleeps With Her Baby ? : Goats and Soda : NPR

How Dangerous Is It When A Mother Sleeps With Her Baby? : Goats and Soda : NPR
https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2018/05/21/601289695/is-sleeping-with-your-baby-as-dangerous-as-doctors-say

The practice continues to be widespread around the world. Bed-sharing is a tradition in at least 40 percent of all documented cultures, Konner says, citing evidence from Yale University’s Human Relations Area Files. Some cultures even think it’s cruel to separate a mom and baby at night. In one study, Mayan moms in Guatemala responded with shock — and pity — when they heard that some American babies sleep away from their mom.

“But there’s someone else with them there, isn’t there?” one mom asked.

Balinese babies are generally held almost every moment — day and night, anthropologists have noted. And in Japan, the most common sleeping arrangement is referred to as kawa no ji or the character for river: 川. The shorter line represents the child, sleeping between the mother and father, represented by the longer lines.

Western culture, on the other hand, has a long history of separating moms and babies at night. Wealthy Roman families had rocking cradles and bassinets by the bed, historians have noted. By the 10th century, the Catholic Church began “banning” infants from the parental bed to prevent poor women from intentionally suffocating an infant whom they didn’t have resources to care for. “Any women who kept an infant less than 1 year old in her bed ... is ipso facto excommunicated,” the church declared in Milan in 1576.

Wie die inneren Saturnmonde ihre bizarre Form erhalten haben

Die inneren Monde des Saturns sehen aus wie riesige Ravioli. Berner Forscher haben mittels Computersimulationen gezeigt, dass die Monde vermutlich durch Kollisionen entstanden sind.

Antony Gormley: Subject review – this art thesis fails the viva

Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge
As the famous artist returns to his alma mater’s town, he could do with a rigorous professorial interview about his art

Antony Gormley floats in space with his eyes fixed on infinity. His arms and legs are straight and relaxed, his posture passive and meditative as he hangs about half a metre above the floor.

Wake up, it’s time for a tutorial. What does this cast-iron replica of your own body bolted to a wall by its feet mean, exactly? I don’t want to hear a lot of vacuous guff about “activating spaces” and “undermining our assurance about the stability of the world”, Gormley. Finals are in a few weeks and you urgently need to clarify your thinking.

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Les « dix commandements » de la préférence citoyenne

Impossible de penser un monde nouveau avec les mots de l'ancien. Replacer l'homme au centre des préoccupations, c'est désormais se soucier du citoyen solidaire des autres et pas de l'actionnaire. C'est en proposant dix mesures, « qui, au cours du mouvement, tendent à se dépasser elles-mêmes », que (...) / Citoyenneté, Idéologie, Mutation, Solidarité, Société civile - 1998/05

Cannes sägt an der Palme

Das Filmfestival hat in diesem Jahr Kunst und Trash unter einem Dach vereint. Kann man über eine solche Auswahl überhaupt noch richten – oder sollte man besser alle Filmpreise abschaffen?

جريدة الأخبار

جريدة الأخبار
https://al-akhbar.com/Celebrities/250504

Une Libanaise redonne sa fierté au LIban. Non, ce n’est pas Nadine Labaki et son film bien pensant mais Feirouz qui chante, à 83 ans, pour les vivants et les morts de Gaza. La chanson s’appelle « Jusqu’à quand Seigneur ? ». Le clip est réalisé par sa fille Rima.

https:// www.youtube.com/ watch?v=U2eHfV_uMw4&feature=pl ayer_embedded

#liban #gaza #feirouz

جريدة الأخبار

جريدة الأخبار
https://al-akhbar.com/Celebrities/250504

Une Libanaise redonne sa fierté au LIban. Non, ce n’est pas Nadine Labaki et son film bien pensant mais Feirouz qui chante, à 83 ans, pour les vivants et les morts de Gaza. La chanson s’appelle « Jusqu’à quand Seigneur ? ». Le clip est réalisé par sa fille Rima.

https:// www.youtube.com/ watch?v=U2eHfV_uMw4&feature=pl ayer_embedded

#liban #gaza #feirouz

Soraya Chemaly on Mass Shootings: "Focus Should Be on Boys & Men Who Can't Take No for an Answer"

S3_santa-fe

As details surface about the school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, Friday that left 10 dead, a familiar pattern has emerged: The shooter was a white male who had been rejected by a female classmate. The mother of Shana Fisher, one of the victims in the art classroom where police say 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis entered and opened fire, told the Los Angeles Times that her 16-year-old daughter “had 4 months of problems from this boy. … He kept making advances on her and she repeatedly told him no.” Sadie Rodriguez said her daughter recently stood up to Pagourtzis in class, and “a week later he opens fire on everyone he didn’t like.” The Santa Fe shooting could be the second school shooting in recent months driven by such rejection. In March, 16-year-old Jaelynn Willey was shot in the head at Great Mills High School by 17-year-old Austin Wyatt Rollins after she had ended their relationship. Her injuries left her brain dead. She later died after she was taken off life support by her family. We are joined by Soraya Chemaly, a journalist who covers the intersection of gender and politics. She is the director of the Women’s Media Center Speech Project.

Malala, and Now Sabika: Pakistani Girl's Death in Texas Should Prompt Reflection on Gun Violence

S2_sabika-sheikh2

One of the 10 victims in the Santa Fe High School shooting was Sabika Sheikh, an exchange student from Pakistan. She was due to return to her home country in June after participating in an exchange program sponsored by the State Department. CNN reporter Saeed Ahmed compared the shooting of Sheikh to that of Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman who boarded her school bus in 2012. Ahmed wrote, “Both are Pakistani girls: One, Malala, was shot on her way to school by a militant in Swat, near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. She survived. The other, Sabika, was shot by a fellow student inside a school in Santa Fe, Texas. She died. But, as many ruefully pointed out, that’s where the comparison ends.” He went on to quote blogger Asfandyar Bhittani, who tweeted that, unlike Malala, “Sabika Sheikh will be forgotten before next weekend.” We’re joined by Murtaza Hussain, a reporter at The Intercept focusing on national security, foreign policy and human rights.

After Santa Fe HS Shooting, Texas Lawmakers Have "Focused on Anything But Guns"

S1_santa-fe-victims

We look at the latest in a series of deadly mass shootings at U.S. schools: Friday morning in Texas, 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis entered Santa Fe High School and shot dead 10 people—eight fellow students and two teachers. He used a shotgun and a .38 revolver taken from his father to carry out the murders. Ahead of the attack, Pagourtzis posted on his Facebook page a picture of a T-shirt he wore Friday that read “Born to Kill.” Some Texas officials responded to Friday’s shooting with calls for prayers and blamed abortion and violent video games. The incoming National Rifle Association president, Oliver North, blamed Ritalin for school shootings. We get an update from Kolten Parker of The Texas Observer and Ed Scruggs of Texas Gun Sense.

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