What you’ve read about the recent Vedanta hearing was wrong

By CHITRANGADA CHOUDHURY | 19 August 2014
On 30 July, in the town of Lanjigarh in the district of Kalahandi, Odisha, district authorities and the Odisha State Pollution Control board organised a public hearing to discuss the potential expansion of an alumina-producing facility in the town. Sesa Sterlite, a subsidiary of the Vedanta group, was seeking environmental clearance to expand its 1 million tons per annum (MTPA) refinery to a capacity of 6 MTPA. The public hearing is a mandatory step in this process, and is the only formal space for local participation in a project’s clearance.

Why India needs more breast milk and less Cerelac

By Shriya Mohan | 18 August 2014
Between 1 August and 7 August, the World Health Organization, along with several partners, celebrated World Breastfeeding Week with awareness campaigns, photography contests and other initiatives. Though the global event is in its twenty-third year, in India it received little endorsement or coverage.

The Caravan edits Jawaharlal Nehru’s ‘Tryst With Destiny’ speech

By The Caravan | 15 August 2014
Hi JN: Thanks for this great piece of work. It's a good start, and I think we're on our way to a fitting welcome for a new country. I know time is of the essence, given how busy the transfer of power and allied activities must be keeping you, so let me run you quickly through some mild suggestions for tweaks and changes. Let me know what you think! Thanks again.

(Extract) The day Nitish Kumar broke away from Laloo Prasad Yadav

By Sankarshan Thakur | 12 August 2014
Yesterday, more than twenty years after they last addressed a meeting together, Laloo Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar shared the dais at a gathering in Hajipur, brought together by the common cause of defeating the BJP in upcoming by-elections in Bihar. Their political partnership in the Janata Dal in the early 1990s had fallen apart over Laloo’s intemperate ways, his reckless governance and his distrust of Nitish. But though Laloo sidelined Nitish in the party in the first years of the 1990s, it wasn’t until 1994 that the latter worked up the courage to formally part ways with him.

Why India is playing spoilsport at the WTO

By Devangshu Datta | 6 August 2014
Last December at the World Trade Organization meeting in Bali, the Indian government—then run by the UPA—agreed to sign the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which was being hailed as a landmark in trade reforms. But the new NDA government has, surprisingly, backtracked from that commitment. As a result, the TFA has now missed its planned deadline of 31 July 2014.

Seven video games that also serve as propaganda

By Kaushik Mishra | 2 August 2014
When it comes to recruitment, the Indian armed services usually rely on staid ads invoking grand patriotism, and promising glory and adventure. Recently, however, the Indian Air Force embarked on a new recruitment method by releasing a mobile game, titled Guardians of the Skies, intended to induce such an intense patriotism in players that they immediately sign up for the air force. “The best message actually goes through if we can make people go through the act of playing the game as a fighter pilot,” said Sameer Joshi, the creative director of Threye, the Delhi-based startup that created the game. “Flying an aircraft, taking on enemies, that’s the ultimate propaganda experience.”

You can buy a drone in India, but is it legal?

By HARSH SNEHANSHU | 1 August 2014
On a sweltering May afternoon this year, Francesco’s Pizzeria, a Mumbai-based pizza outlet, used an unmanned drone to deliver pizza to a flat in a high-rise apartment in Worli, central Mumbai. Twelve days later, the Mumbai police wrote to the outlet demanding an explanation for why they hadn’t taken prior police permission. The police also wrote to the Air Traffic Control at the Mumbai International Airport asking whether the pizza outlet had sought permission to conduct the experiment.

Israel’s brutal war against the children of Gaza

By MIRZA WAHEED | 25 July 2014
On Wednesday, 14 July 2014, Israeli forces killed four children on a beach in Gaza. The boys’ fault was that they had decided, against the instructions of their elders, to go out to play—as children sometimes tend to do—in the midst of a relentless assault on a tiny, cage-like strip of land they call home. These children, journalists present at the scene reported, had been cooped up indoors for over a week. In this open-air Alcatraz, home to 1.8 million Palestinians, which should be the world’s shame but isn’t, the beach is perhaps the only place where children can breathe and run freely. Images and eye-witness reports from the crime scene tell us they did run—to escape the Israeli bombers, but their tiny legs couldn’t beat the determined assassins who missed the first time, killing only one child, and made sure they went for an outright kill-shot thirty seconds later. Four little corpses were all that remained after playtime. Who were these boys?

When gossip and rumour surround the appointment of judges

By KRISHN KAUSHIK | 24 July 2014
The corridors of the Supreme Court in central Delhi are possibly thicker with gossip than those of any other institution in the capital. This gossip usually springs from information exchanged between judges and senior lawyers, often furtively, and not always on the court premises. Information then trickles down to juniors, the clerks of these judges and lawyers, and, finally, to journalists, and the stray dogs outside the compound.
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