Thursday, April 23, 2015

India Post Withered and Died

"Impoverished Indian farmer kills self at rally" Associated Press  April 23, 2015

NEW DELHI — An impoverished Indian farmer died Wednesday after hanging himself in front of hundreds of other farmers who had gathered to protest in the capital.

It was the latest in a wave of suicides that has left at least 40 farmers dead in recent weeks — and some 300,000 dead since 1995.

The great untold item here will be the crop devastation caused by GMO seeds and Monsanto. 

Rally organizers quickly cut him down from the tree where he had hanged himself and rushed him to a hospital, where he was declared dead, said S. Saxena, an official at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

In a note, Gajendra Singh said he killed himself after his father, left with nothing after floods destroyed their crops, forced him from home.

They have been having rain there lately, although it got a one-day blurb for floods in Kashmir. So other than that, if the limited hangout and agenda-pushing reason given are true, it's been under-covered


"Government forces fired on anti-India protesters Saturday and killed a teenage student on the second day of violent clashes in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, police said. Relatives disputed the official account, saying the boy died in custody. The protesters, hurling rocks, had gathered Saturday in Narbal village as shops, businesses, and public transport closed in a strike called by separatists challenging India’s sovereignty in Kashmir, police said (AP)."

I didn't start a stampede of articles, either.

‘‘I have three children,” the handwritten note said. “I don’t have the money to feed my children. Hence, I want to commit suicide.’’

Police said Singh was from outside the town of Dausa, in Rajasthan state. Rajasthan officials say heavy rains there have destroyed 30 percent of crops, though farmers say the amount is much higher.

That won't be helping the hunger problem in India.


Blame Obama!

"Obama’s tree not dead, India insists" Associated Press  February 21, 2015

NEW DELHI — Officials in India want to make one thing clear: The tree that President Obama planted in New Delhi three weeks ago is not dead. It just looks dead.

The peepal tree was covered with leaves when Obama planted it at the New Delhi memorial to Indian independence leader Mohandas K. Gandhi. By Thursday, though, it was just a single lonely stem.

The Gods of the Universe at work. War criminal plants tree at nonviolence site. What did you expect to happen?

Its lack of leaves has been giving Indian officials sleepless nights, with the media here blasting them for allowing the tree to die less than a month after the presidential visit.

But the reality: Peepal trees often lose their leaves this time of year.

‘‘It’s a seasonal phenomenon,’’ B.C Katiyar, a top regional government horticulturist, said Thursday, after he and other officials visited the tree and pronounced it in good health. ‘‘It will send out shoots within the next 10 days.’’

The peepal, or ficus religiosa, is seen as holy by many in Asia. The Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment under the tree in 589 B.C.


No shade in India.

"India unveils budget aimed at boosting growth" by Ellen Barry and Neha Thirani Bagri, New York Times  March 01, 2015

NEW DELHI — India’s finance minister, Arun Jaitley, unveiled the first full-year budget of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government Saturday, promising to boost growth with a major increase in public spending on infrastructure and to lower the corporate tax rate by 5 percent, steps that were cheered by Indian industry.

You change a government and.... $igh.

Those moves were balanced by the relaxation of targets for spending cuts and the introduction of a new social security plan to provide subsidized insurance and pensions for poor Indians.

Oh, yeah? I believe it when I see them get the check.

Saturday is usually a trading holiday but India’s financial markets opened for the much-anticipated budget speech, but neither they, nor most analysts, detected the dramatic reforms that some of Modi’s supporters have been urging.

The speech came against a sunny economic backdrop in India, especially in comparison to other developing economies. The government now predicts a growth rate of 7.4 percent in the current fiscal year, more than 8 percent next year, and proceeding to double digits thereafter.

That's almost as good as China


"Pro-democracy lawmakers walked out of the city’s mini-parliament, the Legislative Council, after the plans were disclosed, signaling the start of a new phase of political confrontation in the Chinese territory. Last year’s pro-democracy protests, lasting nearly three months, brought hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets in the most significant public backlash against Beijing’s control of affairs in the former British colony. Some also unfurled yellow umbrellas in the chamber, a symbol of last year’s protests, but the demonstrations eventually fizzled after the Hong Kong government, under orders from Beijing, refused to give any ground, and police moved in to arrest the final protesters. Now the government needs to convince lawmakers to pass its proposals. It would allow universal suffrage for the first time but still give Chinese authorities overwhelming influence in the selection of candidates. Prospects do not look good. Before the plans were put forward, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying warned this might be the best chance of progress for years. His government has argued that Hong Kong should ‘‘pocket’’ what is on offer from Beijing — and hope for more democratic space in the future. Legislators are expected to vote in June." 

I can't imagine that will be helping the economy. 

Looks like even U.S. agents and allies don't want war coming.

Meanwhile, falling commodity prices have helped to curb India’s chronic budget deficits, a development that Raghuram G. Rajan, the governor of the Reserve Bank of India, described as “a $50 billion gift for the economy.” 

Oh, they have a Re$erve Bank, too, huh?

Jaitley began his speech on a triumphal note, proclaiming that the government had “turned around the economy dramatically” and rebuilt India’s reputation with investors.

“The credibility of the Indian economy has been reestablished,” Jaitley said. “The world is predicting that it is India’s chance to fly.”

Ahead of the budget, much tension arose around the question of what was more important: to curb government spending or to spur growth by ramping up public investment, shifting the burden off a heavily indebted private sector and stressed banks.

Saturday’s budget leaned toward the latter, increasing annual spending on roads, ports, and railways by about $11.4 billion. It also scaled back spending-cut goals.

They need that infrastructure spending, but I will save that for when I leave.

The combination left most market analysts satisfied.

That's who we want to be happy.

“This is not a big-bang budget, but a good budget more focused on smaller issues, and ironing out a lot of irritants to investors in the process,” said Sujat Hakra, chief economist at Anand Rathi Financial Services in Mumbai. A slower timetable for spending cuts, he allowed, was “not particularly positive.”

Money junkies $uck.

Manmohan Singh, who served as India’s prime minister for 10 years under the Congress Party, faulted the budget as too cautious, arguing that the new government had missed a chance to cut spending or increase tax revenues.

“Mr. Jaitley is a very lucky finance minister,” Singh told the NDTV news channel. “He has inherited an economy which is in reasonably good shape. Inflation is under control, not because of anything we have done, but because the international prices of petroleum and other commodities have gone down.”

He added, “I had hoped that the finance minister used this lucky phase of his inheritance to give a real big boost to stabilize the economy, strengthen the macroeconomic framework.”

He is in some sort of trouble from what I've read.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party suffered a setback in recent state elections in Delhi, where the upstart Aam Aadmi, or Common Man, party, cast him as indifferent to the needs of the poor. Jaitley, on Saturday, seemed intent on blunting that accusation.

That's not their Tea Party, is it?

A new subsidized insurance program would provide coverage for accidents or death for around 20 cents, a year. There were no significant changes to India’s colossal subsidy programs for food, fuel, or fertilizer, which cost the government about $14 billion a year.

The new government hopes to save money by transforming subsidies into cash transfers, a step that could save around $4 billion a year by eliminating corruption, according to the Credit Rating Information Services of India Limited.

Good luck, and I was told corruption is good for an economy when it comes to China.

“Subsidies are needed for the poor and those less well off,” Jaitley said. “We need to cut subsidy leakages, not subsidies themselves.”


Think this jailbird will Singh?

"Indian court summons ex-premier Manmohan Singh in corruption case" New York Times  March 12, 2015

NEW DELHI — An Indian court Wednesday summoned Manmohan Singh, India’s soft-spoken former prime minister, as one of the accused in an investigation into the illegal allocation of coal fields to Indian corporations.

Now we know who is responsible for all the pollution.

Three years ago, India’s government auditor accused the Coal Ministry of selling around 200 coal field leases to private steel, cement, and power companies at artificially low prices, saying that the nontransparent process had cost the government about $30 billion. Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that the process had broken the law, and it overturned most of the allocations.

In that case, government = taxpayers.

The case has been particularly damaging for Singh, an economist with a reputation for probity who was credited with ushering in a period of free-market liberalization in the 1990s, when he was finance minister. Singh, who was prime minister from 2004 to 2014, has not been charged with any crime but is under investigation on suspicion of criminal conspiracy and breach of trust, among other offenses, the Press Trust of India reported.

Singh said Wednesday he was “sure truth would prevail” and he was ready to put his case forward. “I have always said I am open for legal scrutiny,” he said in comments on the news channel NDTV.

The summons is in connection with a coal field allocated in 2005 to Hindalco Industries, a leading producer of primary aluminum, during a period when Singh was in charge of the Coal Ministry. Hindalco has denied any wrongdoing.

Corruption allegations cast a shadow over the second term of the United Progressive Alliance coalition government, led by the Indian National Congress party of Singh, and set the stage for the sweeping victory last year by the Bharatiya Janata Party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Where print ended.

Prashant Bhushan, a lawyer who filed the petition in Supreme Court for investigation of coal blocks allocation, said the court had rejected multiple attempts to close the case, and he called Wednesday’s order “a very good sign that the judicial system can function.”

Prakash Javadekar, the Indian environment minister, said the summons was “yet another blot on Congress.”


Speaking of blotting, the rest of the coverage bleeds down to how stupid and savage are Indian men and the culture of rape (despite the increased education). There is even the threat upon free speech because of who may speak and who may be incited by such inquisitions. Time to divorce oneself from such things and catch the next train out of India:

"Passenger train derails in north India, killing 31" Associated Press  March 21, 2015

LUCKNOW, India — The engine and two coaches of a passenger train derailed in northern India on Friday, killing 31 people, and rescuers used gas cutters to rip apart the mangled wreckage to search for trapped people. At least 50 were injured.

Thankfully, such things do not happen in the US.

Rescue workers pulled 31 bodies from the wreckage, said Ashwini Srivastava, a spokesman for the railways.

The engine and two coaches of the Janata Express jumped off the tracks near Bachhrawan village in Uttar Pradesh state.

Several people were feared trapped in the wreckage, and rescue efforts were focused on bringing them out alive, said Ram Murath Yadav, a police said. One of the derailed coaches was crushed by the impact and most of the casualties were in that coach, he said.

The cause of the derailment was not immediately known. The railway said the train appeared to be traveling about 20 to 25 miles per hour at the time of the crash. The federal rail ministry has ordered an inquiry.

The driver of the train escaped unhurt and was being questioned, Srivastava said.

Nearby residents rushed to the scene and were assisted by police and rescue teams in retrieving bodies from the wreck.

Train accidents are common in India. The country’s railroad network is one of the world’s largest and carries more than 23 million passengers each day. Most accidents are blamed on poor maintenance and human error.

The minister of railways, Suresh Prabhu, sent a Twitter message Friday expressing concern about safety of the “crumbling” infrastructure.

In the midst of a growing economy, we are told. 

Imagine if they were to suffer a banker-induced rece$$ion.


Bankers and their pre$$ have other concerns:

"Conn. mobster said he had stolen Gardner art, FBI alleges" by Shelley Murphy Globe Staff  April 20, 2015

HARTFORD — An aging Connecticut mobster recently boasted to an undercover FBI agent that he had two of the paintings stolen 25 years ago from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and would “sell individual paintings for $500,000,” a federal prosecutor said Monday.

Robert Gentile’s offer was made to an undercover FBI agent posing as a drug dealer. When pressed by the agent about why he would not instead try to collect the $5 million reward offered for the paintings’ safe return, Gentile said he feared authorities were “going to come after him anyway” and he would never get the reward, Assistant US Attorney John Durham said in federal court.

He's probably right on that, if he in fact said it.

The account is among the most detailed bits of evidence to surface publicly tying Gentile to the Gardner heist, which ranks as the world’s largest art theft and one of Boston’s most enduring crime mysteries. Gentile has not been charged with any crimes related to the stolen paintings and his lawyer insisted Gentile has no knowledge of their whereabouts.

The conversation about the paintings came in the context of Gentile’s bid to get involved in marijuana trafficking, according to the government. Gentile offered to sell two of the stolen paintings to the man he thought was a major drug dealer, and then became furious when the man wouldn’t let him in on his operation, Durham said.

According to Durham, Gentile asked the agent, “Do you know who I am?” and told him he “could get people killed and make them disappear.”

I don't believe $cum FBI instigators anymore, sorry.


The account of this latest twist emerged as Gentile, who has been described by the FBI as “a person of interest” in the heist, appeared in court on an unrelated charge, a hearing on whether he should be sent back to prison for allegedly selling a loaded gun while on federal probation for an earlier offense.

Gentile, 79, of Manchester, Conn., appeared in court in a wheelchair. US Magistrate Judge Thomas Smith agreed with prosecutors, who argued that Gentile, a reputed soldier in the Philadelphia branch of La Cosa Nostra, was a danger to the public and a flight risk.

The aging criminal was freed from prison a year ago on supervised release after serving 30 months for illegally possessing a gun and selling prescription drugs to an FBI informant.

RelatedFBI Agent Was Stoned

On Monday, the magistrate ordered Gentile back to prison, where he will have to serve another two years on those prior charges.

He is also expected to face a new indictment for allegedly selling the gun last month to an associate, who was previously convicted of murder and was secretly cooperating with the FBI.

Gentile’s lawyer, A. Ryan McGuigan, argued that the FBI orchestrated the new case against Gentile in an effort to pressure him to tell what he knows about stolen paintings.

“They want my client to believe he will die in jail,” McGuigan said. “They believe my client has knowledge of the whereabouts of the Gardner Museum paintings.”

He insisted that Gentile has already told the FBI what he knows — and he doesn’t know where the paintings are.

The magistrate said at the hearing that he found Gentile was to blame for his own predicament and suggested that Gentile should learn from old boxers who know when it is time to hang up their gloves.

“It’s time that you took senior status,” he told Gentile, who sat in the wheelchair dressed in tan prison garb. “You can’t afford to be doing this anymore.”

(To gently break it to you, I'm there and wondering if I want to keep doing this)

Durham, the prosecutor, told the court that Gentile was not truthful when he was questioned in 2012 by the FBI and said he knew nothing about the Gardner heist. Gentile flunked a polygraph test, Durham said.

Inadmissible in court.

Durham said the polygraph revealed that “there is a 99 percent certainty that Mr. Gentile was lying when he said he didn’t know anything about the Gardner Museum robbery before it happened, he had never seen any of the Gardner paintings, and didn’t know where any of them were.”

I say we put leaders under it when they are pushing wars based on lies.

After the court hearing, McGuigan questioned why FBI agents arrested Gentile if they believed he had the paintings and was working to hand them over. “By arresting him, they end any possibility of recovering them,” he said.

Answer is simple: they know he doesn't know where they are. This is public relations show, diversion, and filler for the paper.

McGuigan said he did not know why Gentile would tell an undercover agent he had the paintings if he didn’t but added that many people have come to Gentile asking about the stolen paintings.

“I know everyone hopes that he knows where the Holy Grail is,” McGuigan said. “I just don’t think he does.”

The heist took place in the early-morning hours of March 18, 1990. Two men dressed as police officers talked their way into the museum on the Fenway, tied up the two guards, and fled with $500 million worth of masterpieces in what is the world’s largest art theft.


The FBI began focusing on Gentile in 2009 when the wife of another person of interest, Robert Guarente, told agents that her late husband gave several of the stolen paintings to Gentile before he died in 2004.

During a 2012 search of Gentile’s home in Manchester, Conn., agents found a list of the stolen artwork, with their black market value; it was tucked inside a March 1990 Boston Herald that reported the theft.

Two years ago, the FBI announced it was confident it had identified the thieves but declined to name them, citing the ongoing investigation.

Authorities said they believed some of the artwork changed hands through organized crime circles and moved from Boston to Connecticut and Philadelphia, where the trail went cold.

A credible witness claims to have seen Rembrandt’s “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee” when someone tried to sell it in Philadelphia around 2003, according to the FBI.

Gentile, who has reputed ties to both the New England and Philadelphia mob, was identified by the FBI as recently as last month as one of only three “persons of interest” in the Gardner heist.

The other two, Guarente and Carmello Merlino, are both dead. The FBI also identified two additional men, who are also dead, as the possible thieves.

In court Monday, Durham said Gentile was dangerous because he remained an active member of the Mafia and boasted during a secretly recorded conversation last November that he had recently been in touch with Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino, the former boss of the Philadelphia Mafia.


Related: FBI is Anti-Gentile 

They sure seem to be. 

UPDATE: Man tied by FBI to Boston art theft pleads not guilty to gun charge

NDU: China to crack down on strippers at rural funerals

I didn't even take a look at it.


Conn. convict linked to Gardner heist again in FBI’s crosshairs

Aging Conn. mobster is under federal scrutiny

I've hit the ceiling on my interest in this, sorry.