A -Temporary- New Era

The thing on everyone’s mind right now, is the pandemic going on and the unprecedented times we all have been abruptly pushed into. The state of lockdown has been taking a toll on everyone, businesses and industries are no exceptions to that, as a result people have been trying to cope in their own way, maybe by picking up an old hobby or even trying out something entirely new. When it comes to industries, they have taken the biggest hit of them all, but unlike them the education system has said that the show must go on. And with that they opted into the new era of education, online classes.

The Internet has been a prevalent part of our lives for a while now, but the state of emergency gave it a push, a push onto the mainstream. This abrupt transition to online has not been the most fluid or easy, as a lot of people were simply not prepared, such as the infrastructure to support everything going online. There are plenty of bottlenecks in online classes, even though they are more or less efficient in theoretical subjects, when it comes to practical subjects the knowledge taught through online classes becomes extremely limited. At the end of the day when the world grasps at any hope which it can, online classes are proven to be an effective way to learn as well as keep yourself busy and connected to the outside world.Due the lockdown being longer than anyone had expected with no end in sight, like their kids, plenty of working adults continued their nine to five within the comforts of their own homes via internet . Post COVID world, in due time will be a new world, though it is unclear as of now if any of the changes will stick long term or not, the possibility of an increase in work from home jobs is very real, however online classes which are very innovative indeed cannot be replaced normal classes, as theoretical education is not the only thing being taught at schools and colleges, social skills, public speaking, as well as other practical skills require practice which cannot be provided within online classes. A lot of colleges have increased their focus on practical learning instead of straight book learning as it is proven to be way more effect and efficient in order to learn something new. In the end all we can do is speculate, no one really knows what the future holds, uncertainty rules our lives, only time will tell how the world will change after COVID.


Understanding the madness of Kim Jong-Un, Supreme leader of North Korea

Kim Jong-Un seems like a leader who rules a castle of cards swaying side to side with each gust of wind, ready to topple at any moment, people think of Kim as a mad man but he everything but that. With the GDP being a tiny proportion of South Korea and a population which is starving and highly under nourished, the country should be in arms with a revolution, keeping aside internal conflicts Kim constantly keeps poking super powers like America despite having an army incomparable to the US. If Kim Jong-Un was just a mad man he would have been overthrown multiple times over by now, no one is that lucky. His people might be starving and diplomacies hostile but he constantly lives in a country which loves the Supreme leader. He is a master of politics who stays in power despite everyone working against him.

Even the most brutal dictator tries to fulfill the needs of its citizens knowing that a hungry or angry population is a ticking time bomb, but North Korea is a rare exception as hungry as they may be, they have been taught it’s no different anywhere else. No one will demand freedom of speech when they are barely able to feed themselves. Kim knows providing a better life for its citizens would create far too ambitious population seeking freedom and democracy. What would normally be incompetence is actually political strategy in the case for North Korea.

North Korea and its love for nukes

The most fundamentally important fact about North Korea’s nuclear program is that it was born out of fear — specifically, fear of the United States.

The Korean War began in 1950 when North Korea invaded the South and nearly conquered all of it. The only reason it didn’t was intervention by a US led-coalition, which in turn nearly conquered the entire North, stopped only by a Chinese counter-intervention. The war was horrifically bloody; casualties on both the North and South Korean sides exceeded 1 million.

Photo – Wong Maye-E
Military parade in Pyongyang, North Korea.

After the war ended in an armistice in 1953, the US pledged to defend South Korea against future attack and left tens of thousands of US troops deployed there — a constant reminder to Pyongyang that the world’s strongest military power was willing to literally go to war against it.

As a result, North Korea’s entire foreign policy and national identity has evolved around the threat of war with America. As a result, they’ve always been trying to improve their military capabilities in order to deter the US from invading.

The nuclear program, which began in the 1950s, was designed to be the ultimate answer to this problem. The thinking among three generations of Kims was that if North Korea had nuclear weapons, it could inflict unacceptable costs on the US if it were to invade the North. Nuclear weapons, in other words, would be the ultimate deterrent against regime change.

This explains why Kim has invested so many resources, and been willing to accept crushing international sanctions, in order to develop a nuclear bomb and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that could hit the US mainland. It also explains why Kim almost certainly wouldn’t just give up its nukes: The entire point of its nuclear program is that it worries the US will one day try to overthrow its government, and needs something that would deter Washington from even thinking about it.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

When Kim is unhappy he follow a cycle, first they manufacture a crisis or a threat and drive tensions as high as possible, when the tensions are at the highest Kim offers to open up negotiations offering to cool down which is quickly accepted with a sigh of relief, giving Kim the leverage to squeeze maximum concessions. In any particular moment Kim is either in total assault mode creating fear hence creating desperation for negotiations or total charm mode, convincing the world he is reformed, keeping the cycle going.

Kim is well aware of what happened in Libya — and to Iraq after Saddam Hussein shuttered his nuclear program which was their demise. Kim would never give up his nukes or his safety along with them.

The Unknown motives of Donald Trump

The underlying meaning behind Trump’s visit to India

Donald Trump’s visit to India at face value seems something ordinary relation-building but beneath the surface, there have been tensions especially regarding trade between the two. The US-China trade war is not the only trade war going on, India also dabbled in trade sanctions against the US. One of the very first actions trump took when coming into office was to charge 100% tariffs on Harley- Davidson motorcycles, along with this he also raised the import duty on Indian steel and aluminum products among many more. Trump recently stripped India of privileges enjoyed by some developing nations.

Photo: AFP

India did not take these retaliations quietly, India has retaliated over the last few years by raising import duties on several American products as well, and there have been attempts at de-escalation of trade sanctions but to no avail. Seeing Trump visit India might signal a new wave for free-flowing trade or trade which might be in favor of India. Easing of the tensions in the trade is beneficial to both countries.

Trump’s visit might not have been solely for trade deals, since the increasing tensions between China and America on all fronts recently the extensively raging trade war between them, the dispute has seen both the countries impose tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of goods. Trump has been long accusing China of unfair trading practices and intellectual property theft. Whereas China perceives that America is trying to curb its influence and rise as a global economic power.

With Chinese markets and manufacturing being at risk Trump looks south of China, to India has India also has a huge and cheap labor force that can produce cheap goods for America. Not only that India has the second-largest English speaking population right after America itself making trade and manufacture much easier to conduct.

Trump can be seen trying to improve bonds with India when he dodges questions which brings doubt to India, for example when he was asked about his position on CAA and NRC, Donald Trump said, “I don’t want to say anything on that. It is up to India. I hope it will take the right decision for its people.”

China has started an enormous project which spans three continents and touches over 60 countries, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will cost over a trillion dollars. The plan is to make it easier for the world to trade with China, by funding roads, railways, pipelines, and other infrastructure projects in Asia and Africa. China is loaning trillions of dollars to any country that’s willing to participate and it’s been a big hit with the less democratic countries in the region. This makes the BRI a risky plan as well. But China is pushing forward because its goals are not strictly economic, they’re also geopolitical.

Trump’s visit to India definitely had ulterior motives to it mainly trying to maintain its position has a superpower as well as not being left behind when China comes at it full force, Trump is trying to improve America’s relations as America has much to gain from being friendly with India, especially when a treat named China is right around the corner.

Parasite; The Dark Horse no one saw coming

Parasite, The movie which took Oscars by a storm, winning a total of 4 awards including best picture and the best director is one of the best movies of the decade finishing off the 2010s with a bang. The movie focuses on the Kim and Park family showing the disparities between the lower and wealthy class respectively. The movie opens up with the limelight on the poor, barely scraping by, Kim family a family where all of its members unemployed and desperately looking for work in the extremely high competition of South Korea.

When an opportunity comes forward to Kevin the young son of the Kim family as a job of an English tutor to the wealthy Park family, this proved to be a pivotal part in the parasitic invasion into the Park family by the Kim family, Park family is portrayed as a simple family who does not care about anything other than themselves, this comes forward as an ignorant and oblivious manner and feels like it is engraved into them. The first half of the movie feels like a clever and light-hearted comedy in which Kims slowly invade the household of Parks by cleverly setting up the previous housekeeper and the driver and getting them fired, Parks do not hesitate much before firing their long-kept housekeeper neither do Kims feel any regret by undermining other people or even getting them firing and putting them in the same situation in which they used to be.

The movie takes a sharp turn into the true grim nature of the movie when the past housekeeper comes back for “something” she forgot while the Parks were away for a trip. It turns out the housekeeper had secretly hidden her husband in the hidden basement of the big mansion i.e. Parks house. The Parks were unaware of the existence of the hidden man in the basement who had been secretly living there hiding from the loan sharks. The Kims understandably so were extremely taken aback when they discovered this but they were not the only ones who discovered something, the old housekeeper and her husband also caught the Kims and the series the manipulation and frauds committed by them. The movie turns into a wild roller-coaster ride where the audience is always kept at the edge of their seat and a ride you cannot forget.

The movie puts up its name itself to interpretation, “parasite” who are the parasites? The Kim family who survive and thrive sucking into the Park family or the Park family, the rich wealthy class who thrives by exploiting the poor class while at the same time looking down on them.

Shaheen Bagh: The undying protest

Shaheen Bagh has become the central battle field for the war against CAA as well as NRC.  The Shaheen Bagh protest began with just 10 to 15 local women on the afternoon of 14 December 2019. Later it developed into a 24/7 sit-in protest where locals and more women joined in, the extent of the protest kept growing and reached to an extensive amount of 1,00,000. The primary aim for the peaceful protest is the retraction of the CAA as well as refrain from implementing NRC-NPC across the country.

CAA or The Citizenship Amendment Act of 2019 was passed by the Parliament of India on 11 December 2019. It amended the Citizenship Act of 1955 by providing a path to Indian citizenship for illegal migrants of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian religious minorities, who had fled persecution from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan before December 2014. Muslims from those countries were not given such eligibility. The act was the first time religion had been overtly used as a criterion for citizenship under Indian law which goes against article 14.

Article 14 – Equality before law The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

Republic day

There have been efforts to remove or relocate the protest from Shaheen Bagh to a place where it would not be at a central location as to not restrict traffic, but till now Delhi high court has refused the plea. Delhi police has dealt it as a matter of traffic matter but would not use force instead use “persuasion”, there have been quite a handful cases of police brutality since the apex of the protests from JNU to Jamia Millia Islamia, there are also been protests regarding the aforementioned brutality. Protesters have said they will help relieve the traffic congestion but won’t budge until CAA is scrapped.

Till now, the Shaheen Bagh protesters have shown no sign of relenting. On the other hand, the Narendra Modi government has stood firm saying the CAA will not be taken back. This looks a stalemate kind of a situation.

But despite the government’s stand of “not budging an inch” on the Citizenship Amendment Act that seeks to expedite procedure for naturalisation of non-Muslim illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Shaheen Bagh protest has visibly put the BJP-led NDA on the back-foot. Not less than Prime Minister Narendra has announced a sort of retreat on the issue of CAA-NPR-NRC.

PM Modi and a host of his ministers have clarified on multiple platforms that the CAA “does not affect Indian Muslims”. PM Modi accused the Congress and other Opposition parties of leading a misinformation campaign over CAA and alleging that individuals and groups with vested interests are using anti-CAA protesters to spread anti-India agenda.

Tents in the freezing nights of Delhi.

There are clear signs of climbdown by the Modi government on the issue of the CAA-NPR-NRC. During the discussion on the CAA, Union Home Minister Amit Shah declared the NRC (National Register of Citizens) would definitely be prepared despite hue and cry by the Opposition. He has long pitched for a pan-India NRC saying “every infiltrator will be thrown out” of the country.

Days after Amit Shah’s NRC declaration in Parliament, PM Modi – with Shaheen Bagh protest gathering momentum against the CAA – told a public rally in Delhi that there was “no discussion in the government” about NRC. This was the first sign that the government was in retreat on this issue which began as security challenge but turned into an emotive one.

Later, the government told Parliament in a written reply that there was no decision on the proposed pan-India NRC.

Given the legal status and connection of the NRC with the NPR (National Population Register), the government actually does not require to conduct an exclusive NRC drive. The data gathered for the NPR can be used to prepare the NRC.

The protesters at Shaheen Bagh have since then deflected the protest to target the NPR exercise. Some of the states beginning West Bengal and Kerala have already halted the process of NPR.

In this backdrop, the anti-CAA protest at Shaheen Bagh – piloted by women, particularly those from the Muslim community – has achieved what many other protests, especially those led by political parties, have failed to accomplish. Protests against demonetisation, GST rollout, Rafale deal and triple talaq law are such examples of protests failing to achieve their objective.

There have been multiple attempts to demean or reject the protests by many BPJ politicians including Yogi Adityanath, there also have been constant firing near the site of protest, how will the protest turn is something to keep our eyes on as citizens of India as it is bound to be a monumental moment in our history.

Delhi Elections: The Future of Delhi

The 2020 Delhi state elections has everyone’s eyes on it after the turmoil in the state after the CAA and NRC decisions made by BJP government, AAP has become one of the newer as well as major opposition party against BJP government after the decline of Congress party.

Elections to Delhi’s legislative assembly are just around the corner with voting scheduled to take place on February 8th. The results will be announced on February 11th. The highly charged elections are a three-way contest between the incumbent Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Indian National Congress (INC). The assembly has 70 seats in total.

BJP : Divider in chief

“These elections are going to be an election of the country”, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a rally, days before Delhi votes on February 8.
Judging by the campaigners fielded by his party, it’s obvious that this election is of great importance to the BJP. On February 4, when Modi reached the grounds of a DDA park in Dwarka, his words were telling: “Friends, Delhi elections are the first elections of the year”, he said to a crowd chanting “Modiji ko Jai Shri Ram, Jai Shri Ram”.
Modi continued, “These elections are going to be an election of the country…and the country’s progress will depend on today’s decision that you make…The capital will decide the roadmap for the next decade.”

Narendra Modi
BJP Rally

There has been growing concern towards Delhi elections after the extensive protests as it was the epicenter of the same. There have been a few violent attacks on peaceful protestors by armed goons. The police force has been dubbed as puppets out to stifle dissent, making the atmosphere even tenser.
One of the foremost purveyors of this discourse, MP Parvesh Singh Verma of the BJP, was banned by the Election Commission for 96 hours for saying that protestors of Shaheen Bagh will go into people’s homes and rape their daughters and mothers. While he was back on the stage after his prohibition ended — he was banned again from campaigning a few days later after he called Kejriwal a “terrorist”.
Raking up national issues like terrorism and Pakistan during the election campaign of a union territory (or a state like Maharashtra) has become a tried and tested method for BJP, even though it has not given them spectacular results. During the general elections, most BJP supporters said they feel the country is in danger and a leader like Modi is the armor the nation needs.
But BJP has a tough fight cut out for it. While national issues are always hot topics of discussion among voters, what also concerns the people of Delhi is its law and order, safety, healthcare, schools, water, electricity, jobs, and infrastructure. And the biggest competition here is the AAP, which is fighting to retain the 67 seats it won in 2015.

Up and coming AAP

AAP’s campaign has mostly been based on self-promotion and countering the Opposition’s claims, especially the allegation that AAP failed to keep its promises, and that the CM does not do his job. Twitter especially has been the fulcrum of mudslinging, but Modi in his campaign speech also made such remarks.

AAP Rallly

AAP released its report card in December last year, telling voters about its achievements in education, like constructing 20,000 classrooms; in health, with the opening of 400 Mohalla Clinics; on providing free 20,000-litre water, electricity subsidy, CCTV cameras and more.
After this, a 10-point personal guarantee card was released in early January. This includes free public transport for women and students, basic facilities for unauthorized colonies, good education for students until graduation, affordable and quality healthcare, better security for women, 24-hour electricity supply and a garbage-free Capital.
One issue that has received much attention is th

e healthcare system in Delhi, with a defiant Kejriwal not allowing the Ayushman Bharat scheme. The AAP government maintains that with free healthcare in its government hospitals, it does not need the Centre’s scheme.

AAP, which has been kindly judged for its education reforms, in its manifesto promises to provide a “world-class education facility” for every child. Besides that, it promises to provide a public transportation system with over 11,000 buses, and extending its free bus rides for women to include students as well.

Delhi elections would have been game-changing as AAP has forced BJP and Congress to fight elections not the basis of religion, but Education, Health Care, Electricity, etc. Exit votes suggest AAP would come back into power, we shall wait for the results on 11th February 2020.

CORONAVIRUS; Everything you need to know

Coronavirus has finally reached India with its first confirmed case in Kerala. The patient is a student from Wuhan University and is currently in an isolated ward and stable condition.

Coronavirus is a family of viruses that can cause a range of illnesses ranging from the common cold to even more concerning forms like SARS and MERS which can be life-threatening.

Symptoms can include:-

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulties in breathing
  • Pneumonia

The outbreak is believed to have started in an illegal wildlife market in the central Wuhan city in China. The outbreak is still being investigated by Chinese officials as well as WHO.

There have been more than 300 deaths and more than 14,000 infected people in Hong Kong, Along with India Coronavirus has spread to 24 more countries including the USA, Australia, and the Philippines with one death caused by the same.

Due to the lunar holidays, there had been a lot of festive travel in China but since the outbreak of Coronavirus measures to contain the virus have been made. China has put the city of Wuhan under lockdown with all outgoing flights suspended as well as shut down transport network.

Since Antibiotics  do not work on Viruses some ways you can protect yourself from the Coronavirus outbreak

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever and cough.
  • If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider.
  • When visiting live markets in areas currently experiencing cases of a novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals.
  • The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.

The “Doomsday Clock”; 100 seconds to Armageddon

The Doomsday Clock is a symbol that represents the doom of mankind and how close we are to our demise. The clock is a reminder for the unchecked technological and scientific advancements, The clock represents man-made destruction of humankind. The clock is maintained by Atomic Scientist.

On 23 January 2020 after 75 years after the first issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists the hand of the clock was moved 20 seconds closer to midnight, the “END” closest it has ever been, past social issues or nuclear threats have not brought it this close to midnight, even the forever expectation of nuclear war in the era of Cold War or the threats made by North Korea still did not pose such threat as we face today.

 But now the team behind the clock says the threat is even more severe.

“Faced with this daunting threat landscape and a new willingness of political leaders to reject the negotiations and institutions that can protect civilization over the long term, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board today moves the Doomsday Clock 20 seconds closer to midnight—closer to apocalypse than ever.”

“It is 100 seconds to Midnight”

Asia was where the eyes were this time around, with the increasing tensions between five out of nine countries that have nuclear capabilities, Russia, China, Pakistan, India, and North Korea. All were at the verge of full-on war by one conflict, the world waits and sees which conflict would that be; The South China Sea as China expands its influence as well and economical prowess upon the area as well as the ongoing internal conflicts with Taiwan as well as Hong Kong.

India and Pakistan have their tensions rising as the issue of Kashmir has brought on the center plate for each of them, relations between the two countries have forever been sour since they got their independence, religious discrimination runs rampant and one of the crucial reason for separation. New Laws like CAA and NRC also bring forth internal conflict in India.

Prospects of nuclear war higher than it has ever been before.

North Korea and the Korean peninsula has been unstable since the end of World War 2 and it might be the reason for the Third one as well, the Korean peninsula was divided by the two superpowers after World War 2, i.e. USA and USSR with each controlling South Korea and North Korea respectively.

Robert Rosner, chair of the Bulletin’s science and security board, stated that the world right now is “profoundly unstable.” He added that threats are compounded by an increase in “cyber-enabled disinformation campaigns,” which is crippling “the public’s ability to sort out what’s true and what’s patently false.”

Climate change and the constant ignorance of the world leaders towards it is also an alarming sign which should not be taken lightly, the signs of climate change are here, it is undeniable. Extreme climate disasters are happening all across the world from the fires that burned Australia to the floods which drowned Africa.

Internet is now widespread and can be accessed with one click but with the increasingly pressing issue of disinformation and manipulation of the masses which undermines domestic and international efforts to promote peace and prosper the planet.

Influential leaders instead of working together and aiming for world peace and protecting the environment are instead taking actions towards narrow short term personal interest while at the same time undermining scientific as well as global progress.

Doomsday clock is an alarm for the world to wake up, and being 100 seconds away from “Midnight” we don’t have time to sit idle, otherwise, we would have nothing left.

A Deeper look at Burning Australia

Bush fires in Australia is a natural part of the country’s ecosystem but it is not isolated the reason why Australia is burning is linked to the same reason why East Africa is flooding, In 2003, 2 million hectares were burned in Australia by the bush fires, but the fires that started in 2019 and so much worse, at more than 4.9 million hectares in New South Wales alone, and its only going to grow.

As the world is getting warmer from climate change, so is Australia, 2019 was its hottest year on record with parts of the country reaching 45 degrees Celsius in December, 2019 has also been the driest year for Australia, together these provide the perfect conditions for bushfires to start and spread quickly.

There are multiple factors which increase the likeliness of Australia’s bush fire season, But one of the most influential is the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD). The IOD is a big temperature gradient which affects the surface water on the India Ocean it spreads from East Africa to Australia and Oceania, There are three phases in the temperature of IOD, Positive, Neutral and Negative. When the IOD is Neutral the surface water in the Indian Ocean is evenly warm. A Negative phase is when the winds come in the West and shift the warm water towards Australia. Australia is used to more rain during the Negative phase sometimes even floods, but at the same time East Africa gets less rain and even drought, a Positive phase is what’s happening right now, it’s when the winds come from the East and shift the warm surface water towards Africa which causes flooding there and droughts in Australia.

The entire process of shifting water temperature is nature but what’s happening right now is extreme shifts, The Positive IOD was one of the strongest on record, with the water temperature difference between Africa and Australia being unusually high. Resulting in extreme weather in Australia but also in Africa.

As the planet’s temperature continues to rise to higher than ever before, extreme climate conditions can become the new normal.