Majoring in suicide bombings

What the fuck can you say about this story except, what the fuck?!

Ten new terror training camps have been opened inside Pakistan since the November 2008 terror assault in Mumbai, India, which was launched from Pakistani soil.

The 10 additional camps raise the total number to 62, according to Indian intelligence agencies. The report, which was first noted in the Hindustan Times, was confirmed by US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal.

In passing, an alumnus of one such institution is in trouble in the US.


If you know of a more creative defense for surfing porn at work, let me know:

For instance, one senior executive spent at least 331 days looking at pornography on his government computer and chatting online with nude or partially clad women without being detected, the records show.

When finally caught, the NSF official retired. He even offered, among other explanations, a humanitarian defense, suggesting that he frequented the porn sites to provide a living to the poor overseas women. Investigators put the cost to taxpayers of the senior official’s porn surfing at between $13,800 and about $58,000.

“He explained that these young women are from poor countries and need to make money to help their parents and this site helps them do that,” investigators wrote in a memo.

Make your own runs

Andrew Strauss was perfectly within the rules — and bang on the money — when he turned down Graeme Smith’s request for a runner the other day. What I don’t get is this bit in the ICC’s official statement on the issue:

“He [Smith] asked for a runner and the umpires took the view that cramp is a symptom of fatigue,” an ICC spokesperson was quoted as saying by PA. “Being tired does not qualify batsmen for a runner under the laws of the game. That is the way it will be interpreted by the umpires for the rest of the tournament.

Why? If the objection to runners coming on simply because a batsman tires in mid innings is valid, why is the umpire asked to enforce the proscription only for one particular tournament, and not as a rule across the board — especially since the spokesman points at the ODI rule book to justify the action?

A vote for a vada-pav

This is why I am going to vote for the Shiv Sena: tax free vada pav.

[Link via Twitter from Amit Varma]

Pointless exercise?

Do you suppose the various ministers in the Manmohan Singh Cabinet know each other? That they talk to each other?

News stories like this one make me wonder.

Way back in 1995, India and the United States signed a military cooperation agreement that supposedly broke the Cold War paradigm, and “ushered in” a new era of close relations between the armed forces of both countries. That remained pretty much on paper, till July 2005 when, in the wake of Manmohan Singh’s love fest with George W Bush at the White House, the two countries among other line items decided to step up the pace of military exercises. Since then, there’s been a flood of them [back in October 2006 I tagged along on one], and Hillary Clinton during her recent visit to India signed agreements to step the pace up even further.

Hence, my puzzlement over this:

Leaving the US flummoxed, the Indian Navy pulled out of an amphibious exercise with American forces in Japan last week after it failed to get clearance from the Defence Ministry. …

While no explanation was given by the Defence Ministry for holding back the clearance, this is not the first time that Indo-US defence interactions have been called off by the Ministry this year.

At least four exercises, including the Okinawa war game, have been called off at the last minute this year despite being scheduled well in advance. In all cases, while the armed forces had committed troops and equipment, lack of permission from the Ministry led to cancellations.

In one case, the US even expressed dismay as it suffered a loss of several million dollars due to the last-minute cancellation of an exercise between the US Marines and Indian Navy. The exercise, which was scheduled to take place in India weeks before the Lok Sabha elections, was called off after troops and specialised equipment had been committed by the US. Another exercise was called off after the elections took place, sending conflicting signals.

Makes you wonder if the governmental left hand knows what its right hand is up to.

Holy cow!

Spend money on people, not monuments, the Congress — which, having unfurled the banner of austerity, can now speak from the high moral ground — tells the Uttar Pradesh chief minister.

That would be this Congress?

The proposed memorial will be built on 1,412 hectares of forest land.

The AP government says it wants to develop the memorial – at an antipciated cost of around Rs 315 crore – into an important tourist attraction, to be readied by September next year.

And this one?

In reply to a Right To Information query filed by a resident of Mumbai, Chetan Kothari, it was revealed by the government that in the last five years, an expenditure of Rs 93.53 crore has been incurred towards the upkeep of these bungalows….

“Visit these bungalows and you will see construction work every now and then. They have engineered wood flooring, wall paneling and veneering, gypsum board and false ceiling, glazed shutters for doors, windows and glazed partitions, polished porcelain tiles in toilet and wall. All expensive ones,” Kothari said.

Some of the occupants of these bungalows include Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in Talkatora Road, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar in Janpath, Defence Minister A K Antony in K M Marg, Home Minister P Chidambaram in Safdarjung Road and Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee in B K S Marg.

A total of 77 bungalows have been allotted to the various ministers. According to the reply, nearly Rs 11 crore was spent towards the upkeep of these bungalows in 2004-2005, Rs nine crore the next year followed by an expenditure of Rs 20 crore in 2006-2007 followed by Rs 33 crore in 2007-2008.

“They have spent Rs 21 crore alone till June 2009 for the maintenance of these bungalows,” Kothari said.

Note that we aren’t talking of decrepit, abandoned buildings being renovated — these are homes people lived in, continue to live in. Were they, do you suppose, in such a perilous state of disrepair as to necessitate this investment?

Note, too, that the bungalows on which this money is being expended includes the one tenanted by the high priest of austerity, Pranab Mukherjee himself. I wonder what the likes of Jayanti Natrajan and Tom Vadakkan have to say.

In passing, spotted this hilarious line in the ToI yesterday in an article on Rahul Gandhi as the new dalit icon: [See Page 12, ToI, September 28]:

Last week, he made a much talked about secret trip to Bahraich and Shravasti district.