A primer on populism and its unexpected past practitioners

Book Review: History Repeating – Why Populists Rise and Governments Fall; Author: Sam Wilkin; Publisher: Profile Books/Hachette India; Pages: 288; Price: Rs 599   Vikas Datta IANS   Take a prosperous country facing a recent economic crisis where there is suddenly an improbable candidate for top office – a businessman claiming to be so rich […]

The hotel where top brass, dealers & spies rub shoulders

Greg Torode Reuters   For the region’s military officers, diplomats, weapons manufacturers and spies, there are few livelier places than the lobby of Singapore’s Shangri-La hotel around mid-year.   Here, beneath pillared ceilings and chandeliers, they gather for an annual informal bash – called the Shangri-La Dialogue – organised by the London-based International Institute for […]

‘Strict curbs on global warming would buoy world economy’

Alister Doyle Reuters “By the end of the century the world would be about three percent wealthier” Stringent limits on global warming would bolster the world economy by averting tens of trillions of dollars in damage this century from heat waves, droughts and floods, a U.S. study said on May 23.   The report, among […]

Bloody but forgotten WWII battle still haunts soldiers

Mark Thiessen and Mari Yamaguchi Associated Press   William Roy Dover’s memory of the World War II battle is as sharp as it was 75 years ago, even though it’s been long forgotten by most everyone else.   His first sergeant rousted him from his pup tent around 2 a.m. when word came the Japanese […]

Norway to ban child marriage as it seeks to set a global example

Emma Batha Thomson Reuters Foundation   The Nordic country has a minimum age of 18, but allows 16- and 17-year-olds to marry with parental consent   Norway approved a law banning all child marriage on Tuesday, with campaigners saying it would set an example to others ahead of a global 2030 deadline for eradicating the […]

Pakistan’s perilous state – the public position and perception

Book Review: Pakistan under Siege: Extremism, Society, and the State; Author: Madiha Afzal; Publisher: Viking/Penguin Random House India; Pages: 208; Price: Rs 599   Vikas Datta IANS   It is considered one of the world’s most dangerous countries for being a hub of a particularly virulent form of violent religious extremism, whose impact ranges far […]

Tea workers in India live in ‘appalling’ conditions

Annie Banerji & Zarir Hussain Thomson Reuters Foundation   “In the global supply chain of tea business, the condition of workers is not taken into consideration”   Women working on tea plantations in northeast India earn a “pitiful” $2 a day and live in “appalling” conditions with almost no toilets, according to a report released […]

Are humans influencing cancer in wild animals?

IANS Besides indulging in cancer causing behaviour like smoking, poor diet and low hygiene, human beings are also changing the environment in such a way that it can lead to the deadly disease in many species of wild animals, researchers have warned.   “Cancer has been found in all species where scientists have looked for […]

A Scottish adventurer and his colourful World War II career

Vikas Datta IANS   Across the Second World War’s hundreds of thousands of armed clashes, big and small, across multiple theatres, there are few soldiers, below general rank, who may have influenced its strategic course, and in a way, shaped the future, despite their personal bravery. This distinction goes to a Scottish diplomat-turned-politician-turned-soldier, who was […]

‘Happy Dreams’

Mayabhushan Nagvenkar IANS   Book Review: Happy Dreams; Author Jia Pingwa (Translated by Nicky Harman); Publisher: Amazon Crossing; Pages: 481; Price Rs 499   The story of Happy and Wufu in Jia Pingwa’s “Happy Dreams” could be the story of any one of the rag pickers one would encounter in any Indian metro.   It […]