Saturday, November 18, 2017



                                      YOGI'S BROTHER​                                              SELF EXPLANATORY

Friday, November 17, 2017

WATER : Treading Water(r)


The most essential -- and increasingly scarce  --   ingredient of human life. 
                   It's the water, stupid.

                   Treading Water


                     Dawn Stover

22 AUGUST 2012
In 1954, Lewis Strauss, then chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, gave a speech in which he famously predicted that "our children will enjoy in their homes electrical energy too cheap to meter." Whether he was talking about fission reactors or a secret fusion project is unclear, but he was wrong in either case.
What did turn out to be too cheap to meter, however, was water.
Unless you have a private well or spring on your property, you probably don't enjoy free water in your home. But it's a different story if you're running a power plant or drilling for oil: The biggest water consumers pay the least for every gallon, and most power plants pay almost nothing at all. Perhaps that's why so little research and funding is devoted to saving water -- far less than is spent on energy efficiency.

This year's drought, however, is a painful reminder that water is not an unlimited resource. According to the National Climate Data Center, moderate to exceptional drought currently covers 64 percent of the contiguous United States. A new study in the journal Nature Climate Change predicts that severe and widespread droughts will continue during the coming decades.
Though we live on a blue planet, if you were to gather all the water on Earth inside one gigantic water balloon, it would measure just 860 miles across. And, since oceans cover 71 percent of the planet's surface, 98 percent of that balloon would be saltwater. Of the remaining freshwater, very little comes out of your faucets. A lot more of it comes out of your walls, in the form of electricity. A June 2012 report from the watershed-protection group River Network found that, for every gallon of water used in an average American household, five times as much water is used to provide that same home with electricity.

It takes water to make energy. Coal, gas, and nuclear power plants generate electricity using steam-driven turbine generators. They withdraw surface water from rivers, lakes, or other bodies and use it to cool the steam. Thermoelectric power production has been the largest category of water use in the United States since 1965, and it is currently the fastest-growing user of freshwater. In fact, thermoelectric production accounted for more than 41 percent of all freshwater withdrawals in 2005, the most recent year for which US Geological Survey data are available. That year, thermoelectric production consumed more than 200 billion gallons of water daily. That was about 675 gallons per person. Every. Single. Day.
According to a 2011 report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, water withdrawals vary widely from one type of power plant to another: "On average in 2008, plants in the US nuclear fleet withdrew nearly eight times more freshwater than natural gas plants per unit of electricity generated, and 11 percent more than coal plants." The mining of coal, oil, gas, and uranium together consumes less water than power production does. But that's not saying much. The mining category is expanding quickly, spurred by a boom in unconventional fossil fuels like shale oil and gas. In the Bakken shale of North Dakota, for example, where rainfall is less than 15 inches per year, drillers inject up to 800 truckloads of pressurized water into each well in order to extract oil.
Rather than treating water as a valuable and sacrosanct commodity upon which our lives depend, we have come to see it as an entitlement. While American households pay a premium for all the water-generated electricity found in their walls, those same households also expect cheap, potable water to issue forth from their taps at will. As do major energy companies, who expect water to be made available to them as though it were an inherent right. The US Army Corps of Engineers has issued temporary, no-cost permits to Bakken oil drillers, allowing them to siphon water from the Missouri River, and state representatives say they will fight any attempt by the federal government to charge for the water.
It takes energy to make water. Before you can use water in your dishwasher or bathtub, it must be pumped out of the ground or a surface source, treated to make it potable, delivered to your home, and heated. All of that takes energy. Plus, energy is required to treat and dispose of the wastewater that goes down your drain. In places where water is especially scarce, the only option may be desalination -- an extremely energy-intensive process. And while thermoelectric power plants pay little or nothing for their water, water utilities get big electricity bills. (Remember, electricity isn't too cheap to meter.)
A 2009 River Network study explored the flip side of the water-energy relationship, estimating that US water-related energy use is at least 521 million megawatt-hours per year -- equivalent to 13 percent of US electricity consumption and double the amount generated by all the country's hydroelectric dams. It doesn't help that the US plumbing system is leaking an estimated seven billion gallons of water per day, earning it a D-minus grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers. To add insult to injury, this wasted water has already been treated to ensure that it meets drinking-water standards.
Energy-water collisions. This year's summer is not only dry; it's hot. According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists, July was the hottest month in the contiguous United States since recordkeeping began in 1895. And what happens in hot weather? People crank up air conditioners, increasing the need for energy -- which, in turn, increases the need for water. As the climate changes, we'll see even more hot, dry summers, causing what the Union of Concerned Scientists calls "energy-water collisions": If there isn't enough water to cool power plants, or the water is too hot to be used, power plants have to cut back on production or close.
For example, one of two units at Connecticut's Millstone nuclear power plant shut down on August 12, because the water in the Long Island Sound was overheated. It was the first time in the plant's 37-year history that Millstone found itself in, er, hot water. So energy-water collisions are already occurring, and they will only get worse.
study in Nature Climate Change modeled the combined impacts of lower summer river flows and higher river temperatures and concluded that the summertime capacity of US power plants could decrease by as much as 16 percent beginning in the 2030s. The study also predicted that the probability of extreme (more than 90 percent) reductions in power production would triple. Get ready for hotter weather and less relief.
Saving water, saving energy. Luckily, there are solutions in plain view, including some low-hanging fruit. A "G-Science" statement on the linkage between water and energy, issued by the national science academies of 15 countries before the G8 Summit three months ago, recommended integrating water and energy programs, and investing in water efficiency as well as energy efficiency.
Monitoring by Idaho Rivers United, for example, has revealed that reductions in domestic hot water consumption could make a big dent in energy use and carbon emissions. That's because hot water contains a tremendous amount of "embedded" energy -- energy to transport, treat, and heat it. Surprisingly, simple improvements in water efficiency (switching to low-flow showerheads, for example) are often more cost-effective than improvements in energy efficiency (such as installing better light bulbs).
"Water efficiency research, as well as consumer retrofit programs, should be incentivized on a par with energy efficiency programs, because they yield documentable energy savings," testified Mary Ann Dickinson, president and CEO of the Alliance for Water Efficiency, at a July Senate subcommittee hearing to examine the role of water use efficiency and its impacts on energy use. "To date, funding has been limited and insufficient, given the chronic need. For example, in the past 10 years only $3.5 million has been spent by the EPA on water efficiency research, a fraction of what has been spent by the Department of Energy on energy efficiency research."
All of the above: energy and water. When water efficiency is factored into the equation, alternative energy sources, like wind turbines and solar cells, compare more favorably to coal, gas, and nuclear power. And thus, it becomes obvious -- blindingly so -- that thermoelectric power plants need to switch from "once-through" cooling systems to recirculating systems.
The drought has made it clear to most Americans -- though, sadly, not to our political leaders -- that water efficiency is essential to smart energy planning. For far too long, water and energy experts have existed in separate realms; they are finally finding one another at the water-energy nexus. Now it's time to redefine "all of the above," the phrase both presidential candidates have embraced to describe their energy policies. Mitt Romney needs to rethink his opposition to government support for water-efficient technologies, and both he and Barack Obama should focus a lot more attention on conservation -- the cheapest, safest, and most expedient solution to energy and water problems.
 In a year when drought, record-breaking heat, and dire scientific warnings about climate change are making headlines day after day, neither candidate has yet grasped that "all of the above" isn't just about energy but also about that most essential -- and increasingly scarce -- ingredient of human life. 
It's the water, stupid.



                KASHMIRI  PANDITS  & YEZDIS

The opportunistic rape and pillage of previous centuries has been replaced    in modern conflict by rape used as an orchestrated combat tool.



          RAPE  AS  WEAPON  OF  WAR

How did rape become a weapon of war?

By Laura Smith-Spark 
BBC News

The UN has accused the Janjaweed militia in Sudan of using mass rape

Women's bodies have become part of the terrain of conflict, according to a new report by Amnesty International.

Rape and sexual abuse are not just a by-product of war but are used as a deliberate military strategy, it says.

The opportunistic rape and pillage of previous centuries has been replaced in modern conflict by rape used as an orchestrated combat tool.

And while Amnesty cites ongoing conflicts in Colombia, Iraq, Sudan, Chechnya, Nepal and Afghanistan, the use of rape as a weapon of war goes back much further.

Spoils of war?

From the systematic rape of women in Bosnia, to an estimated 200,000 women raped during the battle for Bangladeshi independence in 1971, to Japanese rapes during the 1937 occupation of Nanking - the past century offers too many examples.

So what motivates armed forces, whether state-backed troops or irregular militia, to attack civilian women and children?

Gita Sahgal, of Amnesty International, told the BBC News website it was a mistake to think such assaults were primarily about the age-old "spoils of war", or sexual gratification.

Rape is often used in ethnic conflicts as a way for attackers to perpetuate their social control and redraw ethnic boundaries, she said.

"Women are seen as the reproducers and carers of the community," she said.
"Therefore if one group wants to control another they often do it by impregnating women of the other community because they see it as a way of destroying the opposing community."

 Women were raped so they could give birth to a Serbian baby 
Medecins Sans Frontieres report

A report by Medecins Sans Frontieres says it first came across rape as a weapon in the 1990s.

"In Bosnia systematic rape was used as part of the strategy of ethnic cleansing," it said.

"Women were raped so they could give birth to a Serbian baby."

The same tactic was used in a "very strategic attack" by state-backed Pakistani troops during the fight for Bangladesh's independence in 1971, Ms Sahgal said.

"They were saying 'we will make you breed Punjabi children'," she said, with the aim of weakening the integrity of the opposing ethnic group.

Amnesty this year accused the pro-government Janjaweed militias in Sudan's Darfur region of using mass rape in order to punish, humiliate and control non-Arab groups.

Such attacks cause women and children to flee their homes, lead to fragmentation of communities and bring the risk of infection with HIV/Aids.

Sexual violence is also used to destabilise communities and sow terror, Amnesty says in its Lives Blown Apart report.

In Colombia, rival groups rape, mutilate and kill women and girls in order to impose "punitive codes of conduct on entire towns and villages", so strengthening their control.

Act With Impunity

Ex-"comfort women" in Korea hold a weekly rally demanding reparations

The strategic use of rape in war is not a new phenomenon but only recently has it begun to be documented, chiefly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia and Sudan, said Ms Sahgal.

And even after conflicts are resolved, few countries seem willing to tackle what is often seen as a crime against individual women rather than a strategy of war.

In many nations the collapse of the rule of law leaves them unable to deal with allegations of rape, while in others women feel too exposed to stigma to accuse their attackers.

International courts have tackled some cases in Bosnia, where Muslim women were forced into sexual slavery in the town of Foca in the 1990s, and in Rwanda, but the vast majority of perpetrators act with impunity.

 Women's lives and their bodies have been the unacknowledged casualties of war for too long 
Amnesty's Lives Blown Apart report
Representatives of the 200,000 "comfort women" forcibly drafted into military sexual slavery by Japan from 1928 until the end of World War II are still fighting for restitution.

Far from colluding, women from Korea, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and East Timor were "severely coerced" into prostitution, says Ms Sahgal.

And whether a woman is raped at gunpoint or trafficked into sexual slavery by an occupying force, the sexual abuse will shape not just her own but her community's future for years to come.

"Survivors face emotional torment, psychological damage, physical injuries, disease, social ostracism and many other consequences that can devastate their lives," says Amnesty.

"Women's lives and their bodies have been 

                        the unacknowledged

                casualties of war for too long."

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Doklam row: India reasonably sure China does not want war despite angry rhetoric



Doklam row: India reasonably sure China does not want war despite angry rhetoric

| Aug 6, 2017.

NEW DELHI: Far away from the actual faceoff  site at Doklam, where rival soldiers are close enough to literally smell each other in the rarefied air of the high-altitude region, the Indian security establishment is reasonably sure China will not risk a war or even "a small-scale military operation" despite all its belligerent rhetoric. 

A "face-saving" workable option is for both India and China to simultaneously withdraw their troops from the Bhutanese territory of Doklam (called Dong Lang by China) near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction, said sources in the security establishment.  

But, added the sources, if it does come down to a skirmish or battle, the Indian Army is well-poised with "fully acclimatised troops" and "an enhanced border management posture" to prevent "any misadventure" by the People's Liberation Army (PLA). 

India has repeatedly stressed war is not a solution to the on-going over 50-day standoff, with foreign minister Sushma Swaraj last week telling Parliament that bilateral dialogue, patience and "bhasha saiyam" (language restraint) was the way forward to diffuse tensions. 

"Both countries do not want a conflict. A tactical operation by the Chinese border guards and PLA to construct a motorable road at Doklam (physically blocked by Indian soldiers on June 18) went awry, with the consequent strategic fall-out. Mutual troop pull-back or re-adjustment is the face-saver," said a source. 

But China is yet to sound conciliatory, at least in its public stance. The 7th edition of the annual "Hand-in-Hand" exercise between the Indian Army and PLA, which was to be held in China in October, is likely to be among the "casualties" of the faceoff. "Even the exercise's initial planning conference, leave alone the final one, has not been held despite reminders to China," said another source. 

At the over 11,000-feet site in Doklam, the roughly 300-350 troops from the two sides continue to be ranged against each other as of now. Concertina wire coils around 150 metres long separate them there, with both having also built makeshift defences after earlier pitching tents and establishing logistical supply lines. 

"The Chinese troops at the faceoff site are backed by around 1,500 PLA soldiers in three layers towards the rear. There are some verbal and loudspeaker exchanges but in a non-aggressive manner," said the source. 

Accidental escalation,
however, remains a big worry. Indian Army formations in the region, including the 17 (Gangtok), 20 (Binnaguri) and 27 (Kalimpong) Mountain Divisions (each with over 10,000 soldiers), continue to be in a high state of operational readiness.

As was first reported by TOI, over 2,500 soldiers from the 164 Brigade were moved forward to Zuluk and Nathang Valley in Sikkim in June-July to add to the 6,000 soldiers under the 63 (Nathu La) and 112 (Chungthang) Brigades already deployed in eastern and north-eastern parts of the state. 

As was first reported by TOI, over 2,500 soldiers from the 164 Brigade were moved forward to Zuluk and Nathang Valley in Sikkim in June-July to add to the 6,000 soldiers under the 63 (Nathu La) and 112 (Chungthang) Brigades already deployed in eastern and north-eastern parts of the state. 

As a military thumb rule, an attacker has to deploy three soldiers for every one of the defender in the plains. As the altitude increases, the ratio increases to 9:1 for mountain warfare. "Our troops are better placed and prepared for the long haul," he added.

Sources say India remains steadfast about not allowing China to "bully" Bhutan into ceding ground in the Doklam region, which is "strategically crucial" because the Zomplri (Jampheri) Ridge there overlooks the Siliguri corridor or the "Chicken's Neck" area. But it has maintained restraint in face of escalating rhetoric from Beijing.   

India, China, Tibet & the curious case of the missing Sikkim Papers


Undercover In Tibet (Full Documentary) -                            Real Stories

               [ ]


India, China, Tibet & the curious case of                 the missing Sikkim Papers
                          Claude Arpi

The present standoff at the trijunction between Sikkim, Tibet and Bhutan, on the southern tip of the Chumbi, is a worrying development.

While recently addressing the foreign diplomats in Delhi, foreign secretary S Jaishankar rightly stated that China has been 'unusually aggressive and articulate'. Beijing seems to have only one argument, i.e. the 1890 convention between the British and the Manchus, conveniently forgetting several other agreements, particularly the 1893 Trade Regulations (1890 twin accord) which allowed India to open a trade mart in Yatung in the Chumbi Valley.


There is also general amnesia on the fact that the Tibetans never recognised the 1890 Convention as Lhasa and Paro were not consulted by the 'Great Imperial Powers'.

Tsepon WD Shakabpa, the Tibetan historian explained: 

'In 1890 a convention was drawn up …without consulting the government of Tibet …and since (Tibet) was not represented at the Convention, those articles were not allowed to be put into practice by the Tibetans.

'The British were aware that China exercised no real power in Tibet at that time.'

To come back to the present day, Jaishankar told a panel of MPs that India has clearly outlined its position on the border though the Chinese have a differing position, 'but they are misinterpreting it and so India was trying to clarify it'.

He said that India has been maintaining the same position since 1895 as per an Anglo-Chinese agreement.
One can only hope that reason will prevail in Beijing, but a solution is bound to take time.

In this context, an anecdote came back to mind.

A few years ago, an acquaintance who, as a young diplomat, was posted in Gangtok in the Political Officer's office told me that in 1975-76, soon after the merger of the Himalayan State with India, he spent months going through all the historical records kept in Gangtok between 1889 to 1975; 

Delhi's orders were to dispatch them to 

               Delhi for safe custody.

Once his work was over; the diplomat sent

 six truck-loads of old files to Delhi 


                         CRPF escort.

Since then, nobody seems to know where                  these Sikkim Papers are 
      if this archival treasure still exists.

It would have an immense historical value today to show that India and Tibet had a different relation than the one portrayed by China; further Beijing would be unable to bluff its way through with incorrect historical information

Gangtok has seen many remarkable personages serving as Political Officer's (POs). 

The first was Claude White, a British engineer who was send to Sikkim in 1887 to tackle the tense situation on the Sikkim–Tibet border in the north.

A year later, White came back to Sikkim as an Assistant Political Officer of a British Expeditionary Force which defeated the Tibetans a year later; this resulted in the 1890 Convention.

In the meantime, a post of Political Officer in Sikkim had been created, making Claude White, the Administrative head of the entire Himalayan region.


In his book Sikkim and Bhutan: 21 Years on the North East Frontier 1887-1908, the first PO wrote, 'one of the first things to be done after his arrival in Sikkim was to build a house, the site for which was found in the midst of the jungles around Gangtok'; then called the Residency, it is today's the Raj Bhavan.

Though South Block probably has copies of some of the Sikkim Papers, the entire set is not traceable 

        (it is at least what I was told).

It is a tragedy for researchers and it would undoubtedly help strengthen India's case in the present circumstances.


Interesting officers occupied the Residency in Gangtok.

Amongst them, Sir Charles Bell who had developed a deep friendship with the Thirteenth Dalai Lama, when the latter was living in exile in Kalimpong, but also Frederick Bailey who was instrumental in mapping the North-East, what became the McMahon Line in 1914.; and Sir Basil Gould, who in the 1930s, travelled to Tibet to establish diplomatic relations with a then Independent Tibet or Arthur Hopkinson, the religious-minded ICS officer, who was asked by the government of India to continue for a year after Independence as the First 'Indian' PO.

Harishwar Dayal took over from Hopkinson and was officiating when Tibet was invaded by the Chinese troops in October 1950.

Once in a cable to the Prime Minister, Dayal dared quoting a dispatch sent from Hugh Richardson, the Scottish-born 'Indian' representative in Lhasa; on June 15, 1949, he suggested that India might consider occupying Chumbi Valley up to Phari 'in an extreme emergency'.

This did not go well with Nehru, but in November 1950, Dayal wrote: 'This suggestion was NOT favoured by government of India at the time. It was however proposed as a purely defensive measure and with NO aggressive intention.' 

'An attack on Sikkim or Bhutan would call for defensive military operations by the Government of India.' Though it is history now, it is what China's PLA strategists would today call 'active defence'.

Let us hope that the Sikkim Papers could soon be traced, they contain the history
                      Modern Himalaya.