Archive for February, 2018


My daughter, Vilashini Somiah, who has several new age fads about food swears by Quinoa. She calls it super food. She has tried to get me to have it for dinner once. I kind of like the stuff and now I take a tablespoon of quinoa every morning with my oats and other grains. I still prefer my wheat and occasionally some rice.  Now quinoa is the cause of a raging fight in Malaysia. I can understand the intensity.

“To millions of Malaysians, rice is at the center of most meals. Many start and end their day with it. Rice is the basis of the national dish, nasi lemak.

So when Prime Minister Najib Razak said this past week that he preferred quinoa because it was “better than rice,” he stirred up a tempest in a lunch bowl.

Opponents pounced and other Malaysians took to social media to fret and fume when Najib was caught saying: “I don’t eat rice. I eat quinoa. My son introduced me to it.”

Dr Mahathir Mohamad, a former prime minister who is leading the Pakatan Harapan (PH) opposition coalition in elections expected by August, took to Twitter to jeer the prime minister and to express his support for Malaysia’s traditional grain.

“I only eat local rice,” Dr Mahathir tweeted.

Another opposition leader, Lim Kit Siang, said he had never even heard of quinoa.”

*Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa; (/ˈkiːnwɑː/ or /kɪˈnoʊ.ə/, from Quechua kinwa or kinuwa) is a flowering plant in the amaranth family. It is a herbaceous annual plant grown as a grain crop primarily for its edible seeds. Quinoa is not a grass, but rather a pseudocereal botanically related to spinach and amaranth.

After harvest, the seeds are processed to remove the bitter-tasting outer seed coat. Versatile for many dishes, cooked quinoa supplies nutrient content similar to wheat and rice, such as moderate amounts of protein, dietary fiber, and minerals. Quinoa is gluten-free.

Quinoa originated in the Andean region of northwestern South America, and was domesticated 3,000 to 4,000 years ago for human consumption in the Lake Titicaca basin of Peru and Bolivia, though archaeological evidence shows livestock uses 5,200 to 7,000 years ago. Amazingly, researchers have also found that quinoa could have origins in Taiwan as well.

READ THE NEW YORK TIMES

Malaysians were not happy when Prime Minister Najib Razak said he preferred quinoa because it was “better than rice,” the national staple.

After the last party congress in Beijing in October 2017, i predicted that President Xi Jinping will soon become an emperor. Well its happening now.

“China’s Communist Party cleared the way for President Xi Jinping to stay in power, perhaps indefinitely, by proposing that the nation’s Constitution be changed to abolish a two-term limit on the presidency.

The Communist Party Central Committee, a council of senior officials from the ruling party, “proposed to remove the expression that the President and Vice-President of the People’s Republic of China ‘shall serve no more than two consecutive terms’ from the country’s Constitution,” the Xinhua News Agency said on its English-language website.

Since each term is five years in length, the Constitution had limited Mr. Xi, who became president in 2013, to 10 years in office.”

China’s Communist Party has proposed revising the nation’s Constitution to end a two-term limit, which would allow Xi Jinping to remain president, perhaps indefinitely, by proposing that the nation’s Constitution be changed to abolish a two-term limit on the presidency.

SCAREMONGERING ABOUT CHINA

Posted: February 21, 2018 in China, Malaysia, USA
Tags: ,

Despite all the scaremongering going on within America’s security community, I dont believe China will be able to credibly challenge the USA, militarily, economically and politically for the rest of this century at least. I also dont believe that China will ever have the soft power or become aspirational like the USA. I don’t believe that the world’s many nations will hoard their foreign reserves in Yuan as opposed to US dollars (68%). I don’t believe that countries can ever become rich by posting trade surpluses with China as they have (including China) with the USA. I believe all this American scare mongering is driven by the lure of funding from the US military industrial complex. The US MI complex needs an arms race to keep going and to persuade the nation to cough up 7-8% of GDP for defense. The Chinese are too smart to engage the USA in any direct conflict because they know they will get whipped. Even Russia will be too formidable for them till at least 2050. China will reserve its aggressiveness for countries like India, Japan, or Vietnam. Remember the old Chinese saying about “skinning the cat to scare the monkey!” If  Malaysia is smart it will resist becoming the cat, till it gets really sharp talons.

Regardless of how America responds to the Chinese challenge, its policy must be rooted in reality.

The Sabah government is committed to ensuring continuous political stability, economic development and social progress in the state, Chief Minister Musa Aman said.

Musa said efforts would also be made to ensure the people continuously benefit from programmes to improve their living standard, as well as maintain harmony and stability in the state.

“Therefore, any action that can have a negative effect on unity and stability should be avoided to enable us to achieve our aspiration, improve the socio-economic standard and focus on efforts to bring more progress to the state,” he said.

Musa said this in his speech at an Ang Pow Festival dinner organised by the Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) in conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebration in Kota Kinabalu last night.

At the event, Musa also announced an allocation of RM50,000 to FCAS.

Musa said the state government had never neglected any faction of the society in its implementation of development programmes, but strived for the benefit of all quarters, regardless of religion or ethnic, as evident with the huge allocation provided for non-Islamic schools and houses of worship.

He said the state government had allocated about RM300 million for non-Islamic schools and houses of worship in Sabah since 10 years ago.

“When I was appointed chief minister, the allocation for non-Islamic schools and houses of worship was only RM1.5 million then. I felt the amount was not enough and I increased the allocation to RM30 million a year,” he said.

As such, he urged the Chinese community in Sabah to continue to support and help the government in efforts to further develop the state.

– Bernama


The social network, more than any other technology tool, was singled out on Friday by the Justice Department when prosecutors charged 13 Russians and three companies for executing a scheme to subvert the 2016 election and support Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign. In a 37-page indictment, officials detailed how the Russians repeatedly turned to Facebook and Instagram, often using stolen identities to pose as Americans, to sow discord among the electorate by creating Facebook groups, distributing divisive ads and posting inflammatory images.

The special counsel’s indictment detailed how crucial Facebook and Instagram were to the Russian campaign to disrupt the presidential election.

Reporters and spooks have an unlikely professional kinship. Both spend their days trying to gather information, by talking to the people who have it or getting hold of documents that reveal it. Spies have their agents to safeguard; we have our sources to protect. In recent years even the technology has begun to merge, as reporters shift to encrypted email and secure apps like Signal to leave a less obvious trail for leak investigators.

But the differences between us are far more profound. The spies hoard information for the power it confers. We publish what we find out — and what we find out is often about the spies’ dubious operations, ethical lapses or covered-up failures. That’s the nature of news.

Why do people love spy stories? Scott Shane, our national security reporter, talks tonight with Jennifer Lawrence, star of the new spy thriller “Red Sparrow.”

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 As a consequence of the May 1879 Treaty of Gandamak after the Second Afghan War, Britain had taken control of Afghanistan’s foreign affairs. This treaty also gave Britain control over traditional Pashtun territory west of the Indus including Peshawar and the Khyber Pass.

After the Panjdeh incident a joint Anglo-Russian boundary commission, without any Afghan participation, fixed the Afghan border with Turkestan, which was the whole of Russian Central Asia, now Kirghizstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

Thus, as a consequence of the competition between Britain and Russia, a new country, the Afghanistan we know today, was created to serve as the buffer.

Historically Pashtuns/Pakhtuns/Pathans and Afghans refer to the same people. The Pashtuns, who live east of the Durand line live in the mountainous areas and are made up of tribes such as the Afridi, Orakzai, Shinwari, Bangash and Turis. West of the Khyber, in today’s Afghanistan, live the Pashtuns consisting mainly of two great tribes – the Durranis also known as Abdalis and the Ghilzais.

In 1901 the British created the NWFP de-linking Pathan lands from Afghanistan and Punjab. They further divided NWFP into the settled districts that were directly administered by the British and five autonomous Tribal Agency areas ruled by local chieftains but with British Agents keeping an eye on them, as in the Indian princely states.

From the very beginning the Durand Line was not an international border but a line of control. The Simon Commission Report of 1930 stated quite explicitly: “British India stopped at the boundary of the administered area.”

When Pakistan came into being the vast majority of Muslims residing in what is now India stayed back and a Muslim homeland was fashioned out of Punjab, Sind, East Bengal and an unwilling North West Frontier Province (NWFP), which actually voted against the separatist Muslim League in the 1946 elections.

The British administered Tribal Agencies (now FATA) did not vote. Baluchistan at that time consisted of the independent state of Kalat ruled by the Khan, and the Quetta region that was leased by the British in 1876.

Gwadar and most of the Makran district in what is now in the Baluchistan Province of Pakistan, was under the control of the Sultan of Muscat, who relinquished it to Pakistan only in 1958.

The US National Intelligence Council 2008 report on “Global Trends 2025 states: “The future of Pakistan is a wildcard in considering the trajectory of neighboring Afghanistan. Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province and tribal areas probably will continue to be poorly governed and the source or supporter of cross-border instability.

If Pakistan is unable to hold together until 2025, a broader coalescence of Pashtun tribes is likely to emerge and act together to erase the Durand Line, maximizing Pashtun space at the expense of the Punjabis in Pakistan and the Tajiks and others in Afghanistan.”

And this is what Afghanistan’s revered national poet, Khushal Khan Khattak, has to say who the Afghans are:

“Pull out your sword and slay any one,
That says Pashtun and Afghan are not one.
Arabs know this and so do Romans,
Afghans are Pashtuns, Pashtuns are Afghans.”