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Geopolitics

Rebel Attack On Syrian TV Station, As Assad Declares 'Real State Of War'

Worldcrunch

REUTERS, AL ARABIYA (Saudi Arabia), AL JAZEERA (Qatar)

DAMASCUS - Gunmen attacked the pro-Assad television headquarters in Syria on Wednesday morning, detonating bombs and shooting three employees dead, Reuters reports. The Syrian Minister of Information gave a higher death toll for the attack, saying that seven people were killed and that others were injured or kidnapped, according to Al Jazeera.

The rebel attack on the private Ikhbariya station south of the capital city Damascus came hours after President Bashar al-Assad declared for the first time that Syria was in a state of "war."

On Tuesday evening Bashar al-Assad told his newly appointed cabinet that Syria was in a "real state of war," denouncing the West's role in the conflict. "When we are in a war, all policies and all sides and all sectors need to be directed at winning this war," said Assad in the speech, which was also broadcast on state television.

Further dampening hopes for a peaceful resolution to the conflict, a report from U.N. investigators delivered to the U.N. Human Rights Council on Wednesday found sectarian violence was on the rise, according to Al Arabiya.

"Where previously victims were targeted on the basis of their being pro- or anti-government, the Commission of Inquiry has recorded a growing number of incidents where victims appear to have been targeted because of their religious affiliation," said the report, which also worried about the rebels' use of children "as medical porters, messengers and cooks, exposing them to risk of death and injury."

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Ideas

Joshimath, The Sinking Indian City Has Also Become A Hotbed Of Government Censorship

The Indian authorities' decision to hide factual reports on the land subsidence in Joshimath only furthers a sense of paranoia.

Photo of people standing next to a cracked road in Joshimath, India

Cracked road in Joshimath

@IndianCongressO via Twitter
Rohan Banerjee*

MUMBAI — Midway through the movie Don’t Look Up (2021), the outspoken PhD candidate Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) is bundled into a car, a bag over her head. The White House, we are told, wants her “off the grid”. She is taken to a warehouse – the sort of place where CIA and FBI agents seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in Hollywood movies – and charged with violating national security secrets.

The Hobson’s choice offered to her is to either face prosecution or suspend “all public media appearances and incendiary language relating to Comet Dibiasky”, an interstellar object on a collision course with earth. Exasperated, she acquiesces to the gag order.

Don’t Look Upis a satirical take on the collective apathy towards climate change; only, the slow burn of fossil fuel is replaced by the more imminent threat of a comet crashing into our planet. As a couple of scientists try to warn humanity about its potential extinction, they discover a media, an administration, and indeed, a society that is not just unwilling to face the truth but would even deny it.

This premise and the caricatured characters border on the farcical, with plot devices designed to produce absurd scenarios that would be inconceivable in the real world we inhabit. After all, would any government dealing with a natural disaster, issue an edict prohibiting researchers and scientists from talking about the event? Surely not. Right?

On January 11, the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), one of the centers of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), issued a preliminary report on the land subsidence issue occurring in Joshimath, the mountainside city in the Himalayas.

The word ‘subsidence’ entered the public lexicon at the turn of the year as disturbing images of cracked roads and tilted buildings began to emanate from Joshimath.

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