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Indian paint company, Berger Paints to open plant in Nevinnomysk, Russia

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Moscow: Indian paint manufacturing company Berger Paints has chosen to set up a plant in the Russian town of Nevinnomysk in the Stavropol region.

The decision to locate its paint and varnish manufacturing centre there, was taken after a group of Indian investors visited the town’s industrial park.

Indian investors visited a Russian regional industrial park, Nevinnomysk, along with regional officials, Vasily Shestak, first Deputy Head of the Nevinnomysk administration, and Dmitry Tolmachev, Deputy Minister of Energy, Industry and Communication of the Stavropol region. After examining some of the other functioning enterprises and exploring the options, the Indians decided to set up a paint manufacturing factory there.

Vladimir Vladimirov, Governor of the region, and Kuldip Singh Dhingra, owner of Berger Paints, one of India’s biggest paints and varnish manufacturing companies, had in February 2015 signed in New Delhi an agreement on cooperation, to establish an industrial and domestic paint and varnish manufacturing unit.

Berger officials are finalising a site for the factory at Nevinnomysk, for which four to six hectares of land is required. The company plans to invest at least $5 million in the project and create at least 50 jobs. According to local residents, it makes sense that Nevinnomysk was selected as the location for the new plant, because it has a highly developed transportation and logistics infrastructure for industry.

During their visit to Nevinnomysk, representatives from Berger Paints along with Shestak, Tolmachev and other local authorities and local and regional journalists visited some functional enterprises. These included PK Stroymontaj Yug (aggregate industry), USK (producing construction materials), MK-Nevprom (manufacturing multilayered paper bags), Lissant-Yug (poly-urethane sandwich-panels installment), Nevinnomyssky profil (manufacturing roll-shaped zinked metal profiles using cold shaping method), Terminal (logistical complex) and metallurgical factory Stavstal.

The regional industrial park began functioning in 2010 as a pilot project for the region. In 2012, it received a certificate from the association of the industrial parks of Russia with an “active” status, which was confirmed in 2014.

The value of investment in projects at the park is 16.74 billion rubles ($294.5 million). Investors have already paid 7.5 billion rubles. Of the 1,255 jobs envisaged, 624 jobs have been created, around 80 percent of all jobs created in the town.

Active enterprises have produced almost two billion rubles, and actively contributed to the town’s economy, thus improving conditions in the town and the region. (IANS)

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Hinduism Acts As a Boundary for the Spread of Radical Islam in India: Chinese Media

The article called attention to the solid impact of Hinduism in India

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Hinduism in India
Hinduism in India. Pixabay

Sep 03, 2014: Muslims in India generally stayed unaffected from the radicalization of Muslim gatherings in different parts of the world in light of the strong impact of Hinduism in the nation, which has established a mark of itself by going past a religion to end up plainly as a lifestyle and a social establishment, said the state-run Chinese media on Wednesday.

Adulating Hinduism for helping India setting up an ever lasting attachment towards the religion among different sects, an article in Global Times, titled – “Hinduism tied to India’s geopolitical standing” said that Hinduism made India a boundary for the spread of radical Islam on the global geopolitical scene.

The article asserted that-

Why does it seem that Muslims in India have remained largely apart from the radicalization that has happened to Muslim groups in other parts of the world? Indian Muslims seldom have extreme organizations compared with groups in many other Asian countries. In the southern part of the Philippines, extremists backed by Islamic State have turned their occupied cities into horrible places. In southern Thailand, terror attacks staged by Muslim extremists take place almost every week.

The article called attention to the solid impact of Hinduism, the dominant religion of India while answering the question: Why does it seem that Muslims in India have remained largely apart from the radicalization that has happened to Muslim groups in other parts of the world? 

“Like many other religions, Hinduism has its extreme side, but for the most part, its more moderate side has the strongest influence. Perhaps it is this more moderate influence that has helped establish India’s lasting cohesion and is one of the reasons that the country has not separated”

Indians take pride in the Mughal Dynasty, the time of history which was built up by Muslims, not even by the Hindus, however, there was a strong Hindu influence in that time also.

“In the long history of India, Hinduism has gone far beyond a religion to become a lifestyle and social institution. Both its extreme and tolerant sides have constituted the foundation for its relationship with Muslims and this dual character is going to exist for a long time,” it said.

The consequence of this relationship has made India a hindrance for the spread of radical Islam on the global geopolitical scene.

Also Read: How Hinduism is Interpreted by Western Indologists-David Frawley. Wendy Doniger. Koenraad Elst

The article brought up that the absence of Islamic fanatics in India has established its role in Asia and it has been thought about by the US, Japan, Russia and European nations as well.

“In the future, India is sure to continue to stand out in geopolitical significance when it comes to increasing religious and ethnic conflicts around the world. Where China is concerned, this significance should not be ignored”, the article concluded.


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“I Was Only Cleaning The Society of Biological Waste”, Says Killer As The Blue Whale Challenge Continues to Claim Lives Around The World

Games and challenges played via social media are not a new phenomenon. The ALS-Ice bucket challenge had been widely accepted and performed by people worldwide. However, this new challenge is quite the opposite- you play and you die!

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The blue whale challenge is an online phenomenon that currently plagues the world.
The last task of the 50-day Blue Whale Challenge is suicide. (Representational image) Pixabay
  • Children around the world in the grip of an online exploitative game called The Blue Whale Challenge
  • Originating in Russia in 2013, the game is rumored to have claimed more than 100 lives worldwide
  • The Russian game has a 50 day challenge, which ultimately ends with suicide.

August 3, 2017 : Rina Palenkova (Russia) was 17 in November 2015 when she posted goodbye selfie moments before committing suicide. In December 2015, Vilena Piven (Ukraine) was 15 when she jumped off a 13 floor building. More recently, Isaiah Gonzalez from Texas was only 15 when he filmed his own suicide. These and many more children are victims of a sick mind-manipulation game, The Blue Whale Challenge.

“Yes I was truly doing that. Don’t worry, you’ll understand everything. Everybody will understand”, were the words of 22 year old Phillip Budeikin, the creator of the nihilist menace currently engulfing people all over the world.

What is The Blue Whale Challenge?

Budeikin’s Blue Whale Challenge can be described as an obscure online phenomenon that began in 2013, that makes use of hideous mind exploitation and assigns participants 50 bizarre and eventually mortal tasks that they must perform.

The tasks include tweeting that you are a blue whale using a hashtag while a different task asked a participant to cut an arm three times, and range between standard and self-mutilating psychopathy.

The Blue Whale challenge first began in 2013.
The game allegedly involves a variety of tasks that range between physically hurting yourself, slicing wrists and cutting yourself with blades and pins. (representational image) Wikimedia

In June this year, as reported by Daily Mail, Russian investigators said a 26-year old postman from Moscow, Ilya Sodorov had confessed of being an administrator (curator) and revealed that participants used to update him about their daily progress.

According to Russian investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta, suicides of 130 Russian children between November 2015 and April 2016 have been linked to this lethal game. However, officials are yet to find physical evidence to support this hypothesis.

In an interview in Russia with Saint Petersburg News in May, Budeikin, nicknamed Philip Lis (Fox) accepted to intentionally pushing teenagers to suicide.

“There are people- and there is biological waste, those who do not represent any value for society. Who cause, or will cause, only harm to the society”, Budeikin said, saying that he was only ‘cleaning’ the society.

However, he refuted claims that his game was directly responsible for 130 deaths in Russia, stating that he had only directly influenced 17 suicides. He said the others had communicated with him, and committed suicide later, however without any direct influence from him. Chillingly, he added that there still were 28 people who were willing to take their lives.

“They were dying happy. I was giving them what they didn’t have: warmth, understanding, connections”, he said.

Though the scope and scale of the Blue Whale Challenge are yet to be confirmed, reports of suicide from different corners of the world are being linked to this online phenomenon, with the latest case coming from Mumbai where a teenager (14) is believed to have committed suicide following his alleged association with the game.

Budeikin has been sentenced to three years in prison this July.

However, Russian MP Irina Yarovaya has called for tougher penalties against Budeikin. She believes the law must catch up with abusive social media trends which threaten lives of young people, as reported by the Daily Mail.

Media Reportage

The issue has caught mass attention with several national and international media outlets covering stories about it.

In May, public schools in Alabama warned parents of their children’s likely indulgence in the ‘game’. Meanwhile, police officers in Miami also released a video on Facebook, alerting parents of the Russian game’s warning signs. Lately, the issue has also been taken up by the Indian media.

 

A school in Alabama shared about the blue whale challenge with parents through its Facebook page.
Schools in the US have chosen to discuss about the game with parents to keep them informed. Facebook

Reports suggest parents keep a check on their children’s social media accounts and not bring up the subject, unless the child already knows about it.

In April this year, the Pink Whale Challenge came up to counter its evil brother, urging people over the internet  to perform 50 happy tasks over a course of 50 days to prove “that the internet can be used to viralise the good.”

Some social media outlets like Instagram have also channeled efforts to curb the menace. If the words #BlueWhaleChallenge are searched, Instagram automatically pops a message encouraging the user to seek support.

Instagram asks users if they need help.
Various social media sites are now making an effort to gauge the scope of the menace. Instagram

 

How The Game Works

According to reports, the game holds its origins in the Russian social media platform VKontakte.com, where a person is supposed to download the app, create a profile and then share a public post expressing their interest to play the game.

In order for the curators to ‘find’ you, the post must have an exclusive selection of tags like,

#curatorfindme

#thebluewhale

#iamingame

#wakemeupat420, etc who then go through these profiles to prey upon targets, usually vulnerable 12-16 year olds.

The ‘game’ as they say, then begins.

 

the blue whale challenges continues to gather attention of kids worldwide.
Children continue to post statuses and tweets from different corners of the world about their willingness to participate in the game. Facebook and Twitter.

The selected players are then contacted through personal chats by curators. In other words, no individual can willing play the game; all you can do is say you want to, and then wait if the curators pick you.

 

The Challenges

Budeikin’s Blue Whale Challenge is believed to have been inspired by the blue whale’s tendency to beach themselves on purpose before death. And the repetitive mentions of 4:20 signal to the marijuana culture.

While some tasks seem harmless like waking up at 4:20 am, meeting a ‘whale’ (can be a fellow player/administrator) and listen to music that has been sent to you, the game allegedly turns violent as the levels progress, with tasks including cutting your lips, cutting the shape of a blue whale/4:20/ some random code on your arm using a blade. The administrator assigns the next task only after the previous ones are proven with photographic evidence. If not, the player faces penalties.

The blue whale challenge is a 50 day challenge, with the last task being suicide.
The alleged list of tasks that a child has to undertake as part of the game. Reddit.

While these may seem stupid to any mature person, young, impressionist children are suspected to be falling prey to the older administrators who threaten to kill or hurt their families and friends. These threats can seem rather real to a young teen or pre-teen, who is depressed or suicidal, which forces them to continue with the tasks. By the time they want to stop, the only way out appears to be through suicide, which is the final task for day 50.

 

Exposing the Real ‘Game’ called Blue Whale Challenge

While it is described as a game, the Blue Whale Challenge is far from being one. It is not an app and one cannot find it on Google Play Store. It cannot be downloaded through the computer, or played on an Xbox. Refuting popular belief, there is no website where you can sign up and land in the game.

So if it isn’t a game, then what is it?

We will recommend you view this as a phenomenon instead – a malicious tactic to establish contact and manipulate vulnerable children on social media, in the comments section of discussion forums and on shady websites.

The intention for such a nihilist act is difficult to interpret, it sure has psychopathic roots.

While there is no physical evidence as of now to link suicides from around the world to this game, what also needs to be understood here is that this ‘game’ is not taking lives. People hiding behind computer screens, who are merely making use of an established idea, are the ones who are to be blamed instead.

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What You Can Do

As it is not a ‘game’ that can be uninstalled, the only way to avoid it is to not indulge in it. Kids must be advised to not interact with strangers on the internet, and to avoid revealing much of any sort of personal information on open mediums.

While it can also not be completely ridiculed, there are a few things you can do, assuming all this is not another over-hyped internet sensation,

  1. If you come across ‘suicide’ groups or communities on Facebook, where people are asking to be found by curators, report the group.

If you notice people tweeting #i_am_whale, #bluewhalechallenge or anything similar, do not hesitate to flag it ‘Abusive or Harmful’.

You can do the same on Instagram, where the game is beginning to witness some activity with kids posting pictures with similar captions.

Reaching out to these children can also be considered.

  1. Because the ‘herd-mentality’ never ceases to leave Indians alone, if you find yourself or somebody else curious to indulge in the game, simply DO NOT. 

Seek help, instead.

Additionally, you can also reach out to suicide prevention NGOs and help-lines given below. Because even when life hits you hard and seems exhausting, or for the sheer adrenaline rush, the risk is too huge to take.

Aasra : 91-22-27546669

Lifeline Foundation : 91-33-2474-4704/5886/5255

ROSHNI : 91-40-7904646

– by Soha Kala of NewsGram. Twitter : @SohaKala


 

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The War of Religion, Power and Opposition: Syria

Sunni population in Syria was constantly repressed at the time of Hafez as well as Bashar, which had infuriated the Sunnis long time ago

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Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters hold up their weapons in the north of Raqqa city, Syria. VOA
  • The year 2010 witnessed a massive political upheaval in the Arab world
  • Syria, too like others strived to fight back against the regime of Bashar-al-Assad
  • In 2011, the protestors started showing demonstration against the government which marked the beginning of Syrian civil war

– by Naina Mishra

June 04, 2017: War is a crime paid for by the pain of the defeated. As long as Humanity exists, Hatred will also exist and there can be no peace, only war. The rack of the civilians is nothing in front of the self-centered interest of the 75 rebel groups in Syria. 4 million lives have been lost till now in Syrian War. The number nevertheless just keeps on augmenting every now and then.

BACKGROUND

The year 2010 witnessed a massive political upheaval in the Arab world, which led to the origination of ‘Arab Spring’. The movement originated in Tunisia dethroning the then dictator, Zine el-Abidine after 24 years in power and spread to Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The Arab Spring saw a huge protest by people against their deep-rooted political masters. Syria, too like others strived to fight back against the regime of Bashar-al-Assad.  However, the term Arab Spring has now been changed to ‘Arab Winters’, the reason being that the phase can not be attributed to a blooming phase rather it is dark and gloomy for Syrian civilians.

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Syria is located in the Middle East and is bordered by Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Lebanon. Syria gained independence from France in 1946, which led to political instability for over two decades in the country. Hafez-al-Assad was brought to the presidency in 1971 to bring the much-needed stability in Syria. Soon after he rose to power, all democratic practices were continued to be abandoned under his regime. He condemned dissent and anyone who dared to oppose him was detained capriciously and tortured. He started electing loyalists from his Alawite Shia sect in the security agencies and intelligence bodies. Sunni, a marginalized faction in Syria, which constitute 82 percent of the Syrian population, were denied access to the resources. Hafez formed one of the most oppressive regimes in this world, which was brutal and barbaric in nature.

Enter Bashar-al-Assad 

In 2000, Bashar-al-Assad, the youngest son of Hafez-al-Assad came to power after his father’s death. Bashar was 34 at the time of his father’s death whereas according to the constitution of Syria, the president’s age must be 40 years, which was altered to 34 years for Bashar. Imagine the kind of dominion was about to prevail in Syria which denied the constitutional procedures. One does not expect from a president to turn things into his favor unrighteously.

The Beginning of Syrian Civil War

Sunni population in Syria was constantly repressed at the time of Hafez as well as Bashar, which had infuriated the Sunnis long time ago. The period 2007-2010 faced a severe drought which led to widespread hunger in Syria and food prices inflated by the government. In 2011, the protestors started showing demonstration against the government, which was suppressed by police and army fire over the protestors. This marked the beginning of Civil War in Syria that caused civil unrest among people, and men started defecting from the army to form Free Syrian Army (FSA).

How Civil war veered into Religious war?

In 2012, Jihadist (extremists) stepped into the civil war to join the fight against Bashar government.  The reason was quite obvious — the extremist belonged to the Sunni sect. In January 2012, Jabhat al-Nusra, a segment of Al-Qaeda was formed, which settled in Syria to fulfill their hedonistic intentions. Another group from Al-Qaeda called ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) broke away in 2014 and started attacking FSA, sometimes Al Nusra too. They established their caliphate in Raqqa city of Northern Syria, which is now the capital of ISIS ( Islamic State of Iraq and Levant).

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On the other side, Iran, a Shia-majority country started backing the Syrian government and provided military support to Assad. Here too, Iran wanted a Shia government to rule in the Middle East. Hezbollah, a Shia militia based in Lebanon joined to support Assad.

Here the world joins the Syrian War

The ultimate aim of the rebel groups like Jabhat al-Nusra was not only confined to collapse Bashar government but after taking over Syria they wanted to take over the United States. Fearing the 9/11 attack, US approved CIA-backed training to moderate rebel groups, who just wanted a democratic government in Syria. However, it was not successful and till date, the US has not been able to give training to the moderate groups.

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In August 2013, a chemical attack was hailed on civilians in Damascus and more than 700 people died in just one day of the attack. The attack is known to be the deadliest use of chemical weapons since the Iran–Iraq War. There was huge outcry after the chemical attack in the world, and everyone contemplated the fallout of Bashar to be ideal for Syrians. Soon after the attack, Russia rescued Syria and convinced Assad to let the Organizations for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapon (OPCW) dismantle all chemical weapons in Syria to save the government from external threat.

US-led airstrikes against ISIL in 2014 in an international coalition. Assad government started losing ground in Syria as ISIS had captured a major portion of northern Syria by that time. When the Syrian government was on the verge of collapsing, Russia intervened militarily and bombed against ISIL, Nusra and FSA.

It can be inferred that the backing of world powers (US, RUSSIA, CHINA, and IRAN) are only dragging the conflict further.

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Syria in Turmoil

The Al-Qaboun neighborhood in rural Damascus is shelled July 15, 2013. VOA

Due to this ongoing civil war, there has been a massive displacement of people. Many countries do not allow refugees from Syria. According to UNHCR, the number of refugees has risen and never have been this much critical after the World War II. Refugees who come from Syria say that ‘Syria can never be the same again’. The quality of life has plummeted in Syria, and health crises have increased tremendously.

Notwithstanding with the current scenario, Bashar-al-Assad may yet survive just another day, a day that shows the triumph of the brutal forces over the naive and innocent people. It is sad to reckon that human loss is so diminutive in today’s world. The thought of waking up tomorrow with a save life is merely a fantasy for these people.

– by Naina Mishra of Newsgram. Twitter: Nainamishr94