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Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State ,Wikimedia commons

New U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says there is “an unprecedented opportunity to change the course of history on the Korean peninsula” with President Donald Trump planning to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“I underscore the word “opportunity;” we are in the beginning stages of the work and the outcome is certainly yet unknown,” Pompeo said after his ceremonial swearing in at the State Department Wednesday. Trump was in attendance.

Pompeo said the Trump administration will not repeat the mistakes of the past, adding, “Our eyes are wide open.” He said “We are committed to the permanent, verifiable, irreversible dismantling of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction program and to do so without delay.”

Trump made his first visit to the State Department Wednesday for the ceremonial swearing-in.

Mike Pompeo, wikimedia commons

“Mike is a true American patriot,” Trump said as he praised Pompeo. “I have no doubt that you will make America proud as our nation’s chief diplomat.”

Pompeo has vowed to bring back the “swagger” to the State Department.

“The United States diplomatic corps needs to be in every corner, every stretch of the world, executing missions on behalf of this country, and it is my humble, noble undertaking to help you achieve that,” said Pompeo Tuesday while speaking to personnel who gathered as he arrived for his first full day at the State Department.

Thomas Hill, of the Washington-based Brookings Institution said “I would say he needs to go further than restore, but I would say he needs to modernize the department, while also fighting the interagency battles that will inevitably come about. As well as just dealing with the problems of normal, international diplomacy: Iran, North Korea, Russia, etc.”

The former CIA director takes the helm of the State Department after Trump’s decision to fire then-secretary of state Rex Tillerson in March, hours after Tillerson had returned from a trip to Africa.

Unlike with Tillerson, Trump is said to have a close working relationship with Pompeo.

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“Mike Pompeo is someone who I think has the close ear of the president,” said Nile Gardiner of the conservative-leaning Washington-based research institution, The Heritage Foundation.

Pompeo took selfies with several State Department employees Tuesday, vowing to reach out to as many staff members as possible.

“I’ll spend as little time on the 7th floor” and meet people in “many parts of this organization,” he said.

A U.S. foreign service officer, who did not want to be named, told VOA he hopes Pompeo’s experiences in Congress, the U.S. military, and the intelligence community “highlight that the United States faces real adversaries abroad, and that the [State] Department’s career employees are resources – not the enemy.”

Tillerson was under fire at the State Department for leaving many senior vacancies unfilled and proposing dramatic budget cuts, lowering the morale of the diplomatic workforce.

Pompeo, who was confirmed last week, boarded a plane just hours after being sworn in Thursday, traveling to the NATO foreign ministerial meeting in Brussels. He continued on to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan.

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“I do think he is going to be a far bigger presence on the world stage than Rex Tillerson was,” said The Heritage Foundation’s Gardiner.

And while Tillerson brought just one reporter on his first foreign trip to Asia, Pompeo left Washington with six journalists on his plane last week. Pompeo picked up two more reporters as he continued his overseas trip to the Middle East, before returning to Washington on Monday.

“I think I have the record for the longest trip on the first day of work,” Pompeo joked on Tuesday. (VOA)



For the first time in independent India, now a postgraduate course in Hindu Dharma is included at the Benares Hindu University.

By Maria Wirth

Things are finally changing for the better for Hindu Dharma. For too long, many educated Indians, including the first Prime Minister Jawahar Nehru, had accepted the biased view of the British that Hinduism is inferior to the Abrahamic religions, without realizing, that this was a clever strategy to hide the fact that Christianity and Islam are based on a ‘must-belief’ story and Hinduism in contrast, is based on verifiable insights of the Vedas and a genuine enquiry into the truth.

For the first time in independent India, now a postgraduate course in Hindu Dharma is included at the Benares Hindu University. It reminded me that already almost one year ago, a centre to study the practice and philosophy of Nath Panth was established at Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gorakhpur University by Yogi Adityanath, who himself is a Nath Yogi and the Mahant of Gorakhpur Mutt, apart from being the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. A conference was held in March 2021, to which I contributed the following thoughts:

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According to the family, the boy went missing in 2012.

He was 18 years old when he went missing from his home in the Mahmadpur village in Farrukhabad district. Brajpal returned to his house on Friday after more than ten years and his overjoyed parents could not believe their eyes. But a rival family informed the police as Brajpal's family had filed a kidnapping case against them. The police soon came and took away Brajpal for questioning.

According to the family, the boy went missing in 2012. His parents looked for him for nearly two years, and later approached the local police. It was when the local police allegedly refused to register their FIR, they went to the court and got an FIR registered at the Merapur police station against their neighbours, accusing them of kidnapping their son, following a land dispute.

missing signage Brajpal returned to his house on Friday after more than ten years | Unsplash

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The weird passion for the rejects came out of a dire need, to secure admission to the prestigious NID, Ahmedabad.

By Quaid Najmi

Junking an empty chips packet, a water bottle or a juice can make Haribaabu Naatesan scowl and perhaps even pick it up carefully -- for, it could be a future piece of 'artwork' in his creative mind. The Mumbai-based artist specialises in recycling all kinds of 'kabaad' (junk) -- organic, inorganic, metal, wood, plastic, e-wastes and even bird feathers -- to create some eye-popping masterpieces of artworks, stupefying the beholder.

Naatesan, 46, collects a staggering 6 tonnes -- or 500 kgs per month -- of all types of oddments as his cheap or virtually free raw material and then deploys his creative juices to convert them to treasured and coveted showpieces. The weird passion for the rejects came out of a dire need -- to secure admission to the prestigious NID, Ahmedabad, for a postgraduate course (2000 batch).

"I had no money for purchasing expensive raw materials to make an attractive art project, a prerequisite for the NID seat... So I just picked up some trash lying around, created a daddy long-legs (spider) and other creatures as my 'offering' for admission," chuckled Naatesan. Needless to say, the selectors were zapped - and 'wasted' no time in awarding a prized seat to the new-found genius on the campus - who promised to be a valuable future asset for 'Save the Planet' efforts.

Naatesan, 46, collects a staggering 6 tonnes -- or 500 kgs per month. | IANS

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