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World Prout Assembly Newsletter - September 7, 2007

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  • Garda Ghista
    *Dear friends,* ** *The website for the Building a New World conference is now online and available at* ** *www.wpaconference.org*
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 7, 2007
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      Dear friends,
       
      The website for the Building a New World conference is now online and available at
       
       
      The site will be continually updated with new contents as the conference date approaches. If you have ideas for speakers, if you know of people who would be interested in the conference topics, please give him the above URL and have them write to wpaeditor@....  Thank you so much.
       
      Funds are urgently required to pay for numerous costs involved in hosting this conference.  We will be grateful for whatever support you can provide.
       
      With warm wishes,
       
      Garda Ghista
       
       
       
       

      PROUT stands for PROgressive UTilization Theory. It means, the progressive utilization and rational distribution of all the earth's natural resources. PROUT advocates another type of revolution called "nuclear revolution." In nuclear revolution, every aspect of collective life - social, economic, political, cultural, psychic and spiritual - is completely transformed. New moral and spiritual values arise in society which provide the impetus for accelerated social progress. The old era is replaced by a new era - one collective psychology is replaced by another. This type of revolution results in all-round development and social progress.

      A Call for Proposals

      Building a New World

      First Summit of the World Prout Assembly
      May 19-25, 2008, Radford, Virginia

       

      Please visit www.wpaconference.org

      Ethical Markets: The Exuberance of What is Possible, the Reality of what is Likely

      Yet, neither GDP nor quality of life can be accurately assessed without inclusion of the Unpaid "Love" Economy" of housewives and other uncompensated providers of goods and services. This "hidden" economy is a crucial factor in times of an economic depression or currency crisis such as the one experienced in Argentina in 2001 and in the U.S. during the Great Depression when banks collapsed and people "remember that they can create their own local 'scrip' currencies, barter clubs, flea markets, and community credit-systems to keep local exchange and production humming." - Carolyn Baker

      If it gets too big ....

      "Government is like fire. If it is kept within bounds and under the control of the people, it contributes to the welfare of all. But if it gets out of place, if it gets too big and out of control,
      it destroys the happiness and even the lives of the people."

      Harold E. Stassen
      (1907-2001) 25th Governor of Minnesota - R

      Out of the Gizzard: Can Left and Right Unite Against the Neolib/Neocon War Party?

      What webs can we weave now to trap our treacherous War Party? Will we learn from Einstein's exhortation: "No problem can be solved by the same level of consciousness that created it"? We will need a revolution in consciousness to throw off the "mind-forged manacles" of fear, greed and ignorance that enslave us. It's well past time to wake up, grow up, reach out, and clean the gizzards. - Dr. Gary Corseri

      Challenging Corporate Power: California Community Says Companies Are Not People; Bans Campaign Donations

      In 2006, Humboldt County, California, became the latest, and largest, jurisdiction to abolish the legal doctrine known as "corporate personhood." Measure T was successful because our all-volunteer campaign came together to pass a law that bans non-local corporations from participating in Humboldt elections. The referendum, which passed with 55 percent of the vote, also asserts that corporations cannot claim the First Amendment right to free speech. - Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap

      Now maybe there is an innocent explanation for this? I can't think of one. What is certain is that the pilots of this plane did not just make a last minute decision to strap on some nukes and take them for a joy ride. We need some tough questions and clear answers. What the hell is going on? Did someone at Barksdale try to indirectly warn the American people that the Bush Administration is staging nukes for Iran? I don't know, but it is a question worth asking.

      Police suppress Sept. 15 anti-war press conference across from White House

      Attorneys at the Partnership for Civil Justice have filed a Free Speech lawsuit to strike down the unconstitutional postering law. The ANSWER Coalition has refused to pay these illegal fines.
      Momentum continues to build for the September 15 Mass March, which will be led by Iraq War Veterans and their family members. More than 100 cities are mobilizing to bring people by bus, van and car caravan. The September 15 March will culminate with a large scale Die-In/Funeral for U.S. servicemembers and Iraqis who have been killed in this criminal war of aggression.

      Watch this video and see the suppression of civil liberties in America.

      One Man's Battle Against Apartheid

      Who was it that said that 'good fences make good neighbours?' Whoever it was obviously never lived in Israel and had their land literally divided preventing them from going to the part on the 'other side'.... even if that part was literally the 'bread and butter' of the people involved... What is supposed to happen then? Is the person to just accept his fate and not do anything about it??? Would you??? I think not. But resistance in Israel, especially resistance coming from a Palestinian is not looked at favourably by the State.... after all, this is a State where Palestinians are second class citizens, with few or no rights at all. This is a State where the truth is hidden from the rest of the world by infamous groups associated with the 'Kosher Nostra', AIPAC in particular. When they plead their 'case' to the west trying to justify the illegal fence of apartheid they leave out the part about the human suffering resulting from it. - Desert Peace

      Start a Revolution Against Dogma

      Rich, selfish people sometimes suppress the poorer sections of society by binding them with illogical ideas in order to accumulate greater wealth or enjoy more luxury. The caste system in India has been used to exploit people in this way. In the past, for example, high caste people propagated the idea that it was a sin for so-called low caste milk vendors to give them water. This was done to ensure that the high caste people were supplied with pure, undiluted milk. However, it was not considered a sin for high caste people to take water from so-called low caste sweet vendors. Otherwise, high caste people would not have been permitted to consume the numerous delicious sweets prepared from milk and water.The privileged classes invariably think of their own comforts. They infuse the poorer sections of society with inferiority complexes in order to exploit them, and then force them to become their obedient servants. But eventually the poor people revolt against such exploitation, even if it takes one, two, three or more generations. People will always revolt against those things that go against human psychology. When oppression crosses the limits of human tolerance and endurance, revolution is inevitable. All dogma must be rooted out. You should start a revolution against dogma. But to start a revolution you need courage. So gather that courage and start a revolution against dogma.

      Shrii Prabhat R Sarkar
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      In India regional disparity is increasing. Calcutta's per capita income is twenty percent higher than the rest of Bengal, while the Punjab's per capita income is higher than Haryana's and Orissa's. The people of Delhi enjoy much greater liberty and comfort than the villagers of Purulia district. Regional disparity is detrimental to the cause of a healthy social order. PROUT is the only panacea. There is no other solution. Communism is state capitalism which is why it is not free from the defects of capitalism. State capitalists, like individual and group capitalists, control industries. State capitalism means state controlled industries. In other words, in state capitalism industries are centralized. Communist countries support state capitalism, which means centralized production. While communism appears to differ from capitalism on the question of popular liberation, capitalism and communism are the same internally. Fruits of the same variety may have different colour skins, but their seeds are the same. Capitalism and communism are fruits of the same variety. To ensure the social and economic liberation of human beings, the maximum amount of socio-economic decentralization is essential. While it may be difficult to establish village-level economic infrastructure at present, there is no insurmountable obstacle preventing us from establishing block-level economic infrastructure. As far as possible, the establishment, operation and distribution of all industries should be done at block level. Only when this cannot be done should industries be organized at a higher level. Obviously, industries such as iron and steel factories cannot function in every village, block and district, so they should function in a larger area.
      -
      Shrii Prabhat R Sarkar

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      Making a meal of Bt cotton

      In the Malwa belt of rural Punjab, mile after mile of Bt cotton fields are under attack by the mealy bug pest. Bathinda, Muktsar, Faridkot and Ferozepur, Punjab's four major cotton-growing districts, have been badly affected. The so-called 'magic bullet', Bt cotton has turned into a bitter pill for farmers who were promised profits but who are now faced with huge losses.--Bhaskar Goswami

      Torture Taxi: Extraordinary Rendition in the Crosshairs

      Back in late 2001, Swedish police had arrested Mohamed al-Zery and Ahmed Agiza as suspected terrorists and were in a hurry to deport them rather than have them claim refugee status. Lacking their own logistics of rapid deportation, the Swedes welcomed the offer from a US-based plane operator to make available a Gulfstream jet marked N379P. The plane's hooded US crew picked up its unwilling passengers and flew them to Egypt, where both were detained, interrogated and tortured. Two years later al-Zery was released without charges; in a closed-door trial, Agiza was convicted to 25 years in prison for membership in an outlawed Islamic organization.(1)

      Judge Strikes Down Parts of Patriot Act

      Says law allowing FBI to silence those ordered to turn over private records is unconstitutional. A federal judge struck down parts of the revised USA Patriot Act as unconstitutional Thursday, saying courts must be allowed to supervise cases where the government orders Internet providers to turn over records without telling customers.

      Modi pits tribals against Muslims in votebank battle

      In an endeavour to pit the tribal votebank against Muslims in the ensuing Assembly polls, Chief Minister Narendra Modi has accused the Congress-led Central government of appeasing minorities at the expense of tribal rights and interests.

      As people become more generous and broad-minded, they rise above the feelings of casteism, tribalism, provincialism and nationalism, which evoke narrowness, violence, hatred and meanness. Those who enter the field of social welfare with feelings of "mine" and "yours" actually create divisions in human society. Those who wish to foster the welfare of living beings as a whole have to embrace universalism as the only alternative. If we look upon everything as our own, the question of "mine" and "yours" will dissolve; in universalism there is no opportunity for violence, hatred or narrowness...Free education will have to be provided for the masses. There should be no governmental pressure on this educational system; no influential persons should propagate sectarian views through the medium of education. The continual change of the government would affect the educational system and consequently the entire system would become upset. No "ism" except universalism can be tolerated in the educational system.
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      Shrii Prabhat R. Sarkar

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      Student Loan Company Tried to Buy Preferred Status at University of Maryland

      Right on the heels of the sub-prime mortgage debacle, which saw mortgage lenders providing predatory loans to people who could not afford them, it has been learned that a company attempted to buy itself favorable positioning in the highly profitable student loan business. A leading student loan company attempted to obtain special placement on the University of Maryland's preferred lender list last year, according to university officials and a government report released Tuesday.

      US strikes in Baghdad kill 14 sleeping civilians: residents

      US combat helicopters and tanks bombarded a Baghdad neighbourhood in pre-dawn strikes on Thursday, killing 14 sleeping civilians and destroying houses, angry residents and Iraqi officials said.

      Indian Wall On Lankan Shores

      New Delhi is blocking aid to war-torn Jaffna. Defiant Tamil sympathisers are set on ferrying relief. Iindia's decision to block aid to Jaffna has triggered a backlash, with Eelam sympathisers planning to cross over to Sri Lanka in boats with relief material they have collected from the people of Tamil Nadu. Activists of the Tamil Eelam Liberation Supporters' Coordination Committee (TELSCC) say they have been driven to this extreme step because of the Centre's refusal to permit the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) to transport the material to Jaffna, where there is a shortage of food and essential commodities due to the year-old closure of the A9, the only highway linking the region with the rest of the country.--PC Vinoj Kumar

      As Pentagon Prepares to Shut Down TALON Spying Database, Antiwar Students Group Talks About Being Listed as "Credible Threat"

      The Pentagon is preparing to shut down its controversial domestic spying database later this month. The database, named TALON, includes scores of reports on nonviolent demonstrations and antiwar rallies. Targets included Quaker and church groups; organizers of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" protests and student activists mobilizing against the Iraq war. One of those groups was Students Against War, based out of the nearby U.C. Santa Cruz.

      One must remember, theories are not the liberators of human beings. The liberator is that lofty ability which helps to keep open every small or large vista of sentient existence – that vigorous capability which fuses the hard reality of existence with the ultimate reach of the visionary world.
      -
      Shrii Prabhat R. Sarkar

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      Bush Knew Saddam Had No Weapons of Mass Destruction

      On Sept. 18, 2002, CIA director George Tenet briefed President Bush in the Oval Office on top-secret intelligence that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction, according to two former senior CIA officers. Bush dismissed as worthless this information from the Iraqi foreign minister, a member of Saddam's inner circle, although it turned out to be accurate in every detail. Tenet never brought it up again.-- Sydney Blumenthal

      Blood's Thicker Than Iron Ore

      Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda is using his brother to fight his war against SAIL so he can fulfil promises to private mining firms. Last month, Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda was very busy in New Delhi, lobbying with the Centre for his mineral-rich state's interests in the proposed National Mineral Policy. Back home, however, his brother was giving the country's biggest integrated iron and steel producer, the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), the jitters. From July 9, Rajesh Koda, the CM's younger brother and president of the Supply Mazdoor Sangh (SMS), had been leading a series of disruptions and demonstrations at SAIL's iron ore mine at Gua in West Singhbhum district, the CM's Assembly constituency. The month-long agitation culminated in a nine-day economic blockade to which the state administration remained a mute witness while SAIL's losses totalled up to almost Rs 30 crore. The stir was not the only incident of industrial disturbance Jharkhand has seen in recent times, but it clearly points to a growing politicisation of the state's industrial campuses. Known for its ore and coal reserves, Jharkhand has attracted giants like the Mittals, Essar and the Jindals. But frequent industrial disturbances, prompted largely by political one-upmanship, have put serious question marks over Jharkhand's prospects of becoming the industry-friendly state it has lately aspired to be, especially after it signed 64 MOUS for setting up industrial projects.--Anand St Das

      U.S. Staging Nukes for Iran?

      Why the hubbub over a B-52 taking off from a B-52 base in Minot, North Dakota and subsequently landing at a B-52 base in Barksdale, Louisiana? That's like getting excited if you see postal worker in uniform walking out of a post office. And how does someone watching a B-52 land identify the cruise missiles as nukes? It just does not make sense.--Larry Johnson

      Rich Get Richer While Poor Hold Their Own

      THE trip from Bridgeport's poor neighborhoods to the mansions of Greenwich crosses a canyon of income inequality rivaled by few places in the country, new census data show. Fairfield County has one of the sharpest contrasts between rich and poor in the nation, a vast gap in fortunes exceeded only by a few other places, led by Manhattan but most of them poor counties in the deep South and far West, according to measures that the Census Bureau released for the first time last week.--Ford Fessenden

      Testimonials to Prout

      "PROUT is the theory of a self-reliant economic and political system that is spiritually rather than materialistically inspired. The goal is true human growth that satisfies basic needs. . . . Sarkar will probably stand out as one of the truly great thinkers in this century. He is an intellectual giant of our times."
      — Johan Galtung; professor; winner of Right Livelihood Award; co-founder of the World Futures Studies Federation; author of 70 books on world politics, history and peace studies
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      "P. R. Sarkar was one of the greatest modern philosophers of India."
      — Gyani Zail Singh, former President of India
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      "P. R. Sarkar is very important for all who yearn for a liberation which starts from economics and opens to a totality of personal and social human existence."
      — Leonardo Boff, founder of Liberation Theology; author of more than 50 books
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      "P. R. Sarkar provides us with a vision of the future that remembers the poor and the weak, that touches the hearts of all, that appeals to our deepest need to create a good society, a planetary civilization that is dynamic and ecologically balanced."
      — Sohail Inayatullah, professor, Queensland University of Technology; World Futures Studies Federation council member; editorial board of Futures; author of many articles and several books, including Transcending Boundaries, Situating Sarkar: Tantra, Macrhohistory and Alternative Futures, Transforming Communication, and various Futures Studies multi-media packages
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      "At last, someone who balanced the exoteric and esoteric, who loved his fellow humankind in a way that showed respect for people's day-to-day lives and did not leave them deserted in the here and now by preferring tomorrow's salvation."
      — Paul Wildman, professor, Southern Cross University, Australia; author of over 60 articles, books and videos on community development
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      "P. R. Sarkar, in his own way, is more than the equal of the great historian Arnold Toynbee. Sarkar not only illuminated the growth and inevitable decline that comes from the capitalist stage in societal evolution, but offers wise counsel on what to do instead."
      — Oliver W. Markley, professor, University of Houston; author of Changing Images of Mankind
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      "PROUT is an explicit and coherent alternative to Marxism and liberalism. PROUT is a synthesis of decentralist theory, Tantra, cooperative economics, and transpersonal psychology."
      — Mark Satin, author of New Age Politics; former editor of New Options
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      "Alternative visions are crucial at this moment in history. PROUT's cooperative model, based on cardinal human values and sharing the resources of the planet for the welfare of everyone, deserves our serious consideration."
      — Noam Chomsky, professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; author of more than 70 books on linguistics, politics, and cognitive science; recipient of the 1988 Kyoto Prize
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      "As PROUT advises, the best use of developmental finance is to develop cooperatives."
      — Jaraslov Vanek, professor emeritus, Cornell University; author, The Participatory Economy
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      "PROUT is spiritual and utopian, while remaining grounded in reality. Its analysis is intelligent and its vision inspiring."
      — Howard Zinn, professor emeritus, Boston University: author of A People's History of the United States
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      "In generality and breadth, Sarkar's theory of civilization surpasses all others espoused before, including the contributions by Marx, Toynbee, and Spengler."
      — Ravi Batra, professor, Southern Methodist University; author of several books including The Myth of Free Trade, Greenspan's Fraud, PROUT: Alternative to Capitalism and Communism, Muslim Civilization and the Crisis in Iran, and The Downfall of Capitalism and Communism
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      "PROUT is an important contribution to rethinking the disastrous course of the current economic globalization."
      — Hazel Henderson, economist; author of Beyond Globalization
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      "PROUT is an alternative economic model that seeks to remedy the underlying causes of depressions. Its principles of economic democracy and planning can contribute to a solution that benefits all."
      — Mark Friedman, mayor of El Cerrito, California; former director of the Alameda County Children and Families Commission; author of How to Prepare for the Coming Depression
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      "Around the old reptile brain at the base of our skill was folded the mammal brain. Another brain called the 'new brain' has been folded around this one. Cold comes from the reptilian brain, warmth from the mammal brain, and light from the new brain. The new brain is where P.R. Sarkar lived."
      — Robert Bly, poet and translator
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      "The socially responsible business movement should look into Sarkar's economy. Sarkar believes that the new economy should be created in service of a greater ideal than solely the maximization of individual profit."
      — Kit Bricca, co-author of Business for Social Responsibility
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      "The proposals of PROUT are the ethical summary of everything that humanity needs to accomplish universal fraternity. The importance of PROUT is that its vision of a new world is not just concerned with political, social and economic relationships, but also with education, gender relationships and spirituality."
      — Frei Betto, Dominican friar and political activist; author of more than 45 books, including Fidel and Religion
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      "Sarkar's NeoHumanism: The Liberation of Intellect is the greatest poem to the human spirit ever written."
      — Evgeny Mikov, translator; Director of the Russian Noosphere Institute
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      "I had no idea! I'm a Proutist!" [upon hearing a presentation on PROUT]
      — Trent Schroyer, chair of The Other Economic Summit

      Not Even the Desert Is Home Any More

      Israeli police and security forces invaded the small Bedouin village of Taweel abu Jabral in the Negev desert last week, backed by bulldozers and dump trucks. Residents and human rights organisations reported that several homes were demolished as Israeli forces confiscated property and left families homeless in temperatures that soared above 40 degrees centigrade.

      GM Arroyo's Peace is 'Peace of the Graveyard' – Jalandoni

      What does NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison's arrest imply for the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations? Are localized peace talks really possible? Bulatlat interviewed Luis Jalandoni, chairman of the NDFP Negotiating Panel, on these. As Luis Jalandoni – chief negotiator of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) which has been engaged in on-and-off peace talks with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) since 1986 – sees it, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's vision of peace is "the peace of the graveyard."

      A 'chilling' proposal for a universal DNA database

      A civil liberties storm erupted yesterday after a senior judge called for the genetic details of every person in Britain, and all visitors to the country, to be added to the national DNA database. Critics warned that the "chilling" move would infringe privacy, be hugely impractical and have only a marginal impact on crime.--Nigel Morris

      Samarra Under U.S. Attack

      Residents are fleeing Samarra city in the face of fierce fighting between U.S. forces and resistance groups. New defiance is rising against U.S. forces following military "crimes", fleeing residents say."On Sunday the 26th of August, there was fierce fighting between armed men and American forces in the Armooshiya district, and I saw Americans evacuate many of their soldiers by stretchers," a man who fled Samarra for Baghdad, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IPS. "As usual, Americans took revenge by bombing the district."

      At present human beings are thinking about their own minimum requirements more than about the minimum requirements of animals and plants. A day is coming when some of the animals, if not all, will come within the realm of our social membership. Today we say that each and every human being will get the minimum requirements. Tomorrow we will say that the minimum requirements will also include the needs of dogs, cows, monkeys, etc. To fulfil these requirements, there should be more and more production. The earth is not only for human beings, it is for other living beings also. So we will have to do something for them. The minimum requirements and maximum amenities should also be given to animals. Today cows, dogs and monkeys are developing; tomorrow more and more animals will be in this category. Animals will also develop longings for different psycho-physical pabula, so they should be guaranteed minimum requirements and maximum amenities too. We will have to do something for them also. This is the demand of Neohumanism, of Neo-Humanistic ideas. This demand should be fulfilled by PROUT.
      -
      Shrii Prabhat R. Sarkar

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      Women's Health Care Revolution Needed in Venezuela

      Sara walks into the neighborhood clinic where I am volunteering in rural Venezuela, in a municipality of less than 15,000 people situated in the Andes mountains. Besides tourism, agriculture fuels the local economy, which is dependent on small farms. Sara visited today for her checkup. She's 35 and has lived here all her life. "Before this clinic was here, I never went to the doctor," she explains. Even though a large portion of the problem lingers as a result of decades of inequalities from before Chavez government, and the health of the country has improved with increasing access to clinics thanks to social programs like Misión Barrio Adentro, women like Sara are dying in Venezuela because politicians are still afraid of condoms. More must be done to address sexual and reproductive health.

      Syria Says Israel Bombs Territory

      Syria accused Israel of bombing its territory on Thursday and said it could respond to its neighbor's "aggression and treachery". Israel refused all comment on the report, which said no casualties or damage were caused. Oil prices were up more than $1.40 a barrel, in part on concerns over the reported attack.

      ZAMBIA-ZIMBABWE: The Tonga: Left high and dry

      Fifty years after the Tonga people were forcibly removed from the Zambezi Valley to make way for the Kariba Dam between southern Zambia and northwestern Zimbabwe, the community is still trying to find its feet.

      Satisfying the Hunger of Spirituality With PROUT

      How does the socio-economic path satisfy the hunger of spirituality? Suppose there is social disparity between the upper and lower castes in society. You will have to remove the disparity, and this means you will have to remove all distinctions based on caste. So the caste system itself must be eradicated. Removing different types of disparities comes within either the socioeconomic, psychic or spiritual approaches. In this case the social disparity of casteism comes within the realm of PROUT. So the socioeconomic path satisfies the hunger of spirituality by removing all disparities and artificial barriers, enabling human beings to move towards the goal with accelerating speed. Neohumanism will give impetus and energy to PROUT to remove all disparities and artificial barriers. PROUT will get spirit and stamina from Neohumanism – from Neohumanistic inspiration, Neohumanistic ideology and Neohumanistic thoughtfulness. Neohumanism also ensures the proper guarantee, treatment and utilization of the inanimate world. You should serve the inanimate world by guaranteeing it proper treatment...The range of our service should include the animate world, but it should not be restricted there. It should also extend to the outer fringes of the inanimate world. This is the demand of the day. From the point of view of Neohumanism the arena of our service should be ever-increasing, ever-expanding, and should include both the animate and inanimate worlds.
      -
      Shrii Prabhat R Sarkar

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      A seer is one who cultivates wisdom, who enriches the intellectual field through deep research and innovative discoveries and harvests the fruits of wisdom. Those who invent deadly weapons such as the hydrogen bomb, which caused the frightening holocaust, do not help the human intellect attain the height of human perfection, but rather direct their intellect towards crudeness. These types of inventors and their patrons do not deserve to be called seers, rather, they are worse than demons, far worse than internal creatures, having forfeited their right to human identity.
      -
      Shrii Prabhat R Sarkar

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      INDIA: Yet another person shot dead at the Indo-Bangladesh border

      The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from MASUM, a local human rights organisation based in West Bengal regarding the death of yet another person at the Indo-Bangladesh border in West Bengal. In the past year, the AHRC has reported 10 cases of extrajudicial killing by the Border Security Force [BSF] stationed at the Indo-Bangladesh border. None of these cases were enquired into by the local police.

      Anti-authoritarian Cities

      Archaeologists have discovered that Brak, a Syrian city and one of the oldest urban areas in the world, was built in a way that completely defies conventional wisdom about how cities grow. Archaeologists have discovered that one of the oldest urban areas in the world was built in a way that completely defies conventional wisdom about how cities grow. Last week, a group of researchers working in Syria published a paper in Science about a 6,000-year-old city called Brak, a once-thriving urban center in northern Mesopotamia (now northern Syria, near its border with Iraq). It has long been believed that cities begin as dense centers that grow outward into suburbs. Brak, however, began as a dispersed group of settlements that formed a rough ring shape and gradually grew inward to form an urban center that boasted a massive temple and a thriving import-export trade in tools and pottery.--Annalee Newitz

      CPM forces Titanium to face red heat in Kerala

      The modernisation plan of one of the state's profitable PSUs is being ditched to make way for private companies. KA Shaji reports. While the historic resistance against the proposed disinvestment in the Bharat Aluminium Company and Neyveli Lignite still lingers in public memory, Pinarayi Vijayan's 'new-age' communists in Kerala — who claim to be champions of public sector units (PSU) — are adopting a new path that is diametrically opposite to the future of PSUs.The Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited (KMML), the state's second largest profit-making PSU and the world's leading manufacturer of titanium dioxide, is fast turning out to be the first victim. Kerala's industry department is impeding KMML's development by permitting a Russian firm with questionable credentials to exploit the rich mineral sand deposit on the state's coast. It is also wooing Tata Steel to the same sector by offering a number of incentives. Top industry sources feel the entry of both the companies would jeopardise KMML's growth and threaten its very survival. The KMML staff expectedly is worried. So are members of the opposition parties. Worse, even the CPM's allies have expressed fear over the "unilateral" decision of Industry Minister Elamarom Kareem, a trusted Vijayan lieutenant.

      The Missing Class: Portraits of the Near Poor in America

      While the uninsured are most at risk, researchers estimate that about a fifth of insured individuals are underinsured and face limits on coverage or substantial financial costs if faced with an illness. -- Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, 2002

      Heaven is the state of mind of a person engaged in virtuous acts, and a sinner's mind, racing about in wild frenzy, is hell... Satan does not have the attributes of the Absolute; he is nothing but the human mind propelled by depraving tendencies. If these tendencies are diverted properly, they no longer exist. It is within your power to kill that Satan.
      -
      Shrii Prabhat R. Sarkar

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