S. Nihal Singh


Spell, interrupted

The furore over the machinations of News of the World in the Murdoch stable exposes the risks to a free press in the fountain head of democracy and highlights the vulnerability of med

New Thai PM wears a crown of thorns

The dramatic result of Sunday’s general election in Thailand, with the Pheu Thai Party of the self-exiled Thaksin Shinawatra, now led by his youngest sister Yingluck Shinawatra, winning decisively takes the country to a new fork that could lead to the beginning of a reconciliation or bigger divisions.

Ottoman whispers

Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s victory for a third term places him in a league of his own in the country’s modern history. Through his Justice and Development Party (AKP), he transformed the modern state built by Kemal Ataturk by putting the all-powerful Army in its place, exchanged his country’s previous privileged relationship with Israel for a new thrust to befriend Arab neighbours and took Turkey into a high trajectory of economic growth.

The Serb psyche

The arrest of Radko Mladic, charged with genocide by the International Criminal Court at The Hague, after more than 15 years on the run, will bring Serbia’s membership of the European Union closer. But it will do nothing to help ameliorate the wounded psyche of the Serbian people. Nobody disputes the unspeakable crimes that were committed in the process of Yugoslavia’s breakup.

Still stuck in the past

While Mamata Banerjee and Jayalalithaa celebrate their famous victories, of greater long-term importance is the future of the Communist movement in India. The relatively good showing of the CPI(M) in Kerala, despite its narrow defeat, is a peculiar local and regional phenomenon and the trumping of personality in the shape of V.S. Achuthanandan over ideology.

A spring of hope

An increasing number of people and countries who are urging US President Barack Obama to use the Arab renaissance and the killing of Osama bin Laden to revive the peace process concerning Israel and the Palestinians are barking up the wrong tree. To begin with, for years there has been no peace component in the process; for another, the icy Israeli reaction

Dead, yet alive

The killing of Osama bin Laden is significant on two counts. It marks the end of a 10-year hunt for the mastermind of the horrendous 9/11 tragedy — the death of some 3,000 people in New York’s Twin Towers, in the Pentagon in Washington and on remote fields as another plane went down after it was wrestled down by passengers.

A spring and a limp in Arab step

It seems a long time since a vegetable seller in an obscure town in Tunisia performed an act of self-immolation as a protest against a tyrannical regime leading to the dethronement of his country’s long-time ruler Zine Abidine Ben Ali. The Jasmine Revolution, as it came to be called, lit the spark that fired Egyptians to their own revolution

People power wins

Finally, faced with 18 days of awesome people power, Hosni Mubarak had to eat humble pie. There are many battles that lie ahead for the Egyptian people, but the present moment is the one to savour and to marvel at the persistence and resilience of Egyptians of all walks of life and various hues refusing to be diverted by the regime’s thugs and the ambivalence of the Army to retain their non-violent vigil for change in the appropriate setting of the Tahrir (Liberation) Square in Cairo.

A tsunami for change in Egypt

As President Hosni Mubarak fights for his political survival in an atmosphere singed by the flames lit in Tunisia last month, we have moved beyond the fate of one individual.

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I want to begin with a little story that was told to me by a leading executive at Aptech. He was exercising in a gym with a lot of younger people.

Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen didn’t make the cut. Neither did Shaji Karun’s Piravi, which bagged 31 international awards.