The Ghost of Chernobyl
Most wild mushrooms collected in Germany in recent years still showed radioactive contamination from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. But the country’s food safety agency says most samples did not contain radiation levels above legal limits.

In 1986, a reactor at Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power center exploded and caught fire. The accident—the world’s worst nuclear disaster—sent huge amounts of radiation into the air. It sent radioactive particles across large parts of Europe.

Investigators at Germany’s Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety, or BVL, tested many different kinds of mushrooms. They measured levels of two kinds of radioactive isotopes—cesium-137 and cesium-134. The isotopes are byproducts of the production process in nuclear reactors.

Of the mushrooms tested that are marketed to humans, none contained levels above the legal limit of 600 becquerels of radiation per kilogram, the BVL reported. A becquerel is a unit of radioactive measurement.

Some additional mushrooms that grow in the wild were tested and shown to have levels above 1,000 becquerels of cesium-137 radiation per kilogram in the last three years, the country’s Office for Radiation Protection reports. It urged individuals seeking to limit radiation exposure not to self-pick wild mushrooms in affected areas.

The agency noted, however, that even if a person ate 200 grams of mushrooms with 3,000 becquerels of cesium-137 per kilogram, this would be about equal to the radiation exposure received during a flight from Germany to Spain.

Higher radioactivity levels in mushrooms were found in southern Germany, especially in Southern Bavaria and the Bavarian Forest, the BVL said. Officials said the radioactive material stays in forests so long because those environments recycle nutrients very effectively. This means that wild mushrooms show contamination levels for much longer periods than other agricultural products.

Concern about the long-term effects of nuclear disasters has fueled public opposition to nuclear power in Germany. The country decided to halt its nuclear power industry in 2011, shortly after the accident at Japan's Fukushima nuclear power center.
Bryan Lynn, NY

Afghan Girls
The Taliban tried to kill me when I fought for girls' education. And now, it’s been one month since the Taliban in Afghanistan banned millions of girls from school.

The situation is dire and our Afghan sisters need our help. So I’m personally asking you to join me, alongside Afghan women’s rights advocates Zarqa Yaftali and Shaharzad Akbar, in calling on leaders to get all Afghan girls back in school.

Help us make this one of the biggest calls for girls’ education the world has ever seen, and I’ll deliver it directly to G20 leaders. Sign with one click and share with everyone:

To the Taliban and leaders around the world,

One month ago, the Taliban shut school gates for millions of Afghan girls—robbing them of not just an education but also their futures.

Afghanistan is now the only country in the world that forbids girls' education. Leaders everywhere must take urgent, decisive action to get every Afghan girl back in school.

* To the Taliban authorities, you assured the world that you would respect the rights of girls and women—but you are denying millions their right to learn. Reverse the de facto ban on girls’ education and re-open girls’ secondary schools immediately.

* To the leaders of the G20 nations, discussing the importance of education isn't enough. Use the G20 Leaders' Declaration to call on the Taliban to allow girls to go to school and provide urgent funding to support a coordinated education plan for all Afghan children.

* To the leaders of Muslim countries, religion does not justify preventing girls from going to school. Make this clear to Taliban leaders by issuing public statements on the Islamic imperative for girls’ complete education. The longer a girl stays out of school, the less likely she is to return. Join us in calling on leaders around the world to defend Afghan girls' right to learn and lead.
Malala Yousafzai, Pakistan

Ideology and Strategy of Naxalism
Although most Naxalite groups today have a distant relationship to China and its ruling communist party, Maoism is still at the core of their ideology, with protracted people’s war as its main feature. This means long term revolutionary violent struggle supported by the rural masses. More precisely during the first phase of revolution, the rebels try to gain popular support by ideological indoctrination, start building up liberated zones and start attacking the government. During the second phase the violence escalates and the revolutionaries increase their influence in rural areas and select bigger targets. In the final phase conventional warfare is adopted and the cities are encircled from the conquered countryside aiming to overthrow the government. Following this doctrine, the Naxal revolution appears to be stuck within the second phase. Still today, over 30 years after his death, the thoughts of Charu Mazumdar, the intellectual father of the movement, play an important role for the Naxalites. In his “eight historic documents” he points out the necessity of setting up an armed group in rural areas and to establish liberated zones in order to capture state power. The participation in the electoral process within the Indian political system was rejected categorically. In contrast to the CPI(ML) and the Liberation group that by now participate in the parliamentary system, the CPI (Maoist) regards themselves as the true successor of the movement that started in Naxalbari. Instead to the parliamentary process the seizure of power shall be accomplished through the armed struggle. Liberating the countryside and the establishment of self-sufficient base areas are key elements in the Naxalite strategy towards the gradual seizure of political power. They are aiming on the expansion of these base areas in order to create a revolutionary compact zone. Although the so-called red corridor is often regarded as a compact revolutionary zone, doubts can be raised regarding the varying degree of influence of the Maoist on respective territories. The official line of the CPI (Maoist) focuses on the underprivileged, basically poor peasants and tribals, rejects any caste systems and supports all national movements striving for independence and self-determination, with a special reference to India’s North East as well as Kashmir. Recently also feminist positions were introduced. The Maoists are staffed with a high degree of female soldiers. However patriarchal structures still persist within the movement. But it must be questioned if the welfare of the marginalised and deprived as well as Dalits and Adivasis lies at the Naxalite’s heart. Due to Maoist ideology and Charu Mazumdars teachings, seizure of state power is the ultimate goal of the movement in order to transform India into a multinational union of equal nationalities. This is also reflected by several official Naxalite documents. In this regard their engagement with the poor primarily appears as a strategy for mobilising the masses for revolutionary reasons. Also a look on the composition of the highest party bodies shows that neither Dalits nor tribals are represented; in fact most of the members belong to high castes. It appears that a distinction can be made between on the one hand the intellectual leadership of the movement that is highly convinced of the Maoist ideology and strives for their ultimate goal of overthrowing the Indian state in the long run and on the other hand the rural mass supporters, poor peasants, Adivasis, Dalits etc. whose anger and frustration was instrumen-talised that fight for social justice and equality. Although most of the Naxalite groups seem to be under the umbrella of the CPI (Maoist), the party within is fragmented. The basic organisation of the different outfits still exists within the party as a consequence of non-profound merger. Most of the extremists within the party originally belonged to the MCC while most of the moderate party members can be found within the ranks of the PWG.
Surya Maurya, Delhi

Jaipur: An alleged murder video of a Dalit man in Rajasthan which has set off a political storm was tweeted by independent Gujarat MLA and dalit leader, Jignesh Mevani who has pledged his support to Congress.

The man was beaten to death allegedly for his love affair with a neighbour’s wife. The clip appears to be a part of a longer video, allegedly shot and circulated by the accused after the murder, which evoked outrage in the state.

In it, the man was being given water to drink and then repeatedly thrashed with sticks. The accused men have been arrested.

In the video shared which is a 45-second clip, five men are seen engulfing a man lying on the ground — one man pinning him down and another holding his legs. The men are heard arguing over the alleged love affair and telling the victim to go live somewhere else.

“Extremely disturbing incident being reported from Rajasthan where a poor Dalit man was brutally murdered. A quick action must be taken and culprits are brought to book immediately. I request Rajasthan’s govt to take this on priority. This barbarism isn’t allowed anywhere,” Jignesh Mevani tweeted.

*Disclaimer the below tweeted video can be disturbing*

The killing is being compared to the Lakhimpur violence by the opposition, where four farmers were run over during a protest, allegedly by the son of Union minister Ajay Mishra, earlier this month. The Congress today in a meeting with the President has urged for the minister’s resignation over the incident.

Hitting out at the BJP, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said, “Such foolish people have become their (BJP) office-bearers, who don’t even have sense on how to react to an incident. Nobody has gone to the house of the dead. They are sitting here and want to remain in news”.

Mr Gehlot also said he condemns such incidents and the accused were arrested after his prompt action.

The man, Jagdish Meghwal, was beaten to death by a group of people in Hanumangarh’s Prempura village on October 7. The police had said it was over his alleged love affair with a neighbour’s wife.
HW News

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Vol. 54, No. 20, Nov 14 - 20, 2021