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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Robert Fisk’s World: In praise of tea, Is Obama Pro-Pakistan and Anti-India?DNA Evidence Can Be Fabricated,

When I first met my Aunty Ada – my Dad Bill took me up to Birkenhead to meet her, along with Peggy, my Mum – she did nothing but pour cups of tea. Ada ran a shoe store but spent the entire day with us. Tea. Tea. "Another cup of tea, love?" And she wouldn't take no for an answer. "Good God!" Bill exclaimed later. "Did I drink that much tea when I lived up here?" He thought maybe tea had caught on in Liverpool because that's where the old tea clipper sailing ships – on which my grandfather Edward sailed – arrived from China. And tea, of course, originally came from China, invented in 2,750BC after the leaves of Camellia sinensis accidentally fell into a bowl of hot water in front of the Emperor Shen Nung. He liked the smell and poured himself the world's first cup of tea. Robert Fisk’s World: In praise of tea, the brew that powered Britain for centuries

There is no denying that a section of Indians view President Obama with suspicion. There is among them a lurking, and for reasons of political correctness, unarticulated fear that he could be sympathetic toward Pakistan, which, in many contexts, is a code word for Islam. Obama's paternal lineage, his formative years in Muslim-majority Indonesia and, of course, the extreme right-wing propaganda, contributed to the impression that he could be a closet Muslim, or at least sympathetic to Muslims. Obama's highly publicized speech on Islam and the West, his conciliatory overtures toward radical Islamic countries and the priority his administration has given to helping Pakistan are being inexplicably interpreted as a snub to India. Is Obama Pro-Pakistan and Anti-India?

Scientists in Israel have demonstrated that it is possible to fabricate DNA evidence, undermining the credibility of what has been considered the gold standard of proof in criminal cases. The scientists fabricated blood and saliva samples containing DNA from a person other than the donor of the blood and saliva. They also showed that if they had access to a DNA profile in a database, they could construct a sample of DNA to match that profile without obtaining any tissue from that person. “You can just engineer a crime scene,” said Dan Frumkin, lead author of the paper, which has been published online by the journal Forensic Science International: Genetics. “Any biology undergraduate could perform this.” DNA Evidence Can Be Fabricated, Scientists Show

What are the odds that in 10 years the Swat valley, often called the “Kashmir of Pakistan”, will be the favoured American destination in “Incredible Pakistan”? Perhaps, realism demands a reframing of that question. In 2019, will Swat be Kashmir or will Kashmir be Swat? God knows, of course, but He is strangely uncommunicative these days. Will it take a war to focus on Swat’s problems? By M J Akbar

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