Freedom Of The Press – Just A Mirage!

In a democracy where the First Amendment protects freedom of the press, government accountability to the media is critical to the survival of democracy. It is generally accepted that an independent media acts as a watchdog that can investigate and report wrongdoings by the government.

Although virtually every state has a law protecting reporters from disclosing sensitive information about their reporting to law enforcement, including the identity of confidential sources, Congress and federal courts have refused to recognize such a privilege. So is freedom of the press just a mirage?

Journalists often rely on confidential sources to write reports dealing with issues of legitimate public importance.

Picture : Freedom House

State shield laws are legal protections that give journalists the privilege of not being compelled to disclose confidential or unpublished information. Some states have enacted shield laws to protect the source of a journalist’s report. The Press Clause of the First Amendment ensures that everyone is protected in their right to disseminate information to the public. By favoring corporate-structured news media, Washington’s law favors institutional media, over citizen-journalists.

Still in some cases, reporters have either gone to jail or been sentenced with substantial fines. In order to make ourselves aware that journalists are not above the law as we think these days, a current scary incident needs to be mentioned here.

Priscilla Villarreal, according to a report that appeared in the Houston Chronicle, was just a freelance blogger. Villarreal is a journalist whose main job is to share newsworthy information with the public. She published it on her Facebook page after she confirmed with a Laredo police officer, some public information about a border agent who had committed suicide.

For several years, Villarreal has been embroiled in a legal dispute that raises fundamental questions about the law protecting press freedom and whether journalists in Texas are protected by the First Amendment. Any law that could be used to arrest a journalist for informing the public, could become a shocking precedent.

Villarreal’s arrest has drawn national attention for the constitutional concerns it raises. The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed that the First Amendment protects the right to publish information obtained from government sources, even when the source of that information violates confidentiality.

The journalist was arrested and charged under Texas state law: Locking up a journalist for asking a question or threatening to “get out” is a misdemeanor. It would be good if citizen journalists knew that if the media workers are almost not protected, if they try to bring more courage and bring many things to light. If the government seizes the reporter and puts him in jail, there will be no legal loopholes to release, or strong media organizations to collectively respond. Freedom of the Press, if that makes any sense, it means freedom to criticize and oppose, that is the absolute  truth.

Be passionate about what you write and believe in your ability to convey timeless ideas. Governments that do not believe that freedom of speech belongs to every individual, governments that fear the writer’s words more than weapons, are suffocating and silencing journalists, and this will continue, while the media activists who have lost their responsiveness remain silent!

Chrislam – Will It Ever Be A Reality?

Have you heard about “Chrislam”? It is not a new concept or ideology. Years back while reading  Arthur C. Clarke’s  fantasy novel, “The Hammer of God”, which describes the crisis caused by the imminent collision of an asteroid with planet Earth, this word “Chrislam” appeared somewhere in it.

 Of course,  now, I understand that Chrislam is the movement that earned momentum, which is evident while reading an old article from EMIRATES NEWS: The world religious leaders today adopted the Human Fraternity Document signed by His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders, Dr. Ahmed el-Tayyeb, and His Holiness Pope Francis of the Catholic Church, in Abu Dhabi in 2019.(NUR-SULTAN, 15th September 2022 (WAM).

The pope and the grand imam of al-Azhar have signed a historic declaration of fraternity, calling for peace between nations, religions and races, in front of a global audience of religious leaders from Christianity, Islam, Judaism and other faiths.

Chrislam was derived as an attempt to syncretize Christianity with Islam. 

In the heartland of Islam that envelopes countries like Saudi ArabiaYemen, and Bahrain, frequent outbreaks of fanatic extremism create enough suffering for the Christian community. But amidst this turmoil, they are able to share the love of Christ in surprising ways.

Sometimes this hatred explodes beyond hostility to hidden interests or agendas or policies or even countries and becomes a rejection of Western civilization. Eventually, it questions the principles and values that it practices and professes. These are indeed seen as innately evil, and those who promote or accept them as the “enemies of God.”

Basically the Muslim and Christian views of their creator God has some similarities and resemblances. Christians believe in one eternal God Who created the universe. Muslims also believe these qualities to their Allah. Both view God as Omnipotent , all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-present. 

Today, the descendants of Hagar, Ishmael, and Esau (Edom) are all Muslim nations (Islam). As we discussed, the “pure royal lineage” of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants, including Messiah, is Jewish (Israel). Again, although the nations are predominately Muslim, there are millions of Christian Arabs who love the Lord!

Religious leaders know very well that  Islam and Christianity cannot be reconciled, for the differences between the two religions are vast and the similarities are few.

Allah and Yahweh are different deities. Allah is unknowable and unapproachable; Yahweh is personal, knowable, and invites us to approach His throne of grace. Allah has never spoken directly to a human being; Yahweh has spoken to people throughout history and continues to do so today. Allah reveals his will but not himself; Yahweh reveals Himself in creation, conscience, the canon of Scripture, and Christ – the Word who became flesh. 

From a broader outlook the essential concept of Chrislam is that Christianity and Islam are interrelated and compatible. On the other hand it seems that anyone can be a Christian and a Muslim at the same time. Like Christianity or Islam Chrislam is not attributed as an actual religion of its own, but a diluting the differences and distinct views between Christians and Muslims.

Advocates of Chrislam points that Jesus is mentioned 25 times in the Qur’an. Christianity and Islam having similar teachings on morals and ethics. But the two largest monotheistic religions fight against each other gives the rise of atheism and other forms of spirituality. Chrislam is viewed as the solution for the ongoing conflict between the predominantly Christian Western world, and the Muslim dominated Middle East.

From the history, Chrislam refers to the assemblage of Islamic and Christian religious practices in Nigeria; in particular, the series of religious movements that merged Muslim and Christian religious practice during the 1970s in Lagos, Nigeria. The movement was pioneered by Yoruba peoples in south-west Nigeria.

The underlying religious concept of Chrislam is that “to be a Muslim or Christian alone is not enough to guarantee success in this world and the hereafter.” As a result, Chrislam combines both Muslim and Christian practices.

“Sources generally describe Chrislam as a new one-world syncretic religion, linking it to what is about to become its headquarters: the Abrahamic Family House, an interfaith complex in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, whose main attractions will be a synagogue, a church, and a mosque, according to a concept by architect Sir David Adjaye. Construction is underway and is expected to be completed in 2022”.(ST.NETWORK). So at least the world has a monumental infrastructure to link with the concept of Chrislam!

Chrislam – Will It Ever Be A Reality?

Have you heard about “Chrislam”? It is not a new concept or ideology. Years back while reading  Arthur C. Clarke’s  fantasy novel, “The Hammer of God”, which describes the crisis caused by the imminent collision of an asteroid with planet Earth, this word “Chrislam” appeared somewhere in it.

Of course,  now, I understand that Chrislam is the movement that earned momentum, which is evident while reading an old article from EMIRATES NEWS: The world religious leaders today adopted the Human Fraternity Document signed by His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders, Dr. Ahmed el-Tayyeb, and His Holiness Pope Francis of the Catholic Church, in Abu Dhabi in 2019.(NUR-SULTAN, 15th September 2022 (WAM).

The pope and the grand imam of al-Azhar have signed a historic declaration of fraternity, calling for peace between nations, religions and races, in front of a global audience of religious leaders from Christianity, Islam, Judaism and other faiths.

Chrislam was derived as an attempt to syncretize Christianity with Islam.

In the heartland of Islam that envelopes countries like Saudi ArabiaYemen, and Bahrain, frequent outbreaks of fanatic extremism create enough suffering for the Christian community. But amidst this turmoil, they are able to share the love of Christ in surprising ways.

Sometimes this hatred explodes beyond hostility to hidden interests or agendas or policies or even countries and becomes a rejection of Western civilization. Eventually, it questions the principles and values that it practices and professes. These are indeed seen as innately evil, and those who promote or accept them as the “enemies of God.”

Basically the Muslim and Christian views of their creator God has some similarities and resemblances. Christians believe in one eternal God Who created the universe. Muslims also believe these qualities to their Allah. Both view God as Omnipotent , all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-present.

Today, the descendants of Hagar, Ishmael, and Esau (Edom) are all Muslim nations (Islam). As we discussed, the “pure royal lineage” of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants, including Messiah, is Jewish (Israel). Again, although the nations are predominately Muslim, there are millions of Christian Arabs who love the Lord!

Religious leaders know very well that  Islam and Christianity cannot be reconciled, for the differences between the two religions are vast and the similarities are few.

Allah and Yahweh are different deities. Allah is unknowable and unapproachable; Yahweh is personal, knowable, and invites us to approach His throne of grace. Allah has never spoken directly to a human being; Yahweh has spoken to people throughout history and continues to do so today. Allah reveals his will but not himself; Yahweh reveals Himself in creation, conscience, the canon of Scripture, and Christ – the Word who became flesh.

From a broader outlook the essential concept of Chrislam is that Christianity and Islam are interrelated and compatible. On the other hand it seems that anyone can be a Christian and a Muslim at the same time. Like Christianity or Islam Chrislam is not attributed as an actual religion of its own, but a diluting the differences and distinct views between Christians and Muslims.

Advocates of Chrislam points that Jesus is mentioned 25 times in the Qur’an. Christianity and Islam having similar teachings on morals and ethics. But the two largest monotheistic religions fight against each other gives the rise of atheism and other forms of spirituality. Chrislam is viewed as the solution for the ongoing conflict between the predominantly Christian Western world, and the Muslim dominated Middle East.

From the history, Chrislam refers to the assemblage of Islamic and Christian religious practices in Nigeria; in particular, the series of religious movements that merged Muslim and Christian religious practice during the 1970s in Lagos, Nigeria. The movement was pioneered by Yoruba peoples in south-west Nigeria.

The underlying religious concept of Chrislam is that “to be a Muslim or Christian alone is not enough to guarantee success in this world and the hereafter.” As a result, Chrislam combines both Muslim and Christian practices.

“Sources generally describe Chrislam as a new one-world syncretic religion, linking it to what is about to become its headquarters: the Abrahamic Family House, an interfaith complex in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, whose main attractions will be a synagogue, a church, and a mosque, according to a concept by architect Sir David Adjaye. Construction is underway and is expected to be completed in 2022”.(ST.NETWORK). So at least the world has a monumental infrastructure to link with the concept of Chrislam!

Digital Rape?

Digital Rape – is a new terminology for me, and somehow my subconscious mind led me to a misunderstanding. It has nothing to do with modern digital technology, except some correlation with the fingers that you use to text on your smartphones.

The term ‘Digital rape’ does not relate to any sexual offense committed digitally, like defaming someone’s identity on the Digital platforms. It refers to the act of forcibly inserting fingers or toes inside the other person’s private parts without their consent. The word digital rape is derived from the word ‘digit’, which also means a ‘finger including the thumb or toe’; hence digital rape is meaningful now.

Similarly, there is a term “Digital Rape” that people often misinterpret-able and wonder how someone can rape digitally.Not knowing the actual term, they often consider it digital abuse. Sometimes it is confused with defacing someone’s identity on the digital platform. People think sharing naked pictures, or video’s on a digital platform without the owner’s consent is called Digital Rape.

Digital Rape is a term used to classify cases of rape. In the case of digital rape, the perpetrator used his finger or fingers to violate and force the sexual act upon the victim. Simply, a person is accused of Digital rape when the perpetrator used his/her finger or fingers to penetrate the vagina of the victim without her consent.

In India, until 2012, these types of offenses were not considered under the purviews of rape.In June 2022, there was a case in Noida, India, where a five-year-old girl was subjected to digital rape by her father.

In order to understand the sensitivity of this subject, three cases clear out the real meaning of the term ‘digital rape’.

Case 1: 2 year old digitally raped in Mumbai

In Mumbai, a 2-year-old girl was brought bleeding to the hospital. On examination, doctors found that her vagina was raptured, though there weren’t any sign of sexual assault or rape.

Case 2: 60 year old digitally raped in Delhi

In another incident which was occurred in Delhi, a 60 years old woman was sexually assaulted by an auto rickshaw driver, who used an iron rod to penetrate the 60 years old passenger who was visiting her relative’s wedding. Again, the driver was arrested but wasn’t convicted under Section 376 of the IPC.

Case 3: Conductor sentenced to 20 years in prison for digitally raping four-year-old girl onboard school bus

On December 12, 2018, Times now news published a report that explained a digital rape case. Here, a school-going girl was digitally raped by the conductor.

It all comes down to the point that the dignity of a female can be violated even without being raped. And how digital rape can have the same effect as rape.

But knowing that there are other ways that a man can use to violate a woman or child’s dignity; Supreme Court had to make some changes to its definition of rape. Keeping all the above cases and heinous instances of crime, the purpose of rape was extended in 2013.

According to this new definition, rape is considered an act of forcefully penetrating a woman’s vagina, mouth, anus, or urethra by a penis, any foreign object, or any other part of the body.

In many reports, it has been made clear that most of the time, the  offenders who disrespects  the modesty of a woman or violated the dignity of a child, is someone they knew personally. Usually, these crimes are committed by people close to the victim. Cousins, close friends, uncles (other relatives), neighbors, and sometimes their own father came out to be accused.

Luckily, most of the cases now do justice to the victim. And the offender has to spend a minimum of 5 years in jail. In some cases, the offender has to serve a lifetime prison sentence of 10 years, which can also be extended later.

Thankfully, the term digital rape has joined the definition of rape, and now there are strict laws for criminals who think digital rape is not raping. Better be aware of this terminology, and it’s consequences too!

DIGITAL RAPE ?

Digital Rape – is a new terminology for me, and somehow my subconscious mind led me to a misunderstanding. It has nothing to do with modern digital technology, except some correlation with the fingers that you use to text on your smartphones.

The term ‘Digital rape’ does not relate to any sexual offense committed digitally, like defaming someone’s identity on the Digital platforms. It refers to the act of forcibly inserting fingers or toes inside the other person’s private parts without their consent. The word digital rape is derived from the word ‘digit’, which also means a ‘finger including the thumb or toe’; hence digital rape is meaningful now.

Similarly, there is a term “Digital Rape” that people often misinterpret-able and wonder how someone can rape digitally.Not knowing the actual term, they often consider it digital abuse. Sometimes it is confused with defacing someone’s identity on the digital platform. People think sharing naked pictures, or video’s on a digital platform without the owner’s consent is called Digital Rape.

Digital Rape is a term used to classify cases of rape. In the case of digital rape, the perpetrator used his finger or fingers to violate and force the sexual act upon the victim. Simply, a person is accused of Digital rape when the perpetrator used his/her finger or fingers to penetrate the vagina of the victim without her consent.

In India, until 2012, these types of offenses were not considered under the purviews of rape.In June 2022, there was a case in Noida, India, where a five-year-old girl was subjected to digital rape by her father.

In order to understand the sensitivity of this subject, three cases clear out the real meaning of the term ‘digital rape’.

Case 1: 2 year old digitally raped in Mumbai

In Mumbai, a 2-year-old girl was brought bleeding to the hospital. On examination, doctors found that her vagina was raptured, though there weren’t any sign of sexual assault or rape.

Case 2: 60 year old digitally raped in Delhi

In another incident which was occurred in Delhi, a 60 years old woman was sexually assaulted by an auto rickshaw driver, who used an iron rod to penetrate the 60 years old passenger who was visiting her relative’s wedding. Again, the driver was arrested but wasn’t convicted under Section 376 of the IPC.

Case 3: Conductor sentenced to 20 years in prison for digitally raping four-year-old girl onboard school bus

On December 12, 2018, Times now news published a report that explained a digital rape case. Here, a school-going girl was digitally raped by the conductor.

It all comes down to the point that the dignity of a female can be violated even without being raped. And how digital rape can have the same effect as rape.

But knowing that there are other ways that a man can use to violate a woman or child’s dignity; Supreme Court had to make some changes to its definition of rape. Keeping all the above cases and heinous instances of crime, the purpose of rape was extended in 2013.

According to this new definition, rape is considered an act of forcefully penetrating a woman’s vagina, mouth, anus, or urethra by a penis, any foreign object, or any other part of the body.

In many reports, it has been made clear that most of the time, the  offenders who disrespects  the modesty of a woman or violated the dignity of a child, is someone they knew personally. Usually, these crimes are committed by people close to the victim. Cousins, close friends, uncles (other relatives), neighbors, and sometimes their own father came out to be accused.

Luckily, most of the cases now do justice to the victim. And the offender has to spend a minimum of 5 years in jail. In some cases, the offender has to serve a lifetime prison sentence of 10 years, which can also be extended later.

Thankfully, the term digital rape has joined the definition of rape, and now there are strict laws for criminals who think digital rape is not raping. Better be aware of this terminology, and it’s consequences too!

HOLY WOUND- It Is Not That Holy!

An Adults Only Review of the movie

Holy Wound- that may sound like something related to the Holy Angel, Holy Family, or the tortured wounds of Jesus Christ. Sorry, you are misled when you hear about a recent controversial  Malayalam movie named like that. Still, it had already been screened in several film festivals, including Sahasrara International Film Festival, KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, and Frameline San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival, and in an earlier interview with OTTplay.

Holy Wound is a unique movie depicting the story of two young Malayali village girls who have been in love since childhood. ‘Holy Wound’ is a 2022 Malayalam drama movie, written by Paul Wiclif., directed by Ashok R. Nath, produced by Sandeep R, and music by Ronnie Raphael, with Janaki Sudheer, Amrita Vinod, and Sabu Praudeen in the lead roles.

There are umpteen movies with the drama revolving around female homosexuality, but very low in Malayalam language. Of late  one to join this league is Holy Wound, an erotic silent movie. Obviously the story is about two gay women, one  gets married against her will and is subjected to sexual harassment, and another who is forced to become a nun.

Although love may not be the real reason for the revolving of the globe as such, ‘most adults’ lives are powerfully influenced  by their experiences in intimate relationships. It is  believed that the psychologically healthy adult must have the capacity for work to earn, and love to cherish life. The significance  of intimate relationships is no less significant for lesbians than heterosexuals. Taking granted the ‘new normal’ of accepting, the third category of the genre is still ‘not so normal’ to the common person, that too in a village where the people live in poor living conditions.

Having seen that most lesbians spend much of their adult lives in intimate love relationships, we are eager to turn to findings about the nature of lesbian relationships. Suppose the movie’s message is to encourage lesbians; sorry to say that all the frames whenever these girls meet show their sexual gratification. The heroin Kala has enough sex almost every day, in various positions Vatsyaayan had imagined; she still urges her lesbian girlfriend to stimulate her passions to an ecstatic stage. Maybe the Director thinks that her relationship with her male partner living together is always for his satisfaction only, and he needs it so often.

The movie convinces us that gender is not a barrier to intense love. Love is the indescribable passion of two minds. Holy Wound movie moves forward with the intense emotional moments when two girls who have been in pure love since childhood reunite years later. The film’s visuals are arranged so that its emotion is never lost through the green expression of such moments. Preparing moments based on the realism of lesbian romance will give the audience a whole new experience of emotional bliss and ecstasy. Good thing it is restricted for age+18 audience, and if it brings international recognitions, the Director can be proud of his efforts!

Set in the beautiful backwaters of Kerala, the story is about the life memories and desires of a 25-year-old girl Kala who finds her livelihood by fishing in the lake or collecting shells. Her cruel husband and a pervert continuously exploit her physically and mentally. She longs for real love and touches from a compassionate soul. She searches for Sherin, her teenage friend and one with whom she can share her emotions and feelings and share a very intimate physical relationship quite often.

The movie could have emphasized the concept that whether gay or lesbian, they can lead a happy life without the actual sex in its helms. Here the story fails and brings the negative message that these lesbian girls cannot live without their way of satisfying each other.

Of course, the end part of the movie, where a nun is lying naked in an open boat with her lesbian friend in the solitude of the lake, could hurt religious sentiments. The film is erotic and less touching on the lives of the original life system in a remote village. Preparing moments based on the realism of lesbian romance will give the audience a new experience of emotional scenes. It can be understood that Holy Wound drives home the message that homosexual relationship is not unnatural, and two partners belonging to the same sex can be in a relationship.

Though presenting a whole movie with all the sensors and emotional frames is weird, it may be beyond imagination that people started ignoring the efforts, emotions, and hard work that has delivered this masterpiece creation as a silent movie will attract meticulous attention. Nothing told, but everything revealed blatantly!

Anek: A Brilliant Movie Juxtaposing Northeastern Issues

“You are right; violence is not a solution.” The subject drops his gun. 

Immediately the message goes, “Subject is captured” – that is the climax of the story ANEK.

Anek is going to create a buzz all around the country for its unique theme, concept, and the conspicuous subject of juxtaposing the issues of the north eastern Indian states within the movie’s storyline. For so many decades, Northeast India has remained neglected and ignored by the mainland central government, which eventually caused an identity crisis for the North-easterners. 

The story portrays the plight of the people living in these seven northeastern states of India. It is a fact that we cannot deny. They are many years behind the rest of India. These seven states, or sisters, as they are called, have rich soil and natural resources but no outlets. The only major venue to sell their products may be in West Bengal. But seldom do the products reach theirs on time. They are stereotypically looked down upon by mainlanders as foreigners from neighboring countries like Tibet, Nepal, Thailand, China or even Myanmar, 

There are many subplots around the main event. Ayushman Khurana looks fabulous as an undercover cop Joshua, assigned to deal with the insurgents in this less explored hilly region. Aspiring and struggling boxer Aido, the role portrayed by gorgeous supermodel Andrea Kevichüsa is exceptionally fantastic and outstanding. Even the role performed by other cast deserves intense applauses from the heart.

The side stories revolving around the main story of intense fights and gun shots,  first the Ayushmaan’s character then his girlfriend’s journey, and her father’s ideology; also the Tiger Sangha, the Johnson group & local people, the Indian Government etc. From starting to end movie tries to focus on multiple aspects which actually resulted in undercooked fun. First of all, you lose the lead where the story wants to focus, the lead character is missing in half of the film, romance is on low profile and undeveloped, and many of the characters like J.D.Chakravarty’s had nothing to do with it. This movie is quite confusing but well-written dialogues and brings a good concept of Northeast Indian people and how and why they become rebellious where the Indian Government is responsible for not treating North Eastern Indian people equally.

Guys, this movie is realistic and intelligent writing where the script writer Anubhav Sinha is playing with audience and cast by showing negative character of everyone in the film except Aido ( Andrea Kavinchusa ) her performance was really authentic and outstanding a character of boxing girl who gets ill-treatment  by her coach and team members and she wants to play and win in boxing for India. Her father who is running a rebellious Johnson group against Indian government,  and Ayushman  Khurrana ( Joshua aka Aman ) an undercover agent of India to gather the information of NE Indian rebellion,  his performance was really brilliant and authentic. The performance by Manoj Pahwa as as boss of Indian army and defence was really intelligent and precise in the movie and performance by Kumud Mishra as defence counselor was really brilliant and outstanding and performance by every supporting cast was really authentic and distinctive, hats off to maker’s that they took NE people to make movie original.  Somehow the music and songs  are not really compelling to listen but shocking scenes are engaging and engrossing where screenplay was slow burn and cinematography was really good but not that impressive. The locations were realistic to shoot the movie.

At the end, Aido fulfills her promise and wins her boxing championship for India, confirming that India is our own for all Indians.

Thanks to filmmaker Anubhav Sinha for bringing this crucial issue to the forefront through mainstream cinema. I loved watching Ayushman Khurana’s performance; though the concept is sometimes confusing but intelligently written.

Hoover Dam And Lake Mead: Any Alert!!

Hoover Dam near Las Vegas, is known globally for its cute architecture. The reservoir created by the damming of the Colorado River became Lake Mead, drew thousands of visitors to this wondrous contrast of desert and water. Lake Mead gets water from Lake Powell, the second-largest reservoir in the country. Its water supply is around a fourth of what it used to be.

Now the Lake Mead is at an elevation of 1,046.3 feet. That’s more than 40 feet lower than the 1,087.1 feet elevation two years ago in June 2020. The latest two-year projection from the federal agency shows that the lake could drop as low as 1,020 feet within the next two years.

From 1983, fast-forward nearly four decades, Lake Mead is now 178 feet lower and continuing to shrink, may find alarming!

The megadrought currently choking the western United States is the worst drought in the region in more than 1,000 years. It’s having an enormous impact across many states and on several major reservoirs, including Lake Mead, a water source for millions of people in the West. 

Last week measured at 1,044.03 feet, its lowest elevation since the lake was filled in the 1930s. If the reservoir dips below 895 feet — a possibility still years away — Lake Mead would reach dead pool, carrying enormous consequences for millions of people across Arizona, California, Nevada and parts of Mexico. A dead pool would not mean no water was left in the reservoir, but even before Lake Mead was hit, there were concerns that water levels could fall so low that hydroelectric power production would be hindered.

A clear high-water mark known as a “bathtub ring” is seen on the shores of Lake Mead at the Hoover Dam near Las Vegas, Nevada, on June 10, comparing the reservoir when filled in the 1930s. (Photo by Bridget BENNETT).

Astounding to hear the latest news of a body in a barrel, human skeletons along the shorelines, ghost towns, a crashed B-29 Superfortress that used to track cosmic rays, Prehistoric salt mines etc., are revealed when the water level dropped. What all will the receding waters of Lake Mead show in the days ahead?

The Colorado River Basin, a lifeline of the American Southwest, is shrinking. And, with it, the country’s two largest reservoirs are going dry. Just 30 miles east of Las Vegas sits Lake Mead on the border of Arizona and Nevada. It’s the largest artificial reservoir in North America.

Lake Mead pumps water from the Colorado River to nearly 25 million people. It’s a significant water source for residents and tribes in Arizona, Nevada, California, parts of Mexico and some of the country’s most productive agricultural sites. About 75 percent of the water goes to irrigation for agriculture. That supplies about 60 percent of the food for the nation that’s grown in the United States.

But the lake has been declining for decades due to rising temperatures and climate change, cracked earth and mud where water used to be. Now it’s only 30 percent full, an historic low. Over the years, rusted debris and sunken boats have emerged, more recently, some darker discoveries, human remains lost for decades.

Below Lake Mead, the Hoover Dam provides hydroelectric power to 1.3 million people across three states. But the dam is operating at 67 percent of its capacity. If the reservoir’s elevation falls below 950 feet, the dam’s turbines will stop spinning.

States in the Southwest have started limiting some of their use of the Colorado River Basin. And last month, federal officials took unprecedented action to temporarily keep enough water in Lake Powell, one of the country’s largest reservoirs, to continue generating hydropower for a million homes.

Southern California already started restricting water use, including watering of lawns to once or twice a week, for about six million residents. It’s also having a significant impact on Lake Mead, a primary water source for agriculture and millions of people in the American West.

In Nevada there have been measures to remove grassy lawns and save irrigation water that they can put back into the system. So there is a spirit of ensuring that people can protect water for the folks in their jurisdictions.

Now as a creative solution,  the following report is highly impressive. Regarding the Mississippi Water Letters of June 26, citizens of Louisiana and Mississippi south of the Old River Control Structure don’t need all that water. All it does is cause flooding and massive tax expenditures to repair and strengthen embankments. 

The best solution would be for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build an aqueduct from the Old River Control Structure on the Mississippi to Lake Powell, fill it, and then send more water from there down the Colorado to fill lake Mead. About 4.5 million/gals a second flow past that structure on the Mississippi. As mentioned, New Orleans has a problem with that much water anyway, so let’s divert 250,000 gallons/sec to Lake Powell, which currently has a shortage of 5.5 trillion gallons.

Lake Mead has a somewhat larger shortage, about 8 trillion gallons, but it could be filled in about 370 days at 250,000 gallons/sec.Hence, this megadraught is not the catastrophic end of everything, alternative solutions will pave way for better days ahead.

Understanding Medicare Fraud

“Corruption, embezzlement, fraud are all characteristics which exist everywhere. It is regrettably how human nature functions, whether we like it or not. What successful economies do is keep it to a minimum. But, unfortunately, no one has ever eliminated any of that stuff”- said. Alan Greenspan, on the evil characteristic of frauds in general.

In USA, the system of Medicare benefits has been an abundant resource for fraudsters. Medicare improper payments were estimated to be $25.74 billion in fiscal year 2020. However, the amount of improper payments made in Medicare are significant, during 2019 representing to an amount of $28.91 billion.

Medicare fraud occurs when someone, whether doctors or patients or scammers, knowingly deceives Medicare to receive payment when they receive a higher payment than they should. Committing fraud is illegal and should be reported. Anyone can commit or be involved in fraud, and there are cases of fraudsters  including doctors, other providers, and Medicare beneficiaries.

Some common examples of Medicare fraud include billing for services that were not provided, over billing, billing unnecessary services, misrepresenting dates of service or providers of service, and paying kickbacks for patient referrals.

Medicare fraud happens when someone illegally use their Medicare card to get medical care, supplies, or equipment, or sell their Medicare number to someone who bills Medicare for services not received, or provide their Medicare number in exchange for money or a gift.

But sporadic instances of frauds are committed by greedy doctors, and a recent case reported, unveils an example of similar cases.

Ravi Murali, 39, formerly from Wisconsin, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson to 54 months in federal prison for Dr. Murali’s role in defraud Medicare. He pleaded guilty to this charge on March 31, 2021.

Dr. Murali wrote thousands of fraudulent orders for Durable Medical Equipment (DME). Other participants in the scheme used Dr. Murali’s fraudulent orders to bill Medicare $26,000,000, of which Medicare paid $13,000,000.

As we all know, Medicare is complicated. What may seem like an error to the beneficiary, may result from a misunderstanding about benefits.

It may also be abuse, which involves billing Medicare for services that are not covered or are not correctly coded. The provider has not knowingly and intentionally misrepresented the facts to obtain payment.

Medicare fraud assumes criminal offense. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) defines fraud as “the intentional deception or misrepresentation that the individual knows to be false or does not believe to be true,” and that is made “knowing that the deception could result in some unauthorized benefit to themselves or some other person.

Some common examples of suspected Medicare fraud or abuse are:

  • Billing for services or supplies that were not provided
  • Providing unsolicited supplies to beneficiaries
  • Misrepresenting a diagnosis, a beneficiary’s identity, the service provided, or other facts to justify payment
  • Prescribing or providing excessive or unnecessary tests and services
  • Violating the participating provider agreement with Medicare by refusing to bill Medicare for covered services or items and billing the beneficiary instead
  • Offering or receiving a kickback (bribe) in exchange for a beneficiary’s Medicare number
  • Requesting Medicare numbers at an educational presentation or in an unsolicited phone call
  • Routinely waiving co-insurance to attract business

The federal government has made significant strides in reducing fraud, waste, and improper payments across the government.

The CMS “Guard Your Card” campaign tells people how they can protect themselves against fraud by:

  • Never give out their Medicare or Social Security Number to anyone except those you know should have it.
  • They reported any suspicious activities like being asked over the phone for their Medicare/Social Security number or banking information. Medicare will NEVER call you uninvited for this information.
  • By checking their billing statements and reporting suspicious charges. Using a calendar to track doctor’s appointments and services helps quickly spot possible fraud and billing mistakes. Check claims early by logging into gov.

Any suspicious activities may be reported by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Under the False Claims Act (FCA), the government may pay a reward of up to 30% to people who report healthcare fraud. In September 2019, TELG client Kevin Manieri was awarded more than $12 million for reporting that a drug company defrauded Medicare and other government insurance programs by encouraging doctors to prescribe an unnecessary medication to patients.

Health care fraud is a felony under Michigan’s Health Care False Claims Act, punishable by up to four years in prison, a $50,000 fine and loss of health insurance. It’s also a federal criminal offense under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

While Abandoning Afghanistan!

“What happened in Vietnam?” – we had been hearing the question on different platforms for so many years. On U.S. withdrawal from South Vietnam in 1975, many political analysts said China or the Russians would take it over; even now, we are blaming it as America’s humiliating military defeat. “The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001 because the country’s Taliban rulers at the time hosted Osama Bin Laden along with  other Al Qaeda leaders who plotted the Sept.11 attacks on America. Since then, Islamist terrorist groups, particularly the far more radical Islamic State, have established other footholds worldwide, from Mozambique to the Philippines to West Africa.”

When U.S. troops withdrew from Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport within the stipulated time, the nation’s most prolonged war cost was more than $ 2.3 trillion. During the last 20 years, more than 2,400 U.S. service members have been killed in Afghanistan alone. World astonished to hear that even while retrieving, thirteen U.S. soldiers were killed in the latest suicide bombing in Kabul Airport.  Taliban’s praise of China is aimed at gaining recognition for their government at the international level by establishing links with power like China. China and Pakistan are now the only countries in the region that fully support the Taliban.

According to diplomats, the Taliban decided to end trade with India due to pressure from the two countries. Whether all other hypothesis is right or wrong, this development is a real threat to India in the days ahead. Though we are doubtful about China, America is still stronger in technology, manufacturing, and military power. China is not ready to replace the U.S. in the region unless Pakistan pushes them to do so. Generally, it is criticized that the U.S. could have remained involved in Afghanistan, including by helping the country to maintain stability and combat terrorism and violence, The Taliban infiltration began after the United States began withdrawing from Afghanistan. First, they conquered each of the provinces. The American-trained Afghan fighters had to look on helplessly. Eventually, the militants took over. Not only did the militants take power on the soil they had fought for 20 years to drive out the militants, but they also took the lives of 13 American soldiers before withdrawing from there.

Have you ever heard the old sarcasm on U.S.: “They nurtured terrorist organizations by giving U.S. dollars to Pakistan to fight terrorism. American soldiers were shot dead with guns provided by the United States. When the U.S. was sifting through Afghanistan to capture Bin Laden, Pakistan hid him in their base and made the U.S. play a monkey. Unaware that Bin Laden was hiding in the next room, Hillary Clinton went to Pakistan, blamed India, and befriended Nawaz Sharif. She said a poor developing country was seeking permanent membership in the U.N. Security Council. Sharif and his group laughed at Hillary’s joke. How about American intelligence” if that was the actual story,  the U.S replied promptly later.

The story remains the same even after 21 years, US went to overthrow militants and terrorists in Afghanistan, but now left by handing over power to them only!. (Do not try to teach new tricks to old dogs, or democracy to Islamic conservatives.) We may be hearing more about the foolish things that happened on our quick withdrawal, leaving so many supporters helpless in the terrorists’ hands and leaving many weapons, bomber planes, and ammunition with the enemy..

The whole world knows that the Taliban captured Kabul, but they have no power to speak. Terrorist organizations like ISK, more potent than them, are growing in Afghanistan. Pakistan will be ready to help them.  This is where the importance of USA or NATO needs to be highlighted; America is burdened with more challenges and responsibilities, including the refugees and terrorists being spread everywhere!

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