Male council in India orders sisters to be raped because their brother eloped with a married woman


An all-male council in India has ordered that two sisters, ages 15 and 23, be raped and paraded in public with blackened faces because their brother eloped with a married woman.

Amnesty International has launched a petition but they've been told that the "decision is final."

“Nothing could justify this abhorrent punishment,” the Amnesty petition reads. “It’s not fair. It’s not right. And it’s against the law. Demand that the local authorities intervene immediately.”

Village councils in northern India, known as khap panchayats, are generally comprised of senior male members of the community’s high castes. Although the councils have been declared illegal by the courts, their edicts are still observed in many parts of rural India.

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Google covertly lobbied against net neutrality in India

The company emailed members of the Government Relations committee of the Indian ISP association, asking them to support Facebook's program, which delivers "a poor Internet for poor people." Read the rest

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Self-defense umbrella given out to women in India


Rape is the fourth most common crime against women in India. Married women, living alone, face a greater risk of being attacked when they go to collect remittances from their husbands who work abroad. In an effort to protect these women—and thereby further its business—Vodafone will send "self-defense umbrellas" to recipients of money sent with their M-Pesa mobile money transfer service.

There isn't a hidden sword or taser, unfortunately. Instead it comes with pictorial references of self-defense techniques and how they can be used to fight off an attacker.

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India's porn ban collapses in less than 48 hours

Politicians learn the hard way that you can't get between the voters and their preferred recreational activity. Read the rest

Nicki Minaj's “Anaconda” becomes protest anthem in India, over Unilever's mercury contamination disaster

The video tackles Unilever's failure to clean up mercury contamination or compensate workers affected by its thermometer factory in Kodaikanal.

Video: Leopard injures 3 in chaos at India school


At least three people were injured today when a leopard entered a school in the southern Indian city of Chikmagalur, Karnataka. Read the rest

Listen, free: Four Tet’s new two-track, 40-minute album, “Morning/Evening”

The mystical, lilting sounds of the great Indian vocalist Lata Mangeshkar feature prominently on this two-track record.
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Anti-corruption journalist immolated by cops, allegedly under orders from minister

Jagendra Singh reported on corruption in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on his Facebook account, which allegedly prompted Ram Murti Singh Verma, a ruling party politician, to send police to his house to burn him alive; he died a week later of his injuries. Read the rest

India's $11 cellphone could change the world

The mobile market in India is flooded with new phones: three a day last year. Local provider Micromax has a gamble to claim a slice of that. Read the rest

Fantastically detailed Boeing 777 model made from manila folders

Luca Iaconi-Stewart is building a "1:60 model of an Air India Boeing 777-300ER made entirely from manila file folders," with an unbelievable level of detail (it even has working mechanisms!) Read the rest

Petition to Indian gov't for open publication of standards

Rogue archivist Carl Malamud sez, "Namaste! Public.Resource.Org respectfully submitted a Petition to the Honorable Ministry of the Government India charged with oversight over the Bureau of Indian Standards. In addition to hardcopy, we have placed the petition on our site and on the Internet Archive."

The purpose of the petition is to ask that all Indian Standards, government documents of great import and value, be freely made available so that the youth may be educated, the professions may be practiced, and the public safety protected. This is in reference to the almost 19,000 Indian Standards that Public Resource has posted on our site.

We are very pleased that the petition includes signed affidavits from many prominent figures, including Sushant Sinha (who developed as a gift to his country the beautiful Indian Kanoon legal search service), Swaraj Paul Barooah (who is an eminent legal expert and runs the Spicy IP blog). They are joined by eminent engineers, as well as Sri Sam Pitroda (former India Chief Technology Officer and Cabinet Minister) and Dr. Vinton G. Cerf (an Internet engineer).

Code Swaraj! We are hopeful the Hon'ble Ministry will consider our points.

Petition to the Honorable Ministry

(Thanks, Carl) Read the rest

$35 Firefox OS smartphone - back to the drawing board

Ron Amadeo's review of the much-heralded Cloud FX phone, a $35 smartphone for the "rest of the world," paints a gloomy picture of a poorly thought through first outing. Read the rest

Indian space program workers celebrate Mars orbit

(photographer unknown): India's Mangalyaan satellite attained Martian orbit on Wednesday; at $74m, it's "staggeringly cheap" for an orbiter.

Martian spacecraft staffers at Indian space control, September 2014 Read the rest

The Cobra Effect: law of unintended consequences, squared

In British-ruled, cobra-infested India, a bounty was offered for cobra-skins, so enterprising folks started breeding cobras, leading to the program's cancellation, whereupon all those farmed cobras were released into the wild, a net increase in cobra population. That's not the only example, either.

(Image: Cobra, Kamalnv/Wikipedia, CC-BY) Read the rest

Online Isaac Newton manuscripts workshop

India's Zetatrek citizen science initiative is online workshop starting on 19th July, where science and math hobbyists from all over the world are invited to study the original manuscripts of Sir Isaac Newton. Read the rest

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