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from Expert Zone:

Dark clouds hover as Indian parliament turns 60

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(The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Despite the mounting criticism and steady loss of faith in democratic institutions and the many questions being raised by Indians about the personal integrity of those in public life, it was a proud moment for India when its parliament convened a special session on Sunday to mark the 60th anniversary of the first sitting of the Indian parliament on May 13, 1952. The luminaries at the time included Rajendra Prasad, S. Radhakrishnan, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel and B.R. Ambedkar amongst others.

The celebratory speeches by MPs on Sunday cut across party lines and reflected the enormity of what had been achieved -- the nurturing of the democratic ethos through the ballot box for six decades -- despite the certitude, at the time when the colonial yoke was lifted, that democracy in India was doomed to fail.

Leading the charge was the redoubtable but congenitally imperialistic Winston Churchill who predicted that the natives were not fit to govern themselves and would soon “fall back quite rapidly through the centuries into the barbarism and privations of the Middle Ages”.

from FaithWorld:

FBI tells US Mohammed cartoonist to ‘go ghost’ – report

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prophet (Photo: Banner at demonstration in Kuala Lumpur against a cartoon of Prophet Mohammed March 26, 2010/Bazuki Muhammad)

A Seattle cartoonist who stirred up a religious storm with a tongue-in-cheek encouragement to draw images of the Muslim prophet Mohammed has gone into hiding after a threat to her safety.

Cartoonist Molly Norris, who published an illustration in April on her website entitled "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day," was told by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation to "go ghost," according to Seattle Weekly, where Morris was a regular contributor.

from FaithWorld:

German Chancellor Merkel honours Mohammad cartoonist at press award

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merkelChancellor Angela Merkel paid tribute to freedom of speech on Wednesday at a ceremony for a Dane whose cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad provoked Muslim protests that led to 50 deaths five years ago.

Merkel, who grew up in Communist East Germany, recalled her joy over the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989. "Freedom for me personally is the happiest experience of my life," Merkel, 56, said at the conference on press freedom in Potsdam near Berlin.

from FaithWorld:

Swedish Mohammad cartoonist’s house targeted in latest attack

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Lars Vilks in Stockholm March 10, 2010/Bob Strong

Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who angered Muslims by portraying the Prophet Mohammad as a dog, has suffered a failed arson attack on his house, but was not home when it happened.

Vilks told Reuters on Saturday that people smashed windows at his house in the small town of Nynashamnsvage in southwest Sweden and tried to light petrol that they threw inside. But the attack resulted only in small damage in the kitchen and on the facade.

from Mark Jones:

The art of social media

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I had an unnerving experience at an event last week.  Matt Buck, who had been asking me probing questions during a presentation at the News Innovation un-conference in London, caught up with me afterwards, said he was a cartoonist and showed me a quickfire caricature he'd done of me (right).

I should say that I have tried and failed several times to teach myself how to do caricature.  I have nothing but admiration for those who can capture the essence of someone in a few lines.

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