That Reusable Trader Joe’s Bag? It’s Rescuing an Indian Industry. – The New York Times

“NADIA, India — When shoppers in places like America take a woven reusable bag to the store, they aren’t just saving the planet. They are reviving a storied industry thousands of miles away in India.

Jute, a coarse fiber used to make fabrics like burlap, has been cultivated for centuries in the warm and humid climate of the Ganges Delta. Some of India’s jute factories have been in operation for more than a century, and today the country is the world’s largest producer.

But in recent decades, the industry has struggled as less expensive synthetic substitutes have flooded the market. Farmers turned to other crops, cheap labor moved elsewhere and mills deteriorated from lack of investment.

Now, though, what had been jute’s weakness is its potential strength. As much of the world seeks biodegradable alternatives to synthetic materials like plastics, Indian jute is making its way around the planet, from supermarkets in the United States to fashion houses in France to wine producers in Italy.”

How WhatsApp Pushes Mobs to Murder in India – By Vindu Goel, Suhasini Raj and Priyadarshini Ravichandran – NYT


In India, false rumors about child kidnappers have gone viral on WhatsApp, prompting fearful mobs to kill two dozen innocent people since April.

One of the first to be killed was a 65-year-old woman named Rukmani.

She and four family members were driving to a temple in the southern state of Tamil Nadu in May. A mob on this road mistook them for “child lifters” and assaulted them.

via How WhatsApp Pushes Mobs to Murder in India – The New York Times

I came to breakfast, and read about the EU fining Google 5.1 Billion dollars for using the Android OS for phones to force sellers and customers into Google search and apps. I need more information, and don’t understand it clearly.

I thought about posting to my Facebook page, that we should copy the EU, and make a $50 Million dollar fine for companies like facebook, if they don’t identify and take down fake news within 24 hours. The EU passed such a law this spring, and voila, facebook set up a 2000 person emergency center in Germany, which takes down all fake news inside of 24 hours.
We should follow the EU in regulating facebook, and possibly google, et cetera.
Then, I get to the story below, about WhatsApp abuse in India leading to mobs killing innocent neighbors. Guess who owns WhatsApp. Facebook. They should have to pay costs and penalites for crimes of neglect, carelessness and recklessness. They started making obvious improvements overnight. I don’t want to quit facebook, I want strong goverment regulations to protect the public from themselves and Russian trolls, bots and hackers.

Helping the Rohingya – The New York Times

By Tiffany May
Sept. 29, 2017

Here are some of the organizations responding to the Rohingya refugee crisis. Some are trying to gain access to restricted areas of the western state of Rakhine in Myanmar, where many ethnic Rohingya Muslims remain. Most of the aid has been focused on camps in Bangladesh where hundreds of thousands have fled over the past month.

More information can be found through services that track and rate charity groups, including GuideStar and Charity Navigator.

BRAC, a group founded in Bangladesh, was ranked the No. 1 nongovernmental organization in the world by NGO Advisor. Of the 1,300 staff members directly serving the refugee population in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, many are locals who speak a dialect similar to that of the Rohingya in Rakhine State. BRAC has also trained 800 Rohingya refugees as volunteers. The group is now focused on health, education and the protection of women and girls.

IOM, the United Nation’s migration agency, manages camps and shelters in Cox’s Bazar. In addition to providing healthcare and sanitation, the group is scaling up programs to protect girls, women and others vulnerable to trafficking. IOM employs Rohingya refugees on a casual basis, and most of the 500 employees in Cox’s Bazar are Bangladeshi.

via Helping the Rohingya – The New York Times

Swallowed by the Sea – by Nicholas Kristof – NYT

KUTUBDIA, Bangladesh — Anyone who doubts climate change should come to this lovely low-lying island, lapped by gentle waves and home to about 100,000 people.

But come quickly, while it’s still here.

“My house was over there,” said Zainal Abedin, a farmer, pointing to the waves about 100 feet from the shore. “At low tide, we can still see signs of our house.”

Already much of Kutubdia has been swallowed by rising seas, leaving countless families with nothing. Nurul Haque, a farmer who lost all his land to the ocean, told me that he may have to pull his daughter, Munni Akter, 13, out of eighth grade and marry her off to an older man looking for a second or third wife, because he has few financial options left to support her.

“I don’t really want to marry her off, because it’s not good for girls,” he said glumly. “But I’m considering it.” He insisted that if it weren’t for the rising waters and his resulting impoverishment, he wouldn’t think of finding a husband for her.

via Swallowed by the Sea – The New York Times

Bravo Saint Nicholas. Here is a comment I didn’t care for, and chose to rebut.


NYC 3 hours ago

Dear Mr. Kristof, people who still regularly check their horoscopes aside, nobody doubts climate change. A lot of people doubt that a massive wealth transference from the First World to the Third World, as the Paris Climate Accords require, is a constructive thing to do. We doubt that giving your political friends a lot of money is a constructive thing to do.

In other words, it’s not the science, it’s the politics, that we doubt.

And, it is your steadfast refusal to acknowledge our true position that is the reason you, and your political friends, have lost all credibility.


David Lindsay Jr.

Hamden, CT 

Dear Haim, You have serveral factual errors in your comment which deserve rebuttal, since we live in a world today of too many factual errors. 1. Many people doubt climate change science. Some of my relatives, and several of my neighbors and tennis partners. 2. The Paris accord does not require a massive wealth transfer, it recommends a well funded effort by rich countries who caused most of the pollution, to help poor countries, who are most affected, but caused the least amount of CO2 pollution. 3. The fact that Nicholas Kristof writes with love in his heart, like a person with religiously grounded morals, does not mean that all foreigners, especially climate change refugess and war refugees, are his personal or political friends. This might be hate speach, rather than a supported intellectal position. 4. Credibility has been lost, but not by Nicholas Kirstof, the journalist who writes about topics most of us casually avoid, but by yourself, for making arguments which appear at best to be unsupported, and at worst, possibly hate speech. Perhaps many of us in the US middle class feel uncomfortable paying dearly to support the poorer countires and peoples of the world, but scientists and economists have carefully and fairly pointed out that it is the rich counties that have created most of the world’s green house gas emmissions, the root of climate change and rising sea level. David Lindsay Jr. blogs at The and

My Interview With a Rohingya Refugee: What Do You Say to a Woman Whose Baby Was Thrown Into a Fire? – by Jeffrey Gettleman – NYT

“As I walked out of the refugee camp, my phone rang. The instant I said hello, my wife could hear it in my voice.“What’s wrong?” she asked.“I just finished the worst interview of my life,” I said.

I was standing near the border of Myanmar and Bangladesh, where half a million Rohingya people, probably one of the most unwanted ethnic groups on the planet, fled after government massacres in Myanmar. I had just said goodbye to a young woman named Rajuma and watched her — a frail figure in a red veil — disappear into a crowd with one of the most horrible stories I had ever heard.

I’ve covered genocide in Sudan and children being blown apart in Iraq. I’ve been dispatched to earthquakes, hurricanes, civil wars, international wars, insurgencies and famines. As foreign correspondents, this is what we do, rush into the world’s biggest disasters. In 20 years of doing this, I’ve become a specialist in despair.But Rajuma’s story stopped me.”

David Lindsay:

This news reporting lifts Jefrey Gettleman up to a new level, in my awareness, up to Nicholas Kristof.
Thank you Jeffrey for this report.

Here are the top comments. I read deep into the comments section, for solace.


Tucson 1 hour ago

This is what genocide looks like, sounds like, feels like to witness.

And on the same online front page of the NYTimes, we are treated to the story of big game “hunting” ranches in Texas where the extremely wealthy can go to kill animals and call it love.

Anger, hatred, dehumanization, disrespect for life…is contagious. We are seeing it everywhere, and our current President is aiding and abetting this social turn.

The Rohingya must get true sanctuary somewhere, and we must help them–all of us on this planet must help. Otherwise, we have reached a state where all of us are dehumanized. Not humane, and therefore not human. Compassion is a human birthright–having, expressing it, receiving it. It is genetically encoded. That we are in an era of so many instances where compassion is replaced with anger and hatefulness, is just appalling beyond words.

P. Dutta

Berlin, Germany 1 hour ago

Thank you for covering these horrific events. Journalists like you go to places that everyone else turns a blind eye to. ‘Ami Dukkhito’ doesn’t actually mean ‘I’m sorry’ in Bengali though. It literally means ‘I’m sad’. It is an appropriate thing to say under the circumstances as we don’t have an equivalent word to ‘sorry’ in Bengali. ‘Ami Dukkhito’ implies that you share her pain. Please do keep shining the light of awareness on these darkest of places.


is a trusted commenter Salt Lake City, UT 3 hours ago

Thank you for telling the world about Rajuma and the murder of her baby. Something good will come of this telling because there are still very good people in this world who express kindness all around us.

Vera Chasan

USA 1 hour ago

Thank you for a beautifully written story – and for bearing witness to this. I can’t begin to fathom the depth of pain Ms. Rajuma must know, but I weep for her and her family. I wish I believed that something good will come of this story – and perhaps, for some readers, we are more sensitive to the Rohingya plight and more ready to offer support.


NEW YORK 1 hour ago

Anybody cares what is happening in Rohingya ethnic cleansing ? The answer is NO. Because there is no oil or gas or mineral resources for western economic powerhouse countries .Even UN is very quiet about this genocide. Because Rohingya people are extremely poor Muslims. I am glad that the NYT publishes some news of atrocities there now and then. Bangladesh, a densely populated country is one of the poorest in the world. I thank the government and the people of Bangladesh for opening their door to shelter these unfortunate people with their limited resource. Some Muslim countries, specially Turkey came forward to help them. What happened to other oil rich Muslim countries? India is not helping that much as expected. China is helping Myanmar with arms and money to expedite this cleansing process. Where is humanity ? Where are compassionate heart of good human beings? Where are Buddhist religious teachings of love and AHIMSA (abstain from killings) to attain Nirvana? May God help these poor people.

Mumbai flooding causes transport chaos – BBC News

“Heavy monsoon rains in Mumbai have thrown the Indian city’s transport systems into chaos.Some roads have been hit by waist-deep flooding.Officials are calling on people to stay at home.

More than 16 million people have been affected by seasonal floods across a swathe of South Asia, according to aid workers. Bangladesh and Nepal have been badly hit, and about 500 people have died.In Mumbai on Tuesday, trains and flights were cancelled. Schools have closed.One hospital also flooded, forcing staff to evacuate the paediatric ward.Residents took to social media to offer shelter to the stranded, or to ask for help.Many recalled the 2005 floods in and around the city, which killed more than 500 people.”

Source: Mumbai flooding causes transport chaos – BBC News

Gandhi Won’t Leave India – by By GOPALKRISHNA GANDHI – NYT

“. . . Democracy is about majority rule, not majoritarian tyranny. What is under attack in India is not just Hindu-Muslim concord, but the right of all minorities — ethnic, linguistic, regional, political, social and cultural — to be themselves, to be equal, to be free. Dissent, free speech and the freedom to choose with confidence and without fear are under strain.On Gandhi’s 75th birthday in 1944, Albert Einstein wrote in a book of felicitations, “Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.” When Einstein said “will scarce believe,” he had in mind Gandhi’s distinctive capacity for nonviolent resistance.Einstein knew of Gandhi’s having been pitched out of a train in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, because of the color of his skin. He knew that Gandhi led the subsequent resistance by Indians in South Africa against discriminatory treatment, and he knew of his nonviolent ability to suffer persecution and humiliation without physical retaliation.

Gandhi bore no hatred for his oppressors, did not speak or write a harsh word about them but, with his large and growing band of associates, offered the toughest resistance through what he called satyagraha, or soul force. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela found this capacity in Gandhi compelling, exemplary and even sublime.

Gandhi’s satyagraha was famously illustrated in the Salt March in 1930, when he walked 240 miles with his followers to the village of Dandi on the Arabian Sea in western India. . . . “

India’s Battered Free Press – The New York Times

“Press freedom in India suffered a fresh blow on Monday when the country’s main investigative agency raided homes and offices connected to the founders of NDTV, India’s oldest television news station. The raids mark an alarming new level of intimidation of India’s news media under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

No, Google’s Not a Bird: Bringing the Internet to Rural India – by Ellen Barry – NYT

“TARADAND, India — Babulal Singh Neti was sitting with his uncle on a recent afternoon, trying to persuade him of the merits of the internet.It was 105 degrees outside, and the sun was beating down on the frazzled croplands. His uncle said he had no use for the internet, since he had never learned to read; furthermore, he wanted to nap. This he made clear by periodically screwing up his face into a huge yawn.

Mr. Neti, 38, pressed on earnestly, suggesting that he could demonstrate the internet’s potential by Googling the history of the Gond tribe, to which they both belonged. Since acquiring a smartphone, Mr. Neti couldn’t stop Googling things: the gods, Hindu and tribal; the relative merits of the Yadav caste and the Gonds; the real story of how the earth was made.

Access to this knowledge so elated him that he decided to give up farming for good, taking a job with a nongovernmental organization whose goals include helping villagers produce and call up online content in their native languages. When he encountered internet skeptics, he tried to impress them by looking up something they really cared about — like Gond history.

His uncle responded with half-closed eyes, delivering a brief but comprehensive oral history of the Gond kings, with the clear implication that his nephew was a bit of a good-for-nothing. “What does it mean, Google?” his uncle said. “Is it a bird?””


This is a wonderful, fabulous piece. Thank you Ellen Barry.
It reminds me of the funny sad movie about the coke bottle dropped on a tribe of aborigines in Australia: “The Gods Must be Crazy.”

Having smart phones with internet drop into villages, such as you have described, and I saw during my month hiking in Nepal, will change these people. Many of the remote villages of Asia are living in what to us would be roughly the 13th century.

There is a tragic comedy taking place, as poor illiterates around the world gain access to technology and education, only to learn that the climate change and over population which is making their lives often diminish or die off, affect mostly the very poor everywhere in the world, while the worst pollution is by the haves, not the have nots.