Sikh to become prime minister of India
So, Sonia Gandhi will not become prime minister of India after all. The appointment will instead go to Dr Manmohan Singh.
The possibility of a foreign-born woman becoming prime minister -- Sonia Gandhi had been born in Italy -- had aroused considerable protest throughout India even though she is popular among her Congress party supporters.
Dr Singh is the architect of India's economic reforms, and the business community is likely to react favourably to his appointment as prime minister. Yesterday, the day he was named as the next prime minister, the Mumbai Sensex stock index rose 129 points to 5,006.
Dr Singh will become India's first Sikh prime minister.
Return of the Gandhi dynasty?
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP-led coalition has been ousted from power by the opposition Congress party led by Sonia Gandhi. Congress and its allies won 279 seats, a majority of the 545-seat Parliament. Vajpayee's Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies had 187.
Analysts attribute the Congress victory to discontent among poor rural voters who felt left behind by the economic reforms championed by outgoing Prime Minster Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The Italian-born Gandhi looks set to be India's next prime minister. This means that the Gandhi family, the ruling dynasty of India for much of its post-colonial history, is set to return to power.
Abuse of Iraqi detainees
So much is being said and written about the abuse of Iraqi detainees by American soldiers. The latest development being President George Bush's apology.
But where have we seen this sort of thing before? Yes, for those with long memories, it happened in Vietnam, back in the 1960s and 1970s.
The circumstances were slightly different then, and so was the manner of abuse. The fact, however, is that prisoners -- in war, in criminal detention -- are always vulnerable to abuse and torture. That is the unfortunate reality. And the reason why rules have to be in place for such situations.
Whether US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld resigns or not, as many have demanded, the American government must now do everything it can to repair the public relations damage resulting from this episode. Otherwise, it would invite further terrorist activities against the American nation.