Mortenson Responds, Indo-American Wins Pulitzer, Pakistan Calls for Drone Strike Suspension

Hard to keep up with the plethora of news that does the daily rounds? Never fear, Divanee is here! Allow us to recap what you missed this past week in politics and global issues. This week the focus is on Greg Mortenson’s response to the “Three Cups of Tea” scandal and an Indian-American Pulitzer Prize winner, as well as Pakistan’s call for a drone and CIA agent drawdown.

Greg Mortenson Responds to Fraud Allegations

Photo courtesy of

When CBS and 60 Minutes reported factual inconsistencies in the narrative of Greg Mortenson’s bestseller, “Three Cups of Tea,” many people expressed shock and betrayal. From Twitter to Facebook, the New York Times to the L.A. Times, voices worldwide heeded the call of controversy-centered debate. The main question was whether Mortenson’s sins of bad business and worse storytelling were enough to wipe out his subsequent good deeds, which include raising awareness of the education shortage in Pakistan and building schools for children, especially girls, there. Many read into Mortenson’s choosing not to appear on 60 Minutes with the assumption being that his silence signaled guilt. Now, while the smoke remains thick and James Frey comparisons run rampant, Mortenson has released his public response to the questions posed by 60 Minutes. The publisher plans to review “Three Cups of Tea” for accuracy, leading at least this New York Times blogger to believe that “Viking, an imprint of Penguin, is not convinced of the accuracy of Mr. Mortenson’s book” (via New York Times)

Indian-American Author Wins 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Cancer Biography

Siddhartha Mukherjee. Photo by Deborah Feingold, courtesy of

Siddhartha Mukherjee, a Columbia University Medical Center oncologist and award-winning writer, won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction for his book, “The Emperor of All Maladies.” Prior to earning this accolade, Muhkerjee’s so-described “humane biography of cancer” garnered critical acclaim. The story of the history of, and fight against, this pervasive and as-yet incurable disease, “The Emperor of All Maladies” also looks into possible future treatments. Mukherjee also claims Rhodes Scholar on his list of accomplishments. His Pulitzer came with a $10,000 award. (via BBC News)

Pakistan Calls for Suspension of US Drone Strikes

A Predator drone. Photo courtesy of

In the wake of civilian casualties caused by drone strikes in northern Pakistan, which followed the release of CIA contractor Raymond Davis, the government has appealed to the Americans for a stop to these strikes. One military official said Pakistan would like the CIA to suspend these missions until new rules are formalized. After that, the pakistanis want to work with the US to determine the legitimacy of a drone strike, based on locating a high value target, only sanctioning the attacks on those grounds. Recent Pakistani and independent reports have shown over 100 drone strikes in 2010, noting that the majority of casualties were civilian in nature. Public opinion polls revealed nine out of 10 Pakistanis unfavorably view the drone strikes. Pakistan also wants the US to limit covert CIA operations, although how many agents they want to leave is as yet unspecified. (via CNN)

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