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Narendra Modi – ‘Decisive’ words: Kutte ka bachcha

– Modi’s analogy splits open riot wounds

poster by amir rizvi

poster by amir rizvi

Telegraph’…Someone else is driving a car and we’re sitting behind, even then if a puppy comes under the wheel, will it be painful or not? Of course, it is’
Narendra Modi to Reuters

New Delhi, July 12: Narendra Modi today projected his “decisiveness” as an imperative in the season of policy paralysis but the message, probably meant for an English-reading audience, was drowned by a “kutte ka bachcha” reference made in the context of the Gujarat riots.

The BJP’s presumptive candidate for Prime Minister made the comments during an interview to Reuters, the international news agency, which uploaded edited excerpts on its website today and said that the replies had been translated from Hindi. The interview was given on June 25 at Modi’s official residence in Gandhinagar.

In the interview, Modi asserted that he was “decisive” but not “authoritarian”, agreed he was a polarising figure but strictly in a political sense and not a communal one, said he was a “human being” besides being a chief minister and defined the “real Modi” as a “nationalist”, a “born Hindu” and a “patriot”.

He saw no contradiction in dovetailing the classic RSS template of “Hindu nationalism” with being “progressive, development-oriented and a workaholic”.

The message that Modi, who mostly spoke in Hindi, wanted to send to an international audience was clear. “If you call yourself a leader, then you have to be decisive. If you’re decisive then you have the chance to be a leader. These are two sides of the same coin… People want him (a leader) to make decisions. Only then they accept the person as a leader. That is a quality, it’s not a negative,” he said.

The emphasis on “decisiveness” as a hallmark of “leadership” is a thought-through BJP strategy to show up the Manmohan Singh government as limp and indecisive. Modi is expected to be projected as a leader with little or no patience to look over his shoulders before clinching a decision.

But the decisiveness was in danger of being seen as recklessness by the evening.

Asked if he regretted what happened in the riots of 2002, Modi said: “India’s Supreme Court is considered a good court today in the world. The Supreme Court created a special investigative team (SIT) and top-most, very bright officers who oversee the SIT. That report came. In that report, I was given a thoroughly clean chit, a thoroughly clean chit.”

Then Reuters’ translated version quoted Modi as saying: “Another thing, any person if we are driving a car, we are a driver, and someone else is driving a car and we’re sitting behind, even then if a puppy comes under the wheel, will it be painful or not? Of course, it is. If I’m a chief minister or not, I’m a human being. If something bad happens anywhere, it is natural to be sad.”

The word “puppy” drew a firestorm of protests on Twitter and elsewhere amid allegations that a despicable comparison was being made to the riot victims.

Later it emerged that the full sentence was, barring five words, in Hindi and many found the choice of metaphor more offensive and insensitive than the translated “puppy”.

The footage of the interview shows Modi as saying: “Hum agar car chala rahen hain… aur koi drive kar raha hai aur hum peechhe baithe hain, phir bhi ek chhota kutte ka bachcha bhi car ke neeche aa jata hai, toh humein pain feel hota hai ki nahin? Hota hai.”

This evening, Modi tweeted: “In our culture every form of life is valued & worshipped. My original interview with Reuters http://nm4.in/ 138jss0.… People are best judge.”

The tweet did not explain why he had referred to the back seat though Modi was at the decision-maker’s wheel in Gujarat as chief minister when the riots took place.

The BJP, sections of which felt that Modi should have articulated his views in a less controversial manner, said it was “despicable” to say he was drawing any comparisons with a community.

The tone of the other comments in the interview was in line with the idea of propelling Modi on the stump as a “no-nonsense” head. The objective appeared to be to turn apolitical fence-sitters around and reassure his traditional support base.

Some heard in the intemperate remarks an undeclared assessment that Modi’s attempt to cast himself as a moderate had not made much headway among the minorities and that he had decided to focus on those frustrated with the state of affairs, including the economy, and his core constituency.

On the 2002 riots, Modi claimed he had “absolutely” done the “right thing” that year. “Absolutely,” he declared, adding: “However much brainpower the Supreme Being has given us, however much experience I’ve got and whatever I had available in that situation and this is what the SIT had investigated.”

Modi addressed a concern among his party colleagues that he has an authoritarian streak. “If someone was an authoritarian, then would he be able to run a government for so many years? Without a team effort, how can you get success? And that’s why I say Gujarat’s success is not Modi’s success. This is the success of Team Gujarat.”

Modi claimed he never “dreams of becoming anything”, quizzed on who he would emulate if he became Prime Minister, but humility did not appear a forte. “I can say that since 2003, in however many polls have been done, people have selected me as the best CM,” he said, adding that many of those polled were from outside Gujarat.

He said there came a time when he wrote to Aroon Purie, chief editor of the India Today Group, to keep him out of the competition (for best-run states) and “give someone else a shot at it”.

On the perception that he was “too polarising a figure”, Modi said: “If in America, if there was no polarisation between Democrats and Republicans, then how would democracy work? …If everyone moved in one direction, would you call that a democracy?”

Modi restated his definition of secularism as “India first” and said that while seeking votes, he would not divide the electorate into Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. “Religion should not be an instrument in your democratic process,” he said, less than a week after his political aide Amit Shah had emphasised he would like to see a Ram temple in Ayodhya.

Modi denied the suggestion that his evolution as a “brand” was the result of a public relations strategy. He claimed that he had never employed a PR agency.

Maintaining that there was a “huge difference” between the West and India, he said neither a PR agency nor the media could “make anything of a person” here.

 

Seven days before Reuters published its exclusive, a privilege denied by PM aspirant to an Indian news agency or channel, we had been contacted persistently by a Reuters correspondent while I was in New Delhi (July 5).

Not Ross Colvin or Sruthi Gottipati who now carry the journalistic honour of grabbing moments with a man who rarely likes to be questioned, especially if the questions are persistent like say those of Karan Thapar in 2007. Thapar keen to get to the bottom of what Modi actually felt about 2002, did not simply casually record –as Reuters has done – Modi’s response but asked, insistently, whether Modi actually regretted the mass reprisal killings that had taken place, post Godhra, on his watch. Modi simpered, dithered, glared and admonished…when none of that worked, and Thapar persisted, Modi did what he does best. He  walked out.

Not so with Reuters, that managed its exclusive but failed to, conspicuously, persist with any accurate, difficult or pinching questions.

The young man from Reuters who finally tracked me down in the Sahmat office at 29 Ferozeshah Road last week was clueless, he said, about Gujarat 2002. Apologetic about this ineptness, he kept saying that his bosses had asked him to track down the SIT report. They had not bothered to contact us directly.

We insisted that he, read Reuters,  do what fair journalism demands, look at the SIT Clean Chit in context; examine also the Amicus Curaie Raju Ramachandran’s report that conflicted seriously with the SIT Closure and Clean Chit (opining that there was material to prosecute Narendra Modi on serious charges).

Both the SIT and the Amicus were appointed by the same Supreme Court. We insisted that Reuters examine the Supreme Court Order of 12.9.2011 that gave us the inalienable right to file a Protest Petition, we pointed out that Reuters must read the Protest Petition itself that we filed in pursuance of this order on 15.4.2013, peruse the arguments that we have been making before the Magistrate since June 25, 2013.

We tried, as best as we could,  to communicate that Reuters should read the SIT Clean Chit in the context of these overall developments.

No, No said Reuters that had possibly already bagged the interview by then.

Who says a politically important interview should address all developments and facts, in a nutshell, tell the whole and complete story? Much better to perform a tokenism, throw in a few questions about 2002, not persist with questioning the man charged with conspiracy to commit mass murder and subvert criminal justice with the complexities and gravity of charges and legal procedures that he currently faces – and which are being argued in Open Court in Ahmedabad. Easier to be glib, grab headlines in all national dailies including by the way the one in Telegraph which is the only newspaper to report that Modi used “kutte ke bacche” not puppy as an analogy for which creatures may inadvertently get crushed when a “road accident happens.” Never mind that many have been convicted for criminal negligence when they drive and kill.

On business and development, too, while Reuters plugs the man themselves in the first paragraph of the interview, there are no real probing questions on Foreign Direct Investment, the Gujarat government’s back out to solar power companies (reported two days ago in the Economic Times) and so on….

So quite apart from the more than despicable “kutte ke bacche” comment that Modi reportedly made, quite apart from the fact that he chose Reuters for his debutante mutterings not a national agency or channel, what is truly tragic about the whole exercise is the compliant journalism that it reflects.

The Reuters interview is not a dispassionate or thorough exercise that attempts to genuinely probe opinions and views. It is a sensational tokenism.

 

Teesta Setalvad, secretary Citizens for Justice and Peace

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Syria – Extremist group ‘executes’ 15-year-old Syrian boy for heresy

 

Monday, 10 June 2013
The gunmen belong to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a militant group that started off known as the Jabhat al-Nusra Front, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. (File photo: Reuters)
Reuters, Amman

Members of an Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist group in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo executed a 15-year-old boy in front of his parents on Sunday as punishment for what the group regarded as a heretical comment, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Mohammad Qataa was shot in the face and neck a day after being seized, said the pro-opposition monitoring group, which is based in Britain and uses a network of observers across Syria.

“The Observatory cannot ignore these crimes, which only serve the enemies of the revolution and the enemies of humanity,” said the group’s leader Rami Abdulrahman.

A photo released by the Observatory showed Qataa’s face with his mouth and jaw bloodied and destroyed, as well as a bullet wound in his neck.

The Observatory, which based its report on witness accounts of the killing, said Qataa, who was a street vendor selling coffee in the working-class Shaar neighborhood, had been arguing with someone when he was overheard saying: “Even if the Prophet Mohammad comes down [from heaven], I will not become a believer.”

The gunmen, who belong to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a militant group that started off known as the Jabhat al-Nusra Front, took Qatta on Saturday and brought him back alive in the early hours of Sunday to his wooden stand, with whiplash marks visible on his body.

“People gathered around him and a member of the fighting brigade said: ‘Generous citizens of Aleppo, disbelieving in God is polytheism and cursing the prophet is a polytheism. Whoever curses even once will be punished like this.”

“He then fired two bullets from an automatic rifle in view of the crowd and in front of the boy’s mother and father, and got into a car and left,” the report said.

Abdulrahman said the boy’s mother had pleaded with the killers, whose Arabic suggested they might not be Syrian, not to shoot her son. Qataa’s parents said the youth had taken part in pro-democracy demonstrations in Aleppo.

Since last year, large parts of the city have fallen under the control of Islamist brigades, including the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra Front, as well as other rebel units.

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Afghan MPs block divisive women’s rights law #WTFnews

Legislation was approved by President Karzai in 2009, but stalled by conservative MPs who deemed it un-Islamic.

Last Modified: 18 May 2013 14:27

President Hamid Karzai approved the law by decree in 2009, but it needs parliamentary approval [Reuters]
Afghanistan’s parliament has failed to pass a law banning violence against women, a severe blow to progress made in women’s rights since the Taliban was toppled over a decade ago.

President Hamid Karzai approved the law by decree in 2009 and parliament’s endorsement was required. But a rift between conservative and more secular members of the assembly resulted in debate being deferred to a later date.

Religious members objected to at least eight articles in the legislation, including keeping the legal age for women to marry at 16, the existence of shelters for domestic abuse victims and the halving of the number of wives permitted to two.

“Today, the parliamentarians who oppose women’s development, women’s rights and the success of women…made their voices loud and clear,” Fawzia Koofi, head of parliament’s women’s commission, told Reuters on Saturday.

Women have won back the hard-fought right to education and work since the Taliban was toppled 12 years ago, but there are fears these freedoms could shrink once NATO-led forces leave Afghanistan by the end of next year.

Increasing insecurity is deterring some women from seeking work outside the home, and rights workers accuse the government of doing too little to protect women – allegations rejected by Karzai’s administration.

“2014 is coming, change is coming, and the future of women in this country is uncertain. A new president will come and if he doesn’t take women’s rights seriously he can change the decree,” Koofi said.

The election for a new president is expected to be held in April 2014. The constitution bars Karzai from running again.

‘Morally corrupt’

After almost two hours of clashes between Koofi and the more religious members of the 244-member parliament, speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi said the assembly would consider the law again at a later date, but declined to say when.

Some members sought amendments, such as longer prison terms for crimes committed against women, such as beating and rape.

Many legislators, most of them male, cited violations of Islamic law.

“It is wrong that a woman and man cannot marry off their child until she is 16,” said Obaidullah Barekzai, a member from southeast Uruzgan province, where female literacy rates are among the lowest in the country.

An Afghan man must be at least 18 years old to marry.

Barekzai argued against all age limits for women, citing historical figure Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq, a close companion of the Prophet Muhammad, who married off his daughter at age seven.

At least eight other legislators, mostly from the Ulema Council, a government-appointed body of clerics, joined him in decrying the law as un-Islamic.

Abdul Sattar Khawasi, member for Kapisa province, called women’s shelters “morally corrupt”. Justice Minister Habibullah Ghaleb last year dismissed them as houses of “prostitution and immorality”, provoking fierce condemnation from women’s groups.

 

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Rich- Poor Gap Widens In Rich Countries, Finds OECD

Developed and developing countries

 

 

 

By Countercurrents.org

 

16 May, 2013
Countercurrents.org

 

The gap between rich and poor widened more in the three years to 2010 than in the previous 12 years, said OECD, the group of industrialized nations.

 

According to an OECD report released on May 15, 2013, the richest 10% of society in the 33 OECD countries received 9.5 times that of the poorest in terms of income, up from nine times in 2007.

 

New OECD data showed:

 

The gap is largest in Chile, Mexico, Turkey, the US and Israel, and lowest in Iceland, Slovenia, Norway and Denmark. [1]

 

OECD found:

 

Poorer households tended to lose more or gain less than richer households between 2007 and 2010. The top 10 percent of the population did better than the poorest 10 percent in 21 of the 33 countries where data were available.

Using pre-crisis income levels as a benchmark, the number of people living in poverty rose during the crisis in most countries.

 

Taxes and benefits helped mitigate the overall increases, but the impact varied. Between 2007 and 2010, average relative income poverty in OECD countries rose from 13 to 14% among children and from 12 to 14% among youth, but fell from 15 to 12% among the elderly. Until 2010, in many countries, pensioners were largely protected while working households took the hit.

Children and the young are among the worst sufferers. The OECD report found:

 

Child poverty has risen in 16 OECD countries since 2007, with increases exceeding 2 points in Turkey, Spain, Belgium, Slovenia and Hungary. This confirms a previously identified trend of young people and children replacing the elderly as the group most at risk of income poverty across the OECD.

The analysis warns that further social spending cuts in OECD countries risk causing greater inequality and poverty in the years ahead.

 

Israel, according to the OECD data, presented a frustrating picture. Citing the report Lior Dattel and Nadan Feldman said [2]:

 

Israel is the most impoverished of the 34 economically developed countries, with a poverty rate of 20.9%.

 

A Paris datelined Reuters report [3] also cited the “growing divide between rich and poor” mentioned in the OECD report.

 

The Reuters report quoted OECD, the Paris-based think-tank,

 

“As the economic and especially the jobs crisis persists and fiscal consolidation takes hold, there is a growing risk that the most vulnerable in society will be hit harder as the cost of the crisis increases.”

 

“These worrying findings underline the need to protect the most vulnerable in society, especially as governments pursue the necessary task of bringing public spending under control,” OECD head Angel Gurria said in a statement.

 

Gurria added that governments should not neglect fairness when they craft their policies, especially when they reform their tax systems.

 

The Reuters report added:

 

With many developed countries facing the pinch of austerity, economic inequality has become a hot topic especially after an ECB study last month found that households in many peripheral eurozone countries are on average wealthier than those in the bloc’s core due to higher levels of home ownership.

 

Long a staunch advocate of free-market reforms shunned by some left-wingers, the OECD has become an increasingly vocal supporter of the welfare state for its capacity to soften the blow of hard economic times.

 

The study said the pain of the crisis was unevenly spread. Poorer households either lost more income from the recession or benefited less from recovery. Children and young people suffered more than the elderly, whose incomes were relatively immune.

 

While reporting the OECD report a BBC-news made the following observation:

The Paris-based group is generally in favor of free-market policies, but has recently become more vocal in support of more generous social provision to soften the impact of the economic downturn of the past few years.

 

Many countries, particularly within the eurozone, have been cutting back hard on welfare spending in an attempt to reduce debt and balance government books as tax revenues fall because of weak growth. In some cases, this is a condition of international support from the likes of the International Monetary Fund.

 

Source:

 

[1] May 15, 2013, “Growing risk of inequality and poverty as crisis hits the poor hardest”
http://www.oecd.org/els/soc/growing-risk-of-inequality-and-poverty-as-crisis-hits-the-poor-hardest-says-oecd.htm

 

[2] Haaretz, “Israel has highest poverty rate in the developed world, OECD report shows”,
May 16, 2013, http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/israel-is-the-poorest-country-in-developed-world-oecd-report-shows.premium-1.524096

 

[3] “Rich nations’ wealth gap widens as welfare cut –OECD”,
http://www.trust.org/item/20130514220100-fspwz

 

 

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Bomb blasts cast shadow over Pakistan’s milestone election

Reuters | May 11, 2013,

Bomb blasts cast shadow over Pakistan's milestone election
A woman voter holds her ballot paper and stamp while moving to a polling booth inside a polling station in Karachi on May 11, 2013.
ISLAMABAD: A string of militant attacks cast a long shadow over Pakistan‘s general election on Saturday, but millions still turned out to vote in a landmark test of the troubled country’s democracy.

The poll, in which some 86 million people are eligible to vote, will bring the first transition between civilian governments in a country ruled by the military for more than half of its turbulent history.

A bomb attack on the office of the Awami National Party (ANP) in the commercial capital, Karachi, killed 11 people and wounded 35. At least two were wounded in a pair of blasts that followed and media reported gunfire in the city.

An explosion destroyed an ANP office in the northwest. There were no immediate reports of casualties. Television channels also reported an explosion in the city of Peshawar.

Pakistan’s Taliban, who are close to al-Qaida, have killed more than 120 people in election-related violence since April. The group, which is fighting to topple the US-backed government, regards the elections as un-Islamic.

The Taliban have focused their anger on secular-leaning parties like the ruling coalition led by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the ANP. Many candidates, fearful of being assassinated, avoided open campaigning before the election.

The people of Pakistan hope the polls will deliver change and ease frustrations with the Taliban, a frail economy, endemic corruption, chronic power cuts and crumbling infrastructure.

Disenchantment with the two mainstream parties appears to have brought a late surge of support for former cricket star Imran Khan, who could end up holding the balance of power.

Khan, 60, is in hospital after injuring himself in a fall at a party rally, which may also win him sympathy votes.

Results from nearly 70,000 polling stations nationwide are expected to start tricking in from around 10pm (1700 GMT).

“The problems facing the new government will be immense, and this may be the last chance that the country’s existing elites have to solve them,” said Anatol Lieven, a professor at King’s College, London, and author of a book on Pakistan.

“If the lives of ordinary Pakistanis are not significantly improved over the next five years, a return to authoritarian solutions remains a possibility,” Lieven wrote in a column in the Financial Times.

The army stayed out of politics during the five years of the last government, but it still sets the nuclear-armed country’s foreign and security policy and will steer the thorny relationship with Washington as NATO troops withdraw from neighbouring Afghanistan next year.

With no clear-cut winner, weeks of haggling to form a coalition will follow, which would raise the risk that the government is undermined by instability.

That would only make it more difficult to reverse the disgust with politicians felt among the country’s 180 million people and drive through the reforms needed to revive its near-failed economy.

Power cuts can last more than 10 hours a day in some places, crippling key industries like textiles, and a new International Monetary Fund bailout may be needed soon.

The party of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif looks set to win the most seats in the one-day vote. But Khan could deprive Sharif of a majority and dash his hopes for a return to power 14 years after he was ousted in a military coup, jailed and later exiled.

Pakistan’s best-known sportsman, who led a playboy lifestyle in his younger days, Khan is seen by many as a refreshing change from the dynastic politicians who long relied on a patronage system to win votes and are often accused of corruption.

Late surge for Imran Khan

Voters will elect 272 members of the National Assembly and to win a simple majority, a party would have to take 137 seats.

However, the election is complicated by the fact that a further 70 seats, most reserved for women and members of non- Muslim minorities, are allocated to parties on the basis of their performance in the contested constituencies. To have a majority of the total of 342, a party would need 172.

Khan appeals mostly to young, urban voters because of his calls for an end to corruption, a new political landscape and a halt to US drone strikes on Pakistani soil. About one-third of the country’s population is under the age of 30.

Early opinion polls had put the share of votes for Khan’s Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) party as low as single figures. However, a survey released on Wednesday showed nearly 25 percent of voters nationally planned to vote for his party, just a whisker behind Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N).

The Herald magazine poll showed Sharif’s party remained the front-runner in Punjab, which, with the largest share of parliamentary seats, usually dictates the outcome of elections.

It also pointed to an upset for the PPP, placing it third. Pakistan’s politics have long been dominated by the PML-N and the PPP, whose most prominent figure is President Asif Ali Zardari, widower of assassinated former premier Benazir Bhutto.

“The PPP didn’t take care of the poor masses and always engages in corrupt practices whenever they come to power,” said Sher Nabi, a banker from Peshawar.

“So we’ve decided to vote for the PTI candidate this time and test Imran Khan to see if he proves as honest as he claims.”

Pakistan, which prides itself on its democratic credentials, ordered the New York Times bureau chief in Islamabad to leave the country on the eve of the polls, the daily said on Friday.

A two-sentence letter was delivered by police officers to the home of the bureau chief, Declan Walsh, it said.

“It is informed that your visa is hereby cancelled in view of your undesirable activities,” the Times quoted the letter as saying, without explaining what was undesirable. “You are therefore advised to leave the country within 72 hours.”

 

 

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Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant leaking contaminated water

Reactor control room at Fukushima 1 nuclear po...

Reactor control room at Fukushima 1 nuclear power plant in Japan This photo was taken on June 23, 1999 during a tour of the plant. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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(Reuters) – As much as 120 tons of radioactive water may have leaked from a storage tank at Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, contaminating the surrounding ground, Tokyo Electric Power Co said on Saturday.

The power company has yet to discover the cause of the leak, detected on one of seven tanks that store water used to cool the plants reactors, a spokesman for the company, Masayuki Ono, said at a press briefing.

The company plans to pump 13,000 cubic meters of water remaining in the tank to other vessels over the next two weeks.

Water from the leaking tank, which located 800 meters from the coast, is not expected to reach the sea, Kyodo news wire reported, earlier, citing unidentified officials from the utility.

The company did not say how long the tank had been leaking.

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi plant has faced a range of problems with controlling ground water and maintaining the massive cooling system built to keep the reactors stable.

The power company said on Friday said it lost the ability to cool radioactive fuel rods in one of the plant’s reactors for about three hours. It was the second failure of the system to circulate seawater to cool spent fuel rods at the plant in the past three weeks.

The facility was the site of the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in March 2011 when a magnitude 9.0 earthquake triggered a tsunami that destroyed back-up generators and disabled its cooling system. Three of the reactors melted down.

The storage tanks, pits excavated at the site in the wake of the disaster, are lined with water proof sheets meant to keep the contaminated water from leaking into the soil

Work to decommission the plant is projected to take decades to complete.

 

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Google Comes Under Delhi Police Scanner

 

 

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

 

By IndiaTimes | April 5, 2013,

 

 

 

The police are investigating to determine whether US internet titan Google violated rules in a competition that asked users to add information about their local areas for its online map services after a government agency raised security concerns. Google, which ran the Mapathon in India in February and March, said its aim was to make more local information accessible to all and that it did not break any laws.

 

 

 

Police are acting on a complaint filed by Survey of India, the country’s national survey and mapping agency, which said the contest was illegal and may threaten national security. “One complaint has been received and we are forwarding it to the cybercell for further action,” said Chhaya Sharma, a deputy commissioner of police in New Delhi.

 

 

 

Google officials said the company had not yet received an official communication from the police. Google invited users to help “create better maps for India” by adding knowledge of their neighbourhoods and promised the top 1,000 mappers prizes of tablets, smartphones and gift vouchers.

 

 

 

Survey of India first wrote to Google saying its Mapathon was against rules and then filed a police complaint, RC Padhi, a top official at the agency, told Reuters. “We have to ensure that security is not compromised at any cost,” Padhi said, adding that some information uploaded on Google Maps could be “sensitive.”

 

 

 

 

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Link patented drug prices to per capita income: Panel #patientrights

SEEKING AFFORDABILITY

Ag overnment panel has proposed that prices of patented medicines be based on the country’s per capi ta income, a move that would substantially reduce prices of costly drugs made by global pharmaceutical firms. 

The proposal, which seeks the input of other government agencies as well as industry groups, could provoke the ire of Big Pharma, which has clashed with India over protec tion of intellectual property price regulations for generic drugs, and compulsory licens es for costly medicines.
A panel formed under the ministry of chemicals and fertilizers has recommended setting up a committee to negotiate with drugmakers to fix prices of costly drugs used to treat deadly diseases such as cancer, HIV and hepatitis.
The proposal is the latest in a series of measures taken by India to make medicines more affordable for the coun try’s 1.2 billion population.
“If we compare the per capita income with the prices of patented medicines in countries like Australia or France, prices in India are compara tively high and hence, they need to be regulated,” a senior ministry official told Reuters, declining to be identified because he was not authorized to speak with media.
Generic medicines account for more than 90% of India’s $13 billion pharmaceuticals market. US-based Abbott Laboratories has the largest share of the overall Indian drug market followed by Cipla.
The proposal, posted late on Monday on the ministry website, cites as an example the lung-cancer drug erlotinib HCL, sold by Roche Holding as Tarceva. In India, it costs Rs 35,450 for a month’s course of 100 mg tablets, equivalent to Rs 1,21,085 in France and Rs 1,21,650 in Australia.
Based on per capita gross national incomes, if the drug costs Rs 35,450 in India, its respective cost would be just Rs 11,643 in France and Rs 10,309 in Australia based on per capita income in the respective countries, the report said.
The Organization of Pharmaceutical Producers of India, which represents for eign drugmakers in India, did not reply to questions from Reuters.
“If stringent price regula tions are enforced then latest drugs will not be made availa ble in India,” said Ameet Hariani, managing partner at Hariani & Co, a Mumbaibased law firm that advises drugmakers and other companies. REUTERS

 

 

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Outrage over the culture of rape in #India #Vaw #delhigangrape

 

 

By Priyanka Borpujari

|  JANUARY 06, 2013

 Demonstrators attempt to stop a police car during a protest calling for better safety for women in NewDelhi on Dec. 23. Several thousand students attended the protest, where they were met with water cannons and tear gas by the police.

GETTY IMAGES

Demonstrators attempt to stop a police car during a protest calling for better safety for women in NewDelhi on Dec. 23. Several thousand students attended the protest, where they were met with water cannons and tear gas by the police.

IN 2011, 24,206 rape cases were reported in India. That’s 66 per day — excluding the many rapes that go unreported for reasons that are as abusive as rape itself. A Thomson Reuters Foundation global poll revealed that India is the fourth-most dangerous place in the world for women. Even in the financial hub of Mumbai or the national capital New Delhi, young girls reaching puberty are advised not to look into the eyes of male passersby. More and more working women keep pepper spray with them at all times, and some keep hairpins. This happens even though the outgoing president of India is a 78-year-old woman; three Indian states have women as heads.

Yet if a rape victim is said to have “asked” for it, her family is doomed. Rapists are rarely arrested; far too often, the rape is never proven, and everything is forgotten.

Nonetheless, the recent gang rape and subsequent death of a 23-year-old woman in the nation’s capital has made headlines around the world. Thousands gathered in various cities in India to condemn the incident; two separate candlelight vigils took place in Boston and Cambridge last weekend, and several more were held across United States. The placards and the plethora of commentaries from across India have named the deceased victim “Damini” (‘‘lightning” in Hindi), or “Nirbhaya” (“fearless one”).

Why did this particular incident gather public attention? Was it because the woman and her male friend — who was also stripped and beaten — were gravely injured? Was it because it took place in the capital city? Whatever the reason, it marks a major change from the denial that usually follows such incidents.

Women in the innards of the country face oppression at every stage of their life — that is, if the female fetus is not killed in the womb. Women in cities face harassment at the workplace, on the transport system, on streets. Upon going to the police station to register complaints, they are often given a lecture on forgive-and-forget. Female cops face sexual assault themselves from their colleagues.

Yet, this momentum created over the last two weeks is crucial because it gives out a single message: “Enough.” Consider the bare facts of the case: The woman was a physiotherapy intern whose father had sold off his agricultural land to educate her. She had gone to watch a movie in Saket that evening with her male friend. Saket is a plush area of New Delhi with several malls with several international brands. This is the face of “emerging” India — a face that tries too hard to look Western, even as women fight it out from their humble upbringings to chart out a career and an identity. It is the story that resonates with almost every Indian woman who has faced molestation at least once in her life, either by a close acquaintance or a stranger.

Would there have been an expression of outrage if the victim had been a cleaning woman? The same week of this incident, there were four other rapes from different parts of the country that were reported on the news. Could it be that the Delhi incident generated so much noise because the alleged perpetrators held petty jobs as driver, fruit seller, and gym instructor?

There was no acrid call for the death penalty or chemical castration — some of the outrageous demands of angry protesters over the last two weeks — when a woman named Manorama Devi was raped in custody by army soldiers, and later murdered, in the northeastern state of Manipur in 2004. There was no immediate remedial response from the government even after 40 women from Manipur stripped naked and shouted “Indian army rape us” before the army headquarters, after the Manorama incident. Another woman named Aruna Shanbaug has been lying in a vegetative state in a hospital in Mumbai for the last 40 years, after her rapist — a ward boy in the same hospital where she was a nurse — tried to asphyxiate her by tying a dog’s chain around her neck. The rapist is free today after serving seven years in prison. Meanwhile, several leading politicians have been accused of sexual assaults.

Clearly, the issues that lead to an outcry are selective. Yet, it would be wrong to dismiss this current wave of protest, which drove people out of their homes with candles and placards in their hands, ready to face the water cannons of a combative police. These protests have managed to force the government to set up a committee to reform rape laws. But there again, the myopia of the government is obvious: It has offered just one e-mail address and a phone number for suggestions. Large parts of India still have no electricity in their homes, let alone access to a computer or Internet. And these are also the places where rapes go on, unreported, and forgotten just as easily as they take place.

 

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Delhi priest arrested for raping woman, was he follower of #Asarambapu #religiousrapists

Inderjeet [ Updated 07 Jan 2013, 11:02:54 ], Indiatv
Delhi priest arrested for raping woman

New Delhi, Jan 7: Madan Mohan Sharma, a 55-year-old priest at a temple in Pandav Nagar, east Delhi, was arrested by police on Sunday on charge of raping a woman.

The woman, wife of a temple attendant, was asked by Sharma to prepare prasad at  his house. The priest then allegedly raped her. The woman later informed her husband, who went to the police.

Medical test proved that the victim was raped, and the priest has been arrested, police said.

 

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