Tag Archives: US & WORLD

Thousands of rebels entered in Syria with the help of Turkey

According to a news report by Reuters, at least two thousand Syrian rebel fighters have entered in Azzaz city of Syria with the help of Turkey. Rebel fighters are equipped with all sort of weapons.

“We have been allowed to move everything from light weapons to heavy equipment mortars and missiles and our tanks,” disclosed a commander of the rebel forces on the condition of anonymity.

Syrian government said Turkey army is entering in Syria secretly to help insurgents. The UK’s Observatory for Human Rights has confirmed that insurgents entering in Syria in covert manner.

Turkey is leaving no stone unturned to support rebels against Syrian Army and its allies. According to sources Turkey providing heavy military hardware and ammunitions to insurgents.

Washington is supporting Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).Turkey who is also a NATO member is not happy with US on this issue.

 

 

When there can be politics on women, about women, how about politics for women?

women-politics-world
When there can be politics on women, about women, how about politics for women?

“I can’t stress enough why women’s political participation is important,” Ms. Bachelet said. “It is, of course, because it’s the right thing to do, because it will create better democracies…” Ms. Michelle Bachelet is a Chilean Social Democrat Politician who served as President of Chile from 2006-2010. “For me, a better democracy is a democracy where women do not only have the right to vote and to elect but to be elected”, she adds. As observed by Philips Ann and Rai M. Shirin that Democracy has historically served men better than women.

Women have been kept outside the domain of politics and this view is celebrated and cemented by political philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Hobbes simply because women possessed a caring nature which is suitable for being mothers and wives. The ringing question is doesn’t today’s democracy need precisely this caring attitude in politics? And hasn’t this care and affection, or ‘the feminine factor’, mingled with discretion has placed female political leaders at the apex of political glory? But the small amount of women who are able to access this route and also the stereotypes attached to a female leader is alarming.

There are presently 8 women Presidents, 10 women Prime Ministers, And 1 women chancellor in the world. The talk of the credibility of the women in power would leave everyone awestruck. Women from time to time have been successful in making crucial decisions with pragmatism and discretion in the history of world politics. India as a country is as richer in biases as much in culture. The concluding statement of IPU conference “Towards Partnership between Men and Women in politics” held in New Delhi in February 1999 was highlighted by nearly all male and female delegates present. It stated that allthough the Constitution of their country provided for equality between men and women, there is a vast difference between theory and praxis. “Women’s political power is increasing, still not equal “ stated one of the member of the Nordic country in the conference.

The diligence of women in political affair have been proved but still not approved. The lineage of this diligence in India can be traced back to the Mughal Period. Noor Jehan, the wife of emperor Jehangir. She had her mastery over poetry, jewellery and garment designing and had an appreciative eye for art objects. Despite possessing the ‘feminine’ qualities of care and affection, one cannot fail to notice the political insight she had. When Jehangir was productively paralyzed because of alcohol and opium, Noor Jehan ran the court and firmly took all the decisions. Ministers consulted her on most matters of state and finance. In 1626 Jehangir was captured by rebels while he was travelling to Kashmir.Noor Jehan provided him release by her negotiating skills. She is believed to be the greatest power behind the Mughal throne.

The recent Muzaffarnagar riots became one of the prime examples to weigh the strategies of Mayawati and Akhilesh yadav. The Hindustan Times newspaper under the title “ Akhilesh cant, Mayawati can” reprimanded Akhilesh’s strategies as incompetent, flagging him as a “failure” with the killing of 35 people in the communal riots. It’s been well stated that the riot was foretold but failed to be stopped. How did Mayawati control it for 5 years under the same machinery? The answer is Mayawati’s clarity of thoughts and leaving no loopholes of confusion making it a successful strategy as the lack of proper communication, because of many interventions, is the reason behind Akhilesh’s failure. The distribution of works under Mayawati’s time period was more systematic giving the machinery a coherent structure which failed with Akhilesh.

Zooming out, the world is full of examples of powerful women leaders with strategic chorence, delicacy of attitude, organized decision making skills and prudent thinking. Angela Markel, A German politician is elected as the Chancellor of Germany third time in a row. Her careful techniques is well appreciated and hence she holds great faith within the Germans. She has been successful in controlling Euro crisis to some extent. After the nuclear disaster at Fukoshima she shut down all the nuclear power plants in the country. With the care and concern of human lives it also had a strategic plan of eliminating her opposition The Green Party who opposed nuclear power. Joining Ms. Merkel are many names such as Margaret Thatcher, Condoleezza Rice et al, all outstanding when it comes to politics.

To observe is that women who participate and shine in politics are not necessarily single.In the IPU survey of Women’s Political  experience and their Contribution to the Democratic Process, done with a total of 187 women of 35 different countries, 60% were married, a close proportion were either single or divorced , and a small proportion were widowed. Although the vices of power and the greed for money is not absent from women leaders and this becomes evident in some cases but the point here is that the qualities of care and affection on which grounds the earlier philosophers rejected women in politics are precisely was is needed to re-orient the otherwise dissembled state of current politics. And there are many women leaders who can mingle this care and affection with the prudence of mind and such women should be given a free route to change the face of poilitics.

Vashudhaiv Kutumbkam – Why concept of countries is irrelevant today ?

concept-country-global-village
Divide the state. Don’t divide the mind.

The building of nations was a step in the “evolution “of both humanity and social structures. It germed out of the formation of small settlements and as the population grew the competition for land became more and more fierce. The world is divided into as many problems as the number of groups it is identified with. But the most basic which the people don’t even relate to is ethnic violence. In 2010, an Indian student was allegedly set on fire in Melbourne followed by many more similar attacks. Well, this can shunned as racism. Too distant, right? Lets hop into our very own country. In January 2012, a mob in Tamil Nadu lynched a youth suspecting him to be a North Indian burglar. The mentally challenged youth was beaten to unconsciousness by the local people. This incident happened because the police had few days earlier encountered 5 burglars, 4 of them were Biharis while the other was from West Bengal.  Since then locals eyed every outsider with suspicion.

This can be sunned as state bias. I am not going to visit Tamil Nadu anyway. How does it matter! Too distant again, right. Let us narrow down a bit more. 16th December 2012, gang rape case in the capital. When the police found naked body of the brutalized victim, they initially rejected to handle it saying the area does not fall under their administration. Now, is that distant too?

Vashudhaiv Kutumbkam.( “vasudhā”, the earth; “ēva” = indeed is; and “kutumbakam”, family;) is a Sanskrit phrase which means that the whole world is one single family. It is closely related to Marshall Mcluhan concept of the Global Village. McLuhan suggests that with the advancement in technology where people can read and know about each other, it forces us to become more involved with one another from various social groups and countries around the world and to be more aware of our global responsibilities. But the ringing question is, do we really want to take up this responsibility? There are crucial events which suggest the answer to be negative.

The recent Uttrakhand flood tragedy witness massive destruction and above all innumerable loss of human life. In the wake of these moments, BJP member Narendra Modi is seen rescuing 15000 pilgrims. It stands out as an impeccable act until unless one comes to know that the rescued were not just 15000 pilgrims, but 15000 ‘Gujarati’ pilgrims. Indeed it doesn’t neglect the good part of it but the mentioning of only ‘gujaratis’ hint at the point that a state doesn’t remain just a state, a subdivision to better the administration, but has become entities to fulfill the agendas of political parties and to continue selfish political systems.

The biases towards one’s city, state or country prevents one from seeing the loopholes it possess. Every Indian will be proud to be an Indian on Independence Day no matter how much the state of the country is disgracing. This patriotism is only helpful when you acknowledge the damage and work towards its repair. But is it really happening?

The European Union (EU) which firstly started as a solely economical cooperation can be considered as a positive step towards the abolition of border controls. Its primary aim was to make the countries, who trade with one another, interdependent to avoid conflicts. But in 1993 a shift in the system took place. The name changed from European Economic Community (EEC) to European Union. The idea change behind this was to turn it into a political union. The EU as a union has helped raise the living standards and spread peace and stability. In no time, human dignity, equality and human rights became the main objectives of the European Union.

When steps like these are being taken across the globe, aren’t we making our microbial existence more dilute? By cementing the boundaries in our mind, we are distancing ourselves from the things which affect us. Today India is against India. States should prosper but they shouldn’t do so by glorifying themselves and demeaning others. They should prosper to reach such a position where they could help the under developed states.  When  this process would start at the ground level, it would perpetuate higher. So the next time you incorporate cultural, regional or state biases in your arguments, take a step back and think whom are you benefiting?

Intricacies of PRISM – Why the American NSA Surveillance Regime is a Threat to the World?

nsa-spying-program
The PRISM program is legitimized by the Protect America Act of 2007. This Act sanctions the NSA to require companies like Facebook and Google to send user data to the government once the classified plan is approved by the FISA court.

“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.” – states Article 12, Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In early June this year, a young security contractor formerly employed by the NSA, CIA and Booz Allen Hamilton revealed highly classified US government information on a surveillance program in the form of presentation slides. He however fled the country before the files were released to avoid being captured.

This daring act of revelation, as expected, set off a cycle of denials, half-baked explanations and attempted justification on the part of the governments of the US and UK. The latest to be sopped up is the Brazilian journalist David Miranda, friend of the Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald who has been releasing the classified cables. Miranda was detained at London’s Heathrow Airport and subjected to nine hours of interrogation.

The massive surveillance apparatus, codenamed PRISM, is part of a worldwide surveillance industry whose annual worth is five billion dollars. PRISM is a highly secretive program that allows the NSA to access user data from web-service providers like Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Face book, AOL, Skype, You tube and Apple. The NSA-backed surveillance program collects metadata on geolocation that tap the time and duration of phone calls and the content of electronic communication like emails, video chats and texts. This assortment of clandestine spying programs operates under code-names like Stellarwind, ShellTrumpet and EvilOlive.

There was widespread public outrage after leaked PRISM slides revealed that the highly synchronized surveillance programs could intercept under-sea optic fibre cables to monitor the communication lines of an entire population. The PRISM program is legitimized by the Protect America Act of 2007. This Act sanctions the NSA to require companies like Facebook and Google to send user data to the government once the classified plan is approved by the FISA court.

Though Microsoft, Google, Apple and other major companies had initially denied knowledge and participation in the surveillance programs, on Wednesday AFP reported Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer as saying that since data requests from the US government were classified information, she could not talk about it due to fears of incarceration for ‘treason.’


Privacy Laws-the local and the global

As Americans marched on July 4th organizing huge ‘Restore the Fourth’ rallies, what seemed to be appalling was that the NSA surveillance seemed to have been sanctioned by a court of law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court.

Given the global nature of all web-services, what is disconcerting is the lack of consistency in the applicability and content among laws governing privacy policies. Web companies find themselves in a fix between these very different legal regimes and companies with a presence in more than one country often face different set of rules. The lack of a clear global internet privacy regime has jettisoned customers’ privacy and compounded companies’ difficulty. A web-service provider in the US might have annexes and affiliates in many different countries with different privacy laws. Complaints regarding violation of a customer’s privacy is privy to the jurisdiction, of which, country remains a problem, as there are different approaches to privacy jurisdiction.

In 1995, Ministers of the Asia-Pacific countries met under the banner of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to frame legislation governing internet privacy laws. Paragraph 12, Part II states “In view of the differences in social, cultural, economic and legal backgrounds of each member economy, there should be flexibility in implementing these Principles.” The stress placed on the plurality of the world has again underlined the problems inherent in drafting a unified legislation to protect internet privacy.

 

In 1981, member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) framed a set of guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data to address the conflict between protection and free transborder flow of personal data. More than a third of the then 24 OECD member countries had adopted national legislation by 1980. What assumes importance is that the OECD dossier to mark three decades of the OECD Privacy Guidelines singles out the US government’s Committee on Automated Personal Data Systems’ 1973 report, Records, Computers and the Rights of Citizens as the first explicit reference to “fair information practices.” In its recommendation concerning the guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data, the OECD cites the following among others: “that member countries take into account in their domestic legislation the principles concerning the protection of privacy and individual liberties set forth in the Guidelines…”

Thus the OECD which is a grouping of developed nations, including the US, UK and Germany has similar concerns as the APEC when it comes to the conflict between the international and domestic laws regarding the protection of privacy on the web. So even if a US state department dossier is the vanguard to “fair information practices,” the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and in turn the FISA court nullifies the global legal apparatus agreed upon by governments. When the NSA was caught snooping and spying, what truly shocked Americans and foreign governments was that the surveillance operations were legitimized by the FISA court.

Barrack Obama’s bulwark against the barrage of criticism has been that the NSA-sponsored surveillance programmes are aimed to secure the lives of Americans. For him, as for many others in the Congress, you cannot have hundred percent safety and zero percent inconvenience at the same time. The Purpose Specification Principle in Part Two of the OECD Privacy Guidelines to which the US is a signatory states: “The purposes for which personal data are collected should be specified not later than at the time of data collection and the subsequent use limited to the fulfillment of those purposes or such others as are not incompatible with those purposes and as are specified on each occasion of change of purpose.”

But the NSA thought it wiser to tweak this clause in the interest of national security.

American double games

Reports of the NSA targeting the Chinese, Russian, Brazilian and Mexican governments perhaps fall in line with the US policy of tracking countries that have a history of dissidence vis-à-vis American foreign policy. But what caused anger and disbelief was the revelation that the NSA had bugged the lines of communication of the Americans’ allies in their War on Terror and economic expansion. America’s trans-Atlantic partners like France and Germany had backed the US aggression in the east but Snowden’s leaks have set the former allies on a course of collision.

European leaders have expressed shock over reports that the US has been bugging their diplomatic missions, including the European Union and the United Nations General Assembly headquarters. A rift between the allies already shows with the French Presidency reacting firmly by threatening to suspend negotiations for a Trans-Atlantic Free Trade agreement.

US authorities have termed the spying on the German and French Foreign Ministries “a success story,” according to Der Spiegel reports.

Leaked classified information also reveals that Spain and Italy too have not been spared from NSA surveillance.

European resentment against the Americans’ spying activities might crystallize into a split between the Trans-Atlantic allies in their fight against terror. The usually hawk-eyed French have already registered their protest against US unilateralism by resisting strikes against the Syrian regime after reports of chemical weapon usage against the rebels. The lid seems to have been blown off from the double games and dirty wars that the US government has wheedled out of the false consciousness of national security. As Snowden put it, “I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things.”

Bill gates foundation will give USD $100,00 for next generation condom development

next-generation-condom-bill-gates-foundation-grant
Bill gates foundation will give USD 100,00 for next generation condom development

Condom is the most widely used  method of contraception and can prevent pregnancy and STDs, including HIV/ AIDS.But there are many drawbacks associated with condoms that discourage to use condoms like  decreased pleasure, problems with erection, embarrassment and mistrust and Latex allergy.

Due to these drawbacks they are not fulfilling their objective.There is a need to reinvent them. ‘Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’ will help to reinvent condoms.

Anyone who will give a genuine idea to reinvent “the next generation of condom.” will be given USD $100,000 by Microsoft Cofounder Bill Gates’ foundation ‘Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’.

Depending on the potential of the project this grant can be increased up to USD$1 million.

Winners will be chosen by The Gates foundation and an independent group of reviewers.

This grant is being offered through ‘Grand Challenges in Global Health Program’. Grand Challenges in Global Health Program’ initiative was started in year 2008 and till now funded more than 800 grants in 52 countries.

According to Bill and Melinda gates foundation “To overcome persistent health and development problems, we need new, game-changing ideas. Inspiration can come from anywhere and we are hopeful that this new round of Grand Challenges Explorations will uncover innovative approaches to improve lives around the world.”

Proposals are being accepted at www.grandchallenges.org through May 7, 2013.

The current rate of global production is 15 billion units/year. Approximately 750 million users use condoms.So Condom market is a growing market.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation describes Next Generation Condom further

“We are looking for a Next Generation Condom that significantly preserves or enhances pleasure, in order to improve uptake and regular use. Additional concepts that might increase uptake include attributes that increase ease-of-use for male and female condoms, for example better packaging or designs that are easier to properly apply. In addition, attributes that address and overcome cultural barriers are also desired.  Proposals must (i) have a testable hypothesis, (ii) include an associated plan for how the idea would be tested or validated, and (iii) yield interpretable and unambiguous data in Phase I, in order to be considered for Phase II funding. ”

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