Friday, May 16, 2014

The Gandhi family should hand over the leadership to others for India to have a credible opposition

Sonia and Rahul own up responsibility for defeat

Said : The New York Times Editorial Board on it's Opinion Pages column today. Andrew Rosenthal, the editorial page editor of The New York Times, is in charge of the paper's opinion pages. 

The editorial, titled "With Narendra Modi, a Change in India", has described Narendra Modi's victory as 'historical' whereas the Congress party' defeat as 'crushing and humiliating.' In a clear advice to the Gandhi family, the editorial board says : "The loss was so humiliating for the Indian National Congress party, which has governed for most of India’s independence, that it was unclear if it could rebuild its prominence. The Gandhi family, which dominates the party, should hand over the leadership to others. That is the only chance for India to have a credible opposition."

Narendra Modi at his victory speech
The editorial argues that "the victory gives Mr. Modi the chance to revitalize the economy and shape the way India engages with the world. How he moves forward will matter to Indians clamoring for jobs and development, but also to others, including the United States, which sees India as a vital economic and security partner in Asia." It goes on to say that "Mr. Modi needs to deliver on his vow to make progress, and he and Washington must confront differences on global trade issues," hinting that the new Indian government should open its economy up to greater trade and foreign investment. 

The editors have also suggested that "the two countries should pursue deeper cooperation beyond occasional military exercises and arms sales, like calming tensions between China and Vietnam over regional waterways, building peace between India and Pakistan and stabilizing Afghanistan."

The editorial noted that Mr. Modi had set very high expectations for economic revival and his government. It appreciated his promise to work for the good of all Indians in the victory speech in Vadodara and opined that to fulfill peoples' expectations, he will need to stick to that commitment.

About The New York Times Editorial Board

The editorial board is composed of 18 journalists with wide-ranging areas of expertise. Their primary responsibility is to write The Times’s editorials, which represent the voice of the board, its editor and the publisher. The board is part of The Times’s editorial department, which is operated separately from The Times’s newsroom, and includes the Letters to the Editor and Op-Ed sections. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Don't Worry, Earth Will Survive Climate Change - We Won't

Said : Neil deGrasse Tyson - the world's most famous astrophysicist, and he is a HUGE Trekkie. 

Neil is the host of StarTalk Radio is a fan of science fiction and futuristic movies, and of Star Trek in particular. He talked about the climate change in his StarTalk Radio podcast, as per the Business Insider of May 1

The program was produced by Kamelia Angelova, William Wei, and Alana Kakoyiannis. 
Watch Neil deGrasse Tyson talk about the Climate Change by clicking here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

“The world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill”

Dr. Keiji Fukuda
said : Dr. Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Health Security, in WHO's recent press release.

A new report by WHO–its first to look at antimicrobial resistance, including antibiotic resistance, globally–reveals that this serious threat is no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country. Antibiotic resistance–when bacteria change so antibiotics no longer work in people who need them to treat infections–is now a major threat to public health.

“Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill,” says Dr Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Health Security. “Effective antibiotics have been one of the pillars allowing us to live longer, live healthier, and benefit from modern medicine. Unless we take significant actions to improve efforts to prevent infections and also change how we produce, prescribe and use antibiotics, the world will lose more and more of these global public health goods and the implications will be devastating.”
WHO HQ main building, Geneva

According to the WHO report, 

People can help tackle resistance by :
  • using antibiotics only when prescribed by a doctor;
  • completing the full prescription, even if they feel better;
  • never sharing antibiotics with others or using leftover prescriptions.
Health workers and pharmacists can help tackle resistance by :
  • enhancing infection prevention and control;
  • only prescribing and dispensing antibiotics when they are truly needed;
  • prescribing and dispensing the right antibiotic(s) to treat the illness.
Policymakers can help tackle resistance by :
  • strengthening resistance tracking and laboratory capacity;
  • regulating and promoting appropriate use of medicines.
Policymakers and industry can help tackle resistance by :
  • fostering innovation and research and development of new tools;
  • promoting cooperation and information sharing among all stakeholders.
The full report may be found here.

Monday, May 5, 2014

"Town-sponsored sectarian prayer violates the basic rule requiring the government to stay neutral on matters of faith."

Daniel Mach
said : Daniel Mach, director of the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief. He was expressing his disappointed by the United States Supreme Court's decision to upheld today a New York town’s practice of starting town meetings with official sectarian prayer. "We are disappointed by today’s decision.  Official religious favoritism should be off-limits under the Constitution," he said.

The practice was challenged by residents of Greece, a town in Monroe County, New York who objected to hearing government prayers, the vast majority of which were expressly Christian invocations, as a condition of attending public meetings.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a friend of the court brief supporting the residents of Greece.

"The constitutional requirement that church and state must be separated rests, in part, on the understanding that when government supports one religion over others, people who are not members of the favored religion are made to feel like outsiders by their government," said Arthur Eisenberg, legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Background :

Thirty years ago, in Marsh v. Chambers, 463 U.S. 783 (1983), the Supreme Court upheld the Nebraska Legislature’s practice of opening its sessions with nonsectarian prayers delivered by a chaplain. The issue in this case is whether a town board in upstate New York may open its meeting with sectarian prayers that have been overwhelmingly Christian in practice. In its amicus brief, the ACLU urges the Court to overrule Marsh and hold that any official governmental prayer violates the separation of church and state. If the Court is unwilling to go that far, the ACLU argues that official sectarian prayers should be prohibited under the Establishment Clause to preserve the core constitutional principle that the government cannot favor one religion over another.

The Supreme Court held today that the town's prayer practice does not violate the Establishment Clause.

"The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is the nation's guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country," as per its website.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

"In the history of economics monopolies do not survive long."

Dr. Mathias Döpfner
Said : European media tycoon Dr. Mathias Döpfner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Axel Springer in a letter addressed to Google boss as reported by the BBC a short while ago. His letter, published in Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, was in response to a column by Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt. In his letter, Döpfner questions : "whether Google intends to create a superstate where anti-trust and privacy laws don't apply."

Döpfner's Axel Springer publishes more than 200 newspapers and magazines including German papers Die Welt and Bild. It also has a significant online presence and television and radio interests.  Schmidt, in his column, had referred to the Google's advertising relationship with Axel Springer. He described how the relationship had been challenging at times but how now they had "walked down the aisle" and signed a multi-year deal.
Eric Schmidt

Döpfner, however, referring to the 'deal' said that his company had little choice but to engage with Google as "we know no search engine alternative to increase our online reach". Döpfner said the resulting agreement between the two parties was not a compromise but instead the European Commission had "sanctioned the introduction of a business model, which in less honourable circles is called extortion". 

Döpfner claimed that large technology companies like Google were far more powerful than people realised. Döpfner said that he was concerned about the role Google plays online.  Döpfner said: "Google founder Larry Page dreams of a place with no privacy laws and without democratic accountability."  Döpfner questioned "Is Google planning to operate in a legal vacuum, without the hassle of anti-trust and privacy? A kind of superstate?" Döpfner warned Google that in the history of economics monopolies never survived long.
Mark Zuckerberg

Döpfner was also critical of Mark Zuckerberg with regard to how Facebook stored data and protected users' privacy. Zuckerberg has brushed aside the question of privacy by saying that 'those who have nothing to hide, have nothing to fear.' Döpfner called this a mindset that was fostered in totalitarian regimes. "Such a sentence could also be said by the head of the Stasi or other intelligence service or a dictatorship," he added.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Russia Could Turn U.S. into 'Radioactive Ashes'

Russian TV Anchor Dmitry Kiselyov
Said Russian State TV Anchor Dmitry Kiselyov on his news program on Sunday at the time when Crimea went to the polls to vote in the referendum to re-join Russia.

According to the Moscow Times, Kiselyov - well-known as the voicepiece of the Russian government - also showed a simulation of a Russian nuclear strike during his program.

Kiselyov - a loyalist to Russian President Vladimir Putin - said "Russia is the only country that could really turn the U.S. into radioactive ashes."

Meanwhile, Russian and Crimean parliaments signed treaty of accession today. In a speech to a joint session of parliament, President Vladimir Putin said Moscow will always protect the rights of Russians using “political, diplomatic and legal means.”

Vladimir Putin reading his speech
According to a news-report in the Washington Post : "Putin insisted that Russia was acting within international law. He dwelled at some length on Kosovo, which broke free of Serbia in 1999, after NATO intervention, and ultimately declared independence, with international recognition, in 2008. He said that precedent gives Western countries no standing to complain about Crimea. Putin said that Russia has no plans to take other regions of Ukraine after Crimea and Sevastopol.

“You can’t call something black one day, and the same thing white the next,” he said.

He complained that leaders in the West, led by Americans, “believe they’ve been entrusted by God to decide the fate of other people.”

His address, devoted to proving that Russia cannot be pushed around, was met with a standing ovation — which is much less common in Russia than in the U.S. Congress.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

"Victims of a conspiracy : Around 64,000 silicon valley programmers were cheated by their bosses......"

Joseph R. Saveri
said Joseph R. Saveri, a lawyer for the plaintiffs of a class-action lawsuit that accuses industry executives of agreeing between 2005 and 2009 not to poach one another's employees. According to a report of The New York Times March 1, the case is headed to trial in San Jose this spring and seeks billions of dollars in damages.  Mr. Saveri said that "these engineers were prevented from being able to freely negotiate what their skills are worth."

"Its mastermind, court papers say, was the executive who was the most successful, most innovative and most concerned about competition of all -- Steve Jobs", the newspaper reported.

Steve Jobs : Hero or Villain?
Quoting court papers, the news-report says : "Mr. Jobs was particularly worried about Google, which was hiring rapidly and expanding into areas where Apple had an interest. In 2005, for instance, Google's co-founder, Sergey Brin, tried to hire from Apple's browser team. "If you hire a single one of these people that means war," Mr. Jobs warned in an email."

Mr. Brin backed off, and Google and Mr. Jobs soon came to an informal agreement not to solicit each other's employees. Apple made similar deals with other companies. So did Google. By 2007, when a Google recruiter slipped up and contacted an Apple engineer, Mr. Jobs immediately complained. To appease the Apple chief, Google fired the recruiter within an hour. Mr. Jobs's control extended even to former Apple engineers. When Google wanted to hire some, the suit says, Mr. Jobs vetoed the idea.