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Showing posts from December 2, 2012

Note from Francois Gautier

 Francois Gautier Just came back to Delhi from France, having tried to convince French decision makers that India is the liberal, democratic, pro-western natural investment alternative to China.  But on the first day here, cell phone lines are so saturated that they disconnect, roads are more and more jammed and no progress in infrastructures. Train bookings done three months in advance are still wait-listed, Air fares have increased further and are now out of reach of even upper middle class. A visit to the Jorbagh Post office showed nothing had changed, the same unhelpful sour-face clerk asked for a photocopy of my passport and told us to go the market to do it! Another visit to the bank (a foreign that at one: Standard Chartered), again proved how little the customer is trusted in India and how the Govt has done little to relax its draconian rules - it's as if the first assumption is that he or she is here to cheat the bank, whereas banking is just legalized robbery.

What If?

By Eric Fry Is America still the undisputed "Numero Uno"? Not according to the Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) "Where to be Born Index." A quarter of a century ago, America topped the list. Today, it is #16. This quirky EIU Index attempts to measure which country will provide the best opportunities for a healthy, safe and prosperous life in the years ahead. The index links the results of subjective life- satisfaction surveys — how happy people say they are — to objective determinants of the quality of life across countries. And the idea is to forecast which country would be best to inhabit 18 years out, when a baby born today becomes an adult. Obviously, the EIU's assessment is not the last word on a nation's quality of life, but it does at least provide food for thought...and it does corroborate a growing body of empirical data that suggest the American quality of life has degraded somewhat. While playing around with some numbers on the back

NASA releases map of India on Diwali night

Washington, Dec 6, 2012 (PTI)   http://www.deccanherald.com/content/296733/nasa-releases-map-india-diwali.html NASA, the national space agency of the US, today released a black and white satellite imagery of India this Diwali night, cautioning people against the fake image in circulation on the social media. "On November 12, 2012, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite captured this nighttime view of southern Asia," NASA said releasing a picture of India on this Diwali night. "The image is based on data collected by the VIIRS 'day- night band', which detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared. The image has been brightened to make the city lights easier to distinguish," it said. NASA said most of the bright areas in the imagery released by it are cities and towns in India, the country with the world's largest Hindu population. "India is home to more than 1.2 billion people an

Babri Masjid Demolition: A Look Back from Ankara

by K. Gajendra Singh   While posted at Turkey's capital Ankara, I was playing a few hands of bridge with friends at the Indian embassy residence, a few days after the 6 December, 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, India. The friends were; head of Turkey's Foreign policy think tank, Seyfi Tashan and his wife and Prof Okyar and his wife. Prof Okyar's father Fethi Okyar was close friend and early mentor of Turkey's founder Kemal Ataturk. Quite often, diplomats relax playing bridge or golf as in East Asia, where serious business is often transacted. During the 1991 US led coalition war on neighboring Iraq, while posted at Amman, Jordan's capital, the British Ambassador or someone else would come over for a spot of bridge. Just to take our minds off the tensions.  But in Ankara, after a few hands, I went over to the next room to take up a telephone call. It took me some time to return to the bridge table. I tried to look as normal as possible and continu

Seven distinct youth segments exist

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Education-to-Employment

Think of the education-to-employment  system as a highway, where three drivers—educators, employers, and young people—all want to get to the same destination. There are three critical intersections—when young people enroll in postsecondary education, when they build skills, and when they seek work. At every point, each driver needs to take account of the others to keep moving safely and efficiently. Our research, however, shows that doesn't usually happen. Instead, drivers don't take one another into account, proceeding obliviously in their own lanes, or they collide, leaving everyone worse off than when they started. Source:  http://mckinseyonsociety.com/downloads/reports/Education/Education-to-Employment_FINAL.pdf  

Education to employment: Designing a system that works

Some 75 million young people around the world are unemployed, yet most employers say they cannot find enough qualified candidates for entry-level jobs. What skills will help young people find work, and what is the most effective way of delivering them? A new McKinsey report  finds that employers, education providers, and young people live in parallel universes with dramatically different perspectives and little engagement . Drawing on a survey of some 8,500 stakeholders in 9 countries, as well as an analysis of more than 100 education-to-employment approaches across 35 countries, the research also finds that three junctures are critical for taking action to address the crisis: enrolling in postsecondary education, developing skills, and seeking employment. To explore the issue of youth unemployment and to read case studies of successful programs, visit the  McKinsey on Society Web site . Register for a  live Web event  on Monday, December 10, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. (EST)

The US is waiting for India to mess things up with the Maldives

BAD JUDGMENT - The US is waiting for India to mess things up with the Maldives Diplomacy: K.P. Nayar http://www.telegraphindia.com/1121205/jsp/opinion/story_16272680.jsp#.UL6cg4b3tI0 Salman Khurshid has discovered within a month in his new job that some things have not changed in India's external affairs in nearly twenty years. When P.V. Narasimha Rao promoted Khurshid within a few days of the latter's 40th birthday in 1993 from deputy minister for commerce to minister of state for external affairs, one of his first tasks was to read out the Riot Act to the Maldives. Last month, he found himself engaged in the same brief almost two decades after his first such encounter. Rao's government was tipped off then that the Maldivians were secretly cosying up to Pakistan. India's neighbourhood was already unfriendly: not far from the Maldives, the wily Ranasinghe Premadasa, who ruled Colombo, was deeply distrustful of India so soon after Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, an

US agrees to provide defence equipment to Pak

December 04, 2012 23:46 IST http://www.rediff.com/news/report/us-agrees-to-provide-defence-equipment-to-pak/20121204.htm The United States on Tuesday agreed to step up efforts to provide defence equipment needed by Pakistan to maintain security along its border with war-torn Afghanistan and to continue discussions on the provision of military aid to Islamabad [ Images ]. The decisions were made during the two-day meeting of the US-Pakistan Defence Consultative Group, which concluded in the Defence Ministry in Rawalpindi on Tuesday. This was the first meeting of the DCG since May 2011, when ties between the two sides were hit by the unilateral American military raid that killed Osama bin Laden [ Images ] in Abbottabad. A joint statement issued after the talks said: "Recognising the enduring security requirements on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, the two delegations agreed to cooperate on a prioritised set of Pakistan's defence requirements which will infor

The Untold Story: How Kennedy came to India's aid in 1962

Last updated on: December 04, 2012 23:29 IST http://www.rediff.com/news/special/the-untold-story-how-the-us-came-to-indias-aid-in-1962/20121204.htm The story of the 1962 war with China has all the elements of a dramatic historical event. Nehru's handling of the crisis and panic reactions were in marked contrast to the cool and confident Kennedy. The generous and prompt response by JFK made him an icon in India [ Images ]. But the US State Department, under pressure from Pakistan and with British support, scuttled the chances of a more lasting India-US alliance, say Colonel Anil Athale (retd). For most Indians, the dominant memory of India-United States relations continues to be the presence of the USS Enterprise in the Bay of Bengal during the 1971 Bangladesh war. During the 1962 border conflict, it was the US that came to India's rescue and there were plans to send the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier to the Bay of Bengal to support India against a possible Chinese invasi

Egypt and the Strategic Balance

December 4, 2012 | 1001 GMT   Stratfor By George Friedman Founder and Chief Executive Officer Immediately following the declaration of a cease-fire in Gaza, Egypt was plunged into a massive domestic crisis. Mohammed Morsi, elected in the first presidential election after the fall of Hosni Mubarak, passed a decree that would essentially neuter the independent judiciary by placing his executive powers above the high court and proposed changes to the constitution that would institutionalize the Muslim Brotherhood's power. Following the decree, Morsi's political opponents launched massive demonstrations that threw Egypt into domestic instability and uncertainty. In the case of most countries, this would not be a matter of international note. But Egypt is not just another country. It is the largest Arab country and one that has been the traditional center of the Arab world. Equally important, if Egypt's domestic changes translate into shifts in its foreign policy, it could

Pakistani Hindus protest destruction of temple

By Associated Press Sunday, December 2, 2012 - Added 10 hours ago KARACHI, Pakistan — Pakistani Hindus Sunday protested the destruction of a Hindu temple in the southern port city of Karachi. The temple was razed, along with some nearby homes, by a builder. Minority Hindus have complained of increasing harassment and discrimination in Muslim-dominated Pakistan in recent years, including the destruction or desecration of their places of worship. Residents and members of the Hindu community said Sunday a builder with a police escort razed the small temple in one of the older neighborhoods of Karachi, along with some surrounding buildings. The outer walls and roof of the temple were demolished, and rubble was strewn about the area. Local residents told an AP reporter on the scene that authorities took statues and artifacts out of the building before it was destroyed. One of the longtime residents, 75-year-old Kali Das, said he was born in the area and remembers when the temple,

US Ambassador rues quality of education in India

PTI | Nov 29, 2012, 06.13 PM IST   http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/education/news/US-Ambassador-rues-quality-of-education-in-India/articleshow/17416398.cms US Ambassador to India Nancy Powell today said that the quality of education in India remains a "concern and major challenge" while underlining the need to address the gap in reading levels to prepare children for the future in a better way. NEW DELHI: US Ambassador to India Nancy Powell today said that the quality of education in India remains a "concern and major challenge" while underlining the need to address the gap in reading levels to prepare children for the future in a better way. Quoting reports that have pointed out that basic reading levels have shown a marked decline, she observed that it was critical to provide children with the right kind of environment to make them learn. Addressing a gathering after handing over All Children Reading Grand Challenge Awards to five innovators, Powel

US asks India to consult IAEA on nuclear liability law

Washington, Dec 1, 2012 (PTI)   http://www.deccanherald.com/content/295577/us-asks-india-consult-iaea.html To enter the international mainstream civil nuclear commerce, a top US official has said India should consult International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on its nuclear liability law as a means to ensure the objective. "While we understand that India's law is currently being examined by the courts, we believe that consultations with the IAEA would be useful as a means to ensure that the liability law accomplishes our shared objective of moving India into the international mainstream of civil nuclear commerce," Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Geoffrey Pyatt has said. In his remarks to the Pillsbury NEI Nuclear Export Controls Seminar in Washington, Pyatt identified the nuclear liability law as a major challenge in implementing the historic India-US civilian nuclear deal. A copy of his remarks was released by the St

Mengal seeks international intervention for settlement of Balochistan issue

WASHINGTON DC: Dr. Wahid Baloch, President of Baloch Society of North America (BSO-NA), have welcomed BNP head Sardar Akhtar Mengal's statement to seek international intervention in order to solve Balochistan's problem.    Mengal seeks international intervention for settlement of Balochistan issue South Asian News Agency (SANA) QUETTA, (SANA): Chief of Balochistan National Party (BNP) and ex-chief minister Sardar Akhtar Jan Mengal has said that only the international powers can bring normalcy in Balochistan because ruling powers of Pakistan are not serious to solve the worst issue. Talking to "SANA" exclusively from Dubai Baloch leader said that Balochistan is in stat of war, so transparent elections are impossible in the province, adding that there can be selection not election. He said that markets, hospitals and educational institutions have been locked and common citizen feels insecure while rulers are silent on the i

Sunita Williams's message to India: Get involved

  December 02, 2012 19:30 IST http://www.rediff.com/news/report/sunita-williamss-message-to-india-get-involved/20121202.htm  "Get involved, try to be a part of it" is the message of record-breaking Indian-American astronaut Sunita Williams [ Images ] to millions of Indians students and space enthusiasts. Stressing that India [ Images ] has a great resource of people and talent, Williams, who is just back from her 127 days mission to the International Space Mission, said she can't imagine India taking a backseat in space programmes. "You know, I hope so. I am short of had my head down for last mission for the last couple of years. So I haven't really been in the know about all the Indian space program and what it has been doing, but gosh we really hope so," Williams, 47, said when asked if India stands a chance in front of US and Russia [ Images ] to emerge as a leader in space research. "India has a great resource of people and talent out there