Americans (ideologues) prefer traitors

Reihan Salam does not think much of people who prefer to date people with a similar skin color.
He would prefer people to cast aside their prejudices and qualify as a race traitor (our words).

What was truly interesting was his assertion that people’s attitudes to race (and dating) depend on the communities in which they grow up, which is dependent on when they were growing up. Thus a brown kid in the 1950s would be forced to date only whites, while in the 1990s there would be many eligible browns to choose from. The same concept presumably applies to where you are growing up, even today, Boise, Idaho is lily-white compared to New York City.

While we do not necessarily disagree with Reihan, our lived experience was that brown girls preferred dating white boys (and vice versa). The consensus opinion of our peer group (incl. both sexes and races) was that this dynamic was driven by the prejudices of the concerned women (white males are enlightened as compared to browns) and men (brown females are submissive as compared to whites).

These days technology will also play a key role. The young generation dwells in the on-line universe for a large part of their lives (where they may be learning Bharat Natyam via Skype from an Indian guru). Thus one may not need a physical space and a community, the virtual equivalents may help foster prejudices (as Reihan sees it).

Reihan (as befits a conservative) is also taking this opportunity to admonish liberals for being hypocritical (and “hilariously self-righteous”). He certainly has a strong case. Arundhati Roy hates capitalism etc. while enjoying the fruits of a capitalist society. She is also (un)hilariously self-righteous. Albert Gore Jr. is self-righteous while burning up gigantic amounts of fossil fuel to fly across the world and lecture others about anthropogenic global warming. Conservatives used to call such people “limousine liberals.” Now they have a brand new (self-appointed) name….a class traitor.

Jedediah Purdy (see link below) has issued a clarion call for class traitors to join the revolution, fortunate people who are prepared to rain down arrows of misfortune on their own people. Following this logic, a brown, upper middle-class individual who votes to (1) expand government and/or (2) supports affirmative action is a class traitor, and one who is (3) open to dating a white person is a race traitor. 

While liberals are looking for class traitors, conservatives are seeking out race traitors, doppelgangers of (Supreme Court) Justice Clarence Thomas, who is married to a white lady and who has just now destroyed affirmative action (after having benefited from the same). Liberals used to call such people “Uncle Toms.” While it is futile to expect name-calling to stop in a deeply polarized society, we can at least appreciate the symmetry. Thank heavens for small mercies.
……..
In a somewhat similar vein, one of OkCupid’s questions reads as
follows: “Would you strongly prefer to go out with someone of your own
skin color/racial background?” 

I was struck by the not inconsiderable
number of people who answered “yes”—including some people I know “in
real life,” many of whom are hilariously self-righteous about their
enlightened political views.


Keep in mind that OkCupid users can skip a question with ease. The
people who answered this question had every opportunity not to do so.
What I found surprising about the fact that a fair number of people
answered that they would indeed strongly prefer to go out with someone
of their own skin color/racial background was not that this phenomenon
exists in the world. Racial preferences in dating are quite common, and women appear to exhibit stronger same-race preferences than men. Rather, I was surprised that people would be willing to openly state that
they had strong same-race preferences. One assumes that many people who
do have such preferences would either chose not to disclose them
publicly, or chose to skip the question entirely.


Is a strong same-race preference something one ought to be ashamed
of? Or is it enough to say that the heart wants what it wants and to
leave it at that? This is a more important question than you might
think.


Before I start throwing stones, I should note that my upbringing has
given me a skewed perspective on American life. When my parents settled
in Brooklyn in the mid-1970s, there were only a small handful of
Bengali-speaking South Asian Muslims in the city, and so
self-segregation wasn’t really an option….Had I been born a few years later or a few years earlier, however,
it’s entirely possible that I would have either found a crew of
co-ethnics with whom to bond or I would have felt like much more of an
outsider.
 

But instead I grew up in an in-between moment in which people
didn’t have a strong sense of what people like me were supposed to be
like, and so I at least felt that I had the breathing room to define
myself. I thought of my “group” as including all “ethnics,” whether they
were Chinese or Haitian or Puerto Rican or Russian Jewish, and I
suppose I still think the same way. The fact that I don’t have a strong
same-race preference is not the product of some moral superiority on my
part, but rather the idiosyncratic circumstances of my early years. 

And
so I’m disinclined to judge those who do have strong same-race
preferences too harshly.

Nevertheless, I do feel comfortable judging them guilty of being
clueless. 


To be sure, dating is about more than the sharing of bread, and
OkCupid users who express strong racial preferences may well be doing
the world a favor by being open and honest about their wants. But I
don’t think it’s too much to ask those who do express such preferences,
and those who live them in practice, to reflect on them, and on how
there might be more to fighting racism than voting “the right way.”

………..
Link (1): http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2014/04/okcupid_and_race_is_it_racist_to_date_only_people_of_your_own_race.single.html
Link (2): http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/20/we-need-more-class-traitors-solving-america-s-meritocracy-problem.html
……..
regards

0

Deep State Fatwa: shut down Geo TV (or else)

Who is the Boss? After all these years (decades) and all the going back and forth there is not an iota of doubt. Aam aadmi-s (even elites such as Hamid Mir) may say whatever they want to say, provided the Deep State does not mind what they say.

And while we continue to chatter about foolish nothings, let us also drop the pretense of some strange, rogue element being responsible for taking care of Obama* Osama, shooting down Mumbai etc. An all powerful deep-state will not tolerate a single rogue element, let alone remain ignorant about multi-million dollar operations which required years of planning. Hafeez Saeed may be farting in your general direction but he is just a front-man in this scheme of things.
…….


Pakistan’s
army demanded the closure of the country’s most popular television
channel on Tuesday following allegations that the military’s main
intelligence agency had ordered an assassination attempt on its star
journalist.

In a three-page petition to Pakistan’s broadcast
regulator the ministry of defence accused Geo News of mounting a
“vicious campaign” to libel the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate
(ISI) and called for its operating license to be revoked. “The telecast
in question was aimed at undermining the integrity and tarnishing the
image of state institution and its officers and falsely linking it with
terrorist outfits,” the notice said.


The confrontation between the
country’s most powerful institution and its biggest media group was
triggered on Saturday when Hamid Mir, a household-name presenter, was
severely injured when gunmen opened fire on his vehicle as he was
travelling along one of Karachi’s busiest thoroughfares.

Even as
he underwent emergency surgery Geo News broadcast non-stop claims,
relayed by Mir’s brother, that the ISI and its director general
Zaheer-ul-Islam should be held responsible for the attempt to kill him.

Mir
said he had feared he would be targeted because of his criticism of the
army over its interference in politics and the brutal counterinsurgency
being waged in the troubled province of Balochistan.

Outspoken
journalists run great risks in Pakistan, particularly from militants who
have targeted media workers who dare to criticise the Taliban or
highlight deadly sectarian attacks on religious minorities.

Raza
Rumi, a prominent liberal analyst, fled the country after he survived a
gun attack on his car in Lahore that killed his driver in late March.

Recently
Mir had demanded the high treason trial of former military ruler Pervez
Musharraf be expanded to include other people involved in ordering
emergency rule in 2007. The trial, which has dragged on since December,
has become an area of tense disagreement between the government which
initiated it and the military which wants Musharraf to be allowed to
leave the country.

In a public show of support on Monday Nawaz
Sharif, the prime minister, visited Mir in hospital and promised a
thorough investigation into the assassination attempt.

The ISI has
a reputation for being an all-powerful “state within a state” and has
in the past been accused of various misdeeds, including the killing of
journalist Saleem Shahzad in 2011 who had been investigating the
penetration of al-Qaida into the army.

But never before have such
serious claims of criminality been made by a such a prominent figure as
Mir, a widely admired journalist whose night time show attracts front
rank politicians as guests and is watched by millions. Although Geo
later insisted it respected the military and had reported the army’s
denials alongside Mir’s claims, the affair has caused uproar within army
ranks.

Any move to put out of business the most prominent of all
the private channels will be met with alarm by supporters of greater
democracy in the country.

The Committee to Protect Journalists
(CPJ) said Pakistan’s broadcasting regulator should not act on the
“spurious complaint” and called on the country’s security services “to
recognize the critical role of the media and exercise tolerance and
maturity”.
“The ISI is free to rebut allegations in the media but
should not try to censor coverage,” said Bob Dietz, the CPJ’s Asia
programme coordinator. 

……
Link: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/23/pakistan-army-demands-tv-station-closure-assassination
…..
regards
*acknowledgement: Asok

0

Ground Zero (Rana Plaza, Bangladesh)

We approach the first anniversary of a mass murder (of people by people whom they had trusted with their lives). May all their souls rest in peace. The living victims are another matter altogether- no justice for them even after all this time.

Incidentally, why was this picture not voted as #1 (for 2013)? Sad to believe there are many more (too may) horrors scattered around the globe. But still…this picture will live for-ever.

Please do consider buying the book. The authors have not specifically mentioned how the proceedings may help some charity involved with Rana Plaza victims but even so it is worthy of your hard earned dollars.
……..

It is 24 April. The previous
day, shortly after work started, three cracks were found in the
reinforced concrete pillars that support the eight-storey building. An
engineer sent by the Savar municipality declared the building unsafe,
work in the five factories was halted and everyone was sent home.

If an order is delivered late, accepted
practice in much of the industry is for the buyer to deduct 5% for each
week of delay. The buyers already have political unrest, wildcat strikes
and blockades to deal with; they cannot afford to risk losing further
days of production.

Which may explain how, somehow, overnight, the cracks that shut the
factory the day before have become less dangerous and the management has
called in the workforce. The building has been inspected once more and
is safe, they say. Monthly salaries are due in 10 days, but overtime,
which increases most employees’ salaries by between a third and a half,
and means being able to pay the rent or eat properly, will be paid in
the next day or so. Many of the workers are told by their managers that
unless they work, they will not receive the money. What choice have we
got, the workers are saying to each other. We are here to work, after
all.

The managers know this. They know, too, that, as a female
supervisor, Shapla is trusted more than her male counterparts, and not
just by “her girls”. So when they want the workers to stop shouting and
calm down, and to enter the building, take their places at their
machines and finish the big orders the factories are currently under
pressure to complete on time, several come to her, telling her again how
the building is safe, how the girls trust her, how if she doesn’t go
in, the girls won’t either. She is uncertain, reluctant, but because at
that moment it is the easiest thing to do, she gives way and goes in.
And her girls follow.

Similar pressure has been put on other
supervisors. They, too, reluctantly head into the building. Soon all the
workers are flowing up the stairs. Mahmuda leaves her husband in the
stairwell. He carries on up to his factory. She makes her way to her
desk and machine on the third floor. On the fifth floor, in the Ether
Tex factory, 15-year-old Preity, her mother and her sister are working
by 8.30am. Preity is on her feet, moving up and down the line, clearing
offcuts, bringing new needles or thread; her mother is nearby, her
sister working at a sewing machine on the same line but at the opposite
end of the room.

Mahmuda has time to stitch maybe two or three
pieces before the lights go out, the old fans, which barely dent the
heat in the factory, slow and the sewing machines stop. A power cut,
frequent enough and no cause for alarm. The workers wait in the gloom,
talking quietly, worried, waiting for the powerful, heavy generators
installed on the roof to start up.

Moments after the generators
start, sending vibrations through the building, a pillar in one corner
of the Rana Plaza gives way with a loud, explosive bang. Then each
storey slides sideways, tips and splits, falling in on the one below. On
the third floor, the collapse is almost instantaneous, but the workers
of Phantom Apparels still have time to realise what is happening.

The
floor starts shaking and it is clear the building is coming down.
Mahmuda starts reciting verses of the Qur’an. She staggers, falls and
crawls beneath her sewing machine.

Shapla is walking down her line
when the building starts to collapse. She starts running. She, too,
seeks protection under a sewing machine and then everything gives way
around her. She is in darkness, gasping for breath.

Two floors
above, the floor inclines slowly like the deck of a sinking ship.
Panicked workers rush to the two narrow exits. It is dark, there is much
dust and noise. Runarini has managed to find her youngest daughter,
Preity, and is now trying to get to the other end of her line where
Shamapati, her eldest, was working at her machine. But the force of
bodies pushes her towards the exit. She cannot hold on to Preity and
fight the crowd to find Shamapati. The floor lurches, tips again and
everything falls.

In the darkness after the collapse there are
many voices: sobs, sustained screaming, calls for help and water, moans
of pain, prayers, howls of grief. Some are trapped in total darkness,
others can make out some light. Many are pinned down by huge blocks of
concrete, bent iron girders, machinery. Others are entombed in small
cavities. Some are alone, others with colleagues or strangers from other
floors. Shapla can move her hand but nothing else. Mahmuda can see the
sky through a gap in the wall several yards away. Runarini and Preity
are trapped together and they can hear voices, but not Shamapati’s. They
shout her name, but there is no response.

Outside there is chaos.
Dazed survivors stand immobile in a huge, roiling cloud of dust. It
takes time for Dhaka’s ramshackle emergency services to arrive, so
hundreds of locals clamber over and through the rubble, tearing at the
concrete blocks and mangled metal with their hands. Soon corpses are
lined up on the ground, limbs limp and twisted, as if they had fallen
from a great height. Mahmuda crawls towards the light, finds herself
only a few metres from the ground and clambers down. She cannot see her
husband.

Shapla waits longer for rescue. She can hear sirens and
shouts outside. They are hammering and drilling the slab of concrete
above her. She finds her throat so dry from screaming that she cannot
talk when the rescuers find her. She is unaware that she has made any
noise whatsoever. It takes two hours to free her. Runarini and
Preity crawl together towards a shaft of light and are lifted from the
rubble by mid-afternoon. 

The ruined building is now surrounded by police
and soldiers, and heavy lifting equipment is arriving. There are
electric saws and jackhammers, and lines of ambulances. There is no sign
of Shamapati.

Bangladesh is the original “basket case”, a term coined by Henry Kissinger, the US secretary of state, to describe the country immediately after its violent secession from Pakistan in 1971.
Up to 3 million died in that conflict, a civil war that was
simultaneously a war of independence, and its wounds remain livid.
Famine, flood, a massive programme of nationalisation, political
instability and further violence crippled the new nation’s economy. But,
despite the continual challenges, the textiles and garment industry
prospered. Investment and advice from Korean companies helped and, by
the end of the 1990s, the industry had somehow weathered destructive
storms – political, economic and meteorological.

In 2004, when the
protectionist quotas that had been imposed to protect western jobs 30
years earlier expired, many in Bangladesh were apprehensive. But the
industry boomed. “Business just took off,” says Rubana Huq, now managing
director of garment manufacturers the Mohammadi Group. In 2004 there
were 2
million workers in Bangladesh’s 4,000 factories, with exports worth
$6bn. Nine years later, there were twice as many in 5,600 registered
establishments, sending $21bn worth of clothes overseas.

Competition
from abroad when the quotas disappeared meant “prices dipped”, Huq
says, but the demand from Europe and the US was so great that she and
others “just kept on building”. If wages in Bangladesh remained the
lowest in the world, land prices in central Dhaka, where most of the
garment businesses were based, rose so fast that new investors sought
space on the margins of the city where hastily reclaimed wetlands could
still be bought relatively cheaply. In Savar, Gazipur, Ashulia and
elsewhere around Dhaka, hundreds of factories went up every year. There
was little or no planning or regulation.

“People were not much
concerned by building codes or quality of material,” admits Emdadul
Islam, the long-serving chief engineer of Rajuk, Dhaka’s development
authority. Monitoring of environmental impact, construction quality and
permits for the millions flowing in from rural areas were almost
nonexistent.

Inevitably, people started to die. In April 2005, a
factory in Savar called Spectrum collapsed, killing 64 workers. The dead
were making clothes for western retailers. Poor cement was a likely
cause – builders often charge for better-quality materials than they
deliver – or water from a nearby canal may have washed out foundations.
For a short period there was talk of a crackdown on unsafe buildings,
but even though a second factory in northern Dhaka collapsed a year
later, killing 21, the fuss faded. As the recession hit western
economies in 2008 and 2009, brands forced down prices even further as
they negotiated with suppliers. Those in Bangladesh who demanded
government intervention in one of the country’s few economic success
stories made little headway when dozens of garment factory owners sat in
parliament and powerful industry bodies had the ear of policymakers.
The boom continued. Bangladesh, the world’s 76th biggest exporter of
clothes in 1980, was the eighth biggest in 2006, and by 2013 was second
only to China.

Over the decade, prompted by a string of reports of
child labour and other abuses in factories around the world, the brands
had set up systems to monitor pay and working conditions in their
supply chain. Some organised their own inspections, many brought in
contractors. But executives did not think to undertake structural
surveys of the buildings where their clothes were made. Instead, they
relied on the corrupt, poorly paid, underqualified, undermanned local
authorities. This, senior executives at major European brands now admit,
was a mistake. Others use stronger terms. From 2005 to March 2013,
fires killed an estimated 600, but no more buildings collapsed.

H&M’s
Gedda says: “The best way for the country is for brands like H&M to
stay there.” This is something one hears frequently: from the
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, senior
ministers, international trade unionists, independent economists and
urban development specialists in Dhaka. It’s also what all the workers
say. Everyone agrees that the Rana Plaza collapse was a “wake-up call”
that will be “a turning point”, but they all say the industry and the
brands must remain. “If there is a pull-out, it will be a catastrophe
for Dhaka,” says Professor Nazrul Islam, of the local Centre for Urban
Studies.

The result, after a series of fairly acrimonious meetings
in Geneva and Paris last year, is three separate initiatives: the
Accord, which involves more than 150 largely European brands; the
Alliance, set up by US brands; and a joint effort by the UN and the
Bangladeshi government. Between them, these three are meant to bring all
the factories in Bangladesh into a system of auditing and inspection
that will enforce agreed standards. They will also, theoretically,
ensure structural surveys. The brands will help pay for improvements
needed by their suppliers to meet the new standards – through grants in
the case of the legally binding Accord and soft loans for the less
constraining Alliance – and there are also provisions for strengthening
the country’s underdeveloped and highly politicised unions. There is a
separate process designed to establish how much compensation will be
paid – the total could be more than $40m – to the Rana Plaza victims. 
  



Mahmuda eventually
found her husband’s body, intact but for a broken nose, laid out in the
makeshift morgue set up in the grounds of a local school. It took some
days for her to realise that her husband was not going to walk through
the door of their small home in Savar. She returned to her village to
bury him, but life was as hard there as it had ever been and she was
soon back in Savar. Eight months later, Mahmuda started work at another
garment factory, less than 300m from where the Rana Plaza complex stood.
She passes the site of the collapse – the rubble scraped away, a trough
of filthy water, scattered bolts of filthy cloth, a stench of decayed
matter – every day. “I tell myself if one building has collapsed,
it doesn’t mean they all will,” she says. “I can’t be scared. If I am
scared, how will I feed my family? I tell myself if one building has
collapsed, it doesn’t mean they all will.”

Runarini, however, has
still not fully understood that her daughter will not come home.
Shamapati’s remains have never been found. It is possible that the
18-year-old’s corpse may have been buried with 250 others, all
unidentified, in the chaotic aftermath of the collapse. There is even a
chance that, unrecognisable and untested, it may have been given to the
wrong family. Bangladesh’s only DNA testing facility was unable to cope
with so many dead, and officials admit mistakes were made.

Preity
still dreams of her village and misses her friends and school. Now she
hopes to set up a tailoring shop when she is older, with help from an
NGO. “My mum cries all the time,” she says. She misses her sister, too,
and Shonjit, who sometimes walked her back from the factory. He was
killed, too.

When Shonjit’s father, Satyadip, who still works as a
loader in a nearby factory, heard of the collapse, he ran to the site.
“I was crazy. I tried to tear away the stones with my hands. For 13 days
I went there, round all the hospitals, to find him, to find my son. I
held on to my hope, but then we found him and he was not with us any
more.”

Rubana Huq, managing director of the Mohammadi Group,
travelled to the site of the collapse when she heard what had happened,
though she has no link to the factories there. She set up a small relief
operation and spent days handing out water and food to rescue workers.
“It made me think differently about the workers; that it is another
life, like mine,” she says.

Shapla has seen only one of the 20
girls she watched over since the day of the tragedy. She saw her,
fleetingly, at a bus stop. She has heard news of a second. The rest she
believes are dead. Now, when she sees their children, she feels “like a
criminal”. “I was the one who got them to go in. I was the one they
followed. I think about it all the time.”

• We Are What We Wear: Unravelling Fast
Fashion And The Collapse Of Rana Plaza by Lucy Siegle and Jason Burke
is published by Guardian Shorts (ebook, £1.99/$2.99). Visit guardianshorts.com
to read an extract and buy your copy. The Shirts On Our Backs, an
interactive documentary about Rana Plaza and the textile industry, is on
theguardian.com/rana.

…….
Link: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/19/rana-plaza-bangladesh-one-year-on
…….
regards

0

Affirmative action is dead

Even a liberal women’s block vote in the Supreme court could not block the inevitable.

Michigan is now free from the restraints of affirmative action in the Education arena. The 6-2 victory can be directly attributed to the Southern White backlash that helped elect Republican presidents with an objective to turn the Supreme Court red (among the new inductees were conservative icons such as Clarence Thomas who rose to prominence due to …affirmative action). The surprising YES vote was that of liberal Stephen Breyer. 

Now many more ballot initiatives are anticipated at the state level to roll back quotas in other areas as well.


But the majority decision, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, went well
beyond that. Without saying so explicitly, it appeared to give its
approval to ballot initiatives designed to roll back affirmative action
in other areas as well, such as hiring employees, awarding contracts—and
ending racial segregation.

…………
This is in effect good news for Asians (incl. Browns), until a time when Asians become too successful and the whites decide to vote for quotas (proportional to the population mix) as has been suggested in India.
.
The 6-2 ruling upheld the
constitutionality of a measure passed by referendum in Michigan that
disallowed so-called affirmative action in college admissions. Effectively favoring voter initiatives over the courts, the decision was
expected to have repercussions far beyond Michigan — governors of
Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma and West Virginia had supported
Michigan’s appeal. 

On Tuesday, liberal justice
Stephen Breyer voted with the conservative majority, and the fourth member of
the court’s liberal wing, Justice Elena Kagan, had recused herself. Writing for
the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy argued that the case was “not about
how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved. It is about who may
resolve it.”
“There is no authority
in the constitution of the United States or in this court’s precedents for the
judiciary to set aside Michigan laws that commit this policy determination to
the voters,” he said.
In 2006, Michigan voters approved a measure prohibiting
the state’s public universities and schools from “discriminating against
or granting preferential treatment for any individual or group on the basis of
race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.” 
Known as Proposition 2,
the measure was struck down by an appeals court, and the case reached the
Supreme Court.  The Michigan case comes on the heels of a high court
decision last year concerning affirmative action at the University of Texas. In
that case, justices elected not to rule on the constitutionality of using race
and ethnicity in admissions, instructing a lower court to take another look at
the sensitive matter. 



In 2003, the court ruled that universities could
consider factors such as race and sex in admissions but ruled out as
unconstitutional a strict point system such as that used by the University of
Michigan Law School.




Justice Kennedy acknowledged
that debate on issues such as racial preferences “all too often may shade
into rancor.” “But that does not justify removing certain
court-determined issues from the voters’ reach,” he said. “Democracy
does not presume that some subjects are either too divisive or too profound for
public debate.”

…..
Link(1): http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2014/04/post_16.html
Link(2): http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/johncassidy/2014/04/another-bad-day-for-affirmative-action.html
…..
regards

0

500 mil Speedsters on the (Whats App) Freeway

Amazing growth- 48 mil in India, 45 mil in Brazil for Whats App.
Still no clue as to how to monetize all this popularity (some teenager somewhere will figure that one out for sure).
……
The
numbers released by WhatsApp on Wednesday shows that the instant
messaging app continues to find users at an astounding pace. In a blog
post, WhatsApp announced that it now has over 500 million active users.
These users share 700 million photos and 100 million videos daily.

…..

“Thanks to all of you, half a billion people around the world are now
regular, active WhatsApp users,” WhatsApp noted in a post on the
official blog. “In the last few months, we’ve grown fastest in countries
like Brazil, India, Mexico, and Russia, and our users are also sharing
more than 700 million photos and 100 million videos every single day.
We
could go on, but for now, it’s more important that we get back to work –
because here at WhatsApp, we’re just getting started.





WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum told Recode, a website that covers technology
news, that of these 500 million users, around 48 million are based in
India. In Brazil, the service has 45 million users.

WhatsApp,
which started in 2009, was bought by Facebook in February in a deal
worth $19 billion. When seen together, Facebook and WhatsApp now have
nearly 1.5 billion active users, giving Facebook a huge reach, specially
on mobiles.

Earlier on April 1, WhatsApp had announced that
its users exchanged 64 billion messages in 24 hours, setting a new
record for the service.

However, despite the huge user base, it
is not yet clear how Facebook will monetise WhatsApp. The instant
messaging app doesn’t show advertisements and both Koum and Facebook CEO
Mark Zuckerberg have said that this won’t change anytime soon.

Koum told Recode that despite the fast growth, WhatsApp was not yet
thinking about monetisation. He said the focus remained on providing
clean and usable instant messaging service.

“There’s not enough
money and not enough celebrities in the world to convince people to use
a shitty product. People are so savvy these days. People expect a good
user experience,” Koum told Recode.

He also said the free voice calls feature on WhatsApp would be available to users in the coming months.
…..
Link: http://mashable.com/2014/04/22/whatsapp-500-million/
…..
regards

0

TCS (soft)powers India to Premier League

Once upon a time what was good for General Motors was also automatically considered good for America.
We presume the same thing holds true for TCS and India at present.

The rankings are a bit confusing, but whichever way you look (revenues, profit margin, employee count, market cap, growth rate) TCS is doing very well, perhaps only next to IBM.
……
This is a landmark for Indian IT. The country’s largest IT services
provider, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), has broken into the league of
top 10 global IT services companies (by revenue), moving from the 13th position in
2012 to the 10th spot in 2013.


“Talk to any incumbent western
service provider today, and the one making them all tremble from the
sub-continent is TCS,”
writes Jamie Snowdon, executive VP of research
operations at HfS Research, the consultancy firm that compiled the
ranking.

 

TCS is estimated to have IT services revenues of $10.1
billion (out of its total revenues of about $12.5 billion). IBM ($54.4
billion), Fujitsu ($32.1 billion), Hewlett-Packard ($29.2 billion) and
Accenture ($25.4 billion) lead the list.

 

India-based companies Cognizant,
Infosys, Wipro and HCL are at the 15th, 18th, 20th and 25th positions,
respectively, all of them rising by one to three spots compared to 2012.
HfS Research believes that Cognizant could be in the top 10 in the next
2-3 years, may be at the expense of US IT company CSC. CSC’s revenues
last year had dropped compared to the year before.

 

“The firm is increasingly being perceived by
many today as an alternative provider to the Western Tier 1s, that can
come in and fix messy contracts and implementations;
it has shown an
appetite and willingness pick up a lot of the low-margin, low-value work
that seemingly every Western Tier 1 wants out of and make the deals
profitable and leverageable across clients,” said Phil Fersht, CEO of
HfS. TCS also has an extraordinary profit margin, something that’s
normally difficult to achieve in conjunction with high revenue growth.

……..
Below is a September 2013 report from Forbes magazine. Time sure flies when you are in the (F1) driver’s seat.
…….
Mumbai-based Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and made it the world’s second most-valuable IT services company after IBM. That puts it ahead of rivals like Accenture and Hewlett-Packard.

TCS’ market valuation recently crossed $60 billion, ahead of
Accenture’s $50 billion and HP’s $43 billion, but trailing way behind
IBM’s $202 billion.





TCS is currently amongst the fastest-growing IT services companies
worldwide. TCS’ stock commands a huge premium, trading at around 27 times its
profits of the past 12 months, a five-year high, whereas rival IBM
trades at 12 times and Accenture trades at 17 times its latest earnings
per share. Its share price has spiked over 40% in the past three months.




TCS is notable in terms of employee count and geographical spread. In
March this year, its headcount was 276,196 employees. Rival IBM had
430,000 workers at last count, a bulk of them in India. In geographical
reach, the North American market – a vital market for India’s
outsourcing companies – accounts for half of TCS’ revenues. But a fifth
of its revenues come from emerging markets.


TCS is expected to continue to show strong revenue growth. TCS’ CAGR
in the past three years leading to FY13 was 22% compared with 13% for
Infosys and 10% for Wipro. However, TCS substantially lags behind IBM in
revenues and trails Accenture,too.

……
Link (1): http://www.businessinsider.in/Tata-Consultancy-Services-Joins-Top-10-Global-IT-Services-Companies-Club/articleshow/34076733.cms
Link (2): http://www.forbes.com/sites/saritharai/2013/09/13/indias-tcs-is-second-most-valuable-it-services-firm-globally/
…..
regards

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Rani of the Chopra-s

Best wishes to the couple!! Enjoy marital bliss for a long long time.

….
Popular Bollywood actor Rani Mukherjee has tied the knot with
Aditya Chopra, son of late iconic filmmaker Yash Chopra, according to
the Indian media.


The wedding — a private affair — took place in Italy on April 21.

Mukherjee established herself as a leading actress by doling out commercial hits like Hum Tum and Bunty aur Babli among others. She
earned universal critical acclaim when she enacted the role of a deaf
and blind girl in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s 2004 movie “Black”.

Chopra, who has maintained a relatively low profile, directed the 1995 blockbuster Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge starring the legendary Shahrukh-Kajol duo which is being played in Indian cinemas even now.

He
has written and directed several movies under the Chopra production
banner, establishing himself as one of India’s most bankable directors.

…..
 Link: http://www.dawn.com/news/1101555/rani-mukherjee-and-aditya-chopra-tie-the-knot-in-italy
…..
regards

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Saudis execute (1977) innocents

No not the Shias in the Eastern Provinces, not even the Alawaites of Syria, just a few protected (ha ha ha) birds in Balochistan. One commentator put the best spin forward when he suggested that the prince must have got confused between “endangered” and “abundant.”

Will the Riyal-khors ($1.5 Bil) now stand up against this flagrant violation of rules displayed by His Excellency? How about considering a blanket ban on “chidiya shikar?”
…..
A Saudi prince has poached over 2,100 internationally
protected houbara bustards in 21-day hunting safari in Chagai,
Balochistan, during which the royal also indulged in illegal hunting in
protected areas, says a report.


The
report titled ‘Visit of Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
regarding hunting of houbara bustard’ prepared by Jaffar Baloch,
divisional forest officer of the Balochistan forest and wildlife
department, Chagai at Dalbandin, says the prince hunted for 21 days –
from Jan 11, 2014 to Jan 31– and hunted 1,977 birds, while other members
of his party hunted an additional 123 birds, bringing the total bustard
toll to 2,100, sources said.

They said that
hunting of the internationally protected bird was banned in Pakistan
also, but the federal government issued special permits to Gulf states’
royals. Permits, which are person specific and
could not be used by anyone else, allow the holders to hunt up to100
houbara bustards in 10 days in the area allocated, excluding reserved
and protected areas.

The report dated Feb 4, 2014
(No: 216-219 HB/CHI) says that during the 21-day safari the prince
hunted the birds for 15 days in the reserved and protected areas,
poached birds in other areas for six days and took rest for two days.

Giving a breakup of date-wise as well as area-wise
details of the prince’s expedition, the report says that he hunted 112
houbara bustards in the Gut game sanctuary (Arbe pat) which is a
reserved and protected area on Jan 11, 2014.

The next two days on Jan 12 and 13th he hunted 116 and 93 birds in
the Gut game sanctuary (Sai Rek) which is also a reserved and protected
area. Then for the next two days Prince Fahd, who is also governor of
Tabuk, visited Sato Gut and hunted 82 and 80 houbaras on Jan 14 and 15,
respectively. On Jan 16, he visited Gut-i-Barooth and hunted 79
houbaras. Both these areas are not protected areas, says the report.

For the next six days the Saudi royal camped in the
Koh-i-Sultan state forest, which is a reserved and protected area, and
hunted 93, 82, 94, 97, 96 and 120 houbara bustards on Jan 17, 18, 19,
20, 21 and 22, respectively.

On Jan 23 and 24, he
continued his hunting spree in the Gut game sanctuary (Dam), which is a
reserved as well as protected area, and hunted 116 and 197 houbara
bustards, respectively.

The prince carried out
hunting of the protected bird in Thalo Station and hunted 89 houbara
bustards on Jan 25 and spent the next two days hunting the birds in Pul
Choto, killing 34 and 89 birds on Jan 26 and 27, respectively. Both of
these areas are neither reserved nor protected, says the report.

The remaining four days, Prince Fahd spent in the Gut
game sanctuary, a reserved as well as protected area, and hunted 92, 94,
119 and 97 birds on Jan 28, 29, 30, and 31, respectively. The royal
guest took rest on Feb 1 and 2 at the Bar Tagzai base camp after
bringing the grand total of his trophies to 1,977.

The report
says: “123 birds were hunted by local representatives and other
labourers of the hunting party. The total bustards hunted by Prince Fahd
bin Abdul Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud are 1,977 and total bustards
hunted by local representatives and other labourers are 123 bringing the
grand total to 2100”.

…..
Link: http://www.dawn.com/news/1101272/arab-royal-hunts-down-2100-houbara-bustards-in-three-week-safari
……
regards

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Animist Army vs. Christian Crusaders

The Church had sinned by engaging in a spot of idolatry (blasphemy??) by portraying Mother Mary as a tribal lady with Baby Jesus in a sling. The Animists are not prepared to take this outrage lying down and now a (century old) fight is reaching its Waterloo phase. With the fading of the Catholic-Parsi-Brahmin First Family of India from the scene the Christians will have a tough time (post elections) in keeping their ranks united and their flanks protected.

…..

Two months before polling began in Jharkhand, Ajay Tirkey began dividing
his day between campaigning for the Bharatiya Janata Party in Ranchi
and attending to his real estate business. Mr. Tirkey, who heads the
Central Sarna Committee(CSC), with lakhs of animistic Sarna tribals as members in urban parts of Ranchi, Gumla and Hazaribagh,
believes that the BJP’s Narendra Modi will get the community what it
has been demanding for decades: the distinction of being a minority
religion with all attendant benefits.
“We submitted a memorandum to Modi
in December to introduce a Sarna code in the census, and [the] BJP’s
State leaders agreed,” he says.



Mr. Tirkey owns the commercial
complex we are sitting in. “This is a century-old fight. I have not let
the Christians get away with conversions since I became the head in
2000,” he says. “We broke the walls of a church in Tape in Ormanjhi
while it was being constructed. There was a case of conversion of five
families in Ghagrajala village in Ranchi; we re-converted three. Then a
few families in Gaitalsud, Angada, of whom only one member escaped
because he worked somewhere else. He has not come back since; he fears
us,” he recounts, beaming.



Mr. Tirkey, the BJP’s mayoral candidate from Ranchi in 2013, describes the “re-conversion” ceremonies as being similar to the ghar-waapsi (homecoming)
ceremonies conducted by BJP leader Dilip Singh Judeo in Chhattisgarh,
in the mid-2000s. Mr. Judeo used to wash the feet of the converted
person with holy water and declare the person Hindu again. Sarnas, Mr.
Tirkey says, besides washing feet, made the converted person taste a
drop of blood of a freshly sacrificed rooster and sprinkled water on
them. A member of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh’s Vanvasi Kalyan
Ashram (VKA) or Dharam Jagran usually accompanied CSC members for this
ceremony, he says. Sitting by Mr. Tirkey’s side, Manoj Kumar, a member
of the BJP’s Jharkhand Kisan Morcha Pradesh Samiti, nods in agreement.



In the last century, religious conversions in the Chotanagpur region
have led to tensions. The first missionaries to arrive were the German
Protestants in 1845, followed by the Catholics. The rift between
Christian and non-Christian tribals was visible in 1947-48. Concerned
with the growing influence of Christians, Sarna leaders formed a ‘Sudhar
Sabha,’ notes academic Dr. Alex Ekka in an essay on the Jharkhand
movement.



The former captain of the Indian hockey team, Jaipal Singh Munda, is
credited with getting equal rights including reservations for Christian
tribals, as a member of the Constituent Assembly. A few Sarna leaders
opposed this move then. Congress MP Kartik Oraon introduced a bill in
Parliament in 1968 to de-schedule Christian tribals, albeit
unsuccessfully.



The Jan Sangh and the RSS began making inroads in the Chotanagpur region
in the 1960s, initiating developmental activities in forest villages to
counter the growing reach of Christian missionaries. While the VKA
already has a strong presence in the Gumla and Latehar districts of West
Jharkhand, more recently it has focused on increasing its influence in
Sahebganj and Pakur along the State’s border with West Bengal, close to
Bangladesh. Both districts feature in a map of areas from Uttar Pradesh
to the north-east as “Areas of high Muslim and Christian influence” in a
publication by Sankat Mochan Ashram, New Delhi.



“The church was trying to proselytize in Pakur but slowed down after we increased our presence. We recently performed ghar-waapsi
for 50 families there. Sarna groups are doing re-conversions themselves
now; we prefer it this way. We explain to them that 2000 years ago, we
worshipped trees. Sarnas are Hindu too,” says Prakash Kamat, the
Bihar-Jharkhand zonal secretary of the VKA.



Tribals constitute 26.3 per cent of Jharkhand’s population. According to
the 2001 Census, of the State’s population of 3.29 crore, 68.5 per cent
are Hindus and 13.8 per cent are Muslims. Only four per cent follow
Christianity. Though Sarnas, who worship their ancestors and nature, are
not counted separately, they make up most of the ‘Other’ category,
estimated at 11 to 13 per cent of the population. Sarna groups claim
that the actual numbers may be higher, given the absence of a separate
category for them. A common perception is that despite their small
numbers, Christian tribals have better access to higher education and
jobs. Whether due to economic disparities or the stoking of enmities by
different religious groups, the chasm between Sarna and Christian
tribals has widened.



The most stark instance of this was in 2013 when a spate of protests
erupted in Ranchi soon after the Cardinal Telesphore Toppo unveiled the
statue of a “tribal” Mary — a dark-skinned Mother Mary wearing a white
and red saree and bangles, holding an infant Jesus in a sling, as is
common among tribal women. Sarna dharamguru Bandhan Tigga,
considered more moderate than Ajay Tirkey’s group, gave the Church three
months to remove the statue, describing it as a conversion tactic. In
August, over 3,000 Sarna tribals marched to the site, a small Catholic
church in Singpur on Ranchi’s outskirts, threatening to bring it down.
 

The police imposed Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code in the area to
stop the protesters. Three days later, a FIR was registered against
members of Sarna groups after they threatened families in Ormanjhi, 50
km from Singpur, who had converted to Protestantism several years ago,
to re-convert to Sarna religion within a week, even breaking the gate of
the house of one of the families.



Sources close to the Cardinal claim he had not known that the statue was
that of a “tribal” Mary before he reached the parish for the
inauguration, but have chosen to stay silent, fearing that a step back
now may only weaken the church’s position. Before this, in 2008, the
church was on the back foot when Sarna groups questioned the ‘Nemha
Bible’ published by a Lutheran church in the tribal language, Kuduk,
which they said contained portions offensive to animistic worship.



In Singpur, the residents still recount last year’s protests cautiously.
“Thousands marched from Dhurva to the parish. While the march had been
called by Sarna groups, several Bajrang Dal members wearing saffron
bands marched with them. Even tribals from neighbouring Odisha,
Chhattisgarh districts reached here,” recalled a member of the
community. It was done by evoking Sarnas’ pride, say Dharam Jagran
members.

…..
Link: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/tribals-torn-apart-by-religion/article5934381.ece
…..
regards

0

Hindu-Jewish-Amrika axis exposed!!!

The one true Leader, despised by secularists (liberals), full of fighting spirit against Pakistan (Russia), the maestro preparing to unleash the magic of the free market on impoverished peasants, this is indeed the second coming of Ronald Wilson Reagan.

BTW Cohen is a Jewish title and he was an associate of GW Bush. By definition this makes him a neo-con who must be engaged in stitching up a Hindu-Jew-Amrika pact. Arundhati Roy will be responding shortly with an in-depth accounting of the anticipated treacheries by this axis of evil. Reihan Salam will be pleased (but what about Bangladeshis…in Bangladesh??).
……

Both Mr. Modi and Mr. Reagan rose from humble origins. Both were popular
and successful State leaders: Reagan was “chief minister” (governor, as
we say) of my home state of California. Mr. Modi, like Mr. Reagan, is
an unabashed proponent of free market economics: the term “Modinomics”
is of course a nod to “Reaganomics.”



A major common denominator between the two men is the nature of their
detractors.
Like the U.S., India has cultural elitists who seem to
desperately crave the approval of their former colonial masters in
Europe. The Indian cultural elite despises Mr. Modi every bit as much as
the American cultural elite despised Mr. Reagan.
They look down their
noses at Mr. Modi, cringing at the thought of being led by a common chai wallah (“tea
seller,” as I translated it for my U.S. readers) who can barely speak
English.
(I could never imagine Chinese or Russian citizens, proud of
their own heritage, being ashamed that their leaders don’t speak
English.)




The cultural elites labelled Mr. Reagan as a racist…..Mr. Modi, of course, is also labelled by his critics as a “communalist.”
I would call that roughly equivalent to the “racist” epithet that
Americans hurl at one another.
I must admit that as an outside observer, I often find the terms of
debate in India’s mainstream media to be confusing. As I understand it,
if you favor allowing citizens to be treated differently on the basis
of their religious beliefs, then you are an open-minded “secularist.”
If, on the other hand, you favour treating all citizens equally under
the law, without regard to their religion, then you are a “religious
extremist.”
It is comforting to learn that my country is not the only
one with a mainstream media that uses Orwellian doublespeak to support
its left-leaning agenda. (And I say that with all apologies and due
respect to this great newspaper, which has kindly offered me a forum!)




Mr. Modi, of course, promises to take a tough stand against
Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. In this regard, I reminded my American
readers that Islamic extremists are not fighting against the “West.”
Islamist extremists are fighting against all non-Islamic societies,
including Buddhists in Thailand; Christians in Nigeria, the Philippines,
Chechnya, Kosovo, Bosnia, Macedonia, Côte d’Ivoire, Sudan and
Timor-Leste; Jews in Israel; minority communities throughout the Muslim
world — and, quite prominently, Hindus in India.
India is very much on
the front lines of what we Americans used to call the War on Terror,
before our leaders lost the nerve to name it. Mr. Modi — his assertive
posture against Pakistan reminiscent of Mr. Reagan’s stance against the
Soviet Union — should be a valuable natural ally for the U.S.



As one who lived through Reaganomics, I believe that Modinomics can be
the perfect antidote to the kleptocratic crony socialism that has kept
India from realising her vast economic potential.
If India’s natural
entrepreneurial dynamism is ever fully unleashed, the sky will be the
limit. I am persuaded by the evidence (hotly debated in an election
season, of course) that shows that economic growth in Gujarat under Mr.
Modi has been a boon to all segments of society, especially the poor. I
am just sharing my view as an observer, and of course respect that it is
for the people of India to decide what is best for them.




 
(David B. Cohen served in the administration of President George W.
Bush as U.S. Representative to the Pacific Community, as Deputy
Assistant Secretary of the Interior, and as a member of the President’s
Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.)

…..
Link: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/is-india-about-to-elect-its-reagan/article5931362.ece
….
regards

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