Archive for December, 2008

Foreign funds to Indian NGOs soar – The Times of India

December 24, 2008 55 comments

Statistics released by the home ministry regarding ‘foreign funds to NGOs’ show that India, which has a total of 33,937 registered associations, received Rs 12,289.63 crore in foreign contributions during 2006-07 as against Rs 7,877.57 crore in 2005-06, a substantial increase of nearly Rs 4,400 crore (56%) in just one year.

The US, Germany, the UK, Switzerland and Italy were the top five foreign contributors during 2006-07. These five countries have consistently been the big donors since 2004-05. Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada and France are the other countries which figure prominently in the list of foreign donors. (via Foreign funds to Indian NGOs soar, Pak among donors-India-The Times of India).

Foreign aid kitty - Table courtesy - Times of India

Foreign 'aid' kitty - Table courtesy - Times of India

What does this mean …

Rs 12,289.63 crore is roughly US$3 billion – based on average dollar value for 2008.

And it is a lot of money.

That is more money than what the US Govt. gave as aid to more than the 100 poorest countries. Till a few years ago, India annual FDI was US$ 4 billion – just a little more than the US$3 billion that India received as charity through various NGOs in 2008.

The total US Official Development Assistance to the whole of sub-Saharan Africa (more than 40 countries), in 2007, was “US$4.5 billion was contributed bilaterally and an estimated $1.2 billion was contributed through multilateral organizations”.

What is the source of these funds …

The rich, the poor and the middle class in these ‘charitable countries’ are themselves deep in debt. Where are they getting the money from? Why are they being so liberal towards India? What is the source of these funds?

Where this money going …

Is it going as thinly disguised aid to Naxal affected areas – where some ‘Christian’ missionaries are working to ‘save’ the tribals? Is it going towards publicity for causes which are thinly disguised trade issues – child labour (which is, in many cases, a system of apprenticeship for traditional skills).

Or are these NGOs promoting policy frameworks which are distorting India’s social systems? The Population Myth /Problem /Explosion for instance was promoted for the first decade by Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation and USAID. Are they behind the NGOs which are promoting Section 498 laws as a legal solution – a solution that ‘benefits’ about 5000 women and creates about 150,000 women as victims.

These are laws and policies which are undermining the Indian family system. Which country in the world has a stable family structure with such low divorce rates as India?

The Clintons, The Gates, The Turners, et al

The ‘progressive liberal’ establishment in the West is viewed rather benignly in India – and seen as ‘well wishers’ of India. Many such ideas are welcomed in India without analysis. These ideas are viewed positively, as the source of such initiatives is seen as well-intentioned.

A ‘tolerant’ and ‘open’ society like India can be a complacent victim to trojan horses.

Western leaders turn to Catholicism … What gives …?

December 24, 2008 1 comment

For centuries the monarch has constitutionally been the supreme governor of Church in England, the main emblems of establishment. Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, suggested that he could see a day when the British monarch is removed as head of the Church of England. It would not be “the end of the world” if the Church of England was “disestablished,” he told the ‘New Statesman’ magazine. (via Labour party mulls ouster of Queen from Church of England).

A trial balloon …?

Sometime back another trial balloon was floated – when,

Justice Minister Jack Straw said in March that the government was “certainly ready to consider” reviewing the “antiquated” ban on Catholic monarchs.

Rules laid out in the Bill of Rights 1688, the Act of Settlement 1700 and the Act of Union 1706 state that the monarch must be a Protestant, and any royal who marries a Catholic is barred from the line of succession. (from’Britain mulls allowing Catholic monarchs: report in Hindustan Times)

Catholic Track Record

Catholic Track Record

Conversion of Western political leaders to Catholicism …

What was the reason for Tony Blair to convert to Catholicism? Is that ‘dog-whistle’ religiosity with a unified Christian army against the ‘evil forces of Islamic Fundamentalists?’

Jeb Bush, brother of George Bush has already converted to Catholicism. Will George Bush follow? In February 2004, a post in Tehelka magazine documented a new aggressive campaign by US Christian evangelical groups – approved by George Bush.

Daniel Burke writes Washington Post thus,

Bush attends an Episcopal church in Washington and belongs to a Methodist church in Texas, and his political base is solidly evangelical. Yet this Protestant president has surrounded himself with Roman Catholic intellectuals, speechwriters, professors, priests, bishops and politicians. These Catholics — and thus Catholic social teaching — have for the past eight years been shaping Bush’s speeches, policies and legacy to a degree perhaps unprecedented in U.S. history.

The British split from the Roman Church was a political move that pushed the decline of Vatican’s power. Vatican’s refusal to grant Henry VIII’s a divorce was itself a political decision.

Another political decision? The political logic of this decision?

India will have to deal with Pak problem on its own: Pranab-India-The Times of India

December 23, 2008 1 comment

Mukherjee, who was addressing a global conference of over 122 Indian envoys, said that India will have to “deal with this problem” on its own, since international action against Pakistan has not been enough.

On Saturday, the political leadership discussed the option of precision strikes against terrorist targets on Pakistan-controlled territory. This marked the end of India’s restraint, in the face of Pakistan’s assurances made under pressure from the international community, particularly the US and UK.

There were also indications that the US might be aware of India’s readiness to strike targets across the border. (via India will have to deal with Pak problem on its own: Pranab-India-The Times of India).

Indian diplomats now need to start working – seriously.

Better late than never. At least Pranab Mukherjee understands that India is alone – and the Rest of the world cannot care for India’s problems. They have enough of their own. India has to manage this initiative alone. There cannot be another way.

Options Indian can consider.

  1. Zardari wants to export cement and sugar to India. India has a large market for both – and can easily absorb Pakistani exports. Tie these Pakistani exports to quantitative achievements in shutting down terror camps in Pakistan.
  2. Pakistan precarious financial position does not allow it the luxury of an arms race with India. Pakistan has access to Western technology for – in defence for RDX, machine guns, PACs, etc. The world must withdraw all technology from Pakistan for all arms and ammunition. No RDX, no tanks, no F-16s, no APCs. Pakistan must be put on strict diet of military technology blockade by the world. No less.
  3. Fake Indian currency notes are also allegedly coming out of technology supplied by Europeans. Close these channels. Pakistan’s suspected role in counterfeit currency operations must also be put under the scanner. Controlling Government’s of the 12 companies that dominate the currency printing business must be made to choose. Between India and Pakistan. If the German Government can arm twist their companies to suspend currency supply to Zimbabwe, there is no excuse for them to not to lean on dealings with Pakistan.
  4. Pakistani Hindus (especially Dalits) are crucial to Pakistan. Announce a scheme for Hindu immigration from Pakistan to India. The loss of this 2% of Pakistani population can make life difficult for Pakistan. Facilitate their immigration to India.
  5. Work with US, NATO, Afghan Governments to close down the Peshawar arms bazaar. This small time bazaar became the sourcing centre for terrorists all over the world. Initially, stocked up with arms from the CIA funded jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan, Peshawar, has become a problem that never ends. If required, there should be a UN mandate to send in a multinational force to surround, capture and destroy this centre for arms and armaments.
  6. Pakistan is at the crossroads of a jihadi, terrorist, criminal elements who have joined together and created an incendiary mash-up. Fueled by a drugs trade worth billions, arms trade worth millions and respectability, as they are ‘carrying out a religious jihad’.

    The leadership of these gangs has to be de-fanged. LK Advani, as the earlier Home Minister, forwarded a list of ‘Most Wanted 20′ to Pakistan nearly 7 years ago. Not one has come to India. The US has not co-operated on this one important Indian requirement.

How can India make this happen

Pakistan’s (valid) security concerns should be met with a tripartite agreement between China, India and Pakistan which will guarantee Pakistan’s current borders. No disputes, no claims from Pakistan have any legitimacy any more. Let Pakistan take care of its current territory and people. POK will remain with Pakistan – and current LOC will remain unchanged. So, Pakistan will not lose.

It has to be realpolitik. India can no longer give away benefits without quid pro quo. Make P&G, ABB, Alsthom, Renault, Unilever, Siemens, Pepsi and Coke earn their living. The Indian operations of these companies pack a mean heft. They must join in to secure the markets they wish to exploit. The US has to deliver. Peshawar markets must close down. The Pakistan defence production cannot be used against India. Pakistan has to deliver the criminal elements – dead or alive.

Indian co-operation with the West on the new world financial system will be based on co-operation by the West. India should move to create systems which allow political and social stabilization a rule – and not an exception.

These strategic elements of using Indian advantages to gain our ends is the way to forge ahead.

The Real Price of Gold — National Geographic Magazine

December 22, 2008 4 comments

The Real Price of Gold — National Geographic Magazine; Photograph by Randy Olson

The Real Price of Gold — National Geographic Magazine; Photograph by Randy Olson

In all of history, only 161,000 tons of gold have been mined, barely enough to fill two Olympic-size swimming pools. More than half of that has been extracted in the past 50 years. Now the world’s richest deposits are fast being depleted, and new discoveries are rare. Gone are the hundred-mile-long gold reefs in South Africa or cherry-size nuggets in California. Most of the gold left to mine exists as traces buried in remote and fragile corners of the globe.

According to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), there are between 10 million and 15 million so-called artisanal miners around the world, from Mongolia to Brazil. Employing crude methods that have hardly changed in centuries, they produce about 25 percent of the world’s gold and support a total of 100 million people. It’s a vital activity for these people—and deadly too.

At the other end of the spectrum are vast, open-pit mines run by the world’s largest mining companies. Using armadas of supersize machines, these big-footprint mines produce three-quarters of the world’s gold. They can also bring jobs, technologies, and development to forgotten frontiers.

Gold mining, however, generates more waste per ounce than any other metal, and the mines’ mind-bending disparities of scale show why: These gashes in the Earth are so massive they can be seen from space, yet the particles being mined in them are so microscopic that, in many cases, more than 200 could fit on the head of a pin.

Even at showcase mines, such as Newmont Mining Corporation’s Batu Hijau operation in eastern Indonesia, where $600 million has been spent to mitigate the environmental impact, there is no avoiding the brutal calculus of gold mining. Extracting a single ounce of gold there—the amount in a typical wedding ring—requires the removal of more than 250 tons of rock and ore. Lured by the benefits of operating in the developing world—lower costs, higher yields, fewer regulations—Newmont has generated tens of thousands of jobs in poor regions. But it has also come under attack for everything from ecological destruction to the forced relocation of villagers.

India produces very little gold of its own, but its citizens have hoarded up to 18,000 tons of the yellow metal—more than 40 times the amount held in the country’s central bank. (via The Real Price of Gold — National Geographic Magazine).

The important points …

The poor condition of the workers who produce the ore from which gold is extracted.

The production of gold in the last 50 years is equal to half of total production in mankind’s entire history.

Blaming India for high gold consumption.

The missing points …

India has the largest reserves of gold in the world – but has never been a significant producer except when British colonialists used ‘captive’ Indian labour to extract gold from the Champion Reef in Kolar Gold Fields during the 1875-1925 period, when a few tons hundred tons were extracted.

But India has the largest reserves of gold. How were these reserves acquired? Trade, labour, output, products.That is how.

Not loot – like the Anglo Saxon reserves. Not genocide – like in the cases of Canada, Australia or USA. Not slavery like in South African Apartheid regime, or in Ghana, Peru.

It is this lack of slavery in India, which stopped India from becoming a gold producer – ever, in history.

Spain Targets Sex Traffickers With Aid to Prostitutes

December 22, 2008 4 comments

One of ten ‘eligible’ women is a sex worker. Is this a temporary spike or will it get ‘progressively’ worse?

Most prostitutes in Spain, like these photographed in Madrid in April, are persuaded to leave lives of hardship in South America, Africa and Eastern Europe with fake promises of work. | Photo - Cristina Arias, Getty Images; courtesy - .

Most prostitutes in Spain, like these photographed in Madrid in April, are persuaded to leave lives of hardship in South America, Africa and Eastern Europe with fake promises of work. | Photo - Cristina Arias, Getty Images; courtesy - .

Every day about 1.5 million Spaniards and foreigners pay for sex in the country’s cities and border regions, according to Malostratos, a Madrid-based group lobbying to outlaw prostitution.

Eighty percent of Spain’s 400,000 sex workers come from places including China, Romania and Latin America, many coerced by gangs, Equality Ministry figures show. In response, the government will bring into force measures on Jan. 1 to shelter and aid prostitutes who break away from traffickers. (via News).

Not a gender issue - but a deeper systemic-societal design problem

Not a gender issue - but a deeper systemic-societal design problem

Slice and dice …

Now Spain has a population of 40 million people. There are a 13 million of these between the age of 15-64 years.

Assume that half of these 13 million are the right gender – that is 6.5 million women. Assume further that a quarter of these 6.5 million women cannot ‘qualify’ to become prostitutes due to age, health, infirmity, deformity, appearance, etc.

That leaves us with roughly 4 million ‘eligible’ candidates – of which 400,000, i.e. 10% of ‘eligible’ women are prostitutes.

Apparently, US Deptt. of Justice figures. Estimates are that Euro-US region has 4 million prostitutes - for less than 150 million males as the 'target' market.  |  Image by Abi Daker.

Apparently, US Deptt. of Justice figures. Estimates are that Euro-US region has 4 million prostitutes - for less than 150 million males as the 'target' market. | Image by Abi Daker.

Western propaganda

Spanish newspapers make good money in running ad-campaigns for prostitution services – and are reluctant to stop these ads.

Spain is a part of the EU, the Developed World, the OECD, etc., etc.

Makes one think …

The wonder that is the Anglo Saxon legal system …

December 22, 2008 2 comments

There are almost 10,000 Muslims in Britain’s jails— with 90 of them serving time for terror offences … they fear more and more young lags are being converted and radicalised in prison. A … source said: “You are talking about rootless young men at the bottom of society. They’re in jail and someone gives them some purpose. ”

In top-security jails such as Whitemoor, Cambs, 35 per cent of inmates are Muslim—and they have converted numerous other prisoners to Islam. (via MI5 spy chiefs are putting undercover officers into Britain’s jails | News | News Of The World).

Slice and dice …

Britain has an estimated 1.6 million Muslims – a 2.8% of the British population. Of this a 10,000 are in prison – which means about 0.6% of the British Muslim population is in prison. India has 16 crore Muslims – which a 100 times higher population.

What if …

India were to follow the British policy of imprisonment, the Indian Muslim inside prisons would be in 10 lakhs (or 1 million). India’s total prison population ranges between 2.5 lakhs to 3.5 lakhs.

Of course, Indian society handles crime vastly differently. Technically, India could create a legal system which would ease the ability of the police to imprison people, or better still hang them – and hide its social problems. Or they could handle this differently – and humanely. Which is what is happening.

Is there an alternative …

Combine this with a low police-to-population ratio and low crime rates. What you have then, is a modern Indian conundrum. This is not supposed to happen. But then, in India, there is a 4000 year of history which makes low prison population, low police to population ratio and a low crime rate possible.

The other question is this wonder called Anglo Saxon system of justice, jurisprudence et al.

These nasty figures raise a ‘orrific stink, dont they, my boy?

OPEC to cut oil output by 2 mn barrels a day

December 18, 2008 Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s de-facto leader, said today the group will slash a record 2 million barrels from its daily production as of January 1, while Russia and other countries said they would remove hundreds of thousands of additional barrels from the market.

An official decision to cut 2 million barrels from output all at once would be a first for the organization. OPEC had cut that amount from its output four years ago, but that was done in two stages.

Also significant would be formal support from Russia, Azerbaijan and other non-OPEC producers. Mexico, Norway and Russia slashed production in the late 1990s, at a time oil was selling for about $10 a barrel. (via OPEC to cut oil output by 2 mn barrels a day).

These price cuts may be difficult to sustain for a simple reason that Oil revenues are a significant part of Government revenues in these countries.  While oil revenues are on a down ward drift – Government expenses are trending upwards. Combine this the recessionary global outlook, and pump priming will increase Government’s expense bills.

The US-OPEC nexus of increasing oil prices leading to greater dollar liquidity onto higher lending resulting in global overcapacity boosting asset prices in booming stock markets is now broken.

To recreate that cycle will take a decade – at least, if at all.

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