SCIENCE & DEVELOPMENT

The West is Practicing Vaccine Apartheid At a Global Level

WITH an eighth of the world’s population, the rich countries – the US, Canada, UK and the EU – have received more than 50 per cent of the world’s vaccine doses. The US alone has received 147 million vaccine jabs (see Table 1). This is more than 14 times what the entire continent of Africa – with four times the population of the US – has received. And if we do not count the vaccine doses that Morocco, truly an outlier in Africa, has received, the US has received 60 times the vaccine doses that Africa has!

New Vehicle Scrappage Policy: Who Gains Most?

THE union budget presented in parliament on February 1, 2021 announced a long-promised and much-awaited vehicle scrappage policy. Subsequently, the minister for road transport and highways (MoRTH) provided some additional details, although the final policy document was not made available in the public domain on or after February 15 as he promised. Nevertheless, sufficient information is now available to enable at least a preliminary assessment of this policy.

As US Loses its Edge, Game of Cyber Chicken Could Have Deadly Consequences

TWO major hacks – SolarWind and Microsoft Exchange server hacks – have affected a whole range of computer systems. Both are supply-chain hacks, meaning what appeared to be a routine software upgrade to a particular component in the system instead inserted malicious code. In the SolarWind hack, a backdoor in one such component was downloaded to systems of 18,000 organisations, including even the US treasury, commerce, homeland security, state department.

Vaccine Wars, the ASEAN and the Quad

THE recent Quad declaration of the US, India, Japan and Australia has not foregrounded the military axis of their meeting but stressed more on the vaccine thrust against the Covid-19 pandemic. With the threat of a second or a third wave in various countries, vaccines are emerging as the centrepiece of not only global recovery but also of global diplomacy. That is why ASEAN – or South East Asia – with its 700 million people and its huge market, is at play in vaccine competition between the US, its Quad allies and China.

Market Fundamentalism and Texas Grid Failure

THE Texas grid failure impacted millions with no electricity and no heating in sub-zero temperatures for days. It has not only caused scores of deaths and injuries, but also economic havoc in the state. Even after two weeks of the blackouts, life is far from normal as the citizens deal with frozen and burst pipes, denying people access to safe water and causing extensive damages to the houses. More than 13 million Texans were asked to boil their water as municipal water supply services were damaged.

Online News Media & Other Content: Big Leap towards Censorship

THE government announced new Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 last week, superseding the 2011 Rules which mainly addressed intermediaries. The new rules provide for regulation of all kinds of online media, including intermediaries like Facebook or Google, over-the-top streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime, messaging services like Twitter or Whatsapp, and news and current affairs websites. While we may touch upon the other media, focus here will be online news media.

Science, Technology & Innovation Policy 2020

THE government has released a Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2020 (STIP 2020) and invited responses by January 31, 2021. The Department of Science & Technology and the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government did conduct a series of consultations with some scientists and other experts to seek, albeit prior to the actual formulation and release of the policy document leading to considerable disgruntlement in this community.

Science, Technology & Innovation Policy 2020

THEgovernment has released a Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2020 (STIP 2020) and invited responses by January 31, 2021. The Department of Science & Technology and the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government did conduct a series of consultations with some scientists and other experts to seek, albeit prior to the actual formulation and release of the policy document leading to considerable disgruntlement in this community.

Vaccine Nationalism

THE world seems to have turned topsy-turvy when the undisputed voices of global capital start talking about the virtues of “cooperation” among nations and “universal vaccination” in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. The International Monetary Fund, in its latest report, talks about “strong multilateral cooperation” and “universal distribution of vaccines...at affordable prices for all” for the global economy to recover.

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