SCIENCE & DEVELOPMENT

Facebook’s Funny Money – or Facebucks – and Real Money

FACEBOOK’S proposed currency Libra – or as a wag put it, Facebucks – has created a storm. Libertarians see Libra, a variant of a cryptocurrency backed by Facebook’s big bucks and the bevy of companies that it has put together, bringing the day when cryptocurrencies will truly challenge all global currencies and fulfilling Hayek’s dream of The Denationalisation of Money.

Cyber Bombs, the Russian Grid and the Threat of War

THE New York Times recent report that the US Cyber Command has planted “malware” – read cyber bombs – deep into the Russian grid, should worry not just the Russian people, but all of us.  Taking down a country’s grid leads to blackouts, and disrupts a country’s vital infrastructure: communication networks such as metros, railways, airports, hospitals, telecommunications including cell phones; it can lead to failure of hydroelectric plants and dams causing devastating floods, nuclear plants outages and possible meltdown.

Global Capital, Digital Monopolies and New Forms of Enclosure

THE beginning of the digital monopoly age, the age in which the digital monopolies start emerging and the neoliberal economic model has been roughly coterminous. Both come of age in the 90s. While the neoliberal economic model seems to be in a crisis, the digital monopolies show no sign of flagging. On the contrary, along with the continued expansion of older players, we are witnessing the rise of many new ones.

Continuing Trade-cum-Tech War between the US and China

THE US sanctions on Huawei has transformed what started as a trade war between the US and China into a full blown tech war. The US has followed the additional tariffs of 10-25 per cent on $250 billion Chinese goods by putting Huawei, the Chinese telecom and mobile manufacturing giant, on the “entities list”, effectively a sanctions list. This forbids all companies having US content from selling to it.

Fiat-Chrysler and Renault Mega Auto Merger

ITALIAN-US automobile major Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has proposed a 50:50 “merger of equals” with Renault (pronounced reno) of France which the latter, and major shareholders of both companies, have responded favourably to. If and when the merger does go through, and we shall discuss the ifs and buts later, it will create the world’s third largest auto maker behind Toyota of Japan and Volkswagen (VW) of Germany.

By Blacklisting Huawei, US Escalates Technological War on China

THE latest round of US measures targeting telecommunications giant Huawei is an escalation of its war against China in the field of technology. Huawei has been the subject of US measures earlier too. While those steps were aimed at restricting the company’s entry into 5G networks in various countries, this round of sanctions is an attempt to deny vital equipment and software updates to the company, effectively crippling its core business.

OFFENSIVE ON TWO FRONTS

PepsiCo and Monsanto’s Bogus Court Cases is a War on Indian Farmers

THE PepsiCo case against nine potato farmers in Gujarat for violating its Intellectual Property Rights under Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Protection Rights (PPV&FR) has brought out the threat that the US multinationals pose to Indian farmers. PepsiCo is claiming damages of Rs 1.05 crore from each farmer. It follows an earlier case in May last year in Delhi High Court where Monsanto has claimed patent rights over its Bt Cotton seed and sued a Telangana seed company.

Free Julian Assange: Why we Must Raise Our Voices Against US Tyranny?

JULIAN Assange’s arrest by the UK police from the Ecuadorian Embassy after the Moreno administration withdrew his asylum, has drawn worldwide condemnation. Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire are among the leading figures who have condemned Assange’s arrest. In India, N Ram, Arundhati Roy, Gopal Gandhi, Indira Jainsing, P Sainath and Romila Thapar, condemning the arrest, stated, “His (Assange’s) arrest, and the attempt to extradite him to the US are, clearly, attacks on freedom of the press and its right to publish.”

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