A CONSPIRACY was hatched, at the behest of the global elite, in Geneva in 2012 that has far reaching implications for the welfare and well being of billions of people across the world. The conspiracy involves the commencement of secret negotiations, called the ‘Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)’ that seeks to convert all forms of services across the world into tradable commodities. The latest round of negotiations in this process concluded in Geneva in June 2014.
WITHIN days of the BJP-led government coming to power, announcement was made of an enhanced policy thrust on ethanol-blending of petrol. While the earlier biofuels policy of the government, initiated by the Vajpayee-led NDA government and followed through by the UPA, mandated 5% blending of ethanol in petrol, the Modi-led government announced its intention to ratchet up the mandatory blending to 10%. There are still some procedural steps to be taken before the policy declaration comes into force but indications are that the government is serious about this new policy push.
THE Indian media has missed the major implications of the latest Snowden disclosures. It is not simply that India is one of the countries, or that the BJP is one of the political organisations under NSA surveillance. The real question is how is the NSA carrying out this surveillance? The answer to that lies in another piece of the puzzle that is now public – India is one the 33 countries that has “3rd party” agreement that allows NSA access its telecom and internet network subject to this intelligence being shared.
SINCE being installed in government, the BJP’s ministers have announced a slew of measures to usher in “better days”. True to this pattern, the new government’s health minister – Dr Harsh Vardhan – has articulated a number of priorities in the health sector. None of them come as a surprise as they are true to the BJP’s core ideology of further promoting the neo-liberal agenda of the previous UPA government.
THE only reason there is a question mark at the end of the title is that, although a policy note is pending consideration by the cabinet, the BJP-led government has not yet announced its decision. But the drumbeats in support of a policy to further liberalise the defence manufacturing sector to FDI are growing louder, led by Indian corporates with clear vested interests, as well as some strategic experts advancing a spurious logic and some economists and miscellaneous commentators who perennially clamour for FDI in any and all spheres, as if it were the panacea for all difficulties.
PRIME Minister Narendra Modi is notoriously fond of flashy mega projects whose value seems to lie not in any intrinsic merits, but in their audacious scale and in what they proclaim about his vision, authority and leadership capability. The huge statue of Sardar Patel in Gujarat under then Chief Minister Modi is a good example.
IT is as certain as we can be in science that we will lose the Antarctic ice sheet within the next 200-500 years, leading to a devastating rise of about four metres in sea level. Worse, the process is now irreversible. Two separate studies --- one by the NASA used satellite and airborne radar data for the past 40 years, and the other by European Space Agency's CryoSat2 satellite that measured the height of the glaciers --- have both come to very similar conclusions. The Antarctic is losing ice from the glaciers at approximately 160 billion tonnes a year.
NETmundial – a global conference on Internet governance – was held last week in Sao Paulo (April 23-24) and ended with a non-binding outcome statement that was weak on surveillance and with some gains for big business. Big business managed to smuggle in some measures to help them on intellectual property and managed to bury net neutrality, considered a major issue for Internet users, into a future action section.
THE recent disclosures that have come in the press that Vodafone and Verizon have helped their “parent” spy outfits – GCHQ (UK) and NSA (USA) – to spy on the Indian telecom network will not be a shock to the readers of this column. We have been writing on the dangers that foreign owned telecom companies pose to the Indian network as they can be used as Trojan horse.
THE third most important set of revelations from Snowden's treasure trove of NSA documents took place last week. Der Spiegel, a leading German newspaper, published a set of reports that show how networks and computers have been compromised by the NSA. This was complemented by Jacob Appelbaum's address in the 30th Chaos Communications Congress in Hamburg, which brought out the range of methods that NSA uses to take over and eavesdrop on networks and systems. What also stands out is the number of American companies that have such “backdoors” in their systems and equipment.