India and China Strangers by choice

Text and picture from: The Economist 
Dated: August 19 2014

FEW subjects can matter more in the long term than how India and China, with nearly 40% of the world’s population between them, manage to get along. In the years before they fought a short border war, in 1962, relations had been rosy. Many in China, for example, were deeply impressed by the peaceful and successful campaign led by Mohandas Gandhi to persuade the British to quit India. A few elderly people in China yet talk of their admiration for Rabindranath Tagore, the Bengali writer who won the Nobel prize for literature in 1913. And though Nehru, India’s first prime minister, was resented as arrogant and patronising by some Chinese leaders, the early post-war years saw friendship persist and some popular respect for him too. In China, for example, books on India were then easily available—unlike today.

The past half-century has produced mostly squabbles, resentment and periodic antagonism. India felt humiliated by its utter defeat at the hands of Mao’s army in the 1962 war. China’s long-running close ties to Pakistan look designed to antagonise India. In return India is developing ever warmer relations with the likes of Vietnam and Japan. An unsettled border in the Himalayas, periodic incursions by soldiers into territory claimed by the other -Read more

The Michael Brown shooting: St Louis blues

Tears in Missouri

Tears in Missouri /Picture from The Economist


Text and picture from: The Economist Dated: August 16 2014 By Ferguson


MICHAEL BROWN was to start college this week. Instead, his parents are planning his funeral. On August 9th Mr Brown was shot several times and killed by a policeman in Ferguson, a suburb near St Louis, Missouri. The police say the black 18-year-old attacked the officer and tried to grab his gun. A friend who was with Mr Brown says that on the contrary, he was unarmed and had his hands up in the air.

Hundreds of irate Missourians took to the streets, chanting: “Hands up, don’t shoot!”. The protests soon turned violent. Looters and vandals hit local businesses. Quiktrip, a petrol station, was picked clean and burned. The police responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and road blocks. The Federal Aviation Authority declared Ferguson a no-fly zone, after -Read more

Shaming an internet celebrity


GUO MEIMEI /Picture from Economist



Text and picture from: The Economist Dated: August 14 2014

GUO MEIMEI had often featured in Chinese media, but her appearance on China Central Television (CCTV) on August 4th was different. A gifted self-publicist, the 23-year-old had once liked to flaunt designer handbags, pose by Maseratis and post selfies from tropical locales on social media. The broadcast showed Ms Guo wearing an orange prison-vest. She is the latest in a string of high-profile figures to confess crimes on CCTV, a state broadcaster, before standing trial.

A familiar pattern has been established. Led out by police, the handcuffed suspect makes a statement in which they show remorse and typically blame the crime on some moral defect. Chen Yongzhou, a former journalist who was arrested for corruption last year, said he had taken bribes because he “hankered after money and fame”. Before his arrest for hiring prostitutes Charles Xue, a Chinese-American venture capitalist with a large -Read more

Unshackling Prasar Bharati

From: The Hindu Dated: August 16 2014 EDITORIAL

No government has so far shown the will to grant full financial and administrative autonomy to Prasar Bharati, which was created by law in 1997. On paper an autonomous organisation, it largely remains a subordinate office of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The question of Prasar Bharati’s autonomy has surfaced again, with its Chief Executive Officer, Jawahar Sircar, writing to the Ministry protesting against the broadcaster having little say in its own functioning. He has contended that his suggestions on the posting and transfer of Indian Information Service officers in the news divisions of Akashvani and Doordarshan have been ignored. With electronic media organisations expanding exponentially in recent years, it may sound strange that there should -Read more

How to cure corruption in healthcare

Illustration: Sorit

Illustration: Sorit

Text and picture from: Dated: August 15 2014 By Kundan Pandey

So it comes as little surprise when a foreigner who has worked in the Indian medical system says, “kickbacks and bribes oil every part of the Indian healthcare machinery”.

Yet the observations made by Australian district medical officer David Berger, who has written an article in the British Medical Journal on his experience in working with an Indian hospital, -Read more

Earning £90,000 plus expenses wasn’t enough for Mark Simmonds

Mark Simmonds

Text and picture from: August 12 2014 By Chris Mullin

“What you don’t understand, Chris, is that no Tory MP can survive on £33,000 a year,” one of the grander Conservative MPs (and a multimillionaire to boot) remarked to me as we were queuing in the members’ tea room. Much to my embarrassment, he said this within the hearing of the serving women, whose wages were about a third of ours.

The year was 1995. Since then MPs’ salaries have more or less doubledand the allowances are a good deal more generous. Even so, it is apparent that many Tories struggle to survive on what most of their constituents would regard as an income beyond their wildest dreams. The departure of Mark Simmonds is only the latest evidence.

It is not as though Simmonds was festering on the backbenches. On the contrary. He held one of the most fulfilling jobs in government – Africa minister -Read more

Big victory in Turkey

Erdogan wins

Recep Tayyip Erdogan (pictured with his wife) /Picture from The Economist

Text from: The Hindu Dated: August 12 2014 EDITORIAL

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdog˘an, already in his third term, has registered a resounding victory, now as the country’s first-ever directly elected President, rendering a run-off redundant. Sunday’s presidential race was a sequel to the 2007 referendum which authorised the election of the head of state by popular ballot, replacing the system of appointment by legislature. Turkey’s turbulent recent years have been marked by a paradoxical course of events. On the one hand, the Opposition has mounted a sustained challenge to the suppression of democratic dissent by the government. These were exemplified among other events by the 2013 -Read more