august 17 2007

August 18, 2007 § Leave a comment

august 17 2007

A modern crematorium: absence in Buddhist India | openDemocracy

The detour took us into a very traditional India. Villages of mud-brick, daub and whattle, the acridity of dung-fires, string-beds on the stoop, tooth-sticks, washed-out road-beds. There are no unpopulated horizons and no concealing the poverty in this, the poorest state in India. Villagers, men, women and children were out breaking rocks under the cliffs for construction-industry aggregate. The equivalent of £1.50 a day was the going rate – so we were informed. Not all the poverty was evident. The papers in Patna were recording a spate of rural suicides – the victims of money-lenders. For many, this is still the life of misery to which in his time the Buddha brought his message of compassion.

Confronting the New Conservatism: The Rise of the Right in America by Michael J. Thompson [Editor] –

Confronting the New Conservatism: The Rise of the Right in America

by Michael J. Thompson [Editor]

‘Bollywood’ looks at Indian filmmaking through ‘Othello’ adaptation
But Bhatt also points out that as Bollywood gets glossier and more technically sophisticated, catering to its diasporic audiences, the films themselves are changing. “[T]oday Bollywood has erased the rural poor, they’ve disappeared from our films,” says Bhatt, who has produced his share of urban potboilers. Bollywood is now big business, part of global India Inc.The War as We Saw It – New York Times

As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day. (Obviously, these are our personal views and should not be seen as official within our chain of command.)

The claim that we are increasingly in control of the battlefields in Iraq is an assessment arrived at through a flawed, American-centered framework. Yes, we are militarily superior, but our successes are offset by failures elsewhere. What soldiers call the “battle space” remains the same, with changes only at the margins. It is crowded with actors who do not fit neatly into boxes: Sunni extremists, Al Qaeda terrorists, Shiite militiamen, criminals and armed tribes. This situation is made more complex by the questionable loyalties and Janus-faced role of the Iraqi police and Iraqi Army, which have been trained and armed at United States taxpayers’ expense.

Indian Summer: The secret history of the end of an Empire, by Alex von Tunzelmann – Independent Onli

Indian Summer: The secret history of the end of an Empire, by Alex von Tunzelmann

The enthralling story of the personalities behind Britain’s withdrawal from India, 60 years ago this week

Indian Summer: The secret history of the end of an Empire, by Alex von Tunzelmann – Independent Onli

In this impressive debut, Alex von Tunzelmann sets the drama of Britain’s precipitant retreat from her most highly prized colonial possession, the “Jewel in the Crown”, against the intrigue which unfolded with the appointment of Earl Mountbatten as the last viceroy – a love triangle involving his countess, Edwina, and the first premier of free India, Jawaharlal Nehru. The author describes this rapidly developing affair, at the height of the crisis sparked by independence, while also emphasising the considerable influence it had on the partition of the subcontinent.

Indian Summer: The secret history of the end of an Empire, by Alex von Tunzelmann – Independent Onli

Mountbatten, as his papers show, pressed Attlee for a firm date and the premier capitulated, giving the king’s cousin a brief to get Britain out in nine months at most, whether the Indians were ready or not. Attlee willed the end and was not particularly concerned about the means – any chaos wouldn’t happen on Britain’s watch.

Indian Summer: The secret history of the end of an Empire, by Alex von Tunzelmann – Independent Onli
Despite some flowery overwriting, this is a timely and provocative account of the division of a subcontinent which is now giving birth to an Asiatic economic boom, as well as proving an epicentre of fundamentalist revolution and jihad – with disturbing parallels with the events of 60 years ago. *India At 60 – Forbes.com
In fact, as I have tried to argue elsewhere (in my book The Argumentative Indian, Piccador, 2005), India’s long argumentative tradition and toleration of heterodoxy, going back thousands of years, has greatly helped in making democracy flourish with such ease.

India At 60 – Forbes.com

There is reason enough to celebrate many things happening in India right now. But there are failures as well, which need urgent attention. For example, there is still widespread undernourishment in general and child undernutrition in particular–at a shocking level. The failures include, quite notably, the astonishing neglect of elementary education in India, with a quarter of the population–and indeed half the women–still illiterate.

Second Life’s Real-World Problems – TIME

Second Life’s Real-World Problems – TIME
He was kidding, but the site’s failure to live up to expectations is serious business.Second Life’s Real-World Problems – TIME
But some devotees are so upset by increasing commercialization that a group called the Second Life Liberation Army last year gunned down virtual shoppers at American Apparel. So-called griefing, or on-site harassment, is on the rise. Says Gartner research chief Steve Prentice: “Second Life is moving into a phase of disillusionment.”

Sample Chapter for Gourevitch, P. and Shinn, J.: Political Power and Corporate Control: The New Glob
Political Power and Corporate Control:
The New Global Politics of Corporate Governance
Peter A. Gourevitch & James Shinn

Sample Chapter for Gourevitch, P. and Shinn, J.: Political Power and Corporate Control: The New Glob
Corporate governance systems reflect public policy choices. Countries pass laws that shape incentives, which in turn shape governance systems. Some countries have rigorous prohibitions on insider trading, vigorous markets for control, strong protection of minority shareholders (rules on accounting, corporate boards, securities), and effective rules for product-market competition and antitrust. These countries have diffuse patterns of share ownership and managerial supervision through boards elected by their shareholders. Other countries encourage block-holding by allowing pyramid leveraging and cross-shareholding, restricting markets for control, limiting competition, and offering weak protection to minority shareholders.

Sample Chapter for Gourevitch, P. and Shinn, J.: Political Power and Corporate Control: The New Glob
In the late nineteenth century, the U.S. system resembled those of Europe: large “trusts” or oligopolies were controlled by shareholder blocks in the hands of individuals and banks; minority shareholder protection was weak, insider trader scandals common. Then laws were passed: the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890, several laws following the 1905 Armstrong Commission on the insurance industry, the Glass-Steagall Act on banking in 1933, the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, and now Sarbanes-Oxley of 2002. It is this legislation, regulatory structure, and their enforcement that changed corporate governance in the United States.

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