Lankan air force plane makes emergency landing in Chennai

Chennai/Colombo, Aug 28 A Sri Lankan Air Force transport aircraft with seven soldiers and two crew members today landed under emergency conditions at Anna International Airport here following a technical problem. ....

Islamic militants among prisoners freed from Libyan jail

Tripoli, Libya -- Hundreds of Islamist militants were among the prisoners freed from a notorious Tripoli prison this week, according to a former Libyan jihadist.The freed militants had been imprisoned in Tripoli...

Indian activist to end fast after parliament agrees to his demands

New Delhi -- India's Parliament resolved Saturday to accept demands raised by 74-year-old activist Anna Hazare to tackle chronic corruption in the country.Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote a letter to Hazare relaying ......

Typhoon Nanmadol expected to miss northern Philippines

Manila, Philippines Typhoon Nanmadol is not expected to make landfall in the Philippines, forecasters said Friday, a development that may be cheered in the places that were supposed to be in the path of the powerful storm.

Irene batters New York, raising fears of flooding

Seawater surged into flood-prone areas of New York on Sunday as Tropical Storm Irene hit the city, downgraded from a hurricane but still bringing fierce winds and rain. Some 370,000 people were ordered to evacuate and . ..

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Why america hiring india against china or Why India Has an Advantage Over China

These are interesting times to be a university professor in North America, with both anecdotal and objective data suggesting a steady decline in student motivation and skills. During the first session of every class, I’ve taken to relating to my students some of my observations from giving a series of lectures at Jawarlahal Nehru University in New Delhi some time ago. I tell them about how the students at JNU take their education much more seriously than do students in Western universities, about how they don’t complain about extra work or the difficulty of classes, but rather appreciate the increasing competitiveness of a globalised economy and therefore the importance of every small iota of knowledge or skills an educator can provide.

There is a valid criticism, of course, that the Indian educational model is possibly more beset with rote learning, versus the West’s supposed focus on critical thinking. However, it is increasingly evident that students in emerging economies are demonstrably more respectful of the educational prospect and promise than are their counterparts in high income nations. My Indian teaching experience is contrasted with the complaints I get from some of my North American students, who moan about assignments with “too much math” or involving “too much writing” or even, believe it or not, about having to write two exams on the same day; or who attend lectures while listening to their iPods and chatting on Facebook.

I tell them about my impressions of JNU students in order to suggest that the West may be losing the education war, and that we North Americans need to work very hard indeed to match the work ethic of our Asian competitors. After all, I want my students to be as competitive as their Asian brethren, and to be able to work, produce and excel at a global pace.

This sentiment was touched on in Hans Rosling’s famous TEDIndia lecture, held in Bangalore last fall, in which he stated that in his experience students in India study much harder than do students in his home country, Sweden. In jest, Rosling went on to predict a date—July 2048—when India and China would economically overtake North America and Europe, in terms of both national and individual wealth.

I observed a similar trend during a recent tour of India’s major cities, where I noticed that every young person seemed willing and able to sacrifice social time and luxury, and to endure great hardship, to do his part to push himself, his family and his country to the world’s economic forefront. I’ve seem similar work ethics in other parts of the world—China, Indonesia, and Thailand come to mind—but never with the same weird mixture of optimism and desperation that I observed in India.

It’s almost a truism now that a handful of formerly impoverished nations are poised to be the superpowers of the next century. The so-called BRIC nations—Brazil, Russia, India and China—have the world’s fastest growing economies, and are posting expansive economic statistics, even during a global recession. Two in particular—India and China—are seen as the great emerging powers of the world. It should be noted that in the history of human civilization, the two strongest economies on Earth have always been India’s and China’s, with the exception of the colonial period of the past 200-300 years.

Currently, most U.S. and Canadian foreign policies with respect to these nations have focused on China being the likely rival to the United States’ throne of hegemonic dominance. This is reasonable given the overlap between American and Chinese military interests (security of the Formosa Strait and arms deals in Sudan among them), and also because of the current dominance of Chinese products in U.S. markets. Chinese GDP is 7-8 times greater than that of India’s, its per capita GDP six times greater, and its inflation substantially lower. China’s infrastructure, its road quality, civic amenities and electrical grid, for example, are comparable to those of Europe or North America, making for relatively efficient goods production and transportation. And Chinese military power is well proven and disciplined, making China the great regional superpower of Asia.

In the comparison of Chinese and Indian economies, a practice increasingly popular in the parlor rooms of academics, China seems to win according to every traditional metric. But there are qualities that hint at a dramatic shift in coming decades. I would like to respectfully suggest that it will be India, not China, which will take the world’s economy and culture by the collars and shake it till the human race takes note. Assuming that a global economy still exists, and assuming that climate change or some other apocalyptic event hasn’t ravaged humanity back to the Stone Age, I predict that the close of the 21st century will see India as the world’s leading nation.

Here are my reasons:

The Demographic Dividend

China has an age profile comparable to that of Western nations. In other words, the Chinese are old. As a result, they are heading for the same economic precipice as is the West: in a few decades, the number of workers will be fewer than the number of retirees. This is a considerable economic strain. India, on the other hand, is a younger nation. A large part of its population is yet to enter the work force. According to the CIA World Factbook, the Chinese median age is 34.1 years, while that of India is 25.1 years. Youth is an asset never to be underestimated, when the long game is considered.


There’s a reason that one of the more dynamic industries in China is English language training. They recognize that English is the current global lingua franca and the prevailing language of commerce. This will not be changing anytime soon, due to centuries of British, then American, global dominance. As a result of their colonial past, the elite and mercantile classes of India are already either functional or fluent in English, affording them immediate linguistic entry into the global market. According to the 2001 census, 10.66% of Indians, or about 90 million people, speak English. It is not unusual or difficult to find fluent speakers of French, German, Portugese, Russian or any number of important world languages on the streets of India; the same cannot be said of China where, according to a 2006 article in English Today, only 0.77%, or 10 million people, speak English.

Judicial System

Another dividend of post-colonialism is the inheritance of a relatively functional, reliable, and more-or-less fair judicial system, at least to the extent that it needs to be for business purposes. China’s legal system is functional as well, but individual rulings at the local level are theoretically subject to the whims of the central ruling party. In practice, the Chinese legal system appears to be trying to find its way, with respect to the negotiation of agreements between foreign and domestic interests. The extent of freeness of trade appears to be still determined by specific zones, such as the so-called “special economic zone” that contains China’s economic engines of Hong Kong and Shenzhen. This is relevant to business because trans-border contracts need to have legal heft. An agreement with an Indian firm is guaranteed by the Indian legal system; there is recourse, at least in theory and more-or-less in practice, should a contract go awry. It should be noted, of course, that corruption persists in both countries at intolerable levels.

Politically Engaged Diaspora

Both nations enjoy large global diasporas which have sought and received commercial success. But the Indian diaspora has gone further by achieving political success. Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Caribbean, Africa and beyond: all are seeing elected officials of Indian extraction who, while serving the needs of their electorate, nonetheless maintain a connection to the motherland.This is serving to accelerate commercial, philosophical, cultural, and political connections between India and the world. Canada alone has had 38 elected federal politicians of South Asian extraction, including one who even appeared in a Bollywood film prior to her political career, compared to 16 national politicians of Chinese origin.

Energy Profile

Both growing economies are emerging energy hogs. However, China’s model is a factory-based industrial one, depending on coal-fired plants to churn out cheap consumer goods that flood Western markets. India does some of the same, but is known more for its virtual products and human—information technology, call centers, medical tourism, etc—all of which have fewer industrial energy demands than does strict manufacturing. The result is that as energy production becomes increasingly prohibitively expensive, the Indian model for wealth generation will become more labile and efficient than the Chinese model. This may be the difference in sustaining Indian growth when the energy crunch really hits hard.


It’s somewhat propagandistic to suggest, as the West did during the entirety of the Cold War, that democracy is a prerequisite for national wealth. However, history suggests that democracy remains probabilistically the best political system under which to build a thriving, stable economy. India’s functional democracy, unlike China’s one-party ruling system, is arguably more robust against major perturbations. A revolution leading to a vitiation of trade deals and dramatic shifts in economic philosophies, is less likely under India’s system than under China’s.

The current crisis between China and Google is example of how an essentially totalitarian nation may always have at its core principles and philosophies that might just be fundamentally at odds with the prevailing global business and social forces that must be harnessed to build sustained wealth and economic security.

Soft Power

Whereas hard power is military brute force and money spent by one nation to affect the behavior of another, soft power is that exercised to encourage others to become acclimatized and sympathetic —almost desirous—of one’s lifestyle and perspective. There is official, government-funded soft power and unofficial, cultural soft power that flows naturally from a nation’s character and enterprises. Both India and China have pursued the former, by sponsoring cultural exchanges and by investing in development projects and other goodwill gestures abroad. China, perhaps, has been more acutely involved in this activity, especially in regions of specific geopolitical interest, like energy-rich portions of Africa. However, the unofficial kind of soft power is arguably what is more pertinent to assuring a nation’s supremacy atop an increasingly monolithic world economic culture. After all, what has done more to promote U.S. interests abroad, America’s vaunted military supremacy or Coca Cola, Hollywood, and Britney Spears?

Chinese cultural soft power has flowed slowly but consistently over the years, bringing kung fu, acupuncture, and Chinese cuisine to all parts of the globe. But in recent years we’ve seen the explosion of Indian soft power. The ancient art of yoga is now a fast growing multimillion dollar global industry. With it has come Indian styles of meditation and Ayurvedic medicine, all the rage in trendier parts of the West.

India is now the centre of the English-language book publishing world, surpassing both the United States and United Kingsom in this category, and regularly producing Booker, Commonwealth, and Pulitzer Prize-winners from its sprawling diaspora.

An increasing global acceptance of vegetarianism as a lifestyle, championed by celebrities and medical authorities alike, is being fueled both by rising food prices and by realizations that meat production is not an environmentally sustainable practice at current global levels. With the increased popularity of vegetarianism has come gravitation toward the world’s most recognizable vegetarian culture in India. This, too, is a kind of soft power.

Bollywood is, of course, the dreadnought of Indian cultural soft power. Bollywood images of beauty, athleticism, wealth, talent and vivacity are replacing extant world views of Indians as mystics, fakirs, and impoverished indigents. The Oscar win of Slumdog Millionaire has permanently cemented the Bollywood ethic into the global mainstream, and with it a growing comfort with doing business with Indians, in all the ways that that phrase suggests. To paraphrase Shashi Tharoor, in today’s world it’s not the country with the biggest guns that wins, but the country who tells the better story; and India is quite adept at telling stories.

The import of cultural soft power is being seen in the rise of Indian educational centres; a few of whom, such as the Indian Institute of Technology, are rivaling the top schools of the United States in quality and name recognition, and are attracting foreign students in increasing numbers. China has some excellent schools as well, but the global branding of Indian schools is allowing their graduates to leverage those brands in trans-national commerce, by force of name recognition alone, a feat that was once the sole domain of top U.S. and U.K. colleges.

Both India and China suffer from that great worrisome blight of the Global South: the gaping chasm between rich and poor, both within city centres and between rural and urban poles. In the Chinese case, this has been managed centrally, by establishing specific zones of economic activity. But within those zones, tragedy abounds in the form of child workers and conditions rumoured to be occasionally medieval in their brutality, such as the Shanxi scandal of 2007, in which it was found that tens of thousands of rural villagers were being kidnapped and forced to work as slaves in a brick kiln .

India employs their version of slaves as well, employing most children under 14 to create cheap consumer goods in unsafe conditions. The U.K. Observer estimated in 2007 that 20% of India’s economy is dependent on such children.

Indeed, in India, the oceans of working poor underwrite the middle class’s rapid accumulation of wealth. In the streets of Mumbai, roadside sellers, sweepers and construction workers sleep in the streets or in temporary slums so that the important work of erecting skyscrapers and servicing the business class will not be slowed by the inconvenience of worker health or happiness.

Neither the Chinese or Indian case is a sustainable model for labor rights or popular stability.

Both nations must solve their worker rights issues before economic stability is achieved. Frankly, the nation who can do so first may, quite literally, inherit the world . When we discuss the astounding economic trajectories of both nations, we must remember who pays the price for such growth.

There seems little doubt that the BRIC nations are poised to ascend to global economic and cultural dominance sometime in this century, and that both China and India appear to be pulling away from the pack, ready to re-occupy their traditional spots atop humanity’s hierarchy of wealth. China’s disciplined, conservative experimentation with capitalism has allowed the Asian giant to take the current lead in this two nation race. But India, with her youth and optimism, democracy, English fluency, engaged diaspora and sprawling soft power, possesses the right tools to build a grander, more sustainable prosperity, and to drag herself—within a single lifetime, perhaps—from abject poverty to global dominance.

Raywat Deonandan is a professor of Global Health and Development in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa, Canada. Visit him at

ISI briefs CJ on parties involved in Karachi unrest

KARACHI: The ISI officials on Thursday briefed the Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry on the number of political parties involved in Karachi unrest, DawnNews reported.

“Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Muttahida Qaumi Movement – Haqiqi (MQM-Haqiqi), Awami National Party (ANP), Sunni Tehreek (ST), Amman Committee and banned groups including Sipah-e-Sahaba, Sipah-e-Muhammad are involved in the Karachi unrest,” the ISI officials informed the chief justice.

According to sources the ISI officials briefed the chief justice and other judges in his (CJ’s) chamber whereas officials from IB were also present during the briefing.

Sources said that the CJ inquired the ISI if they had shared this information with the police and rangers on which the officials replied no.

The CJ ordered the ISI that all information should be shared with the police and rangers so that action can be taken against the accused to end the unrest in Karachi, sources said.

breaking news earthquake in new delhi

An earthquake of low intensity jolted Delhi and its satellite towns late tonight, pulling panic-stricken people out of their homes.

The tremors, measuring 4.2 on Richter Scale with Haryana's Sonepat as epicentre, were felt across Delhi and its adjoining satellite towns of Ghaziabad and Noida in Uttar Pradesh and Gurgaon in Haryana at 11:28 pm.

The tremors were felt for less than ten seconds.

"The intensity was 4.2 and the epicentre was Sonepat," Shailesh Nayak, Secretary in Ministry of Earth Sciences, and IMD Director General Ajit Tyagi, told PTI.

The quake sent shivers among citizens who ran out of the high-rise buildings.

There were no immediate reports of any casualty.The fire brigade and police added they have not received any immediate calls of casualty or damage.

People also rushed out of their homes in Chandigarh and Sonepat. The tremor was felt very "sharp for some seconds" in Sonepat, witnesses said.

Meanwhile, Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan mentioned about the tremor on his Twitter page.

"The blast in Delhi in the morning and just now a 6.6 earthquake in Delhi.....just spoke to my daughter, it was horrifying but all safe," Bachchan said.

"Hearts and prayers for those who lost loved ones earlier today in the blast... and I do hope there has been no casualties in the quake," he tweeted.

Smokescreen? Now IM claims Delhi bomb blast

More than 26 hours after 12 people were killed and more than 75 injured in a bomb blast at the Delhi high court, security agencies received an email from the alleged Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative claiming responsibility for the attack and threatening more attacks. “Ise humne yani Indian Mujahideen ne anjam diya hai (This [bomb blast] has been executed by us, the India Mujahideen),” the email said.

Today’s email, whose sender identifies himself as Chotoo, refutes contents of another email, sent to media houses minutes after the blast, allegedly by Harkat ul-Jihadi al-Islami (HuJI) claiming responsibility for the blast. It claims that HuJI cannot have executed the blast because the IM had long planned to carry out a bomb blast at the Delhi high court. The email also claims that the IM had planned the bomb blast for a Wednesday and that “HuJI is remotely not involved”.

The Delhi high court hears public interest litigations on Wednesday and therefore the number of visitors are highest on this day.

The mail, sent from the email address,, threatens more blasts and claims that the next bomb blast will be carried out outside a shopping mall on Tuesday next week.

The email also dares the security agencies to stop the IM members from carrying out their next attack.

The Indian Mujahideen is described by global intelligence firm Stratfor as "a relatively amateurish group that's been able to carry out low to medium intensity attacks." Read unverified email by 'IM'

While its members are mostly local Muslims, the group is suspected of having been trained and backed by militant groups in neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The group first emerged during a wave of bombings in north India in 2007. They have since claimed responsibility for bomb attacks in the cities of Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and New Delhi.

The last attack they claimed was in 2010 in the western city of Pune, where a bomb blast at a tourist spot killed nine people.

Police say the Indian Mujahideen may also include former members of Bangladeshi militant group Harkat-ul-Jihad al Islami.

The demands of the Indian Mujahideen, like their targets, have tended to be domestic. The group has declared "open war against India," accusing the Indian army of killing Muslims in Kashmir and also directing its ire at the Mumbai police anti-terrorist squad, accusing them of harassing Muslims.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Eddie Murphy nominated to host next Oscars

Los Angeles (CNN) -- Comedian Eddie Murphy will host the Oscars next February, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Tuesday.
Brett Ratner, who will produce the 84th Academy Awards show along with Don Mischer, called Murphy "a comedic genius, one of the greatest and most influential live performers ever."
"With his love of movies, history of crafting unforgettable characters and his iconic performances -- especially on stage -- I know he will bring excitement, spontaneity and tremendous heart to the show Don and I want to produce in February," Ratner said.
Critics panned the co-hosting team of Anne Hathaway and James Franco after last February's awards show, putting pressure on producers to hire a host who will stir positive buzz and draw viewers.
"Eddie is a truly ground-breaking performer, whose amazingly diverse array of roles has won him a devoted audience of all ages," Mischer said. "His quick wit and charisma will serve him very well as Oscar host."
Murphy was nominated for best supporting actor in 2006 for his supporting role in "Dreamgirls."
"I am enormously honored to join the great list of past Academy Award hosts from Hope and Carson to Crystal, Martin and Goldberg, among others," said Murphy, referring to previous hosts and show-business legends Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, Billy Crystal, Steve Martin and Whoopi Goldberg.
Murphy, who started his stand-up comedy career at 15, was 19 when he became the youngest cast member on TV's "Saturday Night Live" in 1980.
His feature film debut came in 1982's "48 Hrs." and was followed by "Beverly Hills Cop" and the "The Nutty Professor" and "Shrek" franchises. Murphy's movies have earned in excess of $7 billion at box offices worldwide, according to the Academy's news release.
The show will be televised live in more than 200 countries from Hollywood's Kodak Theatre on Sunday, February 26, 2012.