Friday, November 30, 2007

** Who Created Dinesh D'Souza?*

Who Created Dinesh D'Souza?
Review: The End of Racism
by W. B. Allen

The question posed in this review comes not from one of those hardy skeptics who aim to
deny to God his glory. It more resembles the post-World War II inquiry, "Who Lost China?" For D'Souza's massive compendium on the contemporary discourse regarding relations between black people and white people in the United States seems to justify the conclusion that somewhere along the line he strayed dramatically from the only legitimate reason for revisiting that discourse.

That legitimate reason remains as it has been to assay prospects of community within the polity shaped by the Declaration of Independence. D'Souza has pursued a different task, though certainly equipped to take up the important work. It is important to ask, therefore, and for reasons I will subsequently elaborate, what influences led him astray.

Why in so long a book did he not once speak compellingly of "American community?"
American blacks, says D'Souza, will become the "truest and noblest exemplars of
Western civilization," once liberated from dependence. Those are his final words, which echo all
too strongly his first words, and all those in-between, which do not merely describe but ratify the existence of separate worlds, black and white.

While he briefly acknowledges in his final chapter (if only tacitly) that there is no "black culture" apart from the American culture of the West, D'Souza accepts wholly and uncritically the claim of a distinct black culture in the United States, up to and including the elevation of a mere argot, "black english," into a distinctive language which purportedly prevails among American blacks.

While D'Souza rightly longs for an end to the formal recognition of race in the United
States, therefore, he makes clear that his wish is rather contingent (on black performance) than
something which has already taken noetic existence within his own soul.

He does not espouse color-blindness (as casual critics mistakenly argue), although he recognizes such a regime as superior to the perverse form of color consciousness that now prevails. Indeed, he fully expects consciousness of color to survive into the indefinite future. What he longs for is only the end of regime-plaguing obsessions with color consciousness as a taboo. Thus, his proposal for repeal of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (in preference to enforcing it consistent with its original, color-blind principles) aims to liberate public life from what he regards as the inevitable coin of our private lives.

This proposal is not unique or radical. Richard Epstein and I have both made the same proposal in earlier writings, but with exceptions (and differences between the two of us) which D'Souza does not seem to understand.

The great difference is the impossibility of isolating private decisions completely from public authority. Thus, it is necessary to say, as a matter of policy, whether marriage licenses will be granted to all comers, without regard to race, despite the fact that the choice of a marriage partner is, and ought to be, a discriminating choice. So, too, is it the case that a contract for the sale of a home or performance of a job is sufficiently considered private, until, that is, it must be enforced by a court of law, upon which event certain kinds of contracts will well conflict with a public policy of non-discrimination.

Such considerations make clear that it is necessary to break cleanly with our tendencies
toward group-regardingness, if we genuinely aim to resurrect the language of the Declaration of
Independence as fundamental for American prosperity. Deferential nods to African-
Americanism, ill-articulated ideas of black culture, and credulous acceptance of "black English"
serve no constructive purpose in this regard. By considering some particular characteristics of
The End of Racism I shall make this truth painfully clear.

Clearly, the first proposition that we must investigate is D'Souza's claim that contemporary liberalism is the source of our current obsession with racism.

Though it is sometimes unclear in the text, D'Souza seems to blame liberalism both for the systematic racism introduced by racial preferences (affirmative action) and for the obsessive recurrences to racism by blacks and whites in explanation and exculpation of the failures of some American blacks. In short, he presents the current state of the "dialog" as a debate about the effects of racism in determining the fates and life-chances of blacks both historically and contemporarily.

His position in this debate, paradoxically, is that liberals, as the authors of the regime of race preferences, are to that extent responsible for the racism intrinsic to that regime, while the fates and life-chances of blacks do not necessarily result from racism. Indeed, the real burden of this book is to demonstrate that it is "black culture" or "black civilizational" level which most meaningfully determines the fates and lifechances of American blacks.

Thus, he defends the society against the charge of racism, insofar as it affects the lives of blacks, but condemns the society of racism, insofar as it sustains policies of racial preferences. This difference derives only partially from the consideration that the racism is targeted against whites (who are in principle all non-black persons, including Asian Indians, such
as D'Souza), and therefore makes the argument symmetrical and non-paradoxical.

It derives mainly from the consideration that the ascriptive effect of a regime of racial preferences makes the reflex of race consciousness intrinsic to our social existence and therefore forces American whites to look upon American blacks as distinctive and inferior (needing help).

D'Souza has not spelled out the implications of this analysis in these terms, for that would
be inconsistent with the oppositions with which he works. In the actual debate, the term employed by combatants would be "white racism." The charge of "white racism" would refer not to the effect of policies designed to combat "white racism" but to the imputed existence, individually and institutionally, of a continuing practice of racial oppression descending from the era of slavery into the present.

Though acknowledging the existence of "white racism," D'Souza seeks to
demonstrate that it has been de-fanged through the changes wrought by the civil rights revolution. The elimination of "white racism" was accomplished by liberalism, which, however, put in place a structure of racial preferences that constitute a new racism, not against but nominally in favor of blacks. The new structure is also a form of racism, in the double sense of depending on allegations of continuing "white racism" for its justification and also affecting the fates and lifechances of American blacks and American whites (males, anyway) on the basis of invidious racial distinctions.

Now, since the new racism is no less the work of whites than the old racism, and
since its effects are not less pernicious than those of the former, it confuses the analysis to
attempt to distinguish "white racism" and "liberal racism" very energetically. Nevertheless,
D'Souza's entire project depends on that distinction, and one may judge him successful insofar as he succeeds at that and a failure otherwise.

To understand The End of Racism it helps to take a look at it as a whole. While seeking
mainly to re-tell the story of blacks in America, it does so with the clear purpose of seeking to
inform the current debate regarding the status of blacks in America, what D'Souza calls "the black problem." In that sense it is a throwback, to an era in which Americans had persuaded
themselves that the problem of vexed social relations in the country somehow inhered specifically in American blacks rather than in the country as a whole (a view radically inconsistent with the views of those American founders who anticipated the travail, as I and others have often written).

By such lights the "problem" is more a problem of black performance than a problem of social
organization, and such a view has always led ineluctably to the question, "What are we to do about the blacks?" By recreating that frame of reference D'Souza recreates the illusion that adroit policy maneuvers can establish peace where turmoil prevails. In that sense the theme proposed is not the end of racism but the end of the saliency of "black issues" in the United States.

The goal is not unworthy, even if different than advertised. Moreover, the tacit goal is
worthier than the putative goal, inasmuch as it frames a question much more directly susceptible to fruitful inquiry. The fact is, racism is far less the complex and sophisticated philosophical story of Boasian or cultural relativism that D'Souza tells than it is the persistent reflex of group remedies which long antedate the philosophical change. The idea that government requires a policy to deal with the group is the very soul of racism and its attendant dysfunctions in the United States.

For some reason, however, D'Souza missed this story, which has been clearly told the past twenty years, and enlisted himself in the "blacks are a special case tradition," which has rendered the problem so intractable. Why D'Souza made this error remains inexplicable after a careful reading of his book. His long and too frequently repetitious account of the history (often erroneous) from the discovery of the new world to the present day fails to inform the reader why he made the choices he did.

Partially, the problem is a lack of understanding of the terms and events involved. For example,
while rightly reviewing the tendentiousness of liberal attacks on the notion of discovery in the new world, and the emergence of a theory of the rights of native peoples, he nonetheless fails to
comprehend the legal and ethical bearing of the North Americans’ insistence on discovery, which was bottomed not on a notion of Western superiority but on a claim of political independence from the metropolis. Moreover, even Victoria's ethical defense of the natives significantly relied on the principle of discovery! Discovery was the antithesis of conquest, which entailed complete
subordination to the metropolis. Thus, the theory said nothing about the character or nature of the natives.

Let this example of an historical misreading suffice for all such throughout the book.
They are not material to the enterprise, for the history contributes little to the reading of current practices of “liberal antiracism” which are the principal target of D'Souza's analysis. Indeed, this long book is really two books promiscuously mixed. The one book had been better not written -- the history -- while the other addresses a question that no one ought to ignore, namely, the contemporary obsession with race.

The obsession with race remains inexplicable apart from the existence of public policies
and practices that codify race as the principal determinant of life chances for blacks. This is clear of whites -- and not only liberal antiracists. More significantly, it is also true of American blacks in a way that offers a more powerful explanation than the "civilizational deficiencies" on which

D'Souza prefers to rely in the in the second case. He would have seen this had he inquired more
closely and with less resort to stereotypes as to why ordinary American blacks today are obsessed with race and whether they are obsessed in the same way their predecessors were or might have been.

W. E. B. DuBois to the contrary notwithstanding, blacks of an earlier generation placed
their concern with race in the context of a hoped for assimilation to American political and social
principles as enunciated in the Declaration of Independence. That is, equality for them meant
being at one with America. This remained true into the 1950s, when even Langston Hughes, as
Paul Laurence Dunbar before him, still celebrated Harriet Beecher Stowe and Uncle Tom as an
ethical model (another historical event which D'Souza misunderstands and relates erroneously).

A political sea change occurred since then and ultimately affected Martin Luther King as
well, wedding black hopes to a leftist politics which spurned America as it was founded. In effect, in our era American blacks in large measure reversed Frederick Douglass' journey from his 1748
"What Country have I?" query to his 1854 embrace of "our fathers." This reversal, as it happens, took place not only for American blacks (Remember Ronald Reagan's blasts against the "blame America" crowd?) but also for the inner core of leftist politics, with which black leadership had cast its lot since the election of Roosevelt and which finally captured ordinary black citizens after the election of John F. Kennedy. The story of the deracination of American blacks in our time, while supported by cultural relativism, has far more to do with a widespread and dramatic political decline in the United States.

Oddly enough, politics has little to do with D'Souza's account despite his obvious political
filiation with conservatives. That is what gives rise to the question, "who created this version of
Dinesh D'Souza?" which ignores the fact that what he regards as "black culture" has been shaped in decisive ways by white leftist culture. Indeed, remove the so-called "African American" peculiarity, remove the leftist politics -- which is white culture, insofar as race is at all relevant -- and what remains, but lower class shifting within a broader mixed-race society, differing but little from peasant orders in more structured European societies?

Because he abstracts from politics and too little understands the foundations of lower
class Southern mores, D'Souza over-generalizes race. He does so despite having canvassed an
enormous range of writings on his subject. The point of this observation is not to minimize the
gravity of social deterioration in numerous American black communities throughout the United
States. It is, however, to deny the relevance of the analysis of race in addressing those problems. When I say this, I am not liberal. When I say this, I am not conservative, although I am otherwise conservative. How can this be? Conservatism and liberalism (as used today) are perspectives that address our hopes for man more than our understanding of nature. Though liberal insouciance has fostered an intensive contemporary racism, neither liberalism nor conservatism founds it hopes for man on a theory of race.

D'Souza successfully identifies cultural relativism as a special partner of liberalism (though
more than one version of conservatism in the world embraces the same philosophical orientation) and demonstrates that cultural relativism provides protective cover for black racism (as it also does for contemporary Asian nations in their resistance to human rights claims). But that argument misses the point. The racism spawned by liberalism is really the old-fashioned variety, namely, the adoption of a corporate relationship toward a group. This reality weighs far more heavily than the notion of racism as a "mode of thought." For, in the end, it is the existing policy that provides the nexus of racism and someone is in charge of that policy. The most significant racist is the person or body of persons in charge of the policies that entail racism as a social problem and not merely a characteristic of certain individuals.

This argument does not deny the existence of black racism. Nor does it accept the
power-racism absurdity by which some apologist for social monsters exculpate black racists.

goes rather to the question D'Souza raises at the outset of his book, namely, What is the crisis of
racism today? He answers: "black rage," "white back-lash," and "liberal despair." Notice, then,
how his account serves to exculpate the architects and guardians of the policies that are most

For him racism consists of the effects of affirmative action more than it inheres in
affirmative action itself. This is tantamount to saying that white feelings of superiority and black feelings of inferiority spawned by Jim Crow were racist, while neglecting to characterize the
policy. This is consistent with regarding racism as a "mode of thought" rather than as an illicit
action of the state. This turn of thought is important because it infuses the most substantial project of the book, the demonstration of black racism and its concomitant refusal to recognize deficiencies in black people. And that is precisely where D'Souza leaves the realm of salutary cautions and tries his hand at a social analysis which he completely mishandles. A few examples ought to suffice.

He takes on the IQ controversy only, in the end, to make a case of no relevance to his argument
(in addition to contradicting himself). The prescription of governmental indifference to race does not flow from a supposed demonstration of racially differentiated intellectual capacities.
Moreover, his own reliance on the "one drop of black blood" theory makes recourse to an
argument about pure genetic heritage largely irrelevant.

Finally, as a scientific matter, it makes infinitely more sense to investigate what distinguishes folk who score 85 on the test than to investigate how any of an infinite number of possible groupings score. There is no doubt that Einstein, by some characteristic, belongs to a group the overwhelming number of whom scores in the imbecile range. The knowledge of that fact is of no value whatever, while the knowledge of what all the imbeciles share besides their score could be most helpful and would, by definition, be transracial.

Another case: "Desegregation permits racial separation as long as it is not compelled by
government. Integration, by contrast, is a state-mandated result... The Civil Rights Act of 1964
clearly endorsed desegregation rather than integration..." Besides abstracting from the practical
history of "separate but equal," and therefore erring in fact though not in principle, this shows a
fundamental misunderstanding of the aims and assumed conditions of the civil rights movement.

Reality in the South was that de-segregation meant integration, given the geographic, legal, and
economic realities. Hence it was wise for legislators to discuss the matter in such terms.
Moreover, the real question, from the perspective of the organization of society, was not
desegregation versus integration, but rather integration -- mere integration -- versus mutual
dependence. Mutual dependence is more than integration (which can breed familiarity in
company with contempt). White integrationist never attempted mutual dependence, which helps to reveal why affirmative action grew to fill the vacuum.

One further example of poor analysis and poor judgment derives from the use of Dr. Dale
Lick, former President of Florida State University, as an example of the hyperbolic use of cries of racism to deny obvious truths. According to D'Souza, for saying what was obvious, namely, "As blacks begin to get into sports, their natural abilities come through," Lick "was promptly accused of racism" and forced to withdraw as a presidential candidate at Michigan State University.

This is an error both of fact and of reasoning. Lick was forced "to apologize" years earlier, when he took the position at Florida State, for he made the remark at his antepenultimate post in Maine. Further, his apology, along with a promise to institute a regime of multicultural sensitivity, secured for him the position at Florida State.

In the Michigan State University search, when the issue re-surfaced, Lick offered an
explanation of little credit to a gentleman. Moreover, the original statement had been made in
answer to a student's question about the absence of blacks in sports like golf and hockey
(respecting which his response was entirely irrelevant). In his answer he showed no awareness
whatever of the likely effect of his remarks, even against the then contemporary back-drop of the Al Campanis and Jimmy The Greek Snyder affairs (respecting each of whom I provided a
specific defense in my role as a member of the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights). At MSU Lick
was forced out of the search largely upon my decision to resign if he were appointed, and I did so for the sufficient reason that he brought with him baggage -- and made professions -- that would have made him the worst kind of multiculturalist and politically correct administrator.

D'Souza's inability to understand this story highlights the problem of his book. He
assumed that an administrator who is an American black acted on the basis of what D'Souza
imagined to be black culture in a situation that eventuated in denying advancement to a white
male. In reference to racism and politics, however, the story is exactly the reverse of his
imagination. One may think he was deceived by careless press reports. The thoroughness of his
research otherwise, however, weakens that excuse and reveals the error as entirely his own,
whether of disposition or procedure. Besides, he has personal knowledge of me and surely was not innocent of my extensive writings on the subject he researched -- writings which vary sharply from his own work.

The error seems to me rather to proceed from casual and easy assumptions about motives on the basis of race -- without sense of a need for investigation -- and founded on his radically defective notion of black culture.

Let us close, then, by saying flatly that there is no such black culture as he imagines (and
he is not alone in this). Indeed, apart from transient (a temporal reference) immigrant cultures and numerically insignificant Indian cultures, there is but one culture in America, and whites no less than blacks are embraced by it.

To answer our leading question, then, it would appear that prevailing views on race --including those generally referred to as "white racism" -- created Dinesh D'Souza.


Book Review: Dinesh D'Souza, The End of Racism: Principles for a Multiracial Society (New York: TheFree Press, 1995), 700 pp., notes, index.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

** 'Incredible' India: Where are we headed?

'Incredible' India: Where are we headed?
November 20, 2007
Sunita Narain

With the year-end approaching, a flashback is usually in order. But recent events have made completely clear to me where we stand and where we are headed.

This year, the world's who's who landed up. Our leaders basked in the floodlight of economic prowess. Last month, the Prime Minister spoke at a meet of the global consultancy company, McKinsey, and applauded the organisation for helping India prepare reports on governance.

In the same week, he addressed the Fortune Global Forum - a collection of the world's power elite. The finance minister spoke to the Indian business glitterati in Mumbai, where he not only profusely thanked industry for taking the effort to turn around India but also said - to huge applause - that industry's progress was in spite of the government. In other words, growth was a private sector gift to us all. Then the Sensex touched dizzying heights, and we discovered the world's richest man was our very own Mukesh Ambani.

This same fortnight, some 25,000 landless farmers and tribals marched into Delhi. They had walked - many barefoot - for about a month, covering some 350 km, to say they were tired of being pushed around. They wanted their right to land; their right to survive. The only minister who met them was in charge of rural development - the subject of the so-called 'other India'. They did not get an audience with the Prime Minister. The government tele-responded to their demands - a council on land reforms headed by the Prime Minister and a government committee to advise on what needed to be done. They returned home, I imagine, as desperate as when they came.

I find it strange that it took a multinational clothing giant to bring these two worlds together. A British newspaper reported that Indian children, many of whom were bonded labourers, were stitching clothes Gap Inc sold in stores across the world. The response was swift. Gap recalled the 'slave' labour blouses. The company said child labour was abhorrent and their sub-contractor was to blame.

Incredible India's response was incredibly equal to the challenge. Our commerce minister dismissed the incident as an effort to besmirch Indian industry and to put up non-trade barriers on exports.

This is true in many cases; high quality standards are trade policy tools for the rich. But how can we deny the images we saw of children, working not in some far-off place but in the very heart of incredible India - posh south Delhi? Children were found working in the most horrible of conditions, working for hours without a break, being fed by the contractor, and sleeping on the floors where they worked through the day.

It is too simple to say this is India's reality. It would be stupid to deny these children have no alternative but to work and that even after they are "freed", they will go back to something as bad or worse.

And it is definitely a travesty not to admit this is the way the globalised economy runs. The market today works on volumes and volumes require cheap labour and cheap raw material. It is equally true that the rich world's economy which, on the one hand, is thriving on the profits of cheap goods, is also groaning under fears of unemployment. Paranoia over the progress of China, India and all the other have-not economies is also screaming for attention.

But the one insistent truth this fortnight has revealed is that this India is now getting divided not just by class but also by politics. To me, in this final ascendance of middle-class India, we are seeing a country separated in its dreams, by its icons, in the media and by its politicians.

Postscript: Tucked away on page 16 of a daily newspaper in Delhi was a tiny news item. Some 40,000 farmers had stormed into the local administration headquarters in a sleepy Orissa town. They were protesting against the government's move to take away water from their reservoir and to allocate it to mining, aluminium and steel industries. They wanted this stopped. They said they would kill or be killed.

It is people versus government and industry. Can we call this credible India's incredible Indianness?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

** Priests meet on caste in church

Priests meet on caste in church
Tuesday, 06 November 2007

Chennnai, Oct. 31: A group of Catholic priests wedded to the liberation theology are meeting next week to discuss ways to overcome casteism which they say has taken deep root in the Catholic church in Tamil Nadu.

Mylapore Bishop Chinnappa and Salesian of Don Bosco Provincial Stanislaus Swamikannu are among the priests who will participate in the two day conference to be held in Madurai on November 5 and 6 to discuss the issue. "Dioceses, parish councils and educational institutions are riddled with casteism and Christian dalits are discriminated against," says Father X.T. Selvaraj, one of the organisers of the conference.

Asked whether the church supported their effort, Fr Selvaraj said, "The progressive forces in all dioceses are concerned about the trend that goes against the very essence of Christianity." Fr J.R. Vencie said dalits were segregated in all the church activities and there were separate burial grounds for them.

"Christians continue to maintain their caste identities and there are no inter-caste marriages. Even in ordinary conversations dalits are denigrated," he said reading out from the pamphlet prepared for the conference.

According to church sources, caste confrontations are not confined between the dalits and other intermediate communities. Every district diocese has its own peculiar problem, they say.

In Kanyakumari district it is the Nadars versus the fishermen community , while in Trichy the Vellalas and Udayars function as a group against the Vanniyars. In fact Vanniyars have formed a separate diocese in this district. Sivangai district diocese is witnessing a war between Udayars and non-Udayars.

In Thanjavur Vellalas and Udayars are against each other, according to them. Asked whether it would be possible to change entrenched attitudes of the people, especially when every community continued to maintain its identity, Fr Selvaraj said "We are making a humble beginning."

He said dalits who had converted to Christianity to gain social acceptance now felt they had been betrayed.

"We have to remove this feeling. Christianity does not discriminate aginst anyone in the name of caste," he said.

To a question on why the Christians should demand reservation if they had no faith in casteism, Fr Selvaraj explained there was nothing wrong in making use of benefits of reservation for social upliftment.

The conference will discuss all aspects of casteism and pass resolutions urging all the Christians to give up their caste identities.
Source: Deccan Chronicle, Chennai edition, Oct 31, 2007

** India's battle for outsourcing

India faces battle for outsourcing
By Mark Kobayashi

Indian firms have been quick to cash in on their skilled workforce
As US and European companies look to cut costs by moving many of their operations abroad, India has stepped in to become a world leader in IT outsourcing.
However, success has attracted imitators and India is facing a fight to keep its position at the top.

India now leads the world in offshore outsourcing - the remote servicing of information technology (IT) or other business processes by staff based in India.
The value of outsourcing to India in 2007 is estimated at $47.8bn (£24bn), ten times what it was worth back in 1998.


Outsourcing: Moving company functions from internal departments to external firms

Offshoring: Relocating corporate activities overseas.

Nearshoring: Relocating offshore activities nearer the client's home country

BPO: Business processing outsourcing - moving white collar tasks like accounting or invoicing. to an external firm

Captive firms: Companies owned by foreign multinationals who perform outsourcing services for the parent firm

UK call centres/US contact centers: Offices where workers provide telephone customer services like sales
Expansion is happening fast, and the IT outsourcing industry is predicted to continue growing at about 28% a year.

The sector has become a very important part of the overall economy of India, creating growth and new wealth in a country that has only enjoyed economic liberalisation since the early 1990s.
IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) services now account for 5.4% of India's gross domestic product (GDP), and have had a huge impact on cities such as Bangalore, the centre of the industry.

Chasing pack
But India's success in hi-tech services has not gone unnoticed.
From Mexico to Vietnam, local governments are busy creating investor-friendly tax policies, such as special 'export-zone' offices on the model of India, where offshore work is free of domestic taxes.

Russia has a good talent pool and competitive costs, but lack of government support and infrastructure are still severe holdbacks
Thiago Turchetti Maia, Vetta Technologies

They are also encouraging the creation of new trade bodies to represent and promote their industry in the same way that India's National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) has been doing since the 1980s.
One of main threats to India has been the expansion of the European Union (EU).

Malta is one of the new EU centres for IT outsourcing
In 2004, the EU expanded east to accept ten new member states, and then went on to welcome Romania and Bulgaria into the union earlier this year.

These twelve nations in Eastern Europe can now offer lower costs, combined with the protection of the EU legal safety net.

This legal back-up is particularly important for companies in relation to issues such as the protection of customer data as it travels across borders.

Strength in numbers

Of course none of these countries can match the sheer scale of India, which has more than a billion people - with more than two million graduating from university each year.
But countries such as Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic are becoming very attractive low-cost European choices for executives who want to hire skilled people without the travel headache of regularly visiting Asia.

In the long run, it may also mean that a passage to India is no longer the automatic choice
Mark Kobayashi-Hillary

Among the other nations eyeing outsourcing riches, only China, with a population above 1 billion and a similar number of graduates entering industry each year, can come close to matching India.

China and India are both highly dynamic, large developing economies, and along with Russia and Brazil, some observers expect them to dominate the world economy by the middle of this century.

And all of these nations are looking at their potential to match India's strength in global services.
'Talent pool'
Remi Vespa, vice president of market development at Venus Software Corporation in China, is bullish about China's future as an outsourcing destination.

Shopping mallls have proliferated in Bangalore, India's IT capital"The major strength of China in this race to leadership is that the focus of China is not on becoming the world leader, but in creating the conditions that make the country the privileged destination for IT outsourcing," he explains.

Thiago Turchetti Maia, chief executive of Vetta Technologies in Brazil also sees China catching up thanks to its "enormous potential for talent together with competitive rates".
However, he points out that structural problems in some of these nations could lead to patchy development.

"Russia and Brazil are still to catch up," Mr Turchetti Maia explains.
"Russia has a good talent pool and competitive costs, but lack of government support and infrastructure are still severe holdbacks."

New continents
At the same time, Africa is also trying to take a piece of the outsourcing action.
This should come as no surprise because many African nations have the infrastructure, the talent pool, and the entrepreneurs ready to seek out new opportunities.
South Africa - with English widely spoken - now has hundreds of contact centres serving clients in Europe and the US.

China has rapidly emerged as an industrial powerhouse

Ghana is growing in stature as Nigerian entrepreneurs fund start-ups there to avoid the scam email stigma that is proving difficult to shake back home.
Uganda is about to unveil an entirely new town built around a technology park and designed to stimulate the local outsourcing industry.

Egypt will go on a charm offensive, spending on a new marketing and PR programme to ensure that the decision-makers of Europe know that it has more to offer than just the pyramids.

Passage to India
In some ways India is becoming a victim of its own success.

Indian computer firms like Infosys are finding it harder to retain staff
Staff attrition is high, and it is quite normal for a company to have to replace its entire workforce each year in a contact, or call, centre.

And though there are a huge number of graduates coming through to the industry, not all have the skills needed for intensive IT work..

Companies are finding it harder and harder to recruit the cream from the best universities, leading to inflated salary demands and more job-hopping.

There have been security scares with customers' personal financial details apparently being sold by unscrupulous employees, and in the UK for example, there is a growing consumer dissatisfaction with telephone calls being answered offshore.

All of these issues coupled with the emergence of hungry and determined rivals now means that India has to work harder to sell itself.

In the long run, it may also mean that a passage to India is no longer the automatic choice for the many executives interested in outsourcing.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


By B.Raman - 10.Nov.2007

The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ), the militant wing of the anti-Shia Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), is emerging as the new Trojan Horse of Al Qaeda to carry out operations on behalf of Al Qaeda in areas where Al Qaeda faces difficulty in operating directly or in those cases where it does not want to operate directly.

2. In the past, this role was being performed by the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET). Both the LET and the LEJ are members of Osama bin Laden's International Islamic Front (IIF) for Jihad Against the Crusaders and the Jewish People. Both are strongly Wahabi organisations, but whereas the LEJ is strongly anti-US, anti-Israel, anti-India, anti-Iran and anti-Shia, the LET is only anti-US, anti-Israel and anti-India, but not anti-Iran or anti-Shia.

3. There is no confirmed instance of the LET indulging in planned anti-Shia violence in Pakistan or Afghanistan, but the LEJ has been responsible for most of the targeted attacks on Shias and their places of worship in Pakistan and on the Hazaras---who are Shias---in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

4.The Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM), which are also members of the IIF, strongly share the anti-Shia feelings of the LEJ, but they do not indulge in targeted attacks on Shias and their places of worship. Many of the leaders of these organisations, including Maulana Masood Azhar, the Amir of the JEM, started their jihadi career in the SSP, but later drifted away from it since they felt uncomfortable with its targeted attacks on Shias and their places of worship. Despite being separate now, they do co-operate with the LEJ in its operations directed against US interests and the Pakistani armed forces. The LET prefers to operate independently without getting involved with the SSP or the LEJ. The LET avoids attacks on Pakistani security forces.

5. The strong action taken by the international community against known and suspected Arab members of Al Qaeda created difficulties for them in travelling freely and in carrying out operations in non-Muslim countries. Consequently, it startred depending increasingly on the Pakistani members of the LET for its operations. Post-9/11, the LET emerged as the clone of Al Qaeda. It opened its sleeper cells in countries such as Australia, Singapore, the UK, France and the US to help Al Qaeda in its operations by collecting information, motivating the members of the Pakistani diaspora and other means.

6. In 2002-03, Western intelligence agencies did not pay much attention to LET activities in the Pakistani diaspora. They tended to disregard Indian evidence about the new role of the LET as the operational facilitator of Al Qaeda since they suspected that Indian officials and non-governmental analysts tended to over-project the LET's role in the West because of its activities in Indian territory. However, the discovery of LET sleeper cells in the Western countries post-2002 changed this attitude and Indian evidence on the LET was treated with greater seriousness. Next to the Arab members of Al Qaeda, suspected Pakistani members of the LET were placed under close surveillance in many countries. This created difficulties in the movement and activities of the LET. The LET is no longer able to operate outside the Indian sub-continnt as freely as it used to do in the past.

7. Moreover, the LET is feeling uncomfortable over the anti-Shia violence unleashed by Al Qaeda and its surrogates in Iraq. While continuing to be a member of the IIF, it is trying to avoid being associated with Al Qaeda's anti-Shia and anti-Saudi policies. Saudi charity organisations have been one of the main funders of the LET, which has an active branch in Saudi Arabia to recruit members from the Indian Muslim diaspora in the Gulf countries.

8.In view of these developments, Al Qaeda has started increasingly using the the SSP and the LEJ for its operations in Pakistan itself as well as in the non-Muslim countries. The LEJ was actively involved in supporting the students of the two madrasas of the Lal Masjid of Islamabad before they were raided by Pakistani military commandoes in July,2007. Many of the women, who were targeted by the girl students for allegedly running a call girl racket, were reportedly Shias. It has been actively backing the tribals, who have taken to arms against the Pakistani security forces in North and South Waziristan and in the Swat Valley in the Provincially-Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) of the North-West Frontier Province.

Under the influence of the LEJ, the tribals have been beheading or otherwise killing only the Shias among the security forces personnel captured by them. Well-informed Police sources say that all the para-military personnel beheaded so far by the tribals were Shias. According to them, there has not been a single instance of the beheading of a Sunni member of the security forces though many Sunnis have been killed in explosions.

9. The JEM is also actively involved in supporting the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) in its fight against the security forces in the Swat Valley.There have been targeted attacks on members of the local Shia community. The anti-Shia dimension of the current violence in the tribal areas has also been corroborated by the well-informed "Daily Times" of Lahore in an editorial titled "Two Oppressions" carried by it on November 10,2007.

The editorial says: ' The latest news from Waziristan is that a well-known Shia personality has been gunned down. This is a part of the sectarian violence that Al Qaeda commits in the territories it captures. Earlier, Shias among the captured Pakistani troops were casually beheaded while the Sunnis were returned. In the Shia-majority Parachinar in the Kurram Agency, suicide-bombers have been killing indiscriminately."

10. Thus, a new anti-Shia front has emerged inside the IIF consisting of Al Qaeda, the LEJ, the TNSM and the JEM. Al Qaeda's use of the LEJ is not confined to Pakistani territory. The Police sources mentioned above say that in view of the difficulties now faced by suspected LET members in Western countries and in South-east Asia, Al Qaeda is encouraging the SSP and the LEJ to gradually take over the role of the LET as the motivators and mobilisers of members of the overseas Pakistani diaspora for assisting Al Qaeda in its operations. They claim that some sleeper cells of the SSP and the LEJ have already come up in the US, the UK, Spain, Portugal, France, Singapore and Australia. Since the foreign intelligence agencies do not have much information about the SSP and the LEJ, they are able to operate without creating suspicions about them.

11. The SSP and the LEJ have not come to notice till now for any activities in the Indian territory---either in Jammu & Kashmir or outside. In view of the recurring explosions targeting Muslims and Muslim places of worship in Delhi, Malegaon, Hyderabad and Ajmer since last year, one has to look into the possibility of the involvement of the SSP and the LEJ in terrorism in Indian territory. None of the Muslim places of worship targeted in India so far belonged to the Shias, but one must note that in Pakistan, the LEJ targets not only Shias and their places of worship, but also the Barelvi Sunnis and their places of worship.

The Barelvis are a more tolerant Sunni sect and have rejected Wahabism so far.Despite the progress made by Wahabism and Deobandi sects, the Barelvis are still in a majority in the Indian sub-continent. Hence, the LEJ's attacks on the Barelvis, many of whom are descendents of converts from Hinduism. The Wahabis/Deobandis are mainly descendents of Muslim migrants into the sub-continent from West and Central Asia.Indian investigators should not keep their focus exclusively on the LET and the HUJI. They should keep their mind open and look into the possibility of the involvement of other jihadi terrorist organisations too. (.This may please be read in continuation of my earlier article of July 1,2002, titled SIPAH-E-SAHABA PAKISTAN, LASHKAR-E-JHANGVI, BIN LADEN & RAMZI YOUSEF at :

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: )

** CPM blamed for Nandigram

Allies, intellectuals blame CPM for Nandigram
November 11, 2007 -CNN:IBN

New Delhi/Kolkata: The CPI-M government in West Bengal is fighting with its back to the wall after its three junior allies and prominent intellectuals in the state blamed it for the violence in Nandigram.

The CPI, Forward Bloc and RSP held an emergency meeting on Sunday and blamed the CPM for the situation in Nandigram, where at least 34 people have died since January in violence during agitations against proposed land acquisition for a Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

State PWD minister and senior RSP leader Kshiti Goswami said he had stopped attending office and would request his party to resign from the ministry to protest against the CPI-M's handling of the situation in Nandigram. "The CPI-M wants bloodshed just to recapture territory," Goswami alleged. “It’s the sole responsibility of the state government to protect people in Nandigram. I don't know if they are CPI-M or Trinamool activists. To me, they all are human beings.”

"I don't want to attend the office. I have communicated my decision to the party secretary and they would discuss in the party and take a decision. I have also decided not to use my official car," said Goswami.

The CPI-M’s Politburo met in Delhi but a senior party leader denied there was rift in the party. “Where are the cracks you are talking about? There is no divide (in the ruling Front),” Politburo member Sitaram Yechury said.

The party again criticised Bengal Governor Gopal Gandhi for “overstepping” his brief while commenting on Nandigram but said it would no seek his recall.
In Kolkata, the intelligentsia rallied behind a fasting Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar and other human rights activists as they boycotted a state-organised film festival and staged a blockade at Esplanade Sunday.

Several intellectuals were injured when police resorted to a baton-charge to prevent them from reaching Nandan, the venue of the Kolkata Film Festival. Filmmakers Aparna Sen and Rituparno Ghosh were prevented from taking out a protest rally, while another 30 intellectuals were arrested.

“People were peacefully protesting when they were fired at by the CPM cadres. An11-year-old boy was shot in his head. He’s okay now but he can't go home since his home in ashes,” said Aparna Sen.

Actress Moushumi Chatterjee said she would campaign for Nandigram victims in Mumbai and expose the CPI-M. Refusing to accept a Lifetime Award offered to her by a prominent Kolkata publication group, Chatterjee told IANS from Mumbai: "This is not the time to accept Lifetime Award from anybody. I think the CPI-M should instead start a 'life taking' award there."
Meanwhile, Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee made another attempt to reach on Nandigram. CPI-M men allegedly stopped her vehicle at Radhamonibazar after which she then rode the pillion of a motorcycle to reach the Tamluk hospital, where several people injured in Saturday's firing have been admitted. (With inputs from IANS) Source:
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Biggies quit, Buddha in tizzy @

Thursday, November 8, 2007

** Bibles Banned at Beijing Olympics

Bibles Banned at 2008 Beijing Olympics
November 5, 2007 - Organizers for the 2008 Olympics in China have released their list of items banned from the Olympic village where the athletes will stay.

Among the "prohibited objects" -- Bibles.

The Catholic News Agency reports that the committee behind the Beijing games cited "security reasons" for the ban.

China's Bible Debate Heats Up. Athletes are also prohibited from bearing any kind of religious symbol at Olympic facilities.

The ban seems to undermine comments released by the country's top religious affairs official. Last month, Ye Xiaowen acknowledged that he expected large numbers of religious faithful among the athletes, coaches and tourists to be swarming into the officially atheist nation during the Olympics.

Xiaowen, director-general of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, said on Oct. 17 that China plans to offer religious services for foreigners. He recognized that religion will play a positive role "in promoting economic and social development" in the future, Reuters reported.
"We are learning from practices in past Games to make sure that their demands for religious worship are met," Ye said on the sidelines of the ruling Communist Party's 17th Congress.
"Here I can promise that religious services we offer will not be lower than the level of any previous Games," Ye said. He did not say if proselytizing would be allowed.

The number of Chinese believers in Buddhism, Taosim and Christianity have been on the rise in recent years, Ye added.

Striking a Balance or Banning Religion?

But striking the balance between providing religious services for the faithful and banning personal religious materials outright may prove more difficult than safeguarding against possible security threats.

The Olympic charter says "no kind of political propaganda, religious or racial hatred is allowed in the Olympic areas."

The Spanish daily La Razon called the standard one of many "signs of censure and intolerance" towards religious objects, particularly those used by Christians in China.

There are some 10 million Catholics in China, divided between an "underground" church loyal to the Vatican and the state-approved church that respects the Pope as a spiritual figurehead but rejects effective papal control.

Currently in China, five bishops and 15 priests are in prison for opposing the state-approved church.

Other items banned from the Olympic village include video cameras and cups.

Sources: Catholic News Agency, Reuters


** Chinese Toy with 'Date-Rape' Drug

Chinese Toy Containing 'Date-Rape' Drug
2007-11-08, AP

WASHINGTON (Nov. 7) - Millions of Chinese-made toys for children have been pulled from shelves in North America and Australia after scientists found they contain a chemical that converts into a powerful date rape drug when ingested. Two children in the U.S. and three in Australia were hospitalized after swallowing the beads. With only seven weeks until Christmas, the recall is yet another blow to toy industry - already bruised by a slew of recalls this past summer.

In the United States, the toy goes by the name Aqua Dots, a highly popular holiday toy distributed by Toronto-based Spin Master Toys. They are called Bindeez in Australia, where they were named toy of the year at an industry function earlier this year. It could not immediately be learned whether Aqua Dots beads are made in the same factories as the Bindeez product. Both are sold by Australia-based Moose Enterprises. The toy beads are sold in general merchandise stores and over the Internet for use in arts and crafts projects. They can be arranged into designs and fused together when sprayed with water. Scientists say a chemical coating on the beads, when ingested, metabolizes into the so-called date rape drug gamma hydroxy butyrate.

When eaten, the compound - made from common and easily available ingredients - can induce unconsciousness, seizures, drowsiness, coma and death. Naren Gunja from Australia's Poisons Information Center said the drug's effect on children was "quite serious ... and potentially life-threatening." The recall was announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission on Wednesday several hours after published reports about the recall in Australia.

The two U.S. children who swallowed Aqua Dot beads went into nonresponsive comas, commission spokesman Scott Wolfson said Wednesday afternoon.

In Australia, the toys were ordered off store shelves on Tuesday when officials learned that a 2-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl were hospitalized after swallowing the beads. A 19-month-old toddler also was being treated.The news jolted the toy industry because Aqua Dots has been one of the few bright stars of the toy selling season, which, along with overall retailing, has gotten off to a sluggish start.

The item, which had been heavily advertised, had appeared on many toy experts' list of must-have holiday toys, and toy sellers are now in the midst of canceling advertising and scrambling to figure out how to replace it.Chris Byrne, a New York-based toy consultant, noted that the incidents could have been isolated, and Spin Master may be erring on the side of caution."This is something that they could not have foreseen.

This is an extremely hot toy. ... It's a little scary," Byrne said.In a statement, Toys "R" Us Inc., said that it issued on Tuesday a "stop sale" on the entire Spin Master Aqua Dots product line in its North American stores and on its Web site after it learned of the news. "We understand that Spin Master and U.S. regulatory authorities are investigating this product and we have asked Spin Master to fully explain what it believes happened," said the toy seller in a statement.

Meanwhile, a separate recall was announced for 405,000 children's products made in China, most of them toy cars, because of dangerous levels of lead.The recall includes about 380,000 Pull-Back Action Toy Cars imported by Dollar General Merchandising Inc. of Goodlettsville, Tenn., and 7,500 Dragster and Funny Car toys imported by International Sourcing Ltd. of Springfield, Mo.Four of the recalled products were imported by Schylling Associates Inc. of Rowley, Mass., including the items Duck Family Collectable Wind-Up Toy, Dizzy Ducks Music Box, "Robot 2000" collectable tin robot and Winnie-the-Pooh Spinning Top.

The company recalled another 66,000 spinning tops Aug. 22.Representatives from Schylling Associates Inc. were not immediately available for comment.Wednesday's recalls include about 7,200 "Big Red" Wagons imported by Northern Tool & Equipment Co. of Burnsville, Minn. Totaling about 405,700, the recalled children's products all had excessive levels of lead in their surface paint.Although no illnesses connected to the toy car recall have been reported, lead is toxic if ingested by young children. Children's products found to have more than 0.06 percent lead accessible to users are subject to a recall.

Boycott of Red Chinese Imports @

Chinese facts @

** Home-grown terrorists.......

Home-grown terrorist recruitment rising, says British spy chief
The Christian Science Monitor
By Mark Rice-Oxley

The Brown government unveils plans to curb recruitment in mosques, jails.

London - It was not that long ago that the British government would refuse to acknowledge that MI5 even existed. Nowadays, public speeches by the head of Britain's domestic intelligence are almost de rigueur.

This week, MI5 chief Jonathan Evans signaled that the service wants to raise public vigilance to the terrorist threat, and to stress that intelligence agents alone cannot solve the Islamist extremist problem. It was followed quickly by British and European Union officials pushing plans for tougher enforcement measures.

Counterterrorism experts say Mr. Evans's speech Monday was remarkable for three things: he raised sharply the numbers of active terrorist supporters from 1,600 to 2,000 and suggested there could be as many as another 2,000 unknown sympathizers; he warned that the problem has not yet reached its peak; and he hinted at a need for greater public understanding of the work MI5 does.

"The security services are unhappy that they believe that there is a real threat but that no one in the public shares that view," comments Peter Neumann, a terrorism expert at King's College, London.

As if to underscore the point, police arrested 14 Algerians and Tunisians Tuesday in a Europe-wide antiterrorism operation led by Italian authorities. Two men in Britain were arrested, police say, for forging documents to facilitate the illegal entry into Italy of recruited suicide bombers to be sent to Iraq and Afghanistan."

One of the key things to emerge from the Evans speech, says Bob Ayers, a security expert at Chatham House, is that "the number of people in the UK that embrace this [Islamic terrorist] cause is growing dramatically." It was misguided, he said, to conclude that the radicals were being routed just because of a string of recent terrorist convictions and scant sign of any specific current plot. "The fact that they haven't conducted any operations recently is not something to take solace from," he adds.

Evans called terrorism "the most immediate and acute peacetime threat" in the agency's 98-year history. Terrorists, he said, were methodically targeting, grooming, indoctrinating and radicalizing young people, some under 16, to carry out acts of terror. "This year, we have seen individuals as young as 15 and 16 implicated in terrorist-related activity."

Although the common resolve to vanquish the menace exposed by the July 7, 2005, London transit system bombings has not diminished, there is deep division over the best means to do so. Evans acknowledged that "this is not a job only for the intelligence agencies and police." He spoke of a collective effort, the joint responsibility of government, faith communities, and civil society.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown's new government is working on a carrot-and-stick approach. There are plans to put millions of pounds into bolstering Muslim moderates to help the community withstand extremist tendencies. A national scheme is planned to train faith leaders and imams to engage better with youths; some imams will get English language lessons. Mosques are meanwhile being encouraged to sign up to a new code of conduct that will for the first time regulate the activities at Britain's 1,500 mosques.

But Mr. Neumann says that money for these initiatives has been slow to materialize. "Some of this money was approved in 2005, and they are still planning the projects and none of it has trickled down," he says. "Teaching foreign imams is important; it's also important to do work in prisons, because there are now a lot of jihadists there and radicalization is becoming a problem. They don't need lots of money, just a little would do, but there isn't really a comprehensive strategy."

Indeed, some analysts say that the center of British Islamic fundamentalism has already moved away from mosques and into gyms, social clubs and, above all, the Internet.

On Tuesday, the EU's top justice official, Franco Frattini, echoed Evans's comments, and called for European governments to make recruitment or "public provocation" to commit violent attacks punishable offenses, to make it illegal to post terrorist propaganda and bombmaking instructions on websites, and to collect and store data (for 13 years) about airline passengers flying into the 27-nation union.

In Britain, some details of Brown's counterterrorism policies were outlined Tuesday in the annual Queen's Speech, including giving police the ability to question suspects after they are charged and barring convicted terrorists from traveling overseas. Separately, the government indicated that it will press ahead with legislation that will give police longer to question suspects before charging them. At present, the limit is 28 days. Brown has suggested 56 days, but the measure could face strong opposition in parliament.

Civil liberty groups say it will sacrifice the very freedoms that terrorists are taking aim at; and terrorism experts warn that it will impair relations with the Muslim community, perhaps jeopardizing the flow of information so vital to antiterrorism work.

Mr. Ayers says that given the high number of potential suspects, the security services cannot possibly keep tabs on all of them. It will thus be more dependent than ever on local information. "You need something that will allow you to focus attention on smaller groups of high-risk people. The hope is that some of those initial indicators would come out of the community."

In their defense, the security services and police argue that they often have to intervene early in the incubation of a plot to ensure public safety: in these cases, police forgo months of evidence collection that they might have conducted before arrests.

"It is possible to envisage circumstances in which the 28-day limit might prove inadequate given the increasing complexity and scale of the current terrorist challenge," says Ken Jones, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers.


Facebook dangers discussed
Natalie Morrison

UA (University of Arkansas) staff, faculty and students covered various concerns and opinions about the popular peer networking Web site Facebook, including its potential legal, professional and personal safety impacts, and sought feedback from the audience at the Reynolds Center Auditorium. was started in 2004 by two sophomores at Harvard University. Originally intended to be a social network for college students it has become the seventh most trafficked site on the Internet with more than 5 billion page views during the month of February.

Danny Pugh, dean of students, spoke as part of the panel and said Facebook is a great social tool. "I would have loved to have something like it in college," he said.

The program coordinator for the event, Christianne Medrano, who works for Student Involvement and Leadership, said Facebook is part of the "millennial generation" and is a good way to connect with other students effectively.

"I think that the Facebook is a fabulous tool for students to use," Medrano said. "However, students need to use this tool wisely with the information they choose to add to their profiles."

Another panelist was Shauna Sterling, director of pre-college programs. Sterling said Facebook was designed for students to meet one another, but has drawn the attention from college authority figures as well.

"Students began to spend an incredible amount of time on Facebook because it was so new," said Sterling. "Institutions began to spend more time paying attention to what our students were spending time on."

"Quite frankly, we as adults have invaded their fun space," Sterling said. At this point, Sterling said, students should just "be safe because people are looking at your profiles."

Sterling said students should be aware that it isn't just people who care about themthat are viewing their profiles, but "everyone else in the world who may not have your best interests in mind."

UAPD officer Michael Oakes said he was shocked at the amount of personal data being supplied on Facebook.

"I was astounded when I saw people's spring break plans posted," he said.

Oakes said students should be aware that if they post something as personal as a phone number, it is possible that predators could use such information to find their home address.

Demetrius Richmond, one of the group's facilitators who works for Student Support Services, asked Oakes how likely it was that such a thing could happen at the UA.

Oakes said that Northwest Arkansas is one of the fastest growing areas in the nation and with that growth comes a great possibility that predators will come to prey on the expanding population.

"Just be very cautious and be aware that people are looking at your information and are not necessarily people from high school," Oakes said.

Another aspect of Facebook discussed by the panel was the possibility of the site being offensive. Richmond read a list of Facebook "groups" that could be considered inappropriate because of their vulgarity and obscenity.

Sterling gave another example of a Facebook group taken too far. She said there was a group that ridiculed a professor and crossed the line into cruelty.

The agreement reached the panel and the students present was that such uses of the Web site were extreme and unnecessary.

Barbara Batson, director of the Career Development Center, said students need to be careful about putting things on the Web site casually.

"I've heard people say you can put anything on Facebook and it doesn't have to be real," Batson said. "But when many people read it, they are going to assume it is true."

Medrano said that in addition to being careful, students should not take Facebook too seriously but just have fun with it.

"There are degrees of perception with Facebook," Medrano said. "Some people really put their whole life in perspective through it. If they go through a breakup, the first thing they do is take the 'in a relationship' tag off their profile."

The panel's main point was to remind students to be as careful as possible on Facebook.

"Remember that this is information on the World Wide Web," said Medrano, "which means that at any point it can be accessed by anyone, including potential graduate schools, employers and not so nice people."

Pugh said he does not want students to think that the administration or other authorities are monitoring Facebook as a way to get students in trouble, but that they just want students to be cautious.

"We're here because we truly care about the students at the UA and there are people out there who would use Facebook maliciously," said Pugh. "I want students to use Facebook, just use it safely. I think it is a great tool and gives students a great ability to connect."
Facebook Video >>

Security Awareness
IT Services

Learn how to protect yourself when meeting people online.
Finding and making friends online using social networking Web sites such as MySpace and Facebook has almost become a rite of passage. Students at universities around the world chronicle their lives by building online profiles and sharing personal information, photographs, and opinions in order to connect with new people. If you use one of these sites to stay in touch, to express yourself openly, and to find like-minded people, that’s great. Just be sure you stay smart and safe in the process.

This includes knowing what Facebook and other social networking sites intend to do with your profiles. In September 2007, Facebook announced that profiles will become searchable through its new Public Search Listings. If you have a profile posted on Facebook, and don’t want your name and profile picture indexed by one of the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN Search, you need to update your Facebook privacy settings immediately. While Facebook has some restrictions on the Public Search Listing of a profile, few people posted their information on Facebook thinking it would be made available to virtually anyone with an Internet connection. You need to take action to prevent this from happening.

You should consider some other important things as well. First, while you can meet new friends online, you may also come into contact with malicious people misrepresenting themselves. These are people you don’t want to know. Internet thieves and sexual predators are only too eager to exploit personal information found on social networking sites. They are out there and willing to hurt you unless you take precautions to protect yourself.

A second consideration, frequently overlooked, is that information you post on a social networking site may reveal indiscretions and worse to future employers, college professors, or even your parents. It’s on the record that students have been suspended and expelled for escapades and threats posted online. In some instances, potential job offers have been withdrawn because of information posted on a social networking site. Keep these things in mind when taking advantage of the pluses of social networking.

You can follow these tips to help you protect yourself on a social networking Web site:

Consider restricting access to your profile. If the site allows it, it’s a good idea to limit access to your profile. Don’t allow strangers to learn everything they can about you. It’s just not safe.
Keep your private information private. Never post your full name, Social Security number, address, phone number, financial information, or schedule. These will make you vulnerable to identity thieves, scams, burglars, or worse.

Choose a screen name that is different from your real name. Avoid using any personal information that would help someone identify or locate you offline.
Think twice before posting your photo. Photos can be used to identify you offline. They can also be altered or shared without your knowledge.

Don’t post information that makes you vulnerable to a physical attack. Revealing where you plan to meet your friends, your class schedule, or your street address is almost an open invitation for someone to find you. Remember that a photo in front of the Co-op tells strangers you are in Austin, and quite likely at the university.

Use your common sense. If you are contacted by a stranger online, find out if any of your established friends know the person, or run an online search on them (after all, you can use these things to your own benefit too!). If you agree to meet them, make it in a public place and invite others to join you.

Trust your instincts. If you feel threatened or uncomfortable during an online interaction, don’t continue the dialogue. Report any offensive behavior to the social networking Web site administrators.

Be suspicious. Don’t take any information you receive from a new online contact at face value. The Internet makes it easy for people to say or do things they would never say or do in public or in face-to-face interactions. Protecting yourself is the smart thing to do.

Those Party Pictures Can Come Back to Haunt You
While one of the fun things about the Internet is sharing photos and messages with friends, keep in mind that the Internet is also a public resource. Only post information you are comfortable with anyone seeing—including your parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, even potential employers. It’s not uncommon for companies to run an Internet search of job applicants before they offer them a position. Stories are increasing about people being “weeded out” from a job search due to compromising or ill-advised photos and information found on the Web. Even if you remove photos or information, they can still exist in archive caches or on another person’s computer. Once you post something, it truly is out of your hands.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

** US Town learns to live with water 3 hours a day

Town learns to live with water 3 hours a day
Nov. 2, 2007

ORME, Tenn. - As twilight falls over this Tennessee town, Mayor Tony Reames drives up a dusty dirt road to the community's towering water tank and begins his nightly ritual in front of a rusty metal valve.

With a twist of the wrist, he releases the tank's meager water supply, and suddenly this sleepy town is alive with activity. Washing machines whir, kitchen sinks fill and showers run.
About three hours later, Reames will return and reverse the process, cutting off water to the town's 145 residents.

The severe drought tightening like a vise across the Southeast has threatened the water supply of cities large and small, sending politicians scrambling for solutions. But Orme, about 40 miles west of Chattanooga and 150 miles northwest of Atlanta, is a town where the worst-case scenario has already come to pass: The water has run out.

The mighty waterfall that fed the mountain hamlet has been reduced to a trickle, and now the creek running through the center of town is dry.

Three days a week, the volunteer fire chief hops in a 1961 fire truck at 5:30 a.m. — before the school bus blocks the narrow road — and drives a few miles to an Alabama fire hydrant. He meets with another truck from nearby New Hope, Ala. The two drivers make about a dozen runs back and forth, hauling about 20,000 gallons of water from the hydrant to Orme's tank.
"I'm not God. I can't make it rain. But I'll get you the water I can get you," Reames tells residents.

Three hours to work withBetween 6 and 9 every evening, the town scurries. Residents rush home from their jobs at the carpet factories outside town to turn on washing machines. Mothers start cooking supper. Fathers fill up water jugs. Kids line up to take showers.

"You never get used to it," says Cheryl Evans, a 55-year-old who has lived in town all her life. "When you're used to having water and you ain't got it, it's strange. I can't tell you how many times I've turned on the faucet before remembering the water's been cut."

"You have to be in a rush," she says. "At 6 p.m., I start my supper, turn on my washer, fill all my water jugs, take my shower."

During its peak in the 1930s, Orme (rhymes with "storm") boasted a population of thousands, a jail, three schools and a hotel. But those boom times are long gone.

After the coal miners went on strike in the 1940s, the company shut down the mine and the town has never been the same. Not a single business is left in Orme. The only reminder of the town's glory days is an aging wooden rail depot that sits three feet above the eerily quiet streets.
Although changes are coming — cable TV arrived just a few years ago — cell phones still don't work there. The main road into town is barely wide enough for two cars to pass one another. Dogs wander the streets, farm animals can be heard all around town, and kids gather outside the one-room City Hall to ride their bikes.

"It's like walking back in time. It's Never-Never Land here," says Ernie Dawson, a 47-year-old gospel singer who grew up in Orme.

Water restrictions in Orme are nothing new. But residents say it's never been this bad.
Most of budget goes to buy waterEven last summer, as the water supply dwindled, city leaders cut off water only at night. But in August, Reames took the most extreme step yet and restricted use to three hours a day.

Elected in December, he has now spent $8,000 of the city's $13,000 annual budget to deal with the crisis. Most of the money went toward trucking water from Alabama.

He has tried to fill the gaps with modest fundraisers, but it hasn't been easy. A Halloween carnival last week cleared about $375 and a dog show two weeks ago made $300.
The town has received a $377,590 emergency grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that Reames hopes will be Orme's salvation. A utility crew is laying a 2 1/2-mile pipe to connect Orme to the Bridgeport, Ala., water supply. The work could be finished by Thanksgiving.
"It's not a short-term solution," Reames says. "It is THE solution."

He says the crisis in Orme could serve as a warning to other communities to conserve water before it's too late.

"I feel for the folks in Atlanta," he says, his gravelly voice barely rising above the sound of rushing water from the town's tank. "We can survive. We're 145 people. You've got 4.5 million people down there. What are they going to do? It's a scary thought."

Thursday, November 1, 2007

*** Germany uses it against Indians

Germany uses it against Indians
The Pioneer:Nov. 1, 2007

The India visit of Germany's Chancellor, Ms Angela Merkel, has doubtlessly further consolidated the cordial relations that already exist between the two countries. Germany had once described India as a 'partner of choice' and the two countries are now striving for a strategic partnership.

Though defence and cultural ties are a part of this, there are, in particular, enormous economic opportunities waiting to be explored. This visit of Ms Angela Merkel -- who has been accompanied by a strong business delegation -- is an attempt in this direction, with science being another thrust area. Germany and India already have significant trade and technology relations -- Germany is among the largest foreign investors in this country -- that can be built upon. There are other aspects to this cooperation, as, for example, through a vibrant though small Indian community in Germany that contributes to its economy.

Yet the full potential of the relationship is somewhat impaired by barriers to the movement of people between the countries. Unhappily, a tight German visa regime ensures that Indians cannot live, work or do business in Germany easily. That country's visa policy was clarified by the German Ambassador immediately prior to the Chancellor's visit when he stated that visas were available to 'highly qualified' Indians. Similarly, Ms Merkel, replying to a question put to her at the post-visit Press conference, suggested that Indians interested in higher education as well as training in technical schools could avail of visas. Regrettably, the bar of the required qualifications is much too high and large categories of otherwise able Indians find themselves unable to meet standards.

It is doubtlessly true that Germany has had lots of problems with guest workers over the years, as also with illegal immigration. In addition, high unemployment rates have made unions strongly oppose foreigners in the workforce; these also become a drain on welfare in bad times. However, much of Germany's troubles with foreign workers have come from Turks or West Asians. Though they have met Germany's need for an additional workforce, they -- and their children -- have had serious difficulties in assimilating, which has been a cause of social unrest. Germany has never had much trouble from the Indian community within it, which, like Indians in other countries, has been a model community whose education, skills and attitude to work have only added value to it.

Despite this contrast, Germany continues to have strikingly different visa policies towards Turkey and West Asian countries, and towards India. There are signs that the German economy will heat up again, and when it does, it will find its shrinking workforce a constraint. Slots at various levels of the economy can be easily filled up, but for this to happen, Germany must take advantage of resources now available globally and ease up its visa policy. What, however, surprises is the attitude of the Indian Government, which spinelessly allows asymmetrical aspects of foreign relations, such as visa regimes, to persist without taking reciprocal action.