Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Alice in Wonderland: Understating Police Collusion

The Guardian reports that "A group of Metropolitan police officers who were sacked over their conduct in the Plebgate affair were involved in a collusion that made it difficult to uncover the truth about the incident in Downing Street, the former attorney general Dominic Grieve has said. As the Met released a lengthy report into Operation Alice, its investigation into the incident in Downing Street on 19 September 2012, Grieve warned that the conduct of some of the officers had challenged the workings of the justice system. He told the Guardian: "I think the report is a very worrying document, because it reveals collusion between police officers in a way that makes the truth impossible to ascertain, when police officers should be witnesses of the truth at all times. When one sees officers behaving in this fashion, in whatever circumstances, it leaves one with a sense that if you can't trust them to tell the truth, then the justice system generally, and law enforcement in particular, becomes very difficult. It is a pretty depressing read." Grieve spoke out after Deputy Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan, who was in charge of Operation Alice, said that allegations that officers had conspired to falsify statements had "damaged public trust and confidence in us". Gallan confirmed that four officers, including one who has been sent to prison, had lost their jobs as a result of their conduct after the incident."

Dominic Grieve is the master of understatement here. This sort of police collusion happens regularly in criminal trials from my experience. And my view is that the judiciary are to blame as they have a tendency to protect the police if such allegations are made against them during criminal trials - and that is also understatement! There have been one or two cases where I suspect judges have colluded with the police. The situation is far worse than Dominic Grieve gives it credit for. Only the judiciary can sort out the criminal justice system. Operation Alice (who comes up with these names?) is the tip of the iceberg.

SJP @DigitalAsian

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Indian Guinea Pigs?

Economic Times reports that "In 2009, several schools for tribal children in Khammam district in Telangana — then a part of undivided Andhra Pradesh — became sites for observation studies for a cervical cancer vaccine that was administered to thousands of girls aged between nine and 15. The girls were administered the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine in three rounds that year under the supervision of state health department officials. The vaccine used was Gardasil, manufactured by Merck. It was administered to around 16,000 girls in the district, many of whom stayed in state government-run hostels meant for tribal students. Months later, many girls started falling ill and by 2010 five of them died. Two more deaths were reported from Vadodara, Gujarat, where an estimated 14,000 children studying in schools meant for tribal children were also vaccinated with another brand of HPV vaccine, Cervarix, manufactured by GSK. Earlier in the week, the Associated Press reported that scores of teenaged girls were hospitalised in a small town in northern Colombia with symptoms that parents suspect could be an adverse reaction to Gardasil. A standing committee on health and family welfare that investigated the irregularities pertaining to the observation studies in India tabled its report a year ago, on August 30. The committee found that consent for conducting these studies, in many cases, was taken from the hostel wardens, which was a flagrant violation of norms. In many other cases, thumbprint impressions of their poor and illiterate parents were duly affixed onto the consent form. The children also had no idea about the nature of the disease or the vaccine. The authorities concerned could not furnish requisite consent forms for the vaccinated children in a huge number of cases. ..."

The article goes on to suggest that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is funding NGOs in India that have connections to multinational drug companies and the implication may be that vaccines are being tested on Indian citizens without proper consent or authority.

Are Indians being used as guinea pigs for testing vaccines and other drugs?

SJP @DigitalAsian

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Bombay Dusk - Photos of Mumbai @ IdeaIndia.Com

Britain is a Diverse Country But Only at the Bottom?

BBC News reports that UK is "deeply elitist" according to new analysis of the backgrounds of more than 4,000 business, political, media and public sector leaders. Small elites, educated at independent schools and Oxbridge, still dominate top roles, suggests the Social Mobility Commission study. It says that key institutions do not represent the public they are meant to serve. Commission Chairman Alan Milburn said they had to open their doors to a broader range of talent. "Locking out a diversity of talents and experiences makes Britain's leading institutions less informed, less representative and ultimately less credible than they should be," warned Mr Milburn.

Sometimes it seems that Britain is heading back to a 19th Century class society in London. David Cameron and Boris Johnson, both from Eton, are examples of this elite culture. Diversifying the 'elite' at the top in Britain will take a while. 

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Looking Up in Uttarakhand - Photos of India @ IdeaIndia.Com

Prasad's Panchayat Project: Going Digital

Times of India reports that expressing optimism about the growth opportunities provided by the Internet, communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) will herald an e-commerce revolution in India. The ambitious project worth around Rs 35,000 crore aims to provide high-speed broadband connectivity to 2.5 lakh gram panchayats in India by March 2017. "NOFN will lead to an empowered India with villages boarding the Internet superway. It will also lead to an explosion of e-commerce in the country," Prasad said at the first meeting of the Centre and states to deliberate on various initiatives under the Digital India programme. 

Initiatives in the Digital India programme are coming thick and fast. It was recently reported that the government wants every Indian citizen to have a smartphone by 2019. There are all very ambitious projects and we will see by the time of the next general election how far Modi's government has reached its goal. Panchayats with broadband connectivity - the old and the modern in India's digital dream.

Monday, 25 August 2014

British Extremism: Extremism abroad is leading to extremism at home

The Guardian reports that Boris Johnson, London Mayor, has called for the presumption of innocence to be reversed in cases where Britons travel to Iraq or Syria and said he wants the jihadist who beheaded an American journalist to be killed in a bomb attack. The Mayor of London, who has overall responsibility for the Metropolitan Police, said legislation should be introduced so that anyone visiting those countries would be automatically presumed to be terrorists unless they had notified the authorities in advance, and joined growing calls for Britons fighting abroad to be stripped of their citizenship.

These are very extreme views expressed by a supposedly mainstream politician. But it will get huge support from the Tory voter such that Boris is likely to get elected leader of the Conservative Party and even win the next General Election for the Tories. Boris is becoming more like an American Republican Neo-Con politician by expressing such views.

To allow a presumption of guilt in the law is the beginning of the end of the criminal justice system. With the Metropolitan Police out of control with so many scandals, to allow any presumption of guilt would be fatal to the rule of law in Britain.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Learning the Virtues of Cricket - Photos of India @ IdeaIndia.Com

Women's Right to Orgasm and India's Constitution

In an article in the Times of India entitled "Women now demand their right to orgasm", Vijay Singh writes

"Any sexologist across the country will tell you that today if a married couple has fixed an appointment, it is mostly the woman who steps inside the doctor's room first. At the ongoing National Conference of Sexology at Vashi, organized by the Council of Sex Education & Parenthood International (CSEPI), several national and international sex experts agreed that a quiet but sure change is taking place in Indian bedrooms, with woman no longer submissive but rather demanding. "Earlier, women used to consider sex merely as a marital duty towards their husbands. However, now Indian women are demanding their sexual right to orgasm and satisfaction. This is a radical change," said gynaecologist Dr Ikshita Asagekar while chairing one of the seminars at the sexology conference. Hyderabad-based sexologist Dr Sharmila Majumdar told TOI she gets nearly 200 emails per week from couples and individuals in and around Hyderabad, seeking specific medical help and assistance for enhancing their sex lives. "Earlier, women were not so open about their own sexual problems or physical problems of their partners. Now they are definitely taking bold steps and opening up about their sexual needs as they understand that sex is no longer limited to the bedroom, but it can affect their lives in the kitchen, the living room and the office as well,'' said Dr Majumdar."

Is a woman's right to orgasm contained within India's Constitution? Maybe someone could file a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) to find out :)

Friday, 22 August 2014

Digital India: India's Digital Dream

Times of India reports that the cabinet has approved the ambitious Digital India programme that aims to connect all gram panchayats by broadband Internet, promote e-governance and transform India into a connected knowledge economy. The Programme, which would be implemented in a phased manner by 2019, is estimated to cost about Rs 113,000 crore, including ongoing schemes being run by the telecom department and Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), as well as on new schemes "Digital India is a program to prepare India for a knowledge future," says a presentation on the program to the cabinet by DeitY. "The focus is on making technology central to enabling change". Prime Minister Narendra Modi had listed Digital India as among the top priorities for the new BJP-led central government, while delivering his maiden Independence Day speech on August 15. 

Modi is seeking to improve India'digital infrastructure. With this government Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), it is like god has spoken to Modi to spread the digital word.

SJP @DigitalAsian

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Godfather IV: The Iraqi Mob

You remember the scene in the film Godfather III where actor Al Pacino playing Michael Corleone says: "Just when I thought that I was out... they pull me back in!". Well this is a bit like America and the so-called coalition of the willing in Iraq. Just when they thought they had got out of Iraq they are now pulled back in.  They don't appear to be so willing now. Does Western intervention in countries create more problems than it solves?

Monday, 18 August 2014

Local Villager at Khashedi Ghat, Maharashtra, India - India Photo Library

Local Villager at Khashedi Ghat, Maharashtra - IdeaIndia.Com

Local Villager at Khashedi Ghat, Maharashtra, India

Copyright CooperJal Ltd 2014 All rights reserved

Side Effect of the Health Care Business

Media reports that Rob Schneider, who has known Robin Williams for many years says that the medicine he had been taking for Parkinson’s disease may be to blame. Schneider said on Twitter: "Now that we can talk about it. Robin Williams was on a drug treating the symptoms of Parkinson's. One of the SIDE-EFFECTS IS SUICIDE! (sic)".

I am am not a doctor nor do I have any medical knowledge but I have often thought that the drugs prescribed by doctors (which are pushed by drug companies) are often prescribed for convenience sake. My view is that medicine is not an exact science. How any particular medicine, or combination of medication, will affect any particular patient cannot be known exactly. As a patient gets older and gets more ailments, their doctor will prescribe a different drug for each new ailment and how this combination of drugs impacts the patient can't be predicted with great certainty. Especially in old age, doctors, I am sure, don't bother to properly investigate the patient's needs but simply prescribe whatever is convenient. Especially so-called mood stabilising drugs are prescribed probably more for convenience as opposed to proper investigation of the patient and their needs. This can sometimes mess up the patient's life and that of their family.

This is the side effect of a health care system run as a business, for the business, by the business.

SJP @DigitalAsian