Impact of Trump's Announcement
Israel Rage continues after Trump’s announcement December 9, 2017 marks the 30th anniversary of the first ‘Intifada’ declared against Israel. Rage has again simmered on this day with the leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh declaring the third uprising against Israel. This is the result of declaration by US president which recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This declaration didn’t go well with Palestinian militant group and they consider it a declaration of war on Palestinians. At least three rockets have been launched till now from the Gaza toward the Israel town. In retaliation by Israel army two people were reported dead belonging to Hamas militant group and as many as 200 wounded and admitted in Gaza’s Shifa Hospital. Tension also rose in city of Bethlehem where protesters threw stones on Israeli troops. Demonstrations were also reported in East Jerusalem where Israeli troops used tear gas. Israel has also started targeting sites in Gaza following rocket strikes from militants. So this announcement by Mr. Donald Trump has created situation of new civil uprising in Israel and has given gift to radicalism. The Jerusalem has been one of the main obstacles for peace between Palestine and Israel after Israel occupied it in 1967. Since then Palestine has been claiming East Jerusalem whereas Israel recognizes it as its capital.
Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana Policy
Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana Policy Prime Minister recently launched the Saubhagya scheme, also known as the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana. What does it aim to achieve and can it really attempt all it promises? Introduction Electricity availability is essential for the development of our country. It will have positive impact on the lives of people. It helps in boosting the education and healthcare facilities of the region which results in overall human development. According to ‘World Bank’ data in 2014 only 80% of India’s population had access to electricity compared to world average of 85%. Hence, the current government has been focussing a lot on increasing the access to electricity. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also earlier launched two important schemes to boost the electricity connectivity namely UDAY & Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY). Need for Saubhagya scheme Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) was launched in July 2015 to electrify the villages which didn’t have the connectivity. The government was able to electrify 14,701 villages but 2,760 were still left. Even if we consider that so many villages were electrified but still there was a lot of gap. According to the definition used: ‘A village was considered to be electrified even if 10% of household of that village had electricity connection’. Another gap was the irregular supply of electricity in the connected households. So, if out of 14000 villages electrified under this scheme, 90% of households don’t have connection and among those connected don’t have provision of minimum supply can still these villages be considered electrified? Features and Aim of Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana It has been launched by Prime Minister on 25th September, 2017. It is different from DDUGJY in the sense that it provides access to all by last-mile connectivity. So, it brings the transition from connection villages to connecting households. The outlay for the scheme proposed is Rs. 16,320 crore out of which 14,025 crore is for rural households. The target set by the government to complete the electrification process is 31st December, 2018. Government will provide free connections to families under BPL (Below Poverty Line) category. These BPL families will be identified through Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 data. The whole process will be done using latest technology like using mobile app for household survey. The households which are not covered under BPL status will also be given the facility of paying the fees of Rs.500 in 10 instalments. In addition to ensuring electricity connectivity to every household the scheme aims to upgrade environment because the use of Kerosene lamps for lightning purpose will reduce. Other outcomes it expects to achieve are better connectivity, improved health and education standards and more jobs. Hence, it will help in improving overall quality of life of people. Challenges in implementation There are two major challenges to implementation: 1. Connection Bills: Though the scheme has the provision of free connections for BPL households but it doesn’t take into account the payment of monthly electricity charges. It is unrealistic to expect that BPL households will be able to pay the monthly bills s per high tariff of DISCOMs. 2. Regular supply of electricity: According to an estimate if we assume that all remaining households are connected then it will require additional 28000MW which is 7% of country’s total capacity. Meeting this high power requirement will be a challenging task as already there is a shortage of power especially in rural areas. Conclusion In last three years many schemes have been launched that are based on Government’s agenda of development, Saubhagya is one such scheme. It has a very ambitious aim of connecting every household to electricity grid network of India. But it remains to be seen whether the demand of the additional capacity will be met. If this scheme is successful then it will definitely provide a huge boost to Indian economy and overall growth.
The most famous of all notions about man describes him as a social animal. That is to say, it is a part of his nature to form groups and communities wherever he lives, and that man cannot live without society. No one has indeed heard of any place where individuals live on their own. Only Homer in Odyssey presents us with a case where one-eyed giants lived in caves, and even they were said to have a family. Anyone who has observed animal life would know that they too live in groups, communicate with each other, and form herds and other such groupings. This seems like a typical social trait. What makes human groups unique is their advanced and descriptive vocal communication. We tend to form groups and a social life emerges sui generis - a self generating order. This spontaneous nature of social life is well understood by the social sciences. If this is what is meant by describing man as a social animal, then he is indeed so. A contention however may arise when the individual is described solely in social terms. Does this notion of man really describe an 'individual' in his or her totality? Is it a true reflection of his or her real nature? There are times when an individual wishes to interact with others, and there are times when he or she wishes to be left alone. An individual seems to have a 'dual nature' - he/she lives both at a personal as well as social level. Frank H. Knight, an American economist, has written on this issue, and has said that it is not 'as an animal' that man is social. I am trying to add to this. A more adequate description of man is to call him 'a thinking animal'. It is as a thinking animal that he is social. Indeed, our own personal growth in families never gives us an inkling of this issue - we are hardly even aware of it. A Prime Minister is said to have said, or perhaps she approved of the statement, that there is no such thing as society. There are norms however, for one thing. Customs and traditions to contend with. Guides to our life! If you can live without them, good luck. Or else, try and escape if you can!
What is real patriotism?
The patriotism that existed pre-independence was one fuelled by a desire to rid India of the British Raj. What composes today's patriotism, with insignia like the National Flag and the National Anthem? Can streams of plastic imitation flags which are soon strewn across the school playground or discarded in dustbins be symbols of India? Questions led to more questions and discussions. Did India, with its geographical boundaries, have a good beginning on August 15, 1947? Common ethnicity and language do not seem to be unifying factors, while war seems a solution. For example, a few participants were quite aggressive about a "headless India" and felt that war was a way to resolve issues. If what can be translated as "It is beautiful and fitting to die for my country" - Ceasar's soldiers marching cry - be considered patriotic, the concept of "dying for my country" is equally so. Living for it? Too commonplace. Someone said, "We all live only for ourselves". "Is Gururaj Deshpande any less of a patriot than Abdul Kalam?" asked a participant. From this emerged facets of the new patriotism observed with common human selfishness. "If there are better opportunities elsewhere, it would be foolish to not get going," said a student. So is patriotism about a full stomach, or the willingness to be satisfied with less than that? To try and find the real meaning, the synecdoche associated with patriotism should be given up. Its indicators need to be re- examined. Does refusing to use an MNC product or cheering only when India wins a cricket match make a patriot of you? It emerged that sometimes viewing our nation as a unit, is like chasing a mirage. Just a relook at history and the sequence of events that have led to the formation of India as it is today is not going to make the country tomorrow. Accepting in blind faith whatever is dealt out in the name of patriotism is unthinking. As a participant pointed out, "Patriotism is now used to keep us together when we need something..." and many a time is used as a con trick to get things done. The industry of war among others, thrives mostly on this sentiment of patriotism, making human life expendable. The Nazi saying: "My country, right or wrong" may seem patriotic, but history, knows the number of lives lost. The discussion sought to reveal alternative views to the patriotism of today and did dispel all that it cannot amount to. The "pulp patriotism" of today is fed by negative nationalism and sentimental notions often viewed as consolidating factors. Patriotism is now preached as a panacea for unresolved problems of the country. But in this era do we need a solution that at times seems to override the notion of humanity? What was agreed by the participants - spiritual gurus and bellicose ones alike - was that it is more important to be able to say "I am human" than "I am an Indian". The politics of vendetta may seem opposed to this version of patriotism to the world than to the country. "Vasuthaiva Kutumbakam" (the world is my family) ancient words of wisdom, relevant to recent times. The students from BalaVidya Mandir, PSBB and Sivaswamy Kalalaya had more to add, as did moderator Menon. But the discussion came to a close with the feeling that it is best to be a part of a good world cause, comfortable with the people we are. With hopes of Tagore's Chinmaya (an idea of the mind) view of India coming to fruition, "Into that land of freedom, my father, let my country awake."
The epistemological version of what I am calling the reproach of abstraction derives mainly from Humean empiricism, with its psychological conception of abstract ideas as the product of 'customary conjunctions' of particular ideas, based on resemblances, annexed to 'general names'. This is essentially a psychologistic updating of medieval nominalism. The practical-political version of the reproach is perhaps most commonly associated with the Lukácsian trajectory of Western Marxism, although it is also found in various sociologies of modernity, such as Simmel's, and it appears in a more literary-philosophical form in the complexly entwined traditions of French Heideggerianism and French Nietzscheanism. It is epitomized in its Marxist variant by Moishe Postone's concept of 'abstract domination', set out in Time, Labour, and Social Domination . Abstract domination is 'the domination of people by abstract, quasi-independent structures of social relations, mediated by commodity determined labour - the impersonal, nonconscious, nonmotivational, mediate form of necessity characteristic of capitalism.' Abstract domination, in others words, is domination by abstractions. These two critical tendencies - epistemological and practical-political- often converge within Marxism, as in Derek Sayers's The Violence of Abstraction . But their combination is by no means restricted to the Marxist tradition. Indeed, there is a paradoxical position, more or less explicit in a great deal of contemporary theory ; it is shared, for example, by deconstruction and Adorno's version of critical theory, which holds that, not merely despite but precisely because of the necessity of abstraction to thought ,(the character of the necessity, that is), there is something both cognitively and politically inadequate about knowledge itself: not only existing knowledge, but all possible knowledges. For Feyerabend, for example, the history of Western thought could be told as 'A Tale of Abstraction versus the Richness of Being'. Increasingly, it seems, from a variety of different standpoints, abstraction - understood here as conceptual abstraction - is accompanied by both a certain melancholy (loss of the real object) and a certain shame (complicity in the domination of the concept and hence repression of other, more vibrant, more creative aspects of existence). This can be seen, I think, in the growing reverence and enthusiasm for 'singularities' of various sorts: reverence in the spirit of the construal of alterity in the Levinas-Nancy tradition, that religious 'dream of a purely heterological thought' otherwise called 'pure empiricism'; enthusiasm on the model of 'i'ek's embrace of Badiou's 'act as event'. It is also visible in the turn within literary studies away from 'theory', strictly construed, towards a historicist particularism, on the one hand, and a revival of interest in 'aesthetics' (in its nineteenth-century disciplinary sense - quite different from Kant's philosophical sense of aesthetic as critique), on the other. This movement has a correlate in studies in the visual arts, in which the Anglo-American reception of Deleuze has become entangled. Indeed, in this context, certain theoretical terminologies have themselves become primarily aesthetic means.
The growth of money laundering
The amount of money sent back home by migrants working abroad has grown rapidly in recent years -according to the World Bank it doubled in the five years from 2002, reaching at least $350bn. But the mechanisms used to transfer money can also be used for money laundering, and are of increasing concern to law enforcement agencies. Some estimates suggest that half of all money transfers from migrants living abroad are done outside the formal sector - that is, banks or money transfer firms. Of course, most migrant transfers are for legitimate reasons. But the vast volume of informal transfers has made it much easier to hide illicit transfers, whether they relate to criminal activity or terrorist finance. There are two reasons for the growth of the this informal sector. The first is the expense of transferring money abroad for poor individuals. The cost, especially for small amounts sent to nations with a less well-developed financial sector, can be as much as 20% of the sum, according to the World Bank. Secondly, there are a number of countries, for example in parts of Africa and the Middle East, where the banking system is not highly developed and so cash transactions are common. As directly sending cash, or its equivalent in gold or diamonds, is potentially risky, this has led to the widespread use, in Muslim countries, of the hawala system. Hawala is an informal system of money transfer based on trust, which uses a system of money brokers based throughout the Middle East, Africa and Asia, with links to others in major cities across Europe and North America. Under hawala, no money actually crosses international borders. Instead, a system of complex swaps is employed, using food, fuel, electronics or gold as a way of balancing the books between operators - hawaladas - in different countries. The OECD's Financial Action Task Force says these "alternative remittance systems" are widely used by terrorist finance, because of the "level of anonymity and rapidity" they offer, and for "cultural" reasons. They say that they have the additional attraction of "weaker and/or less opaque record-keeping" and in many places "less stringent regulatory oversight". This might particularly apply in failed states, such as Somalia, or large parts of Afghanistan. Finding terrorist funding in the huge volume of international money transfers may seem akin to looking for a needle in a haystack. The volume of normal transactions dwarfs the amount of money needed to carry out terrorist actions. The OECD estimates that the direct operational costs of major terrorist actions like the London and Madrid bombings were no more than $10,000 to $12,000 (£6,751 to £8,100). This level of funding - or even the Bali bombing, estimated to have cost $50,000 - could easily be incorporated into the hawala system. But the OECD says terrorist networks need other longer term funding to support their operations and logistics base - and so will also turn to money laundering, criminal activities, and the use of charities as conduits for money. Regulators, particularly in Europe, are beginning to tighten up the supervision of all types of financial institutions, formal and informal. An EU directive comes into force in 2009 that will compel financial companies above a certain size to become registered with the FSA and to put up bonds proportionate to their turnover or profit. At the same time, The World Bank has been pushing to lower the cost of formal money transfers. One possibility is to make more use of the postal system, which has the ability to create a global money transfer system. Another new development could be the use of mobile phone systems to credit small amounts to users. This would be particularly attractive in developing countries, where mobile phone use is growing and is much more dense than internet use. Meanwhile, private agencies such as Western Union and Moneygram have expanded rapidly across the globe, and the money transfer business has proved highly profitable, growing by 6% per year. There is no doubt that, overall, remittances make a positive contribution to economic growth in poor countries - although they might be better targeted. So finding ways of improving transfers, while avoiding the risks of hiding money, could be useful for economic development. And improving living conditions in these countries could be in itself an important antidote to the appeal of anti-Western militancy across the globe.
First day at job
So, it is your first day at your new job and you don't really know what to expect. You have been to the office before but only briefly at the interview and have got a first impression about the company. But, how much do you really know about the office etiquette and how you are expected to behave? Well, there are some simple rules and guidelines to abide by so that you will take to your new workplace like a duck to water. The basic behaviours that will be expected of a new starter are those that the current office will already practise. Adhering to the dress code will be demanded so ensure you know if the company encourages suit-wearing or smart casual as this will make you feel comfortable and prevent an embarrassing first day. It will feel awkward if you arrive for work in a three-piece suit to find your peers and boss in jeans and trainers or vice versa. As a new starter you will be expected to adapt to the office environment that you are joining. Don't think that you can just impose your personality on the workplace as this can appear as arrogance and may alienate you from certain members, if not all, of the office. Take your time when you start to monitor the other workers and get an understanding of how they work, speak and behave. Doing this will enable you to become a part of the office hierarchy as you smoothly integrate into the group. Many of your actions should be based upon those of the existing workforce. However, this doesn't mean that you should act sheepish and introverted and become an office clone. There may be various traditions that are followed so try to make yourself aware of these early on so you don't offend people when you flout these rules. An example of this could be communal tea runs, when the single cup-of-tea maker will be victim to whispers and gossip-mongering. Don't be afraid to be yourself as it will enable your new workmates to get to know you right from the start. Setting the tone and conveying your personality is an important part of making an impression, so do it in the right way and you will be a popular figure in no time at all. Respect is one of the cornerstones of a happy office so treat others with respect or risk becoming an eternal outcast. Talking over people, making personal calls and telling offensive jokes are all ways of making you disliked with little chance of reconciliation. First impressions are so important so be aware that your new office will be scrutinizing everything that you do in order to gauge a quick evaluation of what you're about. Your first day is likely to involve a lot of meeting new people, so ensure you sleep well the night before. Yawning or appearing disinterested and vacant when you are being shown around is not going to set you in good stead for your new career. Listen carefully to any important information and don't be afraid to ask questions when you don't understand. It will let your boss know that you are listening and that you are keen to learn. The key to becoming a fully-integrated member of your new workplace is simply to listen and observe to your new workmates. You will be spending more time with them than you will with your family so take the ime to get to know their quirks and beliefs. You will not want to seem invisible but you will also need to avoid standing out from the crowd for the wrong reasons. It will be hard to convince people that their first impressions were wrong. Starting you new job is an intimidating time for any person, but try not to be too nervous as this may affect your behaviour negatively. Be confident, without appearing arrogant, and get to know your new peers during breaks and conversations as this will further improve your chances of enjoying a happy working life. The new office could be your workplace for a very long time so it makes sense to make the effort to fit in without irritating too many people
The character of drinks
Given overwhelming evidence for the primacy of sociocultural factors in determining both drinking patterns and their consequences, it is clear that ethnographic research findings on the social and cultural roles of alcohol may have important implications for policy-makers - particularly in areas such as Europe where economic and political 'convergence' could have significant impact on drinking-cultures and their associated lifestyles. In this context, it is essential for those concerned with policy and legislation on alcohol to have a clear understanding of the sociocultural functions and meanings of drinking. This passage outlines the principal conclusions that can be drawn from the available cross-cultural material regarding the symbolic uses of alcoholic beverages, the social functions of drinking-places and the roles of alcohol in transitional and celebratory rituals. From the ethnographic material available, it is clear that in all cultures where more than one type of alcoholic beverage is available, drinks are classified in terms of their social meaning, and the classification of drinks is used to define the social world. Few, if any, alcoholic beverages are 'socially neutral': every drink is loaded with symbolic meaning, every drink conveys a message. Alcohol is a symbolic vehicle for identifying, describing, constructing and manipulating cultural systems, values, interpersonal relationships, behavioural norms and expectations. Choice of beverage is rarely a matter of personal taste. At the simplest level, drinks are used to define the nature of the occasion. In many Western cultures, for example, champagne is synonymous with celebration, such that if champagne is ordered or served at an otherwise 'ordinary' occasion, someone will invariably ask "What are we celebrating?" In the Weiner Becken in Austria, sekt is drunk on formal occasions, while schnapps is reserved for more intimate, convivial gatherings - the type of drink served defines both the nature of the event and the social relationship between the drinkers. The choice of drink also dictates behaviour, to the extent that the appearance of a bottle of schnapps can prompt a switch from the 'polite' form of address, sie, to the highly intimate du.
Language in humans
Language in humans has evolved culturally rather than genetically, according to a study by the University College London and US researchers. By modeling the ways in which genes for language might have evolved alongside language itself, the study showed that genetic adaptation to language would be highly unlikely, as cultural conventions change much more rapidly than genes. Thus, the biological machinery upon which human language is built appears to predate the emergence of language. According to a phenomenon known as the Baldwin effect, characteristics that are learned or developed over a lifespan may become gradually encoded in the genome over many generations, because organisms with a stronger predisposition to acquire a trait have a selective advantage. Over generations, the amount of environmental exposure required to develop the trait decreases, and eventually no environmental exposure may be needed - the trait is genetically encoded. An example of the Baldwin effect is the development of calluses on the keels and sterna of ostriches. The calluses may initially have developed in response to abrasion where the keel and sterna touch the ground during sitting. Natural selection then favored individuals that could develop calluses more rapidly, until callus development became triggered within the embryo and could occur without environmental stimulation. The PNAS paper explored circumstances under which a similar evolutionary mechanism could genetically assimilate properties of language - a theory that has been widely favoured by those arguing for the existence of 'language genes'. The study modeled ways in which genes encoding language-specific properties could have coevolved with language itself. The key finding was that genes for language could have coevolved only in a highly stable linguistic environment; a rapidly changing linguistic environment would not provide a stable target for natural selection. Thus, a biological endowment could not coevolve with properties of language that began as learned cultural conventions, because cultural conventions change much more rapidly than genes. The authors conclude that it is unlikely that humans possess a genetic 'language module' which has evolved by natural selection. The genetic basis of human language appears to primarily predate the emergence of language. The conclusion is reinforced by the observation that had such adaptation occurred in the human lineage, these processes would have operated independently on modern human populations as they spread throughout Africa and the rest of the world over the last 100,000 years. If this were so, genetic populations should have coevolved with their own language groups, leading to divergent and mutually incompatible language modules. Linguists have found no evidence of this, however; for example, native Australasian populations have been largely isolated for 50,000 years but learn European languages readily. Professor Nick Chater, UCL Cognitive, Perceptual and Brain Sciences, says: "Language is uniquely human. But does this uniqueness stem from biology or culture? This question is central to our understanding of what it is to be human, and has fundamental implications for the relationship between genes and culture. Our paper uncovers a paradox at the heart of theories about the evolutionary origin and genetic basis of human language - although we appear to have a genetic predisposition towards language, human language has evolved far more quickly than our genes could keep up with, suggesting that language is shaped and driven by culture rather than biology. "The linguistic environment is continually changing; indeed, linguistic change is vastly more rapid than genetic change. For example, the entire Indo-European language group has diverged in less than 10,000 years. Our simulations show the evolutionary impact of such rapid linguistic change: genes cannot evolve fast enough to keep up with this 'moving target'.
DR B R AMBEDKAR CLASH POINTS FROM MY POINT OF VIEW
Mumbai: developing city overshadowing the ecology
Mumbai : Development overshadows Ecology Given the astronomical land prices in many parts of Mumbai, and the extreme scarcity of land, it is no surprise that Mumbai has sacrificed its ecology for development. Real estate projects, industry, and state infrastructure have built over, and choked, the city’s water networks at various strategic points. Every monsoon, the city floods. Local trains considered the lifeline of Mumbai, today moved at the snail's pace due to water-logging of the tracks, resulting in harrowing times for lakhs of office-goers and other commuters. A distance, usually covered in about an hour, took several hours, even up to five hours in some cases, as the rail tracks, as well as roads were submerged. This was the scene of the metropolis as it continued to be lashed by heavy rains for the fourth straight day. Mudflats, mangroves and wooded vegetation once slowed down the flow of stormwater. The mangrove’s complex root systems and the branching architecture of trees acted as a natural barrier to reduce the force of water flow. But now, they are built over. Garbage spread everywhere clogs the waterways. Most channels and waterways that connect water bodies have been built over too, resulting preventing streams from easily reaching the sea, adding to the severe flooding. Today, with nothing but concrete all around, the city’s land surface does not allow water to soak into it. In especially intense periods of rain, the devastation is extreme The story of Mumbai today is a reflection of the ills that plague many Indian cities and those in other parts of the world as well, such as Miami and Houston. In a wetter future, it is clearer than ever that cities need ecology to grow.