Knowledge in Journalism

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Magazine Journalism

Journalism > Other

Magazine Journalism The magazine journalism also termed as periodical press in the field of mass communication which is survived by alterations to cater to specific needs just as in the case of radio broadcast. Before the popularity of television started to rise, radio broadcast and the print industry specifically the magazine industry in India were blooming with high hopes. There were more magazines in English and even more in the regional languages on the newsstands, bookstalls and stores than ever before. There is place for all kinds of magazines like general interest magazines, speciality magazines, news magazines, house magazines etc. In fact magazine journalism in India has been in a way a trend setter where young editors got a chance to break new grounds and illustrate their innovative and improvisation skills posing challenges to their own creative ability and talent in the face of stiff competition. Magazine journalism is vitally different from newspaper journalism in many important aspects. Magazines lend perspective to contemporary events, they serve as interpreters and analysts of trends and events. Comparatively free from the deadline rush of the daily press, they are in a position to add a bit of background, researched effort and back reference to the contemporary events. With a more durable cover and stitched pages, magazines are not ephemeral things, to be flipped over and cast aside. Magazine perform a middle distance role between newspapers and books while newspapers report events as they occur and books record them with historical perspective, magazines add a new dimension that of investigation, data and analysis. Another basic difference between the magazine and newspaper is; while newspapers do not aim at a single special group, and must have something of everything for almost everybody, magazines are generally designed for specific target groups. Magazines provide immense diversity almost in every aspect i.e. cover, design, layout, contents and perspective, variety of subjects etc. The modern magazines are essentially a product of printing technology advancement fostered in America in the late ninetieth century. Though magazines in the twentieth century were heavily dependent on advertising as the main source of income, the industry had to face stiff competition from television and films and thus the era of television uprising also become the graveyard for many once popular and flourishing magazines. Indian newsmagazines flourished in the aftermath of emergency. Magazines like India today, Sunday, Week, Frontline and Outlook were successful in catching the attention and imagination of the reading public. The newsmagazines in India cover a wide range of subjects from politics, which dominates the pages, to sports, films, social themes, human interest stories to AIDS, women’s rights and human rights.  In the 21st century magazine journalism has developed more specific and  diversified traits and the cadre of journalism is sub divided into many more  categories. Specific magazine publications have strived in specific beats like film  magazines such as filmfare,stardust and femina which are called mags in general  language,sports specific magazines  such as sportsstar, automotive industry  specific magazines like overdrive, business specific magazines like business today; in the current scenario the beats have grown and become more specified and diverse than ever before and the market and readership for every beat is blooming both in India and internationally.

Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har..

Journalism > Content Writing

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.

News media buisness

Journalism > Broadcast Journalism

News media businesses can no longer rely solely on making money from traditional advertising and must embrace the multiple commercial opportunities from online, according to magazine publisher and broadcaster Andrew Neil. The Press Holdings chairman, BBC presenter and former Sunday Times editor said the changes sweeping the media industry were "transformative and revolutionary" and that traditional ways of making money had all but eroded as increased competition and the explosion of online media erodes the exclusivity of advertising deals. Speaking at today's SIIA Global Information Industry Summit in London, Neil said that the internet was not a threat to the traditional printed media companies, but an "essential" opportunity to diversify and ultimately save them. "Sensible newspaper and magazine publishers do not see online as a threat or something they have to do because 'it is the future, so let's do it and grit our teeth'," he said. "Offline publications are still necessary for brand building and because people still like to hold a newspaper or particularly a magazine. But the revenues for that are in decline as search engines make classified ads increasingly irrelevant." Neil pointed out that his magazine websites (- he is also chairman of ITP Publishing, the Gulf's largest magazine publishers) were visited mainly by people who also read the print version and visit the site "for the additional material that is only online". He said The Spectator, owned by Press Holdings, had achieved great success with its Coffee House network of blogs, which has 200,000 unique users a month and will contribute "20 per cent of the bottom line" this year in terms of revenue. He also pointed out that the one of the biggest spikes in traffic for Telegraph.co.uk was around 10am every day, when the print readers had finished their Daily Telegraph and wanted to know what else its journalists were doing. "You now need to use online to do a whole host of things that you just could not before," he added. "It ceases to be an either-or situation." Neil admitted the going was tough for the media in a multi-platform world with complex revenue streams but it was, for him at least, "a lot more fun". He contrasted the UK market with the US, in which newspapers are run by big city monopolies that are unused to competition and "run for the journalists and not for the readers". In the UK many mainstream publishers grasped the need to diversify early on: "Most trends like this begin in the US but in this trend the British media are particularly much ahead of them," he said. "British newspapers have always been used to competition: it's the most competitive newspaper market in the world bar none."

Bollywood movies to look forwa..

Journalism > Social Media

So as we start a new year, we all hope that this one is better than the previous one and when it comes to Bollywood Movies, it is no different. We witnessed the grandeur of films like Baahubali and saw the fall of Tubelight, but 2018 promises to be bigger. The biggest movie to hit the floors this year is Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Padmaavat". Starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor in lead roles, it has been center of controversies for past one year. The director was attacked on the sets, right wing protests had intensified as the film neared its original release date and ultimately it was postponed. But the big wait is finally over and we will be having a grand start to the year. Next we have is "Padman" coming on 26th January, where gender sensitisation reaches the cyclic level. Directed by R.Balki who courts the quirky with compelling credibility & starring Akshay Kumar the man who dares to venture into the unknown this movie promises to be a heart warming start to the year. The movie will clash with "Aiyaari" which is based on true story and as a tribute to the martyrs who laid down their lives for the country in 1971. After openly talking about the girlfriends and their tantrums in Pyaar Ka Punchnama the trio of Karthik Aaryan, director Luv Ranjan and Nushrat Bharucha is going to light up the big screen with "Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety". The next movie that we have is "Hichki" coming on 23rd February which is an official remake of "Front Of The Class". The movie is about the teacher, played by Rani Mukherjee, who is suffering from neurological disability and turns her biggest weakness into her biggest strength. "Sanju" , Yes one of the most awaited and really looked forward to movie that is based on the controversial life of Sanjay Dutt starring Ranbir Kapoor is expected to come out in theatres on 30th March. Kareena Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor will make sure the summers remain hot as the next movie gels well with the vacation mode. "Veere Di Wedding" is all about breaking the sterotype where the girl gang goes on the trip to find their true love instead of just sitting and waiting for it. How can a year go without any musical comedy and that is when the highly awaited "Fanney Khan" comes up on 13th April starring Anil Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai and Rajkumar Rao. It is the official remake of oscar nominated Dutch film "Everybody's Famous" ! "Kaalakaandi" is a dark comedy thriller is played out in 12 hours, with 6 different characters from different worlds featuring Saif Ali Khan in lead role and showing the city of mumbai with underworld goons. This promises to be an exciting year with lots of big hits in store. Stay excited because the future of Bollywood looks bright.

Humean empiricism

Journalism > Content Writing

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.

First day at job

Journalism > Content Writing

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

Journalism > Content Writing

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.

The sceptic media

Journalism > Investigative Journalism

Every day, experts bombard us with their views on topics as varied as Iraqi insurgents, Bolivian coca growers, European central bankers, and North Korea's Politburo. But how much credibility should we attach to the opinions of experts? Skeptics, warn that the mass media dictate the voices we hear and are less interested in reasoned debate than in catering to popular prejudices. As a result, fame could be negatively, not positively, correlated with long-run accuracy. Until recently, no one knew who is right, because no one was keeping score. But the results of a 20-year research project now suggest that the skeptics are closer to the truth. I describe the project in detail in my book Expert Political Judgment: How good is it? How can we know? The basic idea was to solicit thousands of predictions from hundreds of experts about the fates of dozens of countries, and then score the predictions for accuracy. We find that the media not only fail to weed out bad ideas, but that they often favor bad ideas, especially when the truth is too messy to be packaged neatly. The evidence falls into two categories. First, as the skeptics warned, when hordes of pundits are jostling for the limelight, many are tempted to claim that they know more than they do. Boom and doom pundits are the most reliable over-claimers. Between 1985 and 2005, boomsters made 10-year forecasts that exaggerated the chances of big positive changes in both financial markets. They assigned probabilities of 65% to rosy scenarios that materialized only 15% of the time. In the same period, doomsters performed even more poorly, exaggerating the chances of negative changes in all the same places where boomsters accentuated the positive. They assigned probabilities of 70% to bleak scenarios that materialized only 12% of the time. Second, again as the skeptics warned, over-claimers rarely pay penalties for being wrong. Indeed, the media shower lavish attention on over-claimers while neglecting their humbler colleagues. We can see this process in sharp relief when, following the philosopher Sir Isaiah Berlin, we classify experts as "hedgehogs" or "foxes." Hedgehogs are big-idea thinkers in love with grand theories: libertarianism, Marxism, environmentalism, etc. Their self-confidence can be infectious. They know how to stoke momentum in an argument by multiplying reasons why they are right and others are wrong. That wins them media acclaim. But they don't know when to slam the mental brakes by making concessions to other points of view. They take their theories too seriously. The result: hedgehogs make more mistakes, but they pile up more hits on Google. Imagine your job as a media executive depends on expanding your viewing audience. Whom would you pick: an expert who balances conflicting arguments and concludes that the likeliest outcome is more of the same, or an expert who gets viewers on the edge of their seats over radical Islamists seizing control and causing oil prices to soar?  At this point, uncharitable skeptics chortle that we get the media we deserve. But that is unfair. No society has yet created a widely trusted method for keeping score on the punditocracy. Even citizens who prize accuracy have little way of knowing that they are sacrificing it when they switch channels from boring foxes to charismatic hedgehogs. Here, then, is a modest proposal that applies to all democracies: the marketplace of ideas works better if it is easier for citizens to see the trade-offs between accuracy and entertainment, or between accuracy and party loyalty. Wouldn't they be more likely to read pundits with better track records?

Language in humans

Journalism > Content Writing

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'.

What is real patriotism?

Journalism > Content Writing

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 growth of money laundering

Journalism > Content Writing

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.