1. Sexual harassment claims rock Greenpeace
An ex-employee of the NGO Greenpeace has come out with a post on an online forum outlining her experience of sexual harassment and rape when she worked at the organisation. The victim had earlier shared her experience on Facebook, and had got the organization to issue her an apology. But having seen the internal committee at Greenpeace inactive for two years, she has come out with a more detailed account of abuse while in the organisation. When she went back to Greenpeace with new allegations, the NGO refused to take action against a current employee based on the complaint of an ex-employee, which resulted in her posting the experience online. Greenpeace has said they are working towards making the workplace safer, and making the internal committee more effective.
2. Delhi no place for Dalit and Muslim home-hunters
A study on housing rental preferences conducted by the Indian Council of Social Science Research chairman S K Thorat has revealed rampant prejudice and discrimination against Dalits and Muslims in the National Capital Region. The study, to be published in the Economic and Political Weekly, had 1,479 homeseekers, a third of whom were upper caste Hindus, Muslims and Dalits each. The study revealed that while the upper caste Hindus faced almost no rejection, both in telephonic interactions and personal meetings, around 44 per cent of the Dalits were rejected after a meeting, while as many as 61 percent of the Muslims were rejected. The study also revealed that Muslims and Dalits pay significantly more for housing than upper caste Hindus. Thorat said the study indicated a clear case of “market failure.”
3. Empty boast on grant of citizenship to Pak Hindus?
An RTI enquiry filed about the number of new citizenships granted from 2014 to May 2015 has revealed that only 281 Afghans and 289 Pakistanis were granted citizenship in India in that period. A group fighting for citizenship of Hindu Pakistani refugeess in Rajasthan, filed the RTI after unidentified sources in the Home Ministry claimed 4230 Hindus and Sikhs had been granted citizenship. Over the past few years, Pakistani Hindus have migrated to Rajasthan in big numbers, prompting the government and NGOs to set up refugee camps in the desert. The migrants arrived on visas, but refuse to go back, citing religious persecution.
4. Cheats scuttle all-India medical test
Would you like to be operated upon by a cheat? The Supreme Court doesn’t think you should run that risk, and has scrapped this year’s All India Pre-Medical Test after finding out that many students attempting the test had cheated on it by bringing electronic appliances into the test centres. The test, which took place on May 3, was written by 6.3 lakh candidates for 300-odd medical and dental undergraduate seats. The decision marks the biggest ever test cancellation, and the Supreme Court has said that it had to take such a harsh measure since saving the test would turn casualty of merit and faith into casualties. It has directed the CBSE to hold the exam again within four weeks, something the CBSE says is not feasible, as it generally starts preparation for the test seven months in advance.
5. Anil Ambani leaps to defence
Having performed indifferently in other sectors, could India’s emerging military-industrial complex prove a springboard for the younger Ambani brother? According to a report, Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence Limited has been making big moves in the arms industry, having raised 11 companies focused on defence, each of them targeting a potential market of Rs. 10,000 crore. The idea is to start joint ventures with foreign defence companies, and manufacture, even export equipment from India. The development comes after Ambani’s acquisition of the Pipavav shipyard earlier. The company is hoping to acquire the licenses and clearances by the end of the year.
6. Maran’s setting Sun network
Following accusations of involvement in the 2G scam, Kalanithi Maran and his Sun Network have found it difficult to stay out of trouble. A few days ago, the Union Home Minstry had reportedly cancelled the Sun Network’s security clearances, resulting in the company’s stock price dropping nearly 26 per cent. The Maran family-run SpiceJet Airlines hasn’t been doing too well either, and a move to infuse funds into the airline was marred by the investigation into the Aircel- Maxis deal. The CBI is probing Dayanidhi Maran, younger brother of Kalanithi, in a case involving the forced sale by C Sivasankaran, promoter of Aircel, of his stake in he company. The Marans meanwhile claim the attack on them from all fronts is political, and the CBI is acting against them “to please a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideologue.”
7. Myanmar an opportunity too for Manipur
Villages on the Manipur border, far removed from the Indian mainland, and largely ignored, have found sustenance in barter trade with villages across the border in Myanmar. The trade has gone on for centuries, and while the exported items are many, the chief import from Myanmar in this region is prized Burmese teak wood. The region is infamous as an insurgent stronghold, the treacherous terrain making the place ideal for insurgent groups. Government activity here is minimum due to the fear of insurgents, and government schemes are rarely implemented. The villages depend on Myanmar for all their needs, including medicines and ration. “India is so far,” one of them said.
8. US trying to force India, China to cut farm subsidies
The US has led a sustained assault on farm and fisheries subsidies in the developing world, specifically in India and China. The issue is being discussed as part of the Doha Development Agenda trade negotiations, and the US has declared that the previously agreed thresholds will not apply to all developing nations equally regarding farm and fish subsidies. The move to reduce Indian and Chinese subsidies, if it comes through, will affect millions of poor farmers and fishers in both India and China. The two countries have protested the American stand.