Forbes, India and Pandora’s Pandemic Box

The ranks of Indian Dollar Billionaires swelled from 102 to 140 in 12 months, if the Forbes 2021 List is to be believed (and when it comes to billionaires and their wealth, Forbes is mostly to be believed). Their combined wealth, it notes, has “nearly doubled to $ 596 billion” in just the past year.

This means 140 individuals, or 0.000014 per cent of the population, had a cumulative worth equivalent to 22.7 per cent (or well over a fifth) of our Gross Domestic Product of $ 2.62 trillion, bringing, as they always do, that whole other meaning to the word ‘Gross’.

Most major Indian dailies carried the Forbes pronouncement in that approving tone they reserve for such feats – omitting to mention what the Oracle of Pelf says in a more upfront and honest way.

“Another Covid-19 wave,” says Forbes in the first paragraph of its report on this country, “is sweeping across

— source ruralindiaonline.org | P. Sainath | Apr 18, 2021

Nullius in verba


Car tires produce vastly more particle pollution than exhausts

Almost 2,000 times more particle pollution is produced by tire wear than is pumped out of the exhausts of modern cars, tests have shown.

The tire particles pollute air, water, and soil and contain a wide range of toxic organic compounds, including known carcinogens, the analysts say, suggesting tire pollution could rapidly become a major issue for regulators.

Air pollution causes millions of early deaths a year globally. The requirement for better filters has meant particle emissions from tailpipes in developed countries are now much lower in new cars, with those in Europe far below the legal limit. However, the increasing weight of cars means more particles are being thrown off by tires as they wear on the road.

The tests also revealed that tires produce more than 1 trillion ultrafine particles for each kilometer driven, meaning particles smaller than 23 nanometers. These are also

— source theguardian.com | Damian Carrington | Jun 10, 2022

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What you should know about biometric mass surveillance

As an effort to promote privacy and human rights in the EU, we at Greens/EFA got together with a team of international experts to understand where biometric mass surveillance, like facial recognition, is put to use this very moment in different European cities and states.

Keep reading to find out what we learned, and why must take action to ban the use of these technologies now – before it is too late.
Bye bye privacy – Current practices of biometric mass surveillance in the EU

Biometric mass surveillance wrongfully reports large numbers of innocent citizens systematically discriminates against under-represented groups and has a chilling effect on a free and diverse society.

If not regulated, they have the potential to change our societies fundamentally. This is why we must stop them before it’s too late. More and more people are standing up against the deployment of these technologies. In the United States, lawmakers have already started to impose bans on the use of some of the most invasive forms of algorithmic decision-

— source greens-efa.eu | 2022

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We Can’t Jail Our Way Out of Poverty

We turn now to California to look at the effort to recall Chesa Boudin, the district attorney of San Francisco. Boudin was elected in 2019 on a platform to end cash bail and curb mass incarceration. He’s part of a growing number of prosecutors around the country who have vowed to use the district attorney’s seat to end tough-on-crime tactics and restore civil rights.

During his time in the office, Boudin has taken many historic actions, from charging an officer for manslaughter to creating a wrongful conviction unit that recently led to the freedom of a man wrongfully imprisoned for 32 years. Chesa Boudin has also cut the juvenile jail population in half.

But his efforts to reform the system have faced a backlash, funded in part by the real estate industry and ultra-wealthy donors. Key backers of the recall include the billionaire Republican donor William Oberndorf; former PayPal executive David Sacks; Ron Conway, an early Doordash investor; and Garry Tan, an investor in Instacart.

— source democracynow.org | Jun 03, 2022

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The Rotten Roots of the IMF and the World Bank

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have long been criticized for the onerous influence they exert over the domestic policies of many states. Especially since the 1990s, they have been excoriated for imposing policies—such as structural adjustment reforms and austerity measures—on client states that deepen inequality in the Global South, which, in turn, benefits the powerful countries of the Global North. How do we understand the structural origins of this global imbalance? One fairly standard view is to place the blame solely on neoliberalism. This perspective argues that the IMF and the World Bank—institutions that date back to World War II—at one time allowed for a more equitable system of economic governance under the Bretton Woods system of global monetary management, which collapsed in the early 1970s. In its place, the argument goes, free market economic policies began to dominate. Cemented by the elections of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, these institutions moved in a decidedly neoliberal direction throughout the 1980s. By the 1990s, the Democratic Party had made its peace with this ideological revolution. Under Bill Clinton, the IMF and the World Bank furthered their embrace of economic shock therapies. In this way, the turn to neoliberalism is blamed for the Third World Debt Crisis, the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997–98, and the pillaging of Russia and the former Eastern Bloc countries after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Yet in his new book, The Meddlers: Sovereignty, Empire, and the Birth of Global Governance, Jamie Martin challenges this standard narrative. Martin, soon to be an assistant

— source thenation.com | Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins | Jun 16, 2022

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Israel and the media

If you got your news only from the television, you would have no idea of the roots of the Middle East conflict, or that the Palestinians are victims of an illegal military occupation.

In May, the Glasgow University Media Group, distinguished for its pioneering media analysis, published a study of the reporting of the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict. It ought to be required reading in newsrooms and media schools. The research showed that the public’s lack of understanding of the conflict and its origins was compounded by news reporting, especially on television.

Viewers, says the study, are rarely told that the Palestinians are victims of an illegal military occupation. The term “occupied territories” is almost never explained. Indeed, only 9 per cent of young people interviewed knew that the Israelis were the occupiers and the “settlers” were Israeli.

The selective use of language is important. The study found that words such as “murder”, “atrocity”, “lynching” and “savage, cold-blooded killing” were used only to describe

— source johnpilger.com | john pilger | 1 Jul 2002

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Uvalde Incident Commander Ordered Border Patrol Not to Enter Classroom During Massacre

In Uvalde, Texas, hundreds of mourners gathered Wednesday for the funeral of Irma and Joe Garcia. Irma was killed alongside another teacher and 19 students last week at Robb Elementary School by a teenage gunman with an assault rifle. Two days after her murder, her husband Joe died of a fatal heart attack. They are survived by four children.

The funeral came as public anger mounted over the response of police, who waited over an hour to enter the classroom where the massacre took place. On Wednesday, it emerged that Uvalde school district police chief Pete Arredondo told a team of Border Patrol officers not to enter the classroom where the gunman killed 21 people. The officers eventually defied that order, engaging and killing the gunman. The Texas Department of Public Safety says Arredondo is refusing to cooperate with its investigation; Arredondo told CNN he’ll talk about the massacre when “families quit grieving.”

— source democracynow.org | Jun 02, 2022

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