80+1 » India http://www.80plus1.org A Journey Around the World Thu, 25 Nov 2010 14:24:05 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.7.1 en hourly 1 Indian scientists laud mission after losing contact with lunar satellite http://www.80plus1.org/blog/indian-scientists-laud-mission-after-losing-contact-with-lunar-satellite http://www.80plus1.org/blog/indian-scientists-laud-mission-after-losing-contact-with-lunar-satellite#comments Mon, 31 Aug 2009 07:38:56 +0000 Cyrus Farivar http://www.80plus1.org/?p=4022 At a news conference in western India, G. Madhavan Nair, the head of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), pronounced the mission of India’s first satellite to be a “success,” even though his agency lost contact with the Chandrayaan-I late last week.…

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At a news conference in western India, G. Madhavan Nair, the head of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), pronounced the mission of India’s first satellite to be a “success,” even though his agency lost contact with the Chandrayaan-I late last week.

He added that 95 percent of the mission’s objectives were complete, and that the satellite snapped 70,000 photos of the moon’s surface. The satellite had been slated to be operational for around two years and is now expected to crash into the moon’s surface. The mission lasted only 315 days.

However, ISRO, which is based in Bangalore, says it will learn from this experience and is now working on landing an unmanned moon rover by 2012 as well as launching further satellites to study Mars and Venus. India is also planning a manned space flight by 2020.

The agency has also announced that the design for Chandrayaan-2 has been completed, although no launch date has been slated.

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Gaelic translations outsourced to India. Sort of. http://www.80plus1.org/blog/gaelic-translations-outsourced-to-india-sort-of http://www.80plus1.org/blog/gaelic-translations-outsourced-to-india-sort-of#comments Thu, 06 Aug 2009 09:34:21 +0000 Cyrus Farivar http://www.80plus1.org/?p=2751 So back in 2005, the Scottish Parliament passed the Gaelic Language Act, promoting the use of Scottish Gaelic throughout the Highlands. Presumably that means that all kinds of public documents have to be translated from English into Gaelic, including the…

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So back in 2005, the Scottish Parliament passed the Gaelic Language Act, promoting the use of Scottish Gaelic throughout the Highlands. Presumably that means that all kinds of public documents have to be translated from English into Gaelic, including the parliamentary annual report.

But in order to get this translation done this year, Holyrood (the Scottish Parliament) turned to the UK-based company, Format Design. That company, in turn, outsourced the translation to an Indian company, which offered “to carry out the translations for 6p a word - undercutting rivals by 40 per cent,” according to the UK newspaper, The Sun.

This meant, the paper added: “Based on last year’s 12,317-word report, the translation would cost £740 instead of around £1,200 [1414€].”

But here’s the thing: as there aren’t too many Scottish Gaelic speakers in India, the unnamed Indian company then had to hire a sub-sub-contractor in the Western Isles of Scotland to actually do the work.

In a related story, Herald Scotland reports that “First Minister Alex Salmond yesterday announced an extra £800,000 in funding for Gaelic education, bringing the total above £2 million this year.”

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Divorce rates on the rise in Bangalore http://www.80plus1.org/blog/divorce-rates-on-the-rise-in-bangalore http://www.80plus1.org/blog/divorce-rates-on-the-rise-in-bangalore#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2009 14:29:02 +0000 Cyrus Farivar http://www.80plus1.org/?p=2496 The southern metropolis, sometimes referred to as India’s Silicon Valley, is one of the country’s fastest growing cities. Its urbanization continues to rise at a breakneck pace — a controversial metro project in the city has had extensive environmental concerns as…

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The southern metropolis, sometimes referred to as India’s Silicon Valley, is one of the country’s fastest growing cities. Its urbanization continues to rise at a breakneck pace — a controversial metro project in the city has had extensive environmental concerns as the government is trying to make the system operational by 2011. Within the IT sector alone, in 2006, nearly there were nearly 1,300 divorce cases. In 2003, that same number was less than 300.

However, the Indo-Asian News Service reports that as the city “progresses” marriages aren’t quite what they once were in India’s boomtown. Here’s a fun fact: There are 25 divorce cases filed every day.

The news service reports:

According to a recent survey by the Children’s Rights Initiative For Shared Parenting (CRISP), around 13,000 cases of divorce are pending in various family courts in Bangalore. Of these 5,000 were filed in 2008.

. . .

Experts vary on the reasons for the rise in divorce rate in Bangalore.

“There are reasons galore for the rise in divorce cases. Urbanisation and increasing violence against women and financial stability of both husband and wife, to name a few,” Dona Fernandes, a member of women rights’ group Vimochana, told IANS.

“Today’s empowered women are refusing to follow the traditional diktats of Indian marriages. Marriage is the biggest form of displacement for any woman as she has to shift from her home (natural habitat) to her husband’s home.

“It is the wife who is supposed to adjust. But today’s financially strong women are not ready to take undue pressure on their individual existence and thus marital discords are bound to increase,” said Fernandes.

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New Ship Recycling Treaty Signed in Hong Kong http://www.80plus1.org/blog/new-ship-recycling-treaty-signed-in-hong-kong http://www.80plus1.org/blog/new-ship-recycling-treaty-signed-in-hong-kong#comments Fri, 15 May 2009 20:33:34 +0000 Cyrus Farivar http://www.80plus1.org/?p=999 After a week-long conference in Hong Kong, this week saw the signing of a new, extensive international treaty on ship recycling.

After five years of negotiations by 64 countries, the new regulations, known as the International Convention for the Safe and…

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After a week-long conference in Hong Kong, this week saw the signing of a new, extensive international treaty on ship recycling.

After five years of negotiations by 64 countries, the new regulations, known as the International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, requires all vessels to store on board a regularly updated inventory of the hazardous materials that the ship has carried throughout its lifetime, in addition to whatever materials the ship itself may be made of.

It also requires that workers at recycling centers in any country have proper protective gear and that they have emergency response plans in place.

Critics of the new treaty argue that it does not require adequate training of workers in Western safety practices before the ship can be taken apart and then recycled. In addition, enforcement of the treaty is left to local governments and not to an international regulatory agency — meaning that in countries with lax oversight (Pakistan, perhaps?), it’s quite likely that not much will change.

According to the trade journal Portworld:

The main ship recycling countries are Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan and Turkey.

According to the [International Martitime Organization], the number of ships recycled each year is variable and ship recycling appears to be cyclical in nature.

The average age of recycled ships rose to around 32 years in the early 2000s, from around 26-27 years old in the 1990s.

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Direct Action and the Legacy of the Bhopal Disaster http://www.80plus1.org/blog/direct-action-and-the-legacy-of-the-bhopal-disaster http://www.80plus1.org/blog/direct-action-and-the-legacy-of-the-bhopal-disaster#comments Tue, 12 May 2009 13:59:18 +0000 Florica Vlad http://www.80plus1.org/?p=952 Activist organizations Students for Bhopal and Bhopal Survivors were in Brooklyn yesterday at the Change You Want to See gallery to speak about their cause.

The groups showed excerpts of the new film by the Yes Men in which the activists pulled a hoax on…

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Activist organizations Students for Bhopal and Bhopal Survivors were in Brooklyn yesterday at the Change You Want to See gallery to speak about their cause.

The groups showed excerpts of the new film by the Yes Men in which the activists pulled a hoax on the BBC, claiming they were representatives of Dow Chemicals and at long last claimed responsibility for the Bhopal disaster.

They Students for Bhopal are traveling to different schools around the US and are heading to the Union Carbide subsidiary of Dow Chemicals in West Virgina, where lawsuits have also been taken against the corporation by local residents for environmental pollution and exposure to toxic chemicals. The Students for Bhopal are fighting to raise awareness about corporate crimes.

In Bhopal, activists and survivors took part in a 37-day march and took such direct actions as fasting, chaining themselves to the offices of the Prime Minister, organizing a “die-in,” writing letters to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in blood and sending him heart shaped cards urging him to “have a heart” and help the victims of the tragedy.

It has now been almost 25 years since this tragic disaster.

On December 3rd, 1984, an industrial disaster occurred at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, releasing 42 tonnes of methyl isocyanate gas and other toxins and exposing over 500,000 people. It is estimated that over 8,000 people died within the first 2 weeks of the disaster but the legacy of the toxic contamination continues to plague Bhopal as generation after generation of people are born with birth defects and suffer serious maladies as a result to the exposure.

A proper clean-up of the affected region was not adequately performed. Contaminants are still present in the water of at least 16 villages in the area surrounding the plant. At the time Union Carbide offered $370 million for the disaster but the company, later bought by Dow Chemicals, refused to release information about what toxic gasses were leaked from the plant in order to help local doctors find cures for those infected. To this day Dow Chemicals cites the information as a “trade secret”.

The terrible heritage that has been left to the region and the unaccountability of the corporations involved has forced survivors to take direct action. The victims demand their Prime Minister to fight for the people of Bhopal in the face of the corporations. 25 years after the tragedy they still ask that relief can be given to the families affected, information be disclosed so that doctors can more effectively treat victims, and that environmental clean-up and access to clean water is provided.

For more information see http://thetruthaboutdow.org/and for ways to help see here:Bhopal.net and Bhopal.org/

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