Saturday, November 13, 2010

Aung San Suu Kyi - an international symbol of heroic and peaceful resistance in the face of oppression

Like the South African leader Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi has become an international symbol of heroic and peaceful resistance in the face of oppression.

For the Burmese people, Ms Suu Kyi, 64, represents their best and perhaps sole hope that one day there will be an end to the country's military repression.
As a pro-democracy campaigner and leader of the opposition National League for Democracy party (NLD), she has spent more than 11 of the past 19 years in some form of detention under Burma's military regime.
In 1991 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to bring democracy to Burma.
At the presentation, the Chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, Francis Sejested, called her "an outstanding example of the power of the powerless".
House arrest
After a period of time overseas, Aung San Suu Kyi went back to Burma in 1988.
Soon after she returned, she was put under house arrest in Rangoon for six years, until she was released in July 1995.
She was again put under house arrest in September 2000, when she tried to travel to the city of Mandalay in defiance of travel restrictions.
She was released unconditionally in May 2002, but just over a year later she was put in prison following a clash between her supporters and a government-backed mob.
Following a gynaecological operation in September 2003, she was allowed to return home - but again under effective house arrest.
In summer 2007, there were widespread protests in Burma over fuel prices, followed by anti-government demonstrations led by Buddhist monks, which were violently ended by the government.
Ms Suu Kyi appeared outside her home to meet some of the monks in September that year, her first public appearance since 2003.
In May 2009, as the latest period of detention was due to expire, the NLD appealed to the government to release her, saying she was suffering from low blood pressure and dehydration, but the appeal was rejected.
Shortly after, a US national was arrested for swimming across a lake and breaking into her compound.
Then, a few days later, Ms Suu Kyi was herself arrested and charged with breaching the conditions of her detention, although the man had apparently not been invited to visit.
After a trial, she was convicted and sentenced to a further 18 months of house arrest.
Critics say the arrest and continued detention were designed to keep her away from the public eye until elections scheduled to take place in 2010.
The sentence was roundly condemned by the international community.
Diplomatic visits
During periods of confinement, Ms Suu Kyi has busied herself studying and exercising.
She has meditated, worked on her French and Japanese language skills, and relaxed by playing Bach on the piano.
In more recent years, she has also been able to meet other NLD officials, and selected visiting diplomats like the United Nations special envoy Razali Ismail.
But during her early years of detention, Ms Suu Kyi was often in solitary confinement - and was not even allowed to see her two sons or her husband, British academic Michael Aris, who died of cancer in March 1999.
When her husband was on his deathbed, the military authorities offered to allow her to travel to the UK to see him, but she felt compelled to refuse for fear she would not be allowed back into the country.
Ms Suu Kyi has often said that detention has made her even more resolute to dedicate the rest of her life to represent the average Burmese citizen.
The UN special envoy Razali Ismail has said privately that she is one of the most impressive people he has ever met.
Overseas life
Much of Ms Suu Kyi's appeal within Burma lies in the fact she is the daughter of the country's independence hero, General Aung San.

He was assassinated during the transition period in July 1947, just six months before independence.
Aung San Suu Kyi was only two years old at the time.
In 1960 she went to India with her mother Daw Khin Kyi, who had been appointed Burma's ambassador to Delhi.
Four years later she went to Oxford University in the UK, where she studied philosophy, politics and economics. There she met her future husband.
After stints of living and working in Japan and Bhutan, she settled down to be an English don's housewife and raise their two children, Alexander and Kim.
But Burma was never far away from her thoughts.
When she arrived back in Rangoon in 1988 - initially to look after her critically ill mother - Burma was in the midst of major political upheaval.
Thousands of students, office workers and monks took to the streets demanding democratic reform.
"I could not, as my father's daughter remain indifferent to all that was going on," she said in a speech in Rangoon on 26 August 1988.
Ms Suu Kyi was soon propelled into leading the revolt against then-dictator General Ne Win.
Inspired by the non-violent campaigns of US civil rights leader Martin Luther King and India's Mahatma Gandhi, she organised rallies and travelled around the country, calling for peaceful democratic reform and free elections.
But the demonstrations were brutally suppressed by the army, who seized power in a coup on 18 September 1988.
The military government called national elections in May 1990.
Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD convincingly won the polls, despite the fact that she herself was under house arrest and disqualified from standing.
But the junta refused to hand over control, and has remained in power ever since.
1989: Put under house arrest as Burma junta declares martial law
1990: NLD wins election; military disregards result
1991: Wins Nobel Peace Prize
1995: Released from house arrest, but movements restricted
2000-02: Second period of house arrest
May 2003: Detained after clash between NLD and junta forces
Sep 2003: Allowed home after medical treatment, but under effective house arrest
May 2007: House arrest is extended for another year
Sept 2007: First public appearance since 2003, greeting protesting Buddhist monks
May 2008: House arrest extended for another year
May 2009: Charged with breaking detention rules after an American swims to her compound
August 2009: Sentenced to 18 months further house arrest

ഓങ്‌സാന്‍ സൂചിയെ മോചിപ്പിച്ചു

രണ്ടു പതിറ്റാണ്ടായി വീട്ടു തടങ്കലില്‍ കഴിയുന്ന മ്യാന്മര്‍ പൗരാവകാശ പ്രവര്‍ത്തക ഓങ്‌സാന്‍ സൂചിയെ മോചിപ്പിച്ചു. C¼¨k Y¨¼ o¥ O¢¨i ©h¡O¢¸¢´¡c¤¾ D·jl® Cs¹¢¨iÆ¢k¤« cTdT¢±Jh¹w d¥t·¢i¡J¡u d¢¨¼i¤« ohi¨hT¤·Y¢c¡k¡X® ©h¡Oc« C¼©·´® ¨¨lJ¢iY®. സമാധാന നൊബേല്‍ ജേതാവായ സൂചിയുടെ തടങ്കല്‍ കാലാവധി ശനിയാഴ്ച അവസാനിക്കാനിരിക്കെയാണ്, മോചന ഉത്തരവില്‍ സര്‍ക്കാര്‍ ഒപ്പിട്ടത്. ©h¡Oc·¢¨Ê g¡Lh¡i¢ Alj¤¨T l£T¢c® h¤¼¢v Ì¡d¢µ¢j¤¼ f¡j¢©´V¤Jq¤« hפ« o¤jÈ¡ D©a¬¡LÌt c£´« ¨Oi®Y¤.1989 മുതല്‍ വിവിധ സമയങ്ങളിലായി 15 വര്‍ഷത്തോളമാണ് സൂചി വീട്ടു തടങ്കലില്‍ കഴിഞ്ഞത്
o¥O¢¨i ©h¡O¢¸¢´¡c¤¾ D·jl® C¼¨k Cs¹¢i©¸¡w Y¨¼ നാഷണല്‍ ലീഗ് ഫോര്‍ ഡെമോക്രസിയുടെ ആയിരക്കണക്കിന് പ്രവര്‍ത്തകരാണ് o¥O¢i¤¨T l£T¢c¤ h¤¼¢v YT¢µ¤ J¥T¢iY®. Y¤Ttµi¡i jÙ¡« a¢lol¤« Alt l£T¢c® h¤¼¢v Y¹q¤¨T ±d¢i ©cY¡l¢c¤ ©lÙ¢ J¡·¤c¢¼Y®. o¥ O¢i¤¨T O¢±Yh¤¾ T£ nt¶¤Jq¤«, ¨¨JJq¢v Alj¤¨T O¢j¢´¤¼ h¤Kh¤¾ ©d¡o®×s¤Jq¤«, d¶¡q gjXJ¥T·¢c® FY¢¨ji¤¾ h¤±a¡l¡J¬¹qT¹¢i dë´¡tV¤Jq¤« Ac¤i¡i¢Jq¤¨T ¨¨JJq¢v J¡X¡h¡i¢j¤¼¤. S¹w F¹¤« c¢¹w¨´¡¸h¡X® o¥O¢ F¼® Alt Ds¨´ l¢q¢µ¤ dsi¤Ji¤« ¨Oi®Y¤.
ഇന്ത്യന്‍ സമയം 4.35 ഓടെയാണ് മോചന വാര്‍ത്ത ഔദ്യോഗികമായി പുറത്തുവിട്ടത്. മോചിതയായ സ്യൂചി വീടിന് വെളിയില്‍ വന്ന് പ്രവര്‍ത്തകരെ അഭിവാദ്യം ചെയ്തു.
സൂചിയെ കഴിഞ്ഞ വര്‍ഷം ആഗസ്റ്റില്‍ മോചിപ്പിക്കേണ്ടതായിരുന്നെങ്കിലും മറ്റൊരു കേസില്‍പ്പെടുത്തി 18 മാസംകൂടി തടവുശിക്ഷയുടെ കാലാവധി നീട്ടുകയായിരുന്നു. സൂചിയെ തടങ്കലില്‍ പാര്‍പ്പിച്ചിരിക്കുന്ന യാംഗോനിലെ വീട്ടില്‍ തടങ്കല്‍ നിയമം ലംഘിച്ച് ഒരു അമേരിക്കന്‍ പൗരന്‍ സന്ദര്‍ശിച്ചു എന്ന കുറ്റം ചുമത്തിയാണ് തടവ് 18 മാസംകൂടി നീട്ടിയത്.
1990ല്‍ മ്യാന്മറില്‍ നടന്ന പൊതുതെരഞ്ഞെടുപ്പില്‍ 80 ശതമാനം സീറ്റുകളും നേടി ഓങ്‌സാന്‍ സൂചിയുടെ പാര്‍ട്ടി വന്‍ വിജയം നേടിയെങ്കിലും പട്ടാളഭരണകൂടം അവരെ തടവിലാക്കുകയായിരുന്നു. YTlsi¢v Jr¢i¤©Ø¡r¡X® o¥O¢ oh¡b¡c·¢c¤¾ ©c¡fv o½¡c« ©cT¢iY®. ©k¡J j¡Q¬¹q¤« hc¤n¬¡lJ¡m o«MTcJq¤« Blt·¢µ® Ag¬tY®Z¢µ¢¶¤« d¶¡q gjXJ¥T« o¥ O¢¨i ©h¡O¢¸¢´¡u Yà¡s¡i¢j¤¼¢¿.
കഴിഞ്ഞയാഴ്ച നടന്ന മ്യാന്മര്‍ പൊതുതെരഞ്ഞെടുപ്പില്‍ വന്‍ഭൂരിപക്ഷത്തോടെ വിജയിച്ചതായി സൈനിക പിന്തുണയുള്ള യൂനിയന്‍ സോളിഡാരിറ്റി ആന്‍ഡ് ഡവലപ്‌മെന്റ് പാര്‍ട്ടി (യു.എസ്.ഡി.പിഅവകാശപ്പെട്ടിരുന്നു. തെരഞ്ഞെടുപ്പില്‍ വ്യാപക ക്രമക്കേടുകള്‍ നടന്നതായി ആരോപണമുണ്ട്.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

ഒബാമയുടെ കരാറുകള്‍ക്കു പിന്നില്‍ ചതിക്കുഴികള്‍

മാധ്യമം വാര്‍ത്ത
യു.എസ് പ്രസിഡന്റ് ബറാക് ഒബാമയുടെ സന്ദര്‍ശനത്തോടെ ഇന്ത്യന്‍ വിപണിയിലും മേഖലയിലും ഇറങ്ങി കളിക്കാന്‍ അമേരിക്കക്ക് അവസരം. റീട്ടെയില്‍ രംഗത്തും മറ്റും യു.എസ് കമ്പനികള്‍ക്ക് കൂടുതല്‍ അവസരം ലഭിക്കുന്നത് ഇന്ത്യയിലെ ആയിരക്കണക്കിന് ചെറുകിട കച്ചവടക്കാര്‍ക്ക് തിരിച്ചടിയാകും. സാമ്പത്തിക വിഷയത്തില്‍ മാത്രമല്ല  രാഷ്ട്രീയമായും യു.എസ് നയങ്ങളോട് കൂടുതല്‍ ചേര്‍ന്നു നില്‍ക്കാന്‍ ഇന്ത്യ നിര്‍ബന്ധിക്കപ്പെടും.

സാമ്പത്തിക മാന്ദ്യത്തെ തുടര്‍ന്നുള്ള തൊഴില്‍രാഹിത്യം അമേരിക്കന്‍ ജനതയില്‍ സൃഷ്ടിച്ച എതിര്‍പ്പിന് പ്രായോഗിക നടപടികളിലൂടെ തടയിടുക എന്ന ഏക ലക്ഷ്യമായിരുന്നു ഒബാമയുടെ ഇന്ത്യന്‍ യാത്രക്കു പിന്നില്‍. അതില്‍ നല്ലൊരു ശതമാനം അദ്ദേഹം വിജയിച്ചുവെന്നാണ് വിലയിരുത്തല്‍ഒബാമക്കൊപ്പം വന്ന യു.എസ് വാണിജ്യ-വ്യവസായ പ്രമുഖര്‍ നിറസംതൃപ്തിയോടെയാണ് മടങ്ങിയത്.

യു.എന്‍ രക്ഷാസമിതിയില്‍ സ്ഥിരാംഗത്വം ലഭിക്കാനുള്ള ഇന്ത്യന്‍ നീക്കത്തെ അമേരിക്ക പിന്തുണക്കുമെന്നതാണ് വലിയ നേട്ടമായി സര്‍ക്കാര്‍ അവതരിപ്പിക്കുന്നത്. എന്നാല്‍, ഇക്കാര്യത്തില്‍ തികഞ്ഞ അവ്യക്തതയാണുള്ളത്. യു.എന്‍ രക്ഷാസമിതിയില്‍ ഇപ്പോഴത്തെ രണ്ട് വര്‍ഷത്തെ താല്‍കാലിക അംഗത്വ കാലയളവില്‍  യു.എസ് നയങ്ങളെ തുറന്നു പിന്തുണക്കാന്‍ ഇന്ത്യ നിര്‍ബന്ധിതമാകും. ഇറാനു മേല്‍ പുതുതായി ഉപരോധം ഏര്‍പ്പെടുത്തുന്നതുള്‍പ്പെടെയുള്ള വിഷയങ്ങളില്‍ നിന്ന് ഇന്ത്യക്ക് ഒഴിഞ്ഞു മാറാന്‍ കഴിയില്ല. ഇസ്രായേലിന്റെ ഫലസ്തീന്‍ നിഷ്ഠുരതകള്‍ക്കു പോലും കൈയൊപ്പ് ചാര്‍ത്താന്‍ രാജ്യം നിര്‍ബന്ധിക്കപ്പെട്ടേക്കും. തിങ്കളാഴ്ച ഇന്ത്യന്‍ പാര്‍ലമെന്റില്‍ നടത്തിയ പ്രസംഗത്തില്‍ പോലും ഇറാനെ കുറ്റപ്പെടുത്താന്‍ ഒബാമ ധാര്‍ഷ്ട്യം കാണിച്ചത് എതിര്‍പ്പിനിടയാക്കിയിട്ടുണ്ട്.

തീവ്രവാദവേട്ടയും സുരക്ഷയും പറഞ്ഞാണ് ഇന്ത്യയുമായി തന്ത്രപ്രധാന പങ്കാളിത്തം ഉറപ്പാക്കാന്‍ അമേരിക്ക ശ്രമിക്കുന്നത്. അതിനായി പ്രതിരോധ-ആഭ്യന്തര മന്ത്രാലയങ്ങളുടെ സേവനം പൂര്‍ണമായി യു.എസ് ഉപയോഗപ്പെടുത്തും. യു.എസ് ഹോംലാന്‍ഡ് സെക്യൂരിറ്റിയും കേന്ദ്ര ആഭ്യന്തര മന്ത്രാലയവുമായി രൂപപ്പെടുത്തിയ സഹകരണ കരാറിനു പിന്നില്‍ വ്യക്തമായ ലക്ഷ്യങ്ങളുണ്ട്ചെറുകിട ഇടത്തരം ജോലികളിലേക്കു പോലും കടന്നു കയറാന്‍ വാണിജ്യ ഇന്ത്യ-യു.എസ് വാണിജ്യ കരാറുകളില്‍ പഴുതുകളുണ്ട്. റീട്ടെയില്‍ മേഖലയില്‍ കൂടുതല്‍ ശക്തമായ അമേരിക്കന്‍ നിക്ഷേപത്തിനും അതു വഴിതുറക്കും. വാള്‍ മാര്‍ട്ട്, മൊണ്‍സാന്‍േറാ കമ്പനികളുടെ കടന്നുവരവ് കൂടുതല്‍ എളുപ്പമാകും. ഉന്നത വിദ്യാഭ്യാസ മേഖലയിലെ യു.എസ് ഇടപെടല്‍ സജീവമാകും.

ഏകപക്ഷീയത ചര്‍ച്ചകളിലും ധാരണാപത്രങ്ങളിലും പ്രകടം. അമേരിക്കയെ പിണക്കാതിരിക്കാന്‍ ഇന്ത്യന്‍ നേതൃത്വം ശരിക്കും പരമാവധി ശ്രമിച്ചു. ഭോപാല്‍ ദുരിതബാധിതുടെ പ്രശ്‌നം തീര്‍ത്തും മറച്ചു പിടിച്ചു. യൂനിയന്‍ കാര്‍ബൈഡ് മേധാവി  വാറന്‍ ആന്‍ഡേഴ്‌സനെ വിട്ടുതരണം എന്ന ആവശ്യം ഉന്നയിക്കപ്പെടുക പോലും ഉണ്ടായില്ല.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Why oil companies in India hike petrol price so frequently?

The public sector oil companies have increased the price of petrol by 33 paise. This follows an increase in October of 70 to 72 paise per litre and September of 27 paise per litre. By deregulating the petrol pricing during June this year, the government has opened the way for successive hikes in petrol prices. The rise in petrol prices will further fuel inflation. The people who are suffering from continuous food inflation will be more burdened. There is no transparency in the pricing decision making.

The Government advertisement says India imports petroleum products. India imports crude oil, it does not import petroleum products. Crude oil is refined in the refineries in India to produce petroleum products like petrol, diesel cooking gas, kerosene etc. before marketing. India imports 75 to 80 per cent of its crude oil requirements. However India is more than self sufficient in oil refining and produces more petroleum products than the domestic requirements. In the year 2009 – 2010 (April-December) it has exported 28 million tonnes petroleum products against an import of 10 million tonnes.

Let us see what the Petroleum Ministry says in its annual report of 2009-10 on Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the major public sector Oil Marketing Company (OMC):
During 2008-09, IOC posted net profit of Rs. 2,950 crore on an unprecedented turnover of Rs. 2,85,337 crore that too after holding the price line for the four major products – petrol, diesel, PDS kerosene and LPG for domestic use. IOC is also the first and the highest ranked Indian company in the Fortune `Global 500’, placed at 116th position by sales in 2008. It is the 18th largest petroleum company in the world. The profit (after tax) for the year 2009-10 (upto December 2009) is Rs.4663.78 crore, whereas the turnover for the said period is Rs.208289.46 crore”.

Further, as per the Audited Financial Results for the year ending 31.3.2010 IOC’s net profit has been shown as Rs.10,998 crore with a reserve and surplus of Rs.49,472 crore. The Other two marketing companies HPC and BPC have earned profits of Rs. 544 crore and Rs. 834 crore during April-December, 2009.

About deregulation of petrol prices

Suppose a pair of shoes is made in Italy which costs 1000 rupees. Suppose India imports the Italian leather but makes the shoes, including the cost of Italian leather, at a much cheaper cost, of just 600 rupees. Suppose the company says that you have to pay 1000 rupees in India because that is the import parity price otherwise the company will suffer an under recovery of 400 rupees! Will you not protest about a notional calculation on the basis of the Italian cost not the Indian cost? 

But that is exactly what the Government is doing. It is making the unchecked international price of petroleum products as its base to calculate what the price should be charged in India! The oil companies are making a profit even after absorbing the subsidies for cheaper pricing of petrol products through the APM. But the bogey and myth of under recoveries is being used as the excuse to hike the prices. Under the cover of under recoveries, we are back to the decontrolled pricing regime based on import parity, when foreign oil companies were operating in the country.

After 2002, the private sector and domestic companies like Reliance and Essar wanted further deregulation. They were not satisfied with the steps taken by the BJP Government. The Kirit Parikh committee was set up precisely to address the demands of the private sector. This committee gave a report for complete deregulation of petrol
products. The present step of the central Government goes further than even the BJP Government and accepts the recommendations of the Kirit Parikh committee to reintroduce import parity pricing through deregulation, in the first instance of petrol.

Thus people of India are left at the mercy of the market.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Enthedi Enthedi Panamkiliye...

Big contracts for Obama...

US President Barack Obama has announced $10bn (£6.2bn) in new trade deals with India. He was speaking in Mumbai at the start of a 10-day Asian tour designed to boost US exports and create jobs.

Some of the deals included:
  • The sale by Boeing of 30 new 737 aircraft to private Indian airline SpiceJet. The White House says this will help support over 12,000 US jobs.
  • Preliminary agreement had been reached on the Indian purchase of 10 Boeing C-17s military transport planes.
  • The sale by GE of fighter 107 F414 jet engines to the Indian military.
  • A separate deal with GE worth $500m (£309m) for the sale of six heavy duty gas turbines and three steam turbines to India's Reliance Energy Ltd.
  • Harley-Davidson plans a new plant in India to assemble American-made motorcycle kits.
  • The White House said India had identified GE subsidiary GE Transportation, based in Erie, Pennsylvania, and Electro-Motive Diesel, of LaGrange, Illinois, a unit of Caterpillar Inc, as bidders to supply Indian railways with over 1,000 diesel locomotives over 10 years.
The deals for new export business with India would help to support around 54,000 jobs in the United States.


After his ‘shellacking’ in the mid-  term polls, Barack Obama could boast of some good business deals in India. India Inc seems to be buying into President Obama’s ‘win-win’ mantra.

Obama yesterday announced that “several landmark” deals worth $10 billion (nearly Rs. 44,000 crore) have been reached between the two countries for creating about 50,000 jobs in the US.

Boeing is going to sell dozens of planes to India and GE is going to sell hundreds of electric engines. The deals are worth USD 10 billion and will create more than 50,000 jobs in the US,” President Obama said.

Among the deals, SpiceJet has purchased thirty 737-800 aircraft with a total cost of $2.8 billion from Boeing and the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group purchased power equipment for 2,400 MW plants from GE for $2 billion.

Obama’s visit is against the backdrop of electoral reverses on top of economic difficulties, including a high unemployment percentage, 9.6 percent in October.

The US accounts for about 60 per cent of India’s about $60 billion IT and IT-enabled services exports. But the reality, President Obama said, was that jobs were being created in both the countries and said India was emerging as one of the fastest markets in the world with one of the largest workforce.

India-US trade stood at US $36.5 billion in 2009-10 fiscal and the two countries aim to double trade in the next five years. Describing India, which receives about 8 per cent of its total foreign direct investment from the US, as a defining and indispensable partner of the 21st century, President Obama asked India to reduce trade barriers, while committing to reciprocate. He is looking forward to a steady reduction in barriers to trade and foreign investments from agriculture to infrastructure, from retail to telecom.