Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Some interesting, some worrying developments!

Reading about various happenings all over the globe and viewing quite a few of them on the visual media, one wonders what the future has in store for us and the coming generations. Have we done enough to ensure that our children and their succeeding generations been handed over a world that's kinder and pure from the existential point of view? I must concede that I've certain apprehensions but I'm sure that the succeeding generations will overcome adversities to carve a niche of their own. So, without much ado, here I go.

 (a) The Chabahar Initiative.

       The Iranian President had said that his country was rich in energy while India had "rich minds",
       during the Indian Prime Minister's successful visit. The agreement to develop and use the Iranian
       port of Chabahar promises great spin offs for both the countries. I shall list out as to what the
       outcome means to India:-

          (i) It will help to gain a foothold on those strategic shores within the immediate neighbourhood
               of the Pakistani port of Gwadar that China is helping it to develop.
         (ii) It will help it to contribute to Afghanistan's economic development and stability.
        (iii) The Chabahar corridor is complemented by the India-supported International 'North-South
               Transit Corridor' that goes north westwards from the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas and both
               corridors go towards Central Asia, Russia and Europe. The Central Asian Republics have
               been anxious to see a larger Indian presence in the area.
        (iv) It will be competing directly with the Chinese project of OBOR(One Belt One Road) that
               seeks to recreate the old silk route which had dominated Eurasian commerce and culture for
               over two millenia.

        This is what proactive diplomacy is all about!

   (b) Bread and Cancer?

        The Center for Science and Environment(CSE) has found high levels of Potassium Bromate
        and Potassium Iodate in about 84% of packaged bread that's available in our market. While
        the former compound is cancer producing, the latter can affect the functioning of the thyroid.
        The use of both additives as flour treatment agents in bakery products is banned in countries
        like the UK, EU nations, Canada, Australia and China.

        The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India allows the use of the two additives at 50
        parts per million for bread and 20 parts per million for bakery flour. Some manufacturers
        have cited this to defend themselves, suggesting that the standards in India need immediate

   (c) Direct Bank Transfer with Non-functional ATMs?

        According to a recent RBI survey of about 4,000 odd ATMs of different banks across a
        wide geographic coverage, shows that a third of the ATMs were non-functional and also had
        specific problems like:-

            (i) Non adherence to standard display material.
           (ii) Lack of adequate facilities for the differently abled.
          (iii) Private sector banks have been going slow on putting up cash vending machines.

        Commercial banks, together, have 1,00,671 on-site cash vending machines and 96,656 
        off-site cash vending machines as of Feb, this year!


The Foundation felicitated the chief minister designate, Pinarayi Vijayan, at the AKG Center by draping a shawl around him, eliciting a playful quip that we're following the formalities prevalent in Tamilnadu.


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