The Global Digest



Special Contribution
By Roland Watson(dictatorwatch)
Dec 8, 2018

Janet Yellen

United States stock markets are experiencing wild gyrations, which spread quickly to other markets around the world, and all the while the U.S. economy is steady and doing well. What is going on? While there are countless factors involved, four have been critical, month after month. Three involve Trump, and the last the markets themselves.

1. The Federal Reserve Bank

Janet Yellen as Fed Chairperson guided the U.S. economy through the extreme challenges of the Great Recession. She did a superb job, among other things keeping interest rates very low to ensure that the economic recovery did not fail. But, she had been appointed by Barack Obama, so Trump fired her. Were it not for his hatred of all things Obama, he probably would have kept her. Fed Chairpersons often serve terms that extend over multiple presidencies.

Trump chose Jerome Powell, a former Wall Street investment banker, to replace her, and many people breathed a sigh of relief, since he too seemed to be a moderate on interest rates. But in the last year he has embarked on a series of many would argue unnecessary rate increases, and telegraphed that this will continue through 2019. The Fed is steward of the economy, and in practical terms this means it attempts to balance employment and inflation. Its policy goal is to reduce unemployment until prices start to rise, at which point it raises rates to hinder the increases. U.S. unemployment under Obama had fallen dramatically, but without any increase in inflation. But then, following the policy of interest rate hawks, Powell started to raise rates.

Wall Street is now worried that he will raise rates so far that he sabotages the economy and drives it into a recession. Many important economic indicators such as home sales are already starting to decline. Unfortunately, interest rate hawks are only satisfied that inflation won't increase when it literally can't, when people are being laid off and the economy is shrinking. This is the biggest factor is the present market tumult. If Powell keeps raising rates investment analysts are convinced the U.S. expansion will end. He will force the economy into recession at which point company profits, the fundamental basis for stock prices, will fall. Professional stock traders are simply trying to get ahead of the curve.

2. The trade war with China

As an avowed enemy of China's communist dictatorship, who for years has called for a boycott of Made in China goods, and who has also written a basic guide to the democratic system which has been translated into Chinese by a leading dissident and been read by at a minimum hundreds of thousands of Chinese people, I of course want the United States to have a firm pro-democracy China policy. The CCP sorely represses the people of the country, and in trade terms it has refused to open its markets to imports all the while demanding transfer of high technology secrets by Western companies that want to produce their goods there. We do need to support the democratic aspirations of the Chinese people, and we have to stop this trade abuse.

Trump though, and if you excuse the joke, has been a bull in a China shop. He is breaking everything. He doesn't understand how the Chinese communists negotiate, and even if some of his advisors do, he doesn't follow their policy and he furthermore changes his mind publicly and stridently on a regular basis. Negotiation with China should be extremely strong. It is the only thing the communists respect - strength. (Mao said power comes from the barrel of a gun.) But this should for the most part be behind the scenes, with only infrequent public statements. This type of negotiation however leaves no room for Trump's addiction to bombast, hence his outbursts.

Last week's market spasm derived from the news about his meeting with Xi Jinping in Argentina - that he would hold off raising tariffs for three months, followed the very next day by a renewed threat to do just that. Overall, the market has capitulated. The thing it hates more than anything is uncertainty and with Trump there is never certainty. For one day traders thought they would have at least a month or so of peace on the China front, and then Trump went crazy again.

3. The outcome of the Mueller investigation

The final Trump factor is of course Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Traders have been anticipating for months the results of his investigation, that he will present if not indictments a strong case that the Trump Campaign conspired with Russia. They have priced into their models everything up to and including impeachment, and even Trump fighting impeachment by openly calling for the U.S. Armed Forces to back him personally, i.e., by attempting a coup.

This isn't to say that the markets won't fall when Mueller announces his findings. An additional decline of at least ten percent is likely. However, the fall should be short-lived. At this point traders hate Trump so much that they would welcome a more traditional Pence Republican presidency (assuming that is how it plays out). In summary, Wall Street is afraid that Jerome Powell's interest-rate policy will cause a recession; that it will be exacerbated by Trump's incompetent handling of trade issues with China; and that the Mueller hammer is about to come down. There is, however, another factor as well - the nature of current stock market participants.

4. Hedge funds and high-frequency traders

Lots of people invest in the stock market. This includes individuals directly, who buy and sell the shares of specific companies; to mutual funds, and which group the investments of individuals, including high-wealth individuals, and institutions, such as company and government pension plans. These mutual funds in turn follow two basic approaches, (1) trying to match the market - indexing; or (2) trying to beat it, such as with Warren Buffet's value-investing strategy, where through careful analysis you try to uncover good investments that other people have missed.

This is all pretty mundane though, and not without risk. For indexing, if the economy goes down so will your stocks. And for value investing, it is hard to find something that other people haven't also seen. Indeed, there is persuasive theory - the efficient markets hypothesis - that over time beating the market is impossible. What happens therefore is that people try to game the system. There are many ways in which they maneuver to get access to "inside information," and only a few of which are in fact illegal. (Wall Street has a major lobbying effort dedicated to preserving many different types of inside advantages.) For the funds, they may even try to manipulate the market directly, to cause it to move in a particular way and from which they have already positioned themselves to profit.

In the 1980s (when everything bad in a modern context first developed on Wall Street), a new type of investment fund was created, and which is now the day-to-day driver of market volatility. These are called hedge funds. They frequently if not always use borrowed money, not only what their investors have pledged, and they engage in a wide range of risky strategies (beyond that of using borrowed funds). Hedge fund managers are for the most part only paid when they beat the market, the different indices, but if they do the sky is the limit. Many people have made hundreds of millions of dollars, if not a billion or more, in a single year. Because of this, they have a huge incentive to risk everything, and also to cross the legal versus illegal line - when they think they can get away with it.

An estimated 70% to 80% of daily market trading is now made by hedge funds, specifically the classes of hedge funds that use quantitative high frequency trading models. (The total daily volume for the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ can approach 10 billion shares a day, and this excludes all the commodities, options, futures and other instruments that are also bought and sold.) These traders have an absolutely dominant impact. Their models, which are designed by mathematicians and statisticians, track a massive and ever-changing set of factors - economic, market, and company-specific, looking for patterns. They are programmed to trade automatically when specific relationships between the different factors surface.

In some cases these patterns reflect market inconsistencies where something is available for one price in one location and another price somewhere else. They simply recognize and take advantage of the discrepancy. (This is called "arbitrage.") At the other end of the scale, though, the illegal end (or which if not in a specific case should be illegal), they attempt to manipulate the patterns, such as through price-moving announcements by political and media allies, and which announcements they already know about if they didn't even help orchestrate them.

What has been happening in the big market falls this year also reflects one final aspect of investing. From yet another perspective there are two other approaches - fundamental trading versus technical. Fundamental is just that - trying to figure out how much something is really worth, and if the price is lower then buying it, or selling it if it seems to high. Technical trading is completely different. It is based on "momentum," the psychology of market participants at a particular moment in time. At its core it represents a simple idea. If something goes up a lot, it probably needs a breather; likewise if it goes down. A technical level is a measure of where people think psychology might change, and the price will go either up or down. (It "bounces" off the level.) These levels in turn are derived from "charts": histories of price movements for an investment in the preceding weeks, months and years.


This is how the recent stock market crashes have come together. High frequency funds - the "quants" - dominate the markets. Their models track technical levels. When these levels are broached, the systems activate trades. In the above described political context, if the analysts think a recession is more likely (no matter what the economy is doing right now), because of Fed interest rate increases, or a trade war with China, or the Mueller investigation, or just because of the massive uncertainty generated by the United States having a deranged president, they sell. Then, when they do, stock prices fall, perhaps through the next technical level. If that happens, more computer code from their trading algorithm kicks in, and they try to sell even more. It is a classic negative feedback cycle.

Of course, someone also has to buy. Stock transactions are matched trades. Someone agrees to sell and someone else agrees to buy, at an exact price. Most funds at some point stop selling. Their circuit breakers are triggered. What might happen though is that a few people still literally have to sell. The usual reason is that they have bought investments using loans and now they have to sell to make sure they have enough money to pay them back. But these are desperate sellers. And the people who remain willing to buy know it. So, they say they will only buy if the price is lower, often a lot lower, but because of their situation the sellers have to agree. Stock markets regularly fall dramatically in the last half hour of trading for precisely this reason. There may in fact be only small volume, but the final trade, the one at the most desperate price, sets the level for the day.

The purpose of stock markets is twofold. They provide companies a way to raise money - by selling shares, and they provide a means for savers - investors - to participate in the broader economy. The current market setup has diverged wildly from this purpose. The quants and similar types of hedge funds should either be banned, or regulated and taxed in a way such that they are effectively controlled. They do not, as they often argue, add "liquidity." Instead, they distort market behavior with the result that company plans are undermined, the overall economy is damaged, and individuals investors lose their savings. Different types of hedge funds, ones that traded in "derivatives," caused the 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession. Trump together with the new hedge funds could easily cause in 2019 another recession or even potentially an economic depression.

Why wasn't anything done after 2008 to prevent this from happening again and why isn't anything being done now? The answer is two-fold. The hedge funds and their billionaire owners make huge donations to political candidates, both Republican and Democrat. The election winners then protect their donors. Second is the issue of revolving doors. The officials, when they leave office, want to get high-level jobs at the hedge funds. That way they can cash in and get extremely wealthy too. In summary, the American political system at its core is completely corrupt, and the only people who don't suffer for it are the traders on Wall Street and the officials in the government.

Final Note: Presuming that new regulation could be imposed, and that markets could go back to their original purpose, there is still the question: Is this enough? The incentives of capitalism which follow from its primary directive to make profit always lead to government corruption, exploitation of workers, and the destruction of nature. This is as inevitable as gravity. Capitalism has had its chance, but just like communism it simply doesn't work. It does not satisfy the needs of all people and all species. We therefore must be inventive and design something new. My view, as I have written again and again, is that we should confiscate the bulk of the assets of the wealthiest people (through extremely high estate and income taxes), and then pay down the deficit, help the poor, and restore natural habitats, and further that all for-profit enterprises should be restructured as non-profits. The people employed at places like the Red Cross and Amnesty International work just as hard as the people at Goldman Sachs and Facebook. It is a fallacy that we need the promise of obscene wealth to be creative and to perform.

Literally any type of enterprise that seeks to accomplish any type of objective can be set up as a non-profit. I'm not saying that it wouldn't be a complicated social transition, but it can be done. The choice isn't between intensely concentrated and extraordinarily unfair ownership by the private sector (capitalism), versus ownership by the government (communism). Rather, the solution is the widespread propagation of this new type of egalitarian need-fulfilling social organization. This would also mean the end of financial markets, at least as they exist now.

After Demonetisation, now the Cash Crunch in ATMs : Modi Government Wrecking Public Sector Banks and the Indian Economy

Apr 27, 2018

Demonetization in India

In the past few weeks, ATMs across India have gone cashless, bringing back nightmares of the cash crunch during demonetisation. Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Manipur and Telangana are some of the states that have experienced severe cash crunch during this period. States like Telangana and Andhra Pradesh had to bring in cash from Maharashtra and Kerala in order meet usual demands. The independent experts believe that there are several reasons behind this crunch. The reasons include the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill scare, not recalibrating the ATMs to hold the new notes, cash hoarding to win upcoming elections, an increase in cash withdrawal to avoid excess charges levied on the fifth withdrawal. Some of the experts also analysed the data and argued that enough currency is not in circulation as the rich are hoarding cash. Whatever the reasons offered, the hard fact is that this is the second time in eighteen months when there is widespread lack of cash.

The Finance Ministry, while calling this as a temporary problem, has been quick to blame the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for unevenly distributing cash among various states. Meanwhile, RBI claims that there is sufficient cash — to the extent of Rs. 1,25,000 crores — in reserve. Further in its reassurance, the RBI also stated that they have ramped up the printing of new notes. Interestingly, there were reports in the media that since December 2017 the government had not renewed the contracts for purchasing dyes used in printing currency and that this will result in a delay of at least three months in feeding the supply chain of money.

The worst affected by the cash crunch is the informal sector. Poor families and informal economies are entirely dependent on cash and cash credit on a daily basis. Given that this sector has not yet recovered from the impacts of demonetisation, such frequent disruption in cash flow results in a systematic destruction of the economic security of the millions who depend on the cash fed economies. Low industrial growth coupled with high rates of unemployment is making matters worse. An added concern is the high rates of bankruptcies of companies, particularly in key manufacturing sectors, which are automating to cut down on costs. This, in turn, is leading to job losses and distressing the working classes. All this is happening at a time when the banking sector is strangled by gargantuan bad corporate debts. Crores of people rely on and trust public sector banks even when there are massive bad debts (also called Non Performing Assets). This trust is now shaken by the introduction of the FRDI Bill which has a bail-in clause that allows deposits to be turned to equity into deal with massive bad debts. This means that people’s small savings are not safe even in public sector banks. All this reflects the sad state of affairs of the manner in which public sector banks are being misused.

The mad rush of this government to join the league of cashless countries is only further adding to this current problem. Many western countries have majorly cashless retail transactions, making ATMs defunct and hence shutting ATMs has become common. In India, even though cash transactions is the predominant mode of transaction, banks are shutting their ATMs down. According to the data, since the beginning of 2018, banks have shut down five ATMs per day on an average across the country. Since the ATM boom of the 1990s, this is the first time that the ATMs are in such rapid decline. Between March 2017 and February 2018, 1,695 ATMs have been shut down. Six of the states that are now facing severe cash crunch also witnessed a rapid reduction in the number of ATMs. The worst affected, according to the news, are Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, both of which saw a 3 percent decline in ATMs. One of the primary reasons stated by the banks for shutting down ATMs is that they are not able to meet the operational costs. A threat of the run on banks is looming large when people cannot access cash, either through ATMs or banks. The extension of public sector banks has been limited, and extension counters, particularly in far-flung rural and Class II and III towns have been weakened. Many of the ATMs that are still available to the public are yet to be recalibrated. It was said that it would take only 90 days to recalibrate over 2 lakh ATMs that are spread across the country. Eighteen months after the introduction of new notes, several ATMs are yet to be recalibrated to hold the new 200 rupee note.

The new RBI guidelines for ATMs are not helping the situation either. The Confederation of ATM Industry (CATMi) has demanded that to recover their implementation cost of calibration the customers should be charged Rs 3-5 more per transaction. The current charges, beyond the five free transactions, are Rs 15 per cash transaction, and Rs 5 per non-cash transactions. To add fuel to the fire, the tax department has asked the top banks of the country to pay tax for charges recovered by the banks for not maintaining a minimum balance. This tax directed by the Directorate General of Goods and Services Tax (DGGST) is being levied in retrospect and covers periods even before the introduction of GST. Banks that are already suffering massive losses and facing capital crunch will only pass on the burden to the customers.

Moreover, a recent tax notice has asked banks to pay tax, penalties, and interest on the free services offered to customers. This retrospective demand will charge 12 % service tax claimed retrospective from 2012, 18 % interest on the amount, and 100% penalty. This amount would run to over 40,000 crores, which the banks would be passed on to the customers. Banks in India earn a minimum of 6% to 9% on our current and savings account deposits (as opposed to 1.5 to 2% around the world). This alone should be good enough reason to give all banking services free. However, private sector banks earn profit from these charges and public sectors banks use them to cover their NPAs.

All this amounts to a multi-pronged attack on the people, the public sector banks and the economy at large. But this cannot be brushed aside as an outcome of just mismanagement or wrong policies of the government, regulators, and bank management. It appears to be a part of a well-orchestrated and deliberate effort to cause mistrust in public sector banks, dismantle their networks, and pave the way for privatising the public banks. It is exposing public sector bank employees to face the wrath of the public for no fault of theirs. The provision of charging exorbitantly every time people transact from ATMs places enormous costs on those with small incomes. Likewise, the people are being forced to adopt options such as payment banks and banking correspondents. This is another way to informalise the banking sector and reduce the number of brick and mortar branches. In effect, the government is exposing the people to the devices of the private banks and financial corporations. It is also an attempt at socialising the losses caused by corporate borrowers and private banks.

We are also concerned the way the banks are harassing the public to link Aadhar to their accounts, even as the Supreme Court is yet to take a decision, and the Government has further extended the date for mandatory linking. The Hon’ble Court has time and again asserted that linking Aadhar could not be made compulsory for banking services. This is also resulting in needless distress amongst the public. All this can irreversibly lead the economy into chaos. The union government and the RBI need to understand that their role is to protect and act in the best interest of the ordinary citizens of the country.

As concerned citizens, civil society members, and bank employees, we urge the government and the regulator to immediately: 1. Withdraw the FRDI Bill and dispel fears among the people about their deposits in the bank. 2. Withdraw all forms of charges and penalty for basic banking transactions and withdraw the retrospective tax imposed on banks for providing free services. 3. Formulate and implement plans to recover the debts owed by corporate houses. 4. Prepare a white paper on demonetisation and publish the names of wilful defaulters. 5. Stop harassing the public by asking them to link Aadhar to their bank accounts, and let the law takes its own course. 6. Implement recommendations of of Parliament Standing Committee on NPA 7. Review Prompt Corruptive action which has miserably failed 8. Review IBBC and NCLT procedures which is leading to huge haircuts for banks

Endorsements: 1. Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) 2. Aruna Roy and Shankar Singh, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), 3. Nikhil Dey, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information 4. C.H.Venkatachalam, General Secretary, All India Bank Employee’s Association (AIBEA) 5. Sucheta Dalal, Moneylife Foundation, Maharashtra 6. Debashis Basu, Moneylife Foundation, Maharashtra 7. T R Bhat, former Chairperson Corporation Bank Officers’ Organisation, Karnataka 8. Thomas Franco, General Sectray, All India Bank Officers’ Confederation 9. T. Peter, General Secretary, National Fishworkers Forum 10. Gautam Mody, New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI) 11. Prafulla Samantara, Lok Shakti Abhiyan, Odisha 12. Ashok Chowdhury, All India Union of Forest Working People, Uttar Pradesh 13. Dayamani Barla, Aadivasi-Moolnivasi Astivtva Raksha Samiti, Jharkhand 14. Kavita Srivastava, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Rajasthan 15. Henri Tiphagne, People’s Watch, Tamil Nadu 16. Vilayodi Venugopal, Plachimada Samrakshana Samiti 17. C R Neelakandan, Political Analyst 18. Prof. Kusumam Joseph, Sharath Chelloor, John Peruvanthanam, Suresh 19. George, National Alliance of People’s Movements, Kerala 20. V D Majeendran, Kerala Independent Fishworkers Federation, Kerala 21. Purushan Eloor, Periyar Anti-Pollution Committee 22. Lingraj Azad, Samajwadi Jan Parishad, Odisha 23. Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, Odisha 24. Dr. Sunilam, Adv. Aradhna Bhargava, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Madhya Pradesh 25. P. Chennaiah, Andhra Pradesh VyavasayaVruthidarula Union-APVVU, 26. Ramakrishnam Raju, United Forum for RTI 27. Meera Sanghamitra, Rajesh Serupally, National Alliance of People’s Movements Telangana - Andhra Pradesh 28. Dr Binayak Sen, Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Chhattisgarh 29. Gautam Bandopadhyay, Nadi Ghati Morcha, Chhattisgarh 30. Kaladas Dahariya, Relaa, Chhattisgarh 31. Kailash Meena, National Alliance of People’s Movements, Rajasthan 32. Sandeep Pandey, Socialist Party; 33. Richa Singh, Sangatin; 34. Arundhati Dhuru, Right to Food Campaign 35. Manesh Gupta, Suresh Rathor, Mahendra, National Alliance of People’s Movements, Uttar Pradesh 36. Gabriele Dietrich, Penn UrimayIyakkam, Madurai; 37. Geetha Ramakrishnan, Unorganised Sector Workers Federation; 38. Arul Doss, National Alliance of People’s Movements, Tamilnadu 39. Sister Celia, Domestic Workers Union, Karnataka 40. Maj Gen (Retd) S.G.Vombatkere, National Alliance of People’s Movements, Karnataka 41. Anand Mazgaonkar, Swati Desai, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, Gujarat 42. Krishnakant, Mithivirdi Parmanu Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti, Guajat 43. Vimal Bhai, Matu Jan Sangathan, Uttarakhand 44. Samar Bagchi, Amitava Mitra, National Alliance of People’s Movements, West Bengal 45. Suniti SR, Suhas Kolhekar, Prasad Bagwe, & National Alliance of People’s Movements, Maharashtra 46. Bilal Khan, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, Mumbai 47. Anjali Bharadwaj, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI), 48. Faisal Khan, KhudaiKhidmatgar, Haryana 49. Guruwant Singh, National Alliance of People’s Movements, Punjab 50. Kamayani Swami, Ashish Ranjan, Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan, Bihar 51. Mahendra Yadav, Kosi Navnirman Manch, Bihar 52. Bhupender Singh Rawat, Jan SangharshVahini, New Delhi 53. Sunita Rani, Domestic Workers Union, New Delhi 54. Madhuresh Kumar, National Alliance of People’s Movements, New Delhi 55. Wilfred D’Costa, Indian Social Action Forum 56. Bharat Patel, Machchhimar Adhikar Sangarsh Sangathan, Gujarat 57. Shweta Tripathi, SRUTI, New Delhi 58. Swathi, EQUATIONS, Karnataka 59. Probir Banerjee, Pondy Citizen's Action Network, Pondicherry 60. Vijayan MJ, Pakistan India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy 61. Vidya Dinker, Karavali Karnataka Janabhivriddhi Vedike, INSAF, Karnataka 62. Om Prakash, Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group (CAG), Tamil Nadu 63. Soumya Dutta, Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha 64. Rohit Prajapati, Activist, Gujarat 65. Sreedhar Ramamurthy, Environics Trust, New Delhi 66. Dunu Roy, Hazards Centre, New Delhi 67. Shalmali Guttal, Focus on the Global South 68. Leo Saldanha, Environment Support Group, Karnataka 69. Aruna Rodrigues, Sunray Harvesters, Madhya Pradesh 70. Stephen Ekka, Director, PAJHRA, Assam 71. Maya Sharma, Vikalp (Women’s Group), Gujarat 72. Aashima Subberwal, The Research Collective, New Delhi 73. Sanjeev Danda, Delhi Solidarity Group, New Delhi 74. Shankar Mahanand, Partners in Justice Concerns 75. Punit Minj, Jharkand Mines Area Coordination Committee, Johar, Jharkand 76. Magline, Coastal Women’s Movement, Kerala 77. Egi Joseph, Coastal Vigilance Committee, Kerala 78. Anil Jose, Pachimagatta Samithi, Kerala 79. Bijoy David, Vikasam Vidhyabiyasa Kendra, Kerala 80. Vinod Koshy, Dynamic Action, Kerala 81. O. Prasanan, Organ for Radical Action, Kerala 82. Suma Philip, Ghramina Vanitha Prasthanam, Kerala 83. Kevin P.B., Thiruvella Ecumenical Charitable Society, Kerala 84. P.K. Vijayan, Thiruvella Ecumenical Charitable Society, Kerala 85. Sharath Cheloor, Save Western Ghats, Kerala 86. Virutha Jangiya Samithi (LPG), Kerala 87. Amita Baviskar, Institute of Economic Growth, New Delhi 88. Himanshu Upadhayaya, Researcher, Karnataka 89. Manshi Asher, Himdhara, Himachal Pradesh 90. Ram Wangkheirakpam, Indigenous Perspectives 91. North East Peoples Alliance 92. Manipur Cycle Club 93. Priya Dharshini, Joe Athialy, Centre for Financial Accountability, New Delhi 94. Ashok Verma, Senior Journalist 95. Basant Hetamsaria, Convener, National Alliance of People's Movements, Jharkhand

Marking ADB’s 50 years, Protest Actions to take place in over 100 places in India this week.

Sutlej Valley, Kinnaur

New Delhi: Beginning with Workers Day, People’s movements and civil society organisations from across India will begin holding over 100 actions of protest in 21 states of India between May 1 - 7, 2017 to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). These actions will highlight the gross human rights violations, loss of livelihoods, and environmental destruction caused by projects promoted by ADB and other International Financial Institutions (IFIs) who pursue a paradigm of socially and environmentally destructive development. All of this is done using public money which enriches further the rich nations who hold much of the stakes in ADB and other IFIs.

Through the first week of May, organisations will hold multiple programmes to expose the ADB’s neo-liberal capitalist model of economic growth, which borrows from the public exchequer to enrich private corporations, is a failed developmental paradigm. In addition, these actions will raise systemic issues related to the utter lack of accountability and transparency in projects financed or supported by ADB and other IFIs. Shaktiman Ghosh, General Secretary of the National Hawkers Federation, a trade union representing economically deprived trading communities in several states, said, “The model of development pushed ahead by ADB resulted in the loss of livelihood and forced eviction of street vendors in several cities, thus pushing people into poverty. Thus condradicting ADB’s stated motto of ‘fighting poverty’. In urban areas, the hawkers are the worst hit ones. However with increasing privatisation of services, even the middle class will not be spared.” (See his video message:

Programmes being organized during 1-7 May 2017 to coincide with ADB's 50th anniversary celebrations in Japan include protests, public talks or lecture series, web chats, radio talk shows, etc. All this is to highlight the serious impacts of ADB’s lending programmes. The Bank which lent a little over $3 billion during its first decade, has lent $123 billion during the last decade. Thus, the damage caused by the Bank's extremely warped economic, social environmental policies is significant. These programmes are spread all over India, from Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh to Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, and from Mundra in Gujarat to Dibrugarh in Assam. While Peoples’ Forum Against IFIs, a platform of people’s movements and civil society organisations working on the ill effects of international financing, is coordinating these 100+ events, the actions are all organised by local organisations in a manner which is relevant to them: to highlight their struggles / issues and seek transparency and accountability in IFI funded projects. In fact, their slogan for the past decade has been "Better Off Without the ADB".

“ADB needs to seriously review its push for hydro-projects in India, particularly in the Himalayas, all done in the name of clean energy program, given significantly adverse environmental and social fallouts of such projects, thus indicating a complete failure of the Bank's safeguard policies in this context,” said Manshi Asher of Himdhara - Environment Research and Action Collective. “Further, the escalation of costs in these projects has put a question mark on the financial feasibility of hydro power projects,” she added. (Video message: ADB’s investments resulting in undermining local governance bodies and other traditional institutions has come to the fore time and again. “The arrogance with which the destruction of cultures and communities by way of bulldozing our rights and the condescending belief that we indigenous peoples of the NorthEast are uniformed enough to be auctioning our rights and our way of living to the highest ‘development’ bidder like the IFIs such as ADB, needs to be done away with. We are not stupid and we will do our best to protect our land and culture!” exhorted Ratika Yumnam of Indigenous Perspectives, Manipur.

Highlighting the disproportinate influence IFIs have on policies of other lending agencies, Leo Saldanha of Environment Support Group, Bangalore said, “ADB has always played the role of influencing a form of development that ensures revenue from loan recipient countries flows out to the coffers of countries that control the bank's stocks. For instance, ADB pushed for Metro projects in India. After these super-expensive mega projects were well on their way, but in no manner really serving the real need - of redressing public transport pressures, the bank backed out. By then, the pathways had already been paved for Japan Bank and JICA to step in to finance the Bangalore Metro project. Interestingly, the project has had 300% cost over-runs and is yet not functional. Meanwhile, the entire city has been reduced to a mess of what it was before: Bangalore, once, India's 'garden city', but not any more!”

Coastal Gujarat Power Ltd (Tata Mundra) a $4bn, 4000 MW coal based thermal power plant in Kutch Gujarat is one the projects ADB is co-financing, causing extensive damage to people and environment. As confirmed by its own accountability mechanism, Compliance Review Panel, the project has violated ADB’s policies on consultation with communities. Besides, the sanctioning of the project was based on erroneous social impact assessment. As a consequence of this project the fish catch in the region has reduced drastically, threatening the livelihood of thousands of fishworkers. “Our plea to ADB to restore the livelihood of fish workers has fallen on deaf ears. While they are celebrating 50 years of the Bank's existence, the fish workers in Mundra are struggling to meet their ends,” said Bharat Patel, General Secretary of Machimar Adhikaar Sangharsh Sangathan. (Video message:

Through these 100+ actions, people’s movements and other CSOs are demanding that ADB must mend its ways of lending, and become transparent and accountable to people in whose name they run their business. Failing which, people will be left with no option but to strengthen their struggles, braving increasingly repressive laws that is aimed at curbing Right to dissent, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Details of places of actions: Video messages to ADB: Contact: Priya Dharshini, Cell: +91-96546 80488, Rajesh Kumar, Cell: +91-81300 30411, Ankit Agrawal, Cell: +91-95603 61801, Media Coordinator, Website:, Twitter: @wgonifis, Email:

Assam scribes echo BUJ concern over media job crisis

Special Contribution
By NJ Thakuria

Hindustan Times (HT) office

Guwahati: Worried over one of the leading media houses in the country, HT Media Ltd’s decision to shut down four editions of its English daily Hindustan Times , Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) expressed serious concern over the development.

It may be mentioned that various bodies of journalists across the country expressed serious concern over the HT Media’s decision to shut down Hindustan Times’ four editions. Leading scribe body Brihanmumbai Union of Journalists (BUJ) while condemning the HT Media Ltd’s decision said that for this development, hundreds of journalist would lose their job.

The Assam based media rights body asserted that the development shows the lack of goodwill of the newspaper managements to offer due benefits to their own employees. Mentionable is that the BUJ, in a recent statement from Mumbai, strongly condemned the decision of HT Media Ltd to shut down four editions of Hindustan Times (HT) in Kolkata, Bhopal, Indore and Ranchi and three bureaus of Kanpur, Allahabad and Varanasi with effect from 9 January 2017. The journalist union also demanded to immediately revoke the decisions, failing which it would draw the attention of the apex court in the country to these developments in the hearing slated for 10 January next.

“The closing down of four editions and three bureaus at one go is an unprecedented event in the history of Indian print media and has clearly been done to circumvent the implementation of the Majithia Wage Board Award, which was upheld by the Supreme Court by its judgment dated 7 February 2014,” said the BUJ statement. It also added that apart from closing down four editions, the HT authority was pruning staff in various departments as well as in The Mint, a sister publication from the New Delhi based group and shut down the business bureaus in Mumbai and Delhi, besides the bureau in Kolkata. Hundreds of journalists and other media employees are likely to lose their jobs as a consequence of these malicious and illegal decisions, added the statement.

A BSE listed entity, HT Media Ltd with an annual turnover of over rupees 2000 crore has not implemented the recommendations of Majithia wage board in any of its units and forced employees to submit undertakings under clause 20(j) of the award to renounce the benefits under it. The company also failed to implement clause 9(b) that entitles even those working on contract basis to receive variable pay at the rate of 30 percent of basic scale.

“It is astonishing that a hugely profitable company like HT Media Ltd (whose third quarter of Calendar 2016 earnings stood at Rs 602.23 crore) has chosen to illegally close down six editions of Hindustan Times and sack several other journalists working in various bureaus rather than implementing the statutory wage board recommendations,” asserted the BUJ.

Also added, “Furthermore, the company's official website has projected a total revenue of Rs 662.40 crore, in Q1FY2017, which constitutes an increase of 7.5 per cent over the corresponding quarter of the previous year. It also maintains a strong balance sheet position with net cash of Rs 823.40 crore.”

“We, in Assam, witnessed the sudden closure of a mainstream Assamese daily in November last year, where the management (proprietor being a former Congress minister) maintained serene silence over the matter. Many journalist friends, engaged with Janasadharan, preferred to quit the job with three months cumulative salaries, but the rest are still on warpath against the management,” said JFA president Rupam Barua. As the heat of Majithia wage board rises, most of the newspaper managements in Guwahati have adopted many clever (also innovative) ways to deal with the situation, said a JFA statement adding that some of them preached for reappointing all of their employees in the contract system.

Some media house managements proposed to degrade all the employees including the journalists in positions with an aim to reduce the financial burden, and few have more astonishing idea to pay an employee according to the guidelines of the wage board with an inherent condition that he/she would return a major portion of the salary to the account department.

“Even though The Assam Tribune group of publications set the example in implementing the Majithia wage board recommendation years back, it has not inspired the other Guwahati based newspaper managements to take similar initiatives for offering legal dues to their employees,” asserted the JFA statement questioning, ”Are they waiting to get their newspaper establishments declared as law-breaking institutions in India?”

UBCV calls for legal action against Formosa Steel Corporation

The Formosa Steel Corporation

PARIS, 13 July 2016 (VCHR) – On behalf of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) Venerable Thich Thanh Quang, head of the UBCV Executive Office, has sent a letter to the Vietnamese government and Communist Party calling on them to bring Formosa Hà Tĩnh Steel Corporation to court to determine the proper sanctions and compensation the company should pay for causing an unprecedented ecological disaster that has decimated the fishing industry in central Vietnam. “This is not just an industrial accident, but a crime and a tragedy that will affect Vietnamese people and their children for generations to come,” wrote the UBCV.

The UBCV’s letter follows a long-awaited announcement by the government on Formosa Steel Corporation’s responsibility for the massive fish deaths and a public acceptance by the leaders of the Taiwanese company, who bowed their heads in apology at a press conference in Hanoi and committed to pay $500 million in compensation.

According to the UBCV, “this is far from sufficient to address the emergency faced by hundreds of thousands of victims” in the central provinces of Hà Tĩnh, Quảng Trị, Quảng Bình and Thừa Thiên Huế. Whereas citizens, researchers and the media had proved as early as April that fish deaths were caused by pollution dumped from Formosa’s plant in Hà Tĩnh, the Vietnamese government was slow to respond. “The government’s reluctance to reveal the cause of the fish deaths provoked the people’s indignation and led to street protests all over the country. It was the pressure of public opinion that forced the government to finally name the culprit, and obliged Formosa to bow down and apologize”.

The UBCV also condemned the government’s acceptance of the sum of compensation offered by Formosa without any consultation: “The Communist Party leadership and the government hastily accepted $500 million and ordered the relevant ministries to distribute the money at their discretion without debating the issue in the National Assembly or initiating legal action. This shows the government’s disregard for the rule of law and the demands of its people, as well as the “rubber stamp” nature of the National Assembly”.

In its letter, the UBCV urged the Vietnamese leadership to take the following steps: 1) Bring Formosa Hà Tĩnh Steel Corporation before justice. Only a court of law has the competence to determine the nature of the crime and the corresponding punishment, the full extent of the damages and the amount of compensation required;

2) The Court should investigate and prosecute all those involved in this ecological disaster, including officials in the Formosa Steel Corporation as well as any Vietnamese government officials who may have acted in connivance;

3) To ensure transparency and ensure a fair and impartial verdict, the Court should have full access to all information concerning the catastrophe in the four provinces of Central Vietnam. An independent Commission of Inquiry composed of Vietnamese and international experts, local people and representatives of the victims should be established to enable the Court to examine and assess the extent of economic and environmental damages;

4) In addition to the payment of penalties and compensation, Formosa Steel Corporation must pay for natural resource restoration and the cleaning up of polluted waters. This should be done within a determined timeframe and under the supervision of national and international experts, including United Nations’ specialist agencies;

5) Considering that Formosa Plastics Group, the corporation’s parent company, has a long history of harming the environment and received the “Black Planet Award” in 2009, Vietnam should terminate all Formosa Steel Corporation’s ongoing projects in Vietnam in order to avoid further disasters to the Vietnamese people and their environment;

6) The National Assembly should swiftly adopt a Law on Demonstrations to provide a legal framework for people to legitimately express their grievances through peaceful, public protests. “Currently, the government’s aim is to render the people blind and deaf, to prevent them speaking out against these multiple social challenges and encroachments on their waters and lands”, wrote the UBVC.

34th Annual AAPI Convention & Scientific Assembly At Marriott Marquis

Special Contribution
By Ajay Ghosh

Dr. Rita Ahuja(3rd L)

34th Annual AAPI Convention & Scientific Assembly At Marriott Marquis in New York, NY From June 30 to July 4, 2016. Dr. Rita Ahuja, Convention Chair, praises dedicated team of convention committees.

(New York, NY – June 20, 2016): The 34th annual Convention & Scientific Assembly by American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) to be held at the Marriott Marquis, Time Square in New York from June 30-July 4, 2016, offers an exciting venue to interact with leading physicians, health professionals, academicians, and scientists of Indian origin. Physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country convene and participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and to encourage legislative priorities in the coming year.

“For the very first time in the history of AAPI, both the President and the Convention Chair are women,” pointed out Dr. Seema Jain, Dr. President of AAPI. “We are so fortunate to have Dr. Rita Ahuja to chair the prestigious convention. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge as she has chaired two successful conventions in the past in New York. As an inspiring leader, Dr. Ahuja has led the Federation of Tristate AAPI, and has served as a member of the Board of Trustees, AAPI. And, she has a very dynamic team with her to make this event successful in every way.”

The annual convention this year is being organized by AAPI’s New Jersey Chapter. Elaborating on the efforts and preparations that have been devoted to put together this unique event, Dr. Rita Ahuja, Chairwoman of the 2016 Annual Convention, said. “We have been working hard to put together an attractive program for our annual get together, educational activity and family enjoyment. I and the Co-Chairs are fortunate to have a dedicated team of convention committee members from the Tri-State region helping us. We are expecting a record turnout and hence I would encourage early registration to avoid later disappointment. A pool of dedicated AAPI leaders are working hard to make the Convention a unique event for all the participants,” she said. “AAPI members represent a variety of important medical specialties. Sponsors will be able to take advantage of the many sponsorship packages at the 34th annual convention, creating high-powered exposure to the highly coveted demographic of AAPI's membership,” Dr. Seema Jain said.

Prominent among those who will attend and address the delegates from across the nation are: Dr. Vivek Murthy, US Surgeon General; Fareed Zakaria, CNN TV Host; Hon. Bill de Blasio, Mayor of NY; Hon. Arun Kumar Singh, Ambassador of India to the United States; Dr. Chandy Abraham, CEO, Cayman Hospital; Dr. Charanji Rihal of the Mayo Clinic; Dr. Vas Narasimhan Global Head Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer, Novartis, Switzerland; Arthur Klien, Medical President, Mt. Sinai Medical Center; Eric Paterson, US VP Diversity Dealer Relations; Ramakrishna of the Ramakrishna Hospital; Preet Bharara, US Attorney; Dr. Brian Storm, Chancellor, Rutgers; and Chandrika Tandon, a Business Woman and Philanthropist.

In addition to the exhibition hall featuring large exhibit booth spaces in which the healthcare industry will have the opportunity to engage, inform and educate the physicians directly through one on one, hands on product demonstrations and discussions, there will be focused group and specialty Product Theater, Interactive Medical Device Trade Show, and special exhibition area for new innovations by young physicians. “The essence of AAPI is educational,” Dr. Seema Jain, said. “That translates into numerous Continuing Medical Education and non-CME seminars by experts in their fields. CME will provide comprehensive and current reviews and guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of various disease states to reduce morbidity and mortality and achieve cost effective quality care outcomes.”

“The major attractions include 10 hours of cutting-edge CME with renowned speakers, CEO Forum, Innovation Forum, Entrepreneur Forum, Women’s Forum, Men’s Forum, and Product Theaters to highlight the newest advances in patient care and medical technology. Alumni meetings for networking, also an AAPI-India Strategic Engagement Forum to showcase the AAPI initiatives in India like Trauma Brain Injury Guidelines, MoU on TB Eradication in India and recognition of AAPI Award winners will make this Convention unique,” Dr. Sanjay Jain, Chief Coordinating Officer of the Convention, said. According to Dr. Jagat Narula, MD, CME Co-Chair, “The multidisciplinary CME conference during the convention allows specialists and primary care physicians to interact in an academic forum. World-renowned speakers will discuss gaps between current and best practice of wide-ranging topics of CME sessions.” Dr. Atul Prakash and Dr. Moiz, CME committee members have worked together with Dr. Narula to put together the CME sessions.

The organizing committees are led by Dr. Thomas Alapatt, Host City Chair for the Convention; Dr. Sanjay Jain, Media Chair & Exhibit Hall Co-Chair; Anand Sahu, MD, Banquet Co-Chair: Dr. Virendra Sethi, Food & Catering Co-Chair: Dr. Kishore Ahuja, Dr. Mathew, Dr. Ratan Mirchandani, Entertanment Co-Chair; Sudhir Parikh, MD, Political Alliance Co-Chair; Suneet Verma, MD, Website Chair; Chand Rohatgi, MD, Registration Co-Chair; Tarun Shah, MD, Souvenir Co-Chair; Dr. Jayesh Kanuga, Dr. Chitra Kumar, Dr. Shobna Patel; Dr. Parminder Grewal, Dr. Hetal Gor; and Dr. Gaurav Gupta. Ambassador Arun Singh, India’s Envoy to the United States, who is a keynoter speaker at the Convention had inaugurated the curtain raiser for the 34th annual convention of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) during a solemn ceremony at the Ballroom of the Indian Consulate in New York on Friday, February 12, 2016.

“Many of the physicians who will attend this convention have excelled in different specialties and subspecialties and occupy high positions as faculty members of medical schools, heads of departments, and executives of hospital staff. The AAPI Convention offers an opportunity to meet directly with these physicians who are leaders in their fields and play an integral part in the decision-making process regarding new products and services,” Dr. Aravind Pillai, Chair of the BOT, said. “Physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country and internationally will convene and participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and to encourage legislative priorities in the coming year. We look forward to seeing you in New York!” said Dr. Thomas Alapatt, Host City Chair for the Convention.

Chandrika Tandon will lead the Women’s Forum. The panelists on the Forum include, Kim Guadagno, Lt. Governor of New Jersey; Dr. Sherine Gabriel, Dean of Rutgers RWJM School & CEO Rutgers RWJM Group; and Dr. Maina Chawla Singh, Professor at American University in Washington, DC and Scholar in Residence. Shankar Mahadevan, Sunidhi Chauhan, Aditya Narayan and Indian Idol Juniors, are all set to take the AAPI delegates by storm during the 34th annual convention. "Each of the three mega stars will lead a group of talented artists and stars from Bollywood and from the United States," said Dr. Ratan Mirchandani, Chair of the Entertainment Committee for AAPI Convention. "With 12 leading stars to entertain in one weekend during AAPI convention in the Big Apple, this mega event will truly be historic," he added.

Understanding the inherent humanity that unites all nations, religions and cultures, Sadhguru is recognized for his pioneering efforts to nurture global harmony, Dr. Seema Jain, President of American association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), said today, while announcing the 1.5 hours of CME to be led by Sadhguru during Convention in New York. After years of sitting on the political sidelines, Indian-Americans - affluent, educated and doubling in number every 10 years - are starting to flex their muscles in Washington, says Sudhir Parikh, MD, Political Alliance Co-Chair. A matrimonial session for all ages is an added attraction for all.

This year's Fashion Show, “The Colors Of India,” is being led by Rohini Bedi, an exclusive Indian fashion designer from California. Rohini Bedi has been custom designing and selling her label throughout various boutiques in India and worldwide. According to Dr. Hetal Gor, Co-Chair of the Committee on Entertainment, “The Fashion Show will have beautiful dancers, dancing to Caribean, Brazil, Hawaian dances, Fusion/Jazz/ Tap dancing, Kathak Dance with a grand finale will be breathtaking performances by Sonali Bhendre.” Fareed Zakaria, a world renowned journalist and author will lead this in-depth Healthcare 2020 CEO Forum by AAPI, which will look at the major global developments in the rapidly changing healthcare sector, with an emphasis on new ideas and innovative solutions to America’s complex healthcare related issues.

“We are proud to have the Fareed Zakaria leading this prestigious forum,” says Dr. Seema Jain, President of AAPI. “Representatives from the healthcare industry, including leading CEOs from hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, academicians, intellectuals and physicians, who will focus on the changing trends in the healthcare sector and how they impact the providers, hospitals and corporations as well as the patients. The Forum will also offer insights into managing efficiently the growing costs in the delivery of healthcare services,” she added. Anwar Feroz, AAPI’s Honorary Advisor, says, “The CEO Forum will focus on the changing trends in the healthcare sector and how they impact the providers, hospitals and corporations as well as the patients. The Forum will also offer insights into managing efficiently the growing costs in the delivery of healthcare services.”

AAPI's mission is to provide a forum to facilitate and enable Indian American physicians to excel inpatient care, teaching and research, and to pursue their aspirations in professional and community affairs. Representing the interests of the over 100,000 physicians of Indian origin, leaders of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), the largest ethnic organization of physicians, for 34 years, AAPI Convention has provided a venue for medical education programs and symposia with world renowned physicians on the cutting edge of medicine.

Representing the interests of the over 100,000 physicians of Indian origin, leaders of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), the largest ethnic organization of physicians, for 34 years, AAPI Convention has provided a venue for medical education programs and symposia with world renowned physicians on the cutting edge of medicine. “Physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country and internationally will convene and participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and to encourage legislative priorities in the coming year. We look forward to seeing you in New York!” said Dr. Seema Jain. For more details, and sponsorship opportunities, please visit:

China closes its waste incinerator plant, Delhi suffering because of Chinese waste incinerator technology

Chinese waste incinerator technology

To, Dr. A. B. Akolkar, Member Secretary, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), New Delhi, Date: April 23, 2016

Dear Dr Akolkar,

This is share my dismay at Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)'s inability bring it’s its original report of March 2012 with regard to Chinese waste incinerator based power plant of Timarpur-Okhla Waste Management Co Pvt Ltd, M/s Jindal Urban Infrastructure Limited to the notice of National Green Tribunal (NGT) because of which NGT has reached flawed conclusions so far. I wish to urge you to submit your report to the NGT before the next date of hearing on 4th May, 2016. I also wish to inform you about how authorities in eastern China have halted plans to build a trash incinerator after street protests by residents. Like Chinese authorities if CPCB can ensure closure of Jindal’s waste incinerator, it will be a major and memorable contribution to NCR's landscape for generations to come and help prevent approval for hazardous industrial units in the region at a time when Delhi's residents are gasping for fresh air.

On behalf of ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), I wish to remind you that you were part of CPCB’s Technical Evaluation Committee constituted under the Chairmanship of Chairman, CPCB on orders of the then Union Minister for Environment & Forests. I submit that the report of this Committee noted that this plant is operating in violation of Municipal Solid Waste (Management & Handling) [MSW] Rules. It came to light from your observation mentioned in the minutes of the CPCB committee’s meeting which was annexed to the report. The ToR given by Union Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF)'s Experts Appraisal Committee to the project in question specifically demanded "Disaster Management Plan" but the Technical Evaluation Committee constituted by the then Union Minister of Environment & Forests headed by Chairman, CPCB observed in its report that this plan has not been prepared. It condemned the non-cooperation by the company. You were part of this committee. It is of great importance that you were part of this CPCB’s committee and your observations are recorded in the minutes of the committee annexed to its report. TWA has been highlights dangerous implications of this plant since March 2005. I wish to inform you that I had appeared before Supreme Court’s Waste to Energy Committee headed by Dr D K Biswas and my submissions were part of committee’s report that formed the basis of Supreme Court's order of May 2007 in the Writ Petition (Civil) No.888 of 1996. Court's order dated 6th May, 2005 said, "...we hope that till the position is clear, the Government would not sanction any further subsidies." It is noteworthy that on 15th May, 2007, the Court's order "permit (s) Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources (MNES) to go ahead for the time being with 5 pilot projects chosen by them" but it is noteworthy that this refers specifically to bio-methanation technology. MNES is renamed as Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) and is part of Power Ministry at present. It has been revealed through RTI that neither the proposed Delhi's waste to energy incinerator projects one of those 5 pilot projects nor is it based on the recommended technology.

I read the attached order of National Green Tribunal (NGT) dated 4th April, 2016. It is quite clear that Hon’ble Delhi High Court’s role in the case was more sensitive to the concerns of the residents and environmental groups. It appears that NGT isn’t more competent than the Hon’ble High Court although Jindal's Waste incinerator based thermal power plant started operating from January 2012 while the matter was being heard for final disposal. It may be recalled that NGT in its order dated 10th September, 2013 recorded, “….prayer had been made that the waste to energy plant at Okhla should be closed , construction thereof should be stopped and removal of the existing plant. The averments in this Application are that the plant in question is causing serious environmental pollution and is resulting in health hazards to the residents living around the area of this Plant.” The following text of the order makes factually incorrect proposition, misrepresents and misinterprets the Hon’ble High Court’s order which requires to be challenged because it is in this order that NGT declined to order closure of the plant.

The relevant part of the attached order reads: “It may be noticed at the very outset that this plant came into existence as a result of a decision being taken by the Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Resources to establish pilot projects dealing with the municipal waste. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India vide its Order dated 16th May, 2007 had directed as under:- ‘In view of the report of the Committee and having regard to the relevant facts, we modify the order passed by this Court earlier and permit Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources (MNES) to go ahead for the time being with 5 pilot projects chosen by them, keeping in view the recommendations made by the Expert Committee and then take appropriate decision in the matter. List the application for further orders after six months.’ Thereafter, a Writ Petition was filed by the Applicants before the High Court on 12th August, 2009. The learned Addl. Solicitor General informed the High Court that the Project in question was one of the pilot projects recommended by the Expert Committee appointed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and two similar pilot projects at Vijaywada and Hyderabad, as recommended, have started functioning. Further, in the Order dated 15th January, 2012, the High Court noticed that it was apparent that though technology for the project was approved by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, the site of the MSW was neither approved by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and to that extent the Order of 12th August, 2009 passed by the High Court was given. As is evident that the project technology was approved by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India but not the site, this plant has already been commissioned and is under operation undisputedly from the 2012, and it deals with the entire municipal waste collected from the city of Delhi. We must notice that this plant admittedly has been granted environmental clearance by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). There is no challenge in the Writ Petition to the grant of environmental clearance and other incidental steps taken in finalization of the same in terms of the EIA Notification 2006.” There is documentary evidence in the form of Hon’ble High Court’s order and CPCB’s report to prove that the above proposition is deeply flawed and factually incorrect.

I submit that Jindal’s power plant is amidst residential colonials and institutions of national importance like Central Road Research Institute, Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology and the Indian Institute of Information Technology. Such toxic emissions from the Jindal's power plant in an ecologically sensitive area and thickly populated area has become a routine affair with all the concerned authorities turning a blind eye towards this illegitimate and illegal act. This plant has violated all the rules in the rule book. Besides violating all the relevant laws and rules, this plant is violation of Wildlife Protection Act 1972 creating a compelling reason for the closure of this plant. The plant became operational in 2012 but it is using untested and unapproved Chinese incinerator technology, a fact noted in the report of the Central Pollution Control Board committee constituted after a delegation had met Shri Jairam Ramesh, the then Union Minister of Environment & Forests pursuant to his site visit of the plant. It is noteworthy that the Union Environment Minister had written to the then Chief Minister, NCT of Delhi underling that the plant is functioning in violation of environmental regulations. This plant is in a green belt contrary to the Master Plan of Delhi, in contravention of section 3(2) (v) of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, Rule 5 (ix) of Environment (protection) Rules, 1986 and Guidelines for Establishment of Industries issued by MoEF.

As per Hon'ble Supreme Court's order in the Writ Petition (Civil) No.888 of 1996 such subsidies are not meant for incinerator plants like the one in Okhla. Court's order dated 6th May, 2005 said, "...we hope that till the position is clear, the Government would not sanction any further subsidies." It is noteworthy that on 15th May, 2007, the Court's order "permit (s) Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources (MNES) to go ahead for the time being with 5 pilot projects chosen by them" but it is noteworthy that this refers specifically to bio-methanation technology. MNES is renamed as Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) and is part of Power Ministry at present. It has been revealed through RTI that neither the proposed Delhi's waste to energy incinerator projects one of those 5 pilot projects nor is it based on the recommended technology. It is apparent that amendments made in the EC have been made to gain this assistance of Rs 1.5 crore/MW even as the stay by the Supreme Court on sanction of any further subsidies for projects on energy recovery from Municipal Solid Wastes continues to be in force, in manifest violation of Court's order. In the light of the Court's order MNRE must be persuaded to withdraw or modify its letter (No.10/3/2005-UICA) to stop promotion of polluting technologies like incinerators.

Hon'ble Supreme Court is quite categorical in saying, "The Committee has recommended that projects based on bio-methanation of MSW should be taken up only on segregated/uniform waste unless it is demonstrated that in Indian conditions, the waste segregation plant/process can separate waste suitable for bio-methanation. It has opined that there is a need to take up pilot projects that promote integrated systems for segregation/collection/ transportation and processing and treatment of waste. In view of the report of the Committee and having regard to the relevant facts, we modify the order passed by this Court earlier and permit Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources (MNES) to go ahead for the time being with 5 pilot projects chosen by them, keeping in view the recommendations made by the Expert Committee and then take appropriate decision in the matter." Despite this Delhi Government has erred in supporting illegal waste to energy incinerators in Delhi which is contrary to the Court's order. But Delhi Government falsely claimed in the High Court that it was one of the five projects cleared by Supreme Court leading to dismissal of petition filed by residents but when the High Court later found to its shock that such a claim was manifestly untrue, the petition was restored. It was in March 2009 that Writ Petition (Civil) No. 9901 of 2009 which was initially dismissed on 12th August, 2009 because of misrepresentation of facts by Shri A S Chandiok the then Additional Solicitor General. Hon'ble High Court later found that it was misled earlier which had led to it dismissing the petition. The Petition was restored by an order dated 15th January, 2010. In the presence of Shri Chandihok, the bench headed by the Chief Justice, Delhi High Court in the order observed, "that the project in question" and "the location of the pilot project in Delhi was neither recommended by the Expert Committee nor approved by the Supreme Court."

I submit that now a bizarre situation has emerged because the arguments for Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) incineration technology that was advanced by the company and the law officers of the previous central and state governments are no more relevant because the plant is using an experimental Chinese technology which was never ever mentioned at the time of submitting the project proposal or in its EIA report based on which a so-called Public Hearing was conducted in Saket in the presence of two officials only as per records. It was CPCB’s report that disclosed that Jindal’s power plant was using an unapproved technology. This report is a challenge to NGT’s proposition that environmental clearance given to Jindal’s plant has not been disputed. In view of the CPCB’s report, NGT’s observation, “We must notice that this plant admittedly has been granted environmental clearance by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). There is no challenge in the Writ Petition to the grant of environmental clearance….” is irrelevant. I submit that the 31 page long report of CPCB communicated on March 22nd, 2012 on the Timarpur - Okhla Waste to Energy Incinerator Plant of Shri Prithivraj Jindal‟s JITF Urban Infrastructure Limited (Jindal Ecopolis) is based on three meetings of the Technical Experts Evaluation Committee held on April 26, 2011, August 11, 2011 and September 22, 2011. I submit that the operation of Jindal's waste burning based power plant is an act of environmental lawlessness in the heart of the national capital.

I wish to also draw your attention to a news item “China trash incinerator project called off after protest” (Associated Press, 22 April, 2016) which reports that authorities in eastern China have halted plans to build a trash incinerator after street protests by residents. The Haiyan county government in Zhejiang province took the decision after hundreds of residents began to gathered and blocked roads. The demonstration escalated when the mob attacked a local government building, smashing objects and causing injuries to police officer and bystanders. The Haiyan government first revealed plans for the project on April 12, saying it was needed to help dispose of the 450 tons of solid waste that residents are generating every day. Recent years have seen a growing number of protests against incinerators, chemical plants and other projects believed to threaten the environment and living conditions. Those have generally been permitted despite the ruling Communist Party's pervasive crackdown on independent organizers and political critics, although arrests often follow once demonstrations die down. Environmental safety concerns have been further fueled by a string of serious accidents involving deadly chemicals in China. In August, 173 people, many of them firefighters, were killed in a chemical explosion in the port of Tianjin involving 700 tons of highly toxic sodium cyanide. Investigators said the warehouses storing the chemicals had been built too close to residential units and numerous people were arrested for violating regulations on safe distances. This news report is relevant to the goings on in Okhla. Global experience demonstrates without any dispute that incinerator based WTE plants do not resolve the issue of non-availability of land and landfill sites. This experience also shows that energy from municipal waste is not produced at any lesser price in fact it more expensive.

I submit that the myth of incinerator based WTE plant solving the problem of leachate which contaminates ground water has long been debunked. The existing literature on waste management underlines that incinerator based WTE plants constitute a meaningless and misplaced option. The fact is that it is not a solution, it is a problem creator. It gives birth to the problem of what can be deemed as landfills in the sky. It is a case of putting resources up in flames. As we have interacted on waste issue at least since 2000, I am sure you will agree that burying or burning the waste is no solution to the municipal solid waste problem. In view of the above facts because you were part of the CPCB’s Committee, I think you have a legal and moral obligation to inform the NGT before the next date of hearing on 4th May, 2016 so that it reconsiders and revises its propositions and assumptions about Jindal’s waste incinerator based power plant in Sukhdev Vihar, Okhla to save present and future generation of residents of being enveloped in a gas chamber as a consequence of the tried, tested and failed approach adopted for waste management. Thanking you in anticipation.

Warm regards, Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)

First international conference on National Urban Policy held in South Korea

By Salai Thang
Staff Reporter
Dec 18, 2015

At the conference on National Urban Policy

First international conference on National Urban Policy: the future of National Urban Policy towards smarter and greener cities held in Incheon Metropolitan City, South Korea from December 14 – 15, 2015. The conference was organized by UN-Habitat, hundreds of participants from around the world.

There was a presentation on National Urban Policy regional experience and case studies. According to Nguyen Quang, UN-Habitat Vietnam, in Vietnam, there is correlation between urbanization and economic growth. Vietnamese socialist government could able to make political economy.

Nguyen Quang

Jack Finegan is an Urban Specialist with UN-Habitant Myanmar working on the national urban programme, incorporating cross-cutting issues effecting urban development in Myanmar. They have urban planning training to government officers. In Myanmar, the Ministry of construction led National Urban Policy, but not solid agency responsible for urbanization. The problem in Myanmar is land policy, housing policy, tax system, and poor research, not realizable a statistic and data of urban population, economic growth data, etc. Finegan also mentioned the important of governance. Myanmar is hopefully change of political system after NLD win election.

Jack Finegan

Another presenter, Se Hoon Park is head of the organization for Urban Regeneration Policy, and Research Fellow, Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements. He said South Korean experienced of urbanization including culture policy. However, South Korea successes although didn’t have nationwide urban policy. But South Korea economic growth and industraliztion were indirectly affected to Urbanization. After urbanization, nowadays, they are loosing two-third areas of population, becoming mature society and low growth, and population decreasing and aging problems. South Korea has experienced Green Belt policy(developing restricted areas) because of pressure from national environment, but facing problem of conflict between land owner and tenor. He suggests South Korea needs regeneration, innovation, collaboration and so on.

Across the globe, cities are motors of growth. Overall, they are characterized by higher levels of productivity and income and, across the OECD, productivity and wages increases with city size. Cities have enormous potential for job creation, innovation and green growth. Cities are the hubs and gateways in global networks, such as trade or transport.

The K-Seafood Farm tour 2015 in Busan city

By Salai Thang
Staff Reporter
Jun 13, 2015

Seaweeds producing

The K-Seafood Farm tour 2015 in Busan city on June 4 2015, it is 7th anniversary. The program organized by Korea Fisheries Association, the Association has 1600 staffs with two main programs, wholesale fishes market and international fishing. Mostly are fish cage, dry fish and other.

Visitors at K-Seafood Farm

The Association also has processing complex and a total 56 factories. They have 20 billion won sale volume and they set up goal for 40 billion won in future. They have government subsidy and 7 groups supported. They also setup a research and packing center. The government promotes exhibition and enraged for participation. That’s why, Korea Fisheries Association also provides SME consultation and application processing to trader.

North Pacific Co products

Today trip, the group visited first to North Pacific Co. This Company gets resources mainly from Russia and other countries. Next the group visited to HACCP. This company has 10 ships and warehouse business. Their resources mainly come from New Zealand and Russian with 4 joined in ventures. They produce fish and octopus and other products, and readymade potluck. They produce about 10 tons a day, a total 50 billion amount of manufacture goods. The company has unique for quality test series for customer convenience. Their competitive is to deliver raw material and stable processing.

Dry Seafood producing

On June 5, 2015, the group visited to Gijang Local Products Co. Ltd. This company has 40 workers. Their main products are seaweed. They got certificate for US market and Halala certificate, and IP rights. The company produces 10% of total 600 tons South Korean seaweeds a year. Cult is 60 tons a year. Their product is best quality.

Raw Seaweeds

They collect seaweeds from February to April and tangle from June to July. It depends on different temperature to get them. The company has done washing seaweed and drying, select quality product. These sea products are good for health because it has a lot of fiber, good intensity activity, purify blood, and good for pregnant woman.

GORAESA Company and shop

The group last visited to GORAESA Company. It shop opens 10 am to 10 pm. They have a thousand of customers in weekdays and around 5000 thousands customers in weekends. Many tourists from China, Malaysia, and Hong Kong are visited. The shop has 20 staffs and 200 workers at factory. Their foods have quality and different flame and taste, and program for fish cake coffee. Such foods are none in Korea. The owner of shop said he learns some foods cooking from Italian shelf.

Position Statement of CMFRI to the Report of the Expert Committee for Review of the Deep Sea Fishing Policy & Guidelines (Dr. B. Meenakumari et al.)

Dr. B. Meenakumari

The Director, CMFRI convened 3 meetings of senior fishery scientists of the institute during December, 2014 and January/ February 2015 at Kochi to discuss the Dr. B. Meenakumari Committee report and evolve a position statement on the report. The following are the points which emerged during the deliberations. 1. The report should have had a pre-condition that all recommendations in the report can be made applicable only after the area between 12 to 200 nautical miles (nmi) has fisheries regulations in place. Even after 68 years of independence the country does not have Central MFRA to regulate fisheries in this area rendering fisheries in the area IUU (violation of international agreements). 2. More clarity is required in the definition of deep sea fishing vessel (DSFV) in the report. Considering future development, the fishing vessels should have been brought under a new fishing vessel act, and the fishing vessels with long endurance should have minimum standards with regard to habitation and safety. Although the report talks about increasing the LOA of fishing vessels to 24m, bringing these vessels outside the ambit of the MMD, the report does not specify the standards that these fishing vessels should have.

3. The report has presented extensive data on catches taken by the traditional Thoothur fishermen and come out with the annual estimate of their catches from the oceanic waters. The committee has also reported on the annual catches officially submitted by the LOP vessels. This data shows that the Thoothur fishermen are harvesting approximately 45,000 t annually from the deep sea region, whereas, the LOP vessels report an annual catch of 1,900 t. This clearly shows that the LOP scheme has been a failure in tapping the deep sea resources. On the other hand the Thoothur fishermen are reporting increasing catches from the deep sea region. The reported incidents of our fishermen getting caught fishing in the waters of Diego Garcia/ Seychelles in central Indian Ocean, which is about 1000 nautical miles far from the Indian mainland points to our fishermen’s capacity to venture very far out into the deep sea. Therefore, this committee should have very clearly suggested scrapping of the LOP scheme and suggested new schemes for promoting Indian fishermen’s capability to fish in the deep sea regions of the Indian EEZ and areas beyond natural jurisdiction (ABNJ). 4. The DSFVs should be fitted with radio transponders (ALC – Automatic Location Communicators) for vessel tracking to prevent trespassing into territorial waters and also for rescue operations in emergencies covering a distance of 360 km from the coast. Such a VMS is necessary for fishery planners to know where effort is being expended in the Indian EEZ, besides this will also assure fishermen that DSFVs are operating beyond 12 nmi. The benefits to coastal security are incidental and should not be the main objective.

5. Clarity with regard to Buffer Zone specified in the report is lacking. It is not clear whether it is a no-take zone or a zone where selective fishing can be done. In this case, the area specified for buffer zone (200-500m depth) would be about 10% of the total mainland Indian EEZ (1.414 million km2). This is a large area which would prove difficult to manage and administer. In order to conserve resources, a better option would have been to create Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs) corresponding to about 2% of the fishable areas during the initial stage. 6. As per the Potential Yield Estimate (PYE) of 2010 there is only 0.37 million t in the area between 100 and 500 m depth zones. This fact has also been reported by FAO as it is well known deeper areas of tropical seas are not very rich in resources (except for tunas, squids and myctophids). The fishermen of India have been constantly reporting operation of LOP vessels in areas within territorial waters and the reason could be rich resources available in the coastal areas. 7. The report has recommended introduction of 270 new vessels to tap the oceanic resources. It is well known that introducing new players in the fishing grounds is always a source of anxiety to the existing players, as there is always fear of the profits getting shared and reduced. The report could have rather come up with schemes to enhance the efficiency of the existing vessels so that the targets could be reached.

Position Statement of CMFRI to the DAHD&F guideline (12-11-2014) and Public Notice (28-11-2014)

The Director, CMFRI convened 3 meetings of senior fishery scientists of the institute during December, 2014 and January/ February 2015 at Kochi to discuss above guideline and public notice and evolve a position statement on the same. The following are the points which emerged during the deliberations. There are several inconsistencies and errors in the guidelines and public notice, some of which are contradictory to those already stated within. For instance, though the guideline is issued for deep sea fishing vessels, guideline #1 (page2) states that LOP is required for operating any fishing vessel in the EEZ instead of specifying the type of vessel outside 12 nautical miles (nmi) area. There is lack of clarity in the statements. While we are not going into every flaw individually, we wish to point one major discrepancy. As per this order the guidelines are issued based on the report of the expert committee constituted by DAHDF in 2010 to revalidate the potential yield of marine fishery resources. This report does not recommend any addition of fleets for exploiting the meagre (0.37 million t above 100m depth) deep sea resources. Recommendations related to deep sea resources in the report are listed verbatim below.

4 The potential up to 100 m depth is estimated at 3.8 million t whereas the potential for depth zones between 100-200 m and 200-500 m is estimated at 0.26 and 0.11 million t respectively. 14 Except the oceanic resources and deep-sea crustaceans, the resources beyond 200 m zone are generally of low value and their density is also low compared to near-shore regions. Further, none of these species has adequate density to support a dedicated fishery. As such, the cost of harvesting, in the present context of escalating fuel prices, would defeat the economic viability of such venture. 15 The Oceanic resources are transboundary stocks and the excess harvests in one region will have an impact on the fishery in other regions. Further the fisheries of some of these species are subject to fluctuations due to environmental perturbations and changes in oceanic circulations. Therefore any fishery depending on these species must be capable of absorbing the fluctuations in the catch. Fleet planning based on the optimistic figures may end up in overcapacity and diseconomy.

21 Establish a mechanism linking the issue of licence/permission for fishing with supply of data to the government. This would help to avoid round about calculations and approximations in arriving at figures of potential for important resources such as oceanic tunas. 24 Right to resource exploitation should be tagged with responsibility of reporting. All supports to the industry must be chalked out with mandatory reporting practices to ensure that the relevant catches and vessels are not categorized as illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU). 29 The quantitative aspects of resources beyond 100 m have been projected for introduction of resource specific vessels. However, valuation of the resources has not been attempted so far for deciding on the number and type of vessels. Economics of exploitation of specific resources has to be worked out before supporting the introduction of any specific vessels and the process must be on case by case base with expert consultation. 30 The fishing power of the exploitation units has to be taken into account while planning fleet development. The convention of considering number, without any regard to the fishing capacity of units, would lead overcapacity in the long-run.

The above 7 recommendations do not necessitate the formulation of new guidelines for LOP. This poorly written guideline has created anxiety and confusion among the Indian fishermen and has led to protests and unwanted media attention. Guidelines are not mandatory, and therefore, what is urgently required is clear law and rules to govern fisheries in the 12 to 200 nmi. Through these guidelines, the DAHDF has relaxed the conditions already existing in the earlier guidelines which are not in the best interest of the nation. For example: a) Decreased the size limit of LOP vessels from 20 to 15m LOA (thereby decreasing investment costs for LOP operators) b) Done away with submission of fishing logs of operations, and instead, asks for cruise reports which would make monitoring of catches by LOP vessels almost impossible (contravening CCRF guidelines) c) Allows mid-sea transfer of catches with permission from RBI (again contravening CCRF guidelines on monitoring of catches)

The Collapse of Free Market Ideology by Layne Hartsell

By Layne Hartsell
Senior Editor
Feb 8, 2015

Economic recovery

The media are using the terms seismic and potential meltdown, accurately, to describe the current conditions of the market and what seems to be the defining moment of the collapse of the free-market ideology. The much stronger terms indicate the situation is beyond crisis as other institutions teeter. Failure and massive, worldwide governmental intervention signals the overall collapse where there will be no reasonable way to believe in the ideology without looking completely out of touch, or worse.

Up until this point, there has been plenty of incentive to perpetuate the myth, because of the rewards of money and power. Such belief is delusion, nevertheless. The potential meltdown is a scenario where the scientific and moral evidence was completely ignored by the elite structures, because the eventual consequences are not existential threats to publicly secured elite wealth. The ideology has been perpetuated in order to indoctrinate people into a belief that their lives are to be competitive in every way and that they are to submit to the free-market and worship riches and privilege. From recent times forward, with free market ideology not only discredited but functionally impossible, regular markets must continue, as they should continue, and as people work to create better circumstances. Giving the markets over to a command economy is to be avoided. While it may be too much to expect the average citizen to know the inner workings of the complex economic system, it is not necessary that they do. People know what consumerism and greed are. They know that somewhere, someone will be left with empty hands. In reality, on a global scale, the case is far more grave, where the empty-handed end up being the large majority with empty stomachs. Rather than the very small minority that society is willing to sacrifice for its "progress," there is a large majority. Yet, in developed countries the prominent issue of the times is considered to be frustration in moving from the middle to the upper, and the upper to the rich classes. Many have been willing to trade principle for personal gain, and have enjoyed the comfort of overwhelming public consideration for frustrated aspirations in the sympathetic, mainstream media. However, what is not focused on in the media is the incalculable suffering that has been caused by the proliferation of the free market. For instance, in the mainstream media, there are no sections specifically devoted to Labor and Poverty (or the Empowerment of the Poor).

Regardless of misinformation about strong markets, there has been a massive economic problem in the United States, and the world, for some time. The problem is not the subprime crisis from last year, though that was a consequence and indicator of the ongoing ideological crisis. One would not know about the ongoing crisis if they chose to be solely informed by the mainstream media because its interests lie with big business. Simply put, the ideology is an ideal business climate of no regulation, no intervention or public involvement, e.g. protests and boycotts. It is a kind of utopian dream of a market working in a perfect fluidity, sold to the populace, but not believed by the sellers. The market is supposed to regulate itself through competition, and supply and demand, without price controls or what is seen as coercive, solely from the business perspective. Where capitalism is an ideology of talented, self-determined people, the best, serving society by entering the marketplace and creating wealth, the free-market has been a specific aspect of capitalism about how the market is supposed to work. In society, in general, one of the main cultural translations of the ideology says that people must be promised riches to get them to innovate, create quality goods and services, and to serve society. In truth, capitalism did indeed emerge as a great public service, or as a massive social movement for self-determination in protest of monarchy and wealth through inheritance and family. People wanted a fair system that valued hard work and ability, and they were not willing to tolerate absolute control over their lives. As far back in history as we can go, we will find markets and entrepreneurs, but with the pre-capitalists of the 1700's and the capitalism of the following century as a mass movement, individuals could gain access to markets and generate wealth. The wealth generated could be used as capital to invest in other endeavors and create opportunity through entrepreneurship. Herein lies the skillful risk taking of the capitalist. Further, capitalism being a massive wealth generator was also supposed to represent the greater distribution of wealth. Eventually, the free market ideology developed as a conceptualization of a way to move products without economic friction within the system, where the price of a product is derived from production cost, supply and demand, competition and noninterference. Fees, such as tariffs, regulation, protection and popular movements created friction to the fluid movement of products and were to be eliminated. Over time, the ideology was fully adopted by the Republican Party in the United States, and moderately by the Democratic, as a bulwark against the social concerns of the populace at home and abroad.

The evidence gathered from the proponents of the free market or elitists shows the opposite of free market ideology with protection and intervention for elitist constructs. However, one aspect of elitism that is in favor of the free market is the removal of the public from interference in the market such as the massive attempt to suppress popular movements representing the legitimate concerns of people -- access to essential and basic needs. The WTO protests in Seattle and Cancun are two examples. Protection and deregulation can been seen in the fact that of the Fortune 500's top 100 companies, all have received handouts from the taxpayers, and a number of the companies would not be on the list had it not been for the People. Handouts going to companies that are already making a profit should be considered robbery. The rugged individualism and risk taking is not apparent when considering the evidence. And, public service is all but absent. In the pharmaceutical industry a comparative amount is spent on marketing as on research, and that figure is more than double for some companies. In addition, more than half of the research, of the entire pharmaceutical system, is paid for and conducted in public supported institutions such as universities, state research institutions and nonprofit institutions, thus proving that a majority of people do not necessarily have to be "rewarded" by the free market in order to innovate. Finally, the US medical system is largely supported by taxpayer money, nearly 60 percent, but people are not receiving the health insurance they have already paid for. Much of their money goes to support a dependent private sector. On the global level, it is important to remember, in relation to the current collapse is that the ideology has been proliferated throughout the world under globalization and its institutions: the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO. These institutions are tied directly into the free-market ideology, thus creating the conditions for serious consequences for other countries which adopt the regressive policies such as the privatization of human services. Yet, even under massive pressure from the free-market or the institutions of globalization, there are stellar examples of economic prosperity that run counter to the ideology. The vibrant and dynamic South Korean economy was developed out of a highly protectionist system. Today, Seoul is one of the major centers for ultra technology. And, the world's best airline, which has reasonable air fares, is not a private company -- Singapore Air.

Wealth, prosperity, innovation and quality are not by definition equal to the free market ideology; therefore, it is of utmost important that we adhere to evidence. Evidence must run in direct proportion to adherence to sound financial principles, human commitment to excellence, and a sense of humanity before numbers and astronomical profits. The system is not a free market and never was; it has been manipulated, opportunistically, to suit greed. As a system of greed, the free market ideology is not morally defensible; however, it has been powerful and rich enough to last for a long-time as history has been witness to. The ideology is a doctrine of greed in that it claims the goods and services which pertain to human essential and basic needs as fair game in its utopia of mechanistic fluidity. For those who adhered to the doctrine, which is to gain riches, forgetting all others but self, they have celebrated with triumphalism in avarice and personal gain from the propagation of the ideology. However, the game of greed on Wall Street is neither game, nor dream, for the masses of people who have lost their homes or are feeling the insecurity and intense anxiety over making ends meet. The game is a nightmare for those who carry in their hearts the essence of the United States and the dream of prosperity where each can thrive. The fact that there is plenty of wealth, but the abundance is directed into the corporate accounts, while the suffering of the populace has increased, is telling of the actual workings of the free-market ideology. The reality is that a society has been created where one-half of a percent of the people own 39 percent of the stocks. Freddie Mac, Sallie Mae, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Merrill-Lynch and others including Enron, WorldCom, Wal-Mart, Exxon and big agribusiness are representative examples of the free-market construct and should bear the responsibility for imposing impossible and unreal standards creating tremendous suffering for people. Instead, institutions are given public money for rescue when they should have been brought to justice long ago, before they collapsed.

The current deindustrialization of the US and outsourcing of professional jobs coupled with the mass exodus of people, globally, from the appalling conditions of IMF and WTO impositions in their home countries, creates the conditions for enormous suffering. In other words, the US is headed in the direction of a technocratic feudalism where people are increasingly exposed to the ravages of the greed of powerful structures. On the global level, one comparison illustrates the situation of widespread suffering related to free-markets and its alleviation. The government of India, which has adopted the US free market ideology, has produced atrocious results for those masses left to the "natural" regulatory of the free market. Suffering from lack of basic nutrition and healthcare, more than 4 million people die each year. On the other hand, China, which operates on a kind of mixed communist/capitalist economy saw the suffering and mortalities arising from lack, and scientifically devised and implemented a plan to effectively prevent and diminish suffering. To China's credit, the results of the proactive intervention to decrease suffering proved far more effective than leaving people to fend for themselves. Viewing the devastating socio-economic data we cannot help but feel the warmth of humanity, which is a different matter than the glitter and glitz of what is popularly referred to as a global casino. As can be expected, important data is little seen in the corporate media, and when it is, it is marginalized or minimized. In the U.S., up until recently, more than one-third of children lived in low income or poverty stricken families: 37 percent. This number has very likely changed for the worse in the last year. And, contrary to the misinformation about and criticism of the dispossessed, mostly all of the parents of these children were employed, rather than biding their time in idleness as they are so often criticized for. Aside from the obvious violence of taking the parents away from their children for most of the day, the ideology of the system imposes further violence, psychological violence, by stigmas attached to the haves and have-nots. It is no wonder that many single parents will forego the low paying job, preferring welfare in order to stay at home with their children. The free-market has said little about them except to demand that they get a job or to say that they should not have taken a sub-prime mortgage in the first place.

For the global poor, the free-market ideology is the same. The free-markets say nothing, except to "get out," to the farmer who sees his or her high quality produce devalued because of cheaper, lower quality and "subsidized" imports. Neither does the free-market consider the human side of supply and demand. Taking the coffee market as a representative example, without price regulation, when there is overproduction, the price falls dramatically. Farmers cannot liquidate their investments (trees) and plant another cash crop quickly, so they are forced to stay with what they have. In desperation for income, they begin to produce more and even borrow against future production. Finally, the aggregate of a country or region in desperate production causes the market to bottom out. Eventually, the farmers are driven from the land, a place where they had lived in dignity and where families were sustained before they were forced to plant cash crops, decades ago. Into the "void" big agribusiness and the rich can buy land at rock bottom prices and move in to set up feudalism. When this scenario occurred in the past, the free-market provided the Starbucks Company and big business with huge profits. To make the matter a further catastrophe, Starbucks did not reflect their savings by lowering the prices of their coffees which were enjoyed in stores around the world. The prices remained the same, or increased, and the profits went to the company, not the producers. In this light, the current farmer advocacy campaign by Starbucks seems to be for marketing purposes. What made it possible for the company to behave in such a way was the widespread influence that Starbucks had over the market and distribution, through buying power and the company's tendency towards monopoly. In brief, the lack of protection for farmers leads to their poverty, while the handouts and protections afforded to powerful companies leads to astronomical profits.

Overall, the system as a construct has run the regular market into the ground on two fronts - the greed of the corporation and the greed of the consumerist. On the home economics level, widespread consumerism is responsible because people have taken on unnecessary, excessive debt in order to secure the goods and services of privilege and status, while household incomes have leveled out or declined. Real incomes and savings are lower than they were in the 1970's and debt has skyrocketed. In addition, Americans are forced to work long hours. When stagnant earning power is coupled with years of elevated gas prices, which have drained what savings people had, we find a serious set of circumstances. In this difficult climate, the jobless rate has increased dramatically to more than 6 percent, which is of concern, but the figure does not represent the great concern of the many who have "jobs" but not jobs that provide livelihoods. The parallels on the larger level are little different in form -- decades of focus on short term gain. In addition, deregulation and protectionism were used to create a system where risk was passed along to the populace and huge risks were taken for private profit but backed by the taxpayer. Deregulation also allowed for firms like the current ones to get involved with high risk investments and lending to normally unqualified borrowers a practice called predatory lending within the business world.

An analysis of the seismic conditions shows the Current Account Deficit to be larger than is has ever been -- almost 7 percent of GDP . US jobs are leaving the country at a rapid pace, the stock market is inflated and money has been printed without backing, creating artificiality. There have been numerous attempts to quell the market, but at some point, the consequences of what have been set in motion long ago will reveal themselves through crises and an eventual meltdown. Socially, the free-market myth has been used to wage a cultural war against the legitimate aspirations of human beings trying to better themselves, as they demand basic needs such as a job and healthcare when they pay into the system. Scientifically, the free market never added up. Practices such as the aforementioned printing of money without backing, accumulating massive debts, war, corporate handouts from the taxpayer and technology transfer from the state sector to the private sector were a prescription for disaster. It is difficult to understand where were the controls of defense, e.g. the FBI and other investigative agencies, when they were needed? Even under the free market ideology, there is a provision for governmental intervention, when there is need for defensive measures. There must be other options rather than a dichotomy between a command economy and a free market. The market cannot decide on fairness or justice because those decisions are in the realm of human subjectivity. Thus, people must act to create a fair market, one that is morally defensible, if we are as a society to steer clear of the shoals of greed. People will have to roll up their sleeves and create a climate for enterprising individuals and groups to do business. A fair market can be developed by people who recognize the potential for greed and domination, and who seek to diminish negative effects. Benefits can, and will be created through the tremendous wealth which has been, and will be, created by a better system in the US and in the globalized market. Indeed, a vast majority of people resonate with a strong, beneficial economy when it is developed out of reasonable protection, sound guidance, and strong investment opportunities.

The answers to the current collapse of the free-market ideology in the US, and to the actual suffering of Americans, is to be found in the essence of the United States which is the essence of people. People adhering to basic principles and applying themselves to solving problems is the old reliable way of creating systems that attend to human need and development. The first place they might start is to withdraw their participation from the greed of the failed system and begin to create other systems that can assist people who are suffering the consequences of the current conditions. On the level of the home, intelligent consuming rather than consumerism, along with saving money will be helpful to protect families from fluctuations in the market, especially the energy market. Intelligent consuming is the simplification of wants and desires which arise from an understanding of the social crisis and its underpinnings. By making use of the same human ingenuity and genuine concern that has made them strong before, people can work for a just economic system; one based on essential needs, creating true prosperity for all. The future of the US economy, or globalization, does not depend upon the goodwill of the government, the corporations or the free market but on people and the essence of liberty and justice they carry with them into the future; a future that can be much different than the recent past.

Previously published in September 2008, by Ohmynews Media, Seoul, South Korea

Interview with a Japanese marketing expert M Yamamoto

By Salai Thang
Staff Reporter
Dec 4, 2014

M Yamamoto at KFEZ conference in Inchoen city

M Yamamoto, a Professor at Business School of Liaoning University, and a Guest Professor at China Capital University of Economic and Business School and Myanmar Yangon University of Economic, and a visiting professor at Vietnam Luchorn University, interviewed with Global Digest. He also teaches at Meiji University in Tokyo and had been a lecturer around 5 years at Kanusai University in Japan, and founder of Yamamoto Int’l Marketing Institute, and president of the Free School Global Professionals Created Strategic Projects. He is also doing a business consultation to many companies for food, cosmetic, medical factory and so on. That’s why he has many friends in many countries around the world, Yamamoto smiling said.

Yamamoto has been Myanmar for 6 times within one and half years, because Myanmar people inspired very much for his teaching on professional marketing and creative human resource. He offered free class at the Yangon University approximately 400 students and many other peoples attended. Yamamoto witnesses Myanmar people are so desire to achieve development. He came to Myanmar the first time by the invitation of his former student, to teach a marketing business to Myanmar people as many of them are enthusiastic it in there.

So far, there are approximately 150 Japanese companies in Myanmar, said Yamamoto. Some companies are doing well, but some are not. Yamamoto suggests approaching business in Myanmar should be different way, don’t expect profit immediately, but later on. So companies must invest and should have initial commitment by the beginning time. He found out some companies were misunderstand it. He also pointed out important to know about Myanmar’s culture, economic and history. He believes Japanese companies should do business in Myanmar continuously even political climate is bad.

However, Yamamoto argued in order to Myanmar genuine development, it is necessary to be 100 percent a democracy system sooner or later. Because democracy makes people happy, and Myanmar people expressed their desire it as well. He recalls back at the end of WWII, during 1945-1965, Japanese also had similar experience of a bad political climate. After Japan becomes the more democracy, Japanese are seen the happier. Yamamoto declined to answer about democracy in China, when a question to him.

He believes Japanese government will definitely supports Myanmar more including capital investment and advance technology. You can see many Japanese went to Myanmar everyday, Yamamoto refers. Furthermore, Prime Minister Abe wife Akie supports Myanmar financially and other products. Yamamoto foresees Japan will get back benefit after several years from Myanmar, a long-term vision.

But Yamamoto cautious the investment and business should be done with a private sector in Myanmar, it should focuses on people. He also suggests potential business in Myanmar, 1) agriculture sector, 2) IT sector and 3) consumer distribution.

At last, he strongly against colonization, don’t be any colonization again and Japan people not like it, Yamamoto decried. Japanese colonized Myanmar between 1942 and 1945.

Interview with Hanbit Korea Co., Ltd President Mr. Soo-Nam Kim

By Salai Thang
Staff Reporter
Jul 5, 2014

Mr. Soo-Nam Kim

At the interview in his office, Mr. Soo-Nam Kim proudly said their company got certification of CE (certification from Europe) for FTA, and certified ISO 9001(Quality management system recognition) and certified ISO 14001(Environment management system).

The company has a new market in Turkey this year, they exported mobala and atona products. They also exported soap in China in this same year. The quality of their product can make your hair growing or stronger, said Mr. Lee. For example, Derma Mobalna Shampoo, which can uses hypoallergenic non-ionic surface active agents, excellent cleansing for scalp and hair, Ph balance and hypoallergenic and Boosts hair nutrition and scalp moisture. Further your hair treatment, you can use Derma Mobalna Toner, which is oriental medicine components provide a feeling of refreshment and nutrition to hair and scalp, adds resilience and shine to hair and give hair volume.

Those products are made from an iris, an oriental arbor vitae, swertia japonica, black bean, and black sesame seeds. It is believed expert can produces a better cosmetic product from natural Tanakha tree from Myanmar. The company also produces Refining Toner for solving irregular skin texture and removes direct clogged in pores, dissolves dead skin cells due to aging and regulates the amount of sebum in skin. And the Treatment Serum product can solves skin problems and manages excessive oil through sebum regulation.

Especially for lady, Doll Lash product, it is natural and vegetable property eyelash cosmetic product, which enables short, weak, and thin eyelashes to be long, rich, healthy using CGS505, the extract of the jack bean.

The company started 25 years ago, produced soap as a basic cosmetic, and the first in the world to develop bamboo salt soap in 1980. Now it created approximately 400 types of soap. The company also received official commendation from the Ministry of Knowledge Economy on Day of Commerce and Industry in South Korea.

In Korean language Hanbit means “big bridge”- literally. The company produces soap and cosmetic items. The company has total 14 staff members, 5 in Seoul office, other 5 and 4 in Gimpo and Incheon factories respectively.

Nov 2013 - Jun 2014
Jul 2012 - Oct 2013
Jan 2011 - Jun 2012