Tag Archives | India

Reservoir dogs and furious rabies

Stray dogs
The WHO wants to eliminate rabies in Asia by 2020. But how, when rabid dogs are running India ragged? Mary-Rose Abraham reports.

A pile of puppies cower under a parked car. The men grab one, but two escape down the street, forcing them to give chase. Five scrappy adult shorthairs – of an indiscriminate breed commonly known as an ‘Indian dog’ – appear from nowhere. Pointed ears pricked with curiosity, they howl as if sounding an alarm throughout the neighbourhood: the ‘catchers’ are here.

The catchers’ van travels the tree-lined, mostly residential streets to the next area. On the way, a couple of dogs seem to recognise the vehicle, either by sight or by smell. They bark and take chase. Each time the team catches a dog in one of its giant butterfly nets, the mutt twists and turns and howls, trying to escape.

This ritual repeats several times through the day across 50 square kilometres of the south Indian city of Bangalore.… Read the rest

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Roads Melting, Death Toll Soaring as ‘Unprecedented’ Heatwave Grips India

This was originally published on Common Dreams. See more of Jon Queally’s posts here.

The deathtoll related to an ongoing and “unprecedented” heatwave in India has soared to nearly 1,200 people, according to the nation’s health ministry on Wednesday, with no respite for hundreds of millions of people expected until at least the weekend.

According to officials quoted in the Hindustan Times, most of the victims have been construction workers, the elderly or the homeless. In regions across the subcontinent this week, temperatures have sweltered populations with thermometers pushing towards 50°C (or 122°F) and high levels of humidity stifling air quality. In response, India’s Meteorological Department has issued what are called “red box” warnings for various states where the maximum temperatures are expected to remain above 45°C.

“This year, the heatwave condition is unprecedented and there has been a large number of deaths. The Health Ministry is likely to come up with an advisory soon for all the states and common people,” a senior health Ministry official told the Press Trust of India (PTI).

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Greenpeace Staff to Work for Free after India Blocks Funds

Linh Do (CC BY 2.0)

Linh Do (CC BY 2.0)

Rupam Jain Nair writes for Reuters:

Greenpeace is determined to keep operating in India even after the federal government froze its bank accounts, leaving it with no funds to pay wages to hundreds of staff, its country head said on Thursday.

The home ministry blocked foreign funding to the local branch of the environmentalist group in April as part of a wider crackdown against international and domestic non-governmental organizations (NGOs) found to have misreported foreign aid.

Greenpeace took legal action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nationalist government after bureaucrats found holes in its balance sheet and suspended transactions for six months.

“The government has made it impossible for us to operate but our employees are willing to work without pay for one month because they see that the larger commitment has always been to fight against injustice,” said Greenpeace India head Samit Aich.

Greenpeace workers – who have campaigned against genetically modified crops, nuclear power and toxic waste management – said their activism did not hurt the country’s economy.

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India’s Generic Hepatitis C Treatment To Cost 1,000 Times Less Than In U.S.

Is there any excuse for pricing a sorely-needed drug that can cure a killer virus 1,000 times more in the U.S. than it will cost in India? From Techdirt‘s rather-exorbitant dept.:

As Techdirt explained back in 2009,  India has a long and complicated relationship with patents, but more recently, it has established itself as the leading “pharmacy of the developing world,” thanks to its generic drug manufacturers which are able to supply key medicines at affordable prices. A recent patent decision, reported here by Intellectual Property Watch, continues that tradition:

Gilead Sciences Logo.svg

Today’s rejection by the Patent Office Controller of India of a patent application by Gilead company for a key drug against hepatitis C is being hailed by advocates as a path to dramatically lower costs of treatment for the disease. Hepatitis C has made news for the emergence of exorbitantly priced medicines over the past year.

A press release on the news from Médecins Sans Frontières explains just how exorbitant:

The oral drug, which first received regulatory approval in the US in November 2013, and has been priced by Gilead at US$84,000 for a treatment course, or $1,000 per pill in the US, has caused a worldwide debate on the pricing of patented medicines.

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Hard Evidence: does GM cotton lead to farmer suicide in India?

Cotton has become a controversial crop in India. captrosha, CC BY-ND

Cotton has become a controversial crop in India. captrosha, CC BY-ND

In response to yesterday’s article, “Monsanto’s GMO Creations Caused 291,000 Suicides in India,” we had a Facebook commenter share this article with us.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.

Read the original article.

By Ian Plewis, University of Manchester

Arguments surrounding the use of genetically modified crops and whether they are the solution to the world’s problems of food supply and public health are no nearer to resolution than when GM was introduced.

In Europe, there is widespread opposition to GM crops, with import or cultivation of many GM foods prohibited by EU regulations. In the Americas, and to a lesser extent in Asia, regulations are less stringent and a substantial proportion of the area used to grow corn, soybean and cotton is planted with GM seeds.

The agri-business companies responsible for developing the seeds, notably Monsanto, are frequent targets of anti-GM campaigners.… Read the rest

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Why the world’s largest democracy has the most modern-day slaves


via Quartz India:

India has the highest number of enslaved people in the world.

More than 14 million out of India’s population of over 1.2 billion people are living in modern slavery, according to the second edition of the Global Slavery Index. Produced by an Australian human rights body, Walk Free Foundation, the survey defines modern slaves as those without individual liberty, by being subjugated to forced labor, trafficking and sexual exploitation.

An estimated 35.8 million people worldwide, or 0.5% of the world’s population, live as modern-day slaves.

In terms of the highest number of slaves as a percentage of a nation’s population, India is ranked fifth, with 1.14% of the country’s population trapped as slaves. The worst affected are people belonging to lower castes or tribes, religious minorities and migrant workers.

Of 167 countries surveyed, the worst 10 countries are home to 71% of the world’s slaves.

Read More: http://qz.com/298005/why-the-worlds-largest-democracy-has-the-most-modern-day-slaves/

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Monsanto’s GMO Creations Caused 291,000 Suicides in India

India Untravelled (CC BY 2.0)

India Untravelled (CC BY 2.0)

via Natural Society:

It is no secret that Monsanto is making life difficult for countless farmers in America with its parented seeds. After all, the biotech giant has already filed 145 lawsuits (or on average about 9 lawsuits every year for 16 straight years) against farmers who have “improperly reused their patented seeds.” But did you know that Monsanto is also leading hundreds of thousands of farmers to suicide?

Biotech has attempted to dismiss the rise in farmer suicides in India due to the introduction of genetically modified crops, but the problem is too pervasive to wipe under the rug. While there are numerous contributing factors to farmer suicides in India, debt is the largest concern that has been fueled by non-viable crops.

Biotech sells seeds that either don’t grow or lead to the development of unstoppable superweeds and superbugs. Subsequently, biotech urges and nearly forces farmers to purchase RoundUp and other herbicidal chemicals which the farmers can ill afford.

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Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, Slams Rape Culture in Speech

Let’s hope he acts on his words.

via Think Progress:

In speaking out, Modi challenged citizens and government alike to change the way that rape is thought about. “Today as we hear about the incidents of rapes, our head hangs in shame,” he said in his wide-ranging address. “I want to ask parents when your daughter turns 10 or 12 years old, you ask, ‘Where are you going? When will you return?’ Do the parents dare to ask their sons, ‘Where are you going? Why are you going? Who are your friends?’ After all, the rapist is also someone’s son. If only parents decide to put as many restrictions on their sons as they do on their own daughters.”

Though only time will tell whether the Modi government acts on the rhetoric seen in his speech, Tanvi Mandan, head of the Brookings Institution’s India Project told ThinkProgress in an email, the fact that they are even being talked about in this way is significant.

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Rescued Elephant ‘Cries’ Following 50 Years of Captivity and Abuse

Lizzie Dearden writes at the Independent:

An elephant that was kept in chains for 50 years and abused by a drug addict who used the animal beg in India has been freed.

Raju had been beaten and starved since being poached from the wild as a baby and resorted to eating paper and plastic to fill his stomach.

The chains and spikes wrapped around his legs had left him with chronic wounds and arthritis and he was in almost constant pain.

But now he is walking free for the first time after a daring rescue by conservationists with a court order by the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department to take the elephant from his abusive owner.

Screenshot of Raju from Above Video

Screenshot of Raju from Above Video

The charity took Raju in the middle of the night on Thursday, supported by police and state officials.

The elephant’s mahout and previous owner tried to stop him being taken by adding more chains and having people block the roads for the rescue lorry.

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