Tag Archives | India

McDonald’s Opens Its First Meat-Free Restaurants

I’m frankly speechless. This seems as if it symbolizes something –  but what exactly? The true end of the American century? Russia Today reports:

The McDonald’s restaurant chain is to open its first vegetarian-only outlets in India. The move is not so much about the hamburger chain going vegan due to a revelation, rather an aspiration to win over the lucrative fast food market of India. The company’s signature product is taboo in India because cows are sacred and beef-eating is prohibited by religion.

Two vegetarian McDonald’s are due to open next year in the Indian pilgrimage centres in the city of Amritsar, home to the Golden Temple, and the town of Katra. “A vegetarian store makes absolute sense in the places which are famous as pilgrimage sites,” Rajesh Kumar Maini, a spokesman for McDonald’s India told AFP.

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Enter the Gulabi Tiger

Picture: McKay Savage (CC)

Pakistan’s Engish Language The News International has an in depth profile of Sampat Pal Devi, the leader of India’s Gulabi Gang—a group of feminist vigilantes in the rural north of India:

Seeds of rebellion were sown early in Sampat Pal’s mind when her parents refused to send her to school. But despite opposition, she learnt to read and write by watching through the boys’ classroom window without letting her parents know of it.

. . .

Resident of village Bidausa, Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh, Sampat became a child bride in a region where child marriages are common. Having her first child at the age of 13, by the time she turned 20 Sampat had five children. But that did not deter her from being on her own.

She took up a job as a government health worker and added to the family income. Her husband had by then known that his wife was an independent minded woman and encouraged her in her pursuits.

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Glowing Red Rain Falls In India

With any luck, alien-tinted rainfall will be a growing meteorological trend. Via the Epoch Times:

A rare shower of red rain fell for about 15 minutes in the city of Kannur, Kerala, India, early on June 28. Local residents were perturbed, but this is not the first time the state has experienced colored rain.

This strange phenomenon was first recorded in Kerala a few hours after a meteor airburst in July 2001, when a space rock exploded in the atmosphere. More than 120 such rain showers were reported that year, including yellow, green, and black ones.

Astrobiologist Godfrey Louis, pro vice-chancellor at nearby Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT), has studied samples of red rainwater in 2001 and discovered strange properties, including autofluorescence—light that is naturally emitted by cell structures like mitochondria. Scientific analysis showed the striking red coloration is due to microscopic particles resembling biological cells, possibly originating from comet fragments.

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Scientists Scramble to Crack Monsoon Code: Weather Control Soon Behind?

Scientific American reports that a cadre of Indian scientists are working to crack the “monsoon code”, the complicated math that determines the course of the continent’s seasonal monsoon. India’s farmers rely upon the rains of the monsoon for their livelihood, and less rain means less food. Being able to predict the path and strength of the monsoon would enable Indians to make better agricultural decisions.

The more conspiratorially-inclined might also reason that a better model for weather prediction could be the first step in developing accurate weather control tools, as well. The ability to consistently control the weather could be a powerful tool for any nation. Imagine being able to inflict droughts, floods, hurricanes and more…

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Indian Police Still Using Truth Serum

Critics say the results are more truth-y than truthful. The Guardian writes:

It is the sort of scene that belongs in a film noir, not a 21st-century democracy: an uncooperative suspect being injected with a dose of “truth serum” in an attempt to elicit a confession. But some detectives in India still swear by so-called narcoanalysis despite India’s highest court ruling that it was not only unreliable but also “cruel, inhuman and degrading”.

The technique is back in the news after officers from India’s Central Bureau of Investigation asked a judge for permission to administer sodium pentothal to a high-profile Indian politician and his financial adviser embroiled in a corruption case.

There are no official figures for the number of suspects who have been subjected to narcoanalysis, but VH Patel, deputy director at the Directorate of Forensic Sciences in Gujarat, western India, [said] he had personally conducted narcoanalysis in nearly 100 cases.

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Animal Poachers In India Can Be Shot on Sight

PoachingReports Talia Ralph on Global Post:

Animal poachers in India can now be shot on sight, after lawmakers in the western state of Maharashtra passed legislation Wednesday to defend tigers, elephants, and other wildlife from attacks, the Times of India reported.

The state’s forest guards should not be “booked for human rights violations when they have taken action against poachers,” Maharashtra’s Forest Minister Patangrao Kadam said Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.

There have been no cases of tiger poachers being shot or killed in Maharashtra, but guards have been charged in the past for shooting illegal loggers or fishermen, the state’s chief wildlife warden S.W.H. Naqvi told the AP.

The state also announced plans to put more rangers and jeeps on patrol in the forest, and will offer secret payments to those who tip off officials about poachers and animal smugglers, according to the AP.

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Raj Konai’s Hand: The First Biometric Identity?

e43f4780a2fc991162bdbf3b2661bdfee1faac7fFrom an exhibition by Raqs Media Collective at London’s Frith Street Gallery, which puts forth that modern biometric identification was invented by a British colonial official in 1858:

Untold Intimacy of Digits is an facsimile of the handprint of a Bengal Peasant, Raj Konai. The handprint was taken under the orders of William Herschel – scientist, statistician and at the time a revenue official with the Bengal government.

It is one of the earliest impressions of the human body taken by a person in power with the explicit purpose of using the trace to identify and verify a human subject.

It was taken in lieu of a signature, to affix the identity of Konai to a document. It was felt, at the time, that subaltern subjects were way too slippery when it came to the presentation of their identities to the authorities.

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The Robot Psychics Of India

robot1What happens when the unfathomable/intangible and the logical/mechanical intersect? Robots designed to tap into the spirit world — meet the priests/shamans of the twenty-first century. Via Discover Magazine:

These bots wait in perpetual readiness to dispense their pre-programmed wisdom, and for only 5 rupees or so, the robot’s handler will allow you to plug a pair of headphones into its metallic underpants and listen as it tells your fortune. One of our favorite designs is the mod/retro combination of a smattering of LED lights and an analog clock, for those mortals bogged down in the worldly concerns of time.

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The Industry of Hunger

Photo: Tawheed Manzoor (CC)

Photo: Tawheed Manzoor (CC)

Vandana Shiva on Al Jazeera English explains how, as mega-chains venture into industrial farming, they have created an epidemic of hunger- and generated billions in profit.

New Delhi, India – In November 2011, when the UPA government announced that it had cleared the entry of big retail chains such as Walmart and Tesco into India through 51 per cent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, it justified the decision saying that FDI in retail would boost food security and benefit farmers’ livelihoods.

But the assurance that FDI in retail would ease inflation did not resolve the political crisis the government was facing; it deepened it. Parliament was stalled for several days of the Winter Session, after which the government was forced to withdraw its decision.

The story of FDI in retail goes back to 2005, when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed an agriculture agreement with the US, along with the nuclear agreement.

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