News Wrap

India has the maximum number of stray dogs, and suffers to a large extent from them. Free roaming stray dogs, many carrying rabies, bite millions of Indians every year. Around 20000 people die annually in India, from rabies infections, which is more than a third of the global rabies toll. The 2001 law forbids the killing of dogs. The stray dog population has increased alarmingly across India. Packs of stray dogs loiter in public parks, streets, neighbourhoods and villages. Joggers, bicyclists and pedestrians are exposed to angry slashes from stray dogs. During 2011, more than 80,000 people were bitten in Mumbai, and exceeding 15,000 people were bitten in Punjab. 99% of human rabies deaths are caused by dog bites. Hindus in India, oppose the killing of many kinds of animals. Sray dogs survive on mounds of garbage. Many dogs are fed and collared by local residents, who value them as guards and companions. India’s affluent middle class has begun to opt for pet dog ownership, buying pedigreed dogs, and bringing animals into homes. But stray dogs help ticks and other parasites survive.

Ganga Expressway
The Ganga Expressway Project aimed to build India’s longest expressway, an eight lane 1050 km road that would have run through Uttar Pradesh state, and connected one of India’s most backward regions, to the door step of the nation’s capital. After four years of unveiling, the foundation stone stands cracked in the wheat field, near the Ganga river. The project has been crushed by political wrangling, opposition from farmers whose fields would have suffered, and a court order (2009) stalling construction on environmental grounds. Harsh realities on the ground hold hostage key infrastructure projects. Out of 583 projects worth more than 1.5 billion rupees each, 235 are delayed.

‘No’ to Dollar
From 2013, Angola will require oil and gas companies to pay tax revenue and local contracts in Angola’s currency Kwanza. Companies in Mozambique are required to exchange half of their export earnings for local currency meticais. This pulls more of the wealth in vast coal and natural gas deposits, into Mozambique’s domestic economy. In Ghana, after the domestic currency cedi fell more than 17% against the dollar between January to June 2012, the government is reinforcing the ‘primacy of the domestic currency’. Copper rich Zambia in southern Africa has banned dollar dominated transactions. Offenders who transact in dollars, can face a maximum of ten years in prison. Foreign mining companies and tour operators who bring thousands of travellers every year to Zambia’s side of Victoria Falls, are being penalized for not using the local currency Kwacha. While the new rules are an adrupt change for foreign and local companies used to conducting business in US dollars the African measures strengthen thinly traded currencies and steer more capital into isolated financial markets.

Kurdish Entity

After the first world war, arbitrary frontiers set up by European colonialists of the post Ottoman settlement, dispersed the Kurds over Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey. Accelerated by the Syrian rebel offensives in Damascus and Aleppo, over the past four months the Assad Regime has pulled back most of its forces from its north eastern border with Turkey. The vacuum has been filled by Syrian Kurds, and Kurdish flags fly over all but one big town, Qamishli. The forces controlling and declaring the region under their self government, are the Democratic Union Party (PYD), allied to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and the Kurdish National Council (KNC), a disparate coalition grouping. President Assad had granted citizenship to about a tenth of Syria’s 2.5 million Kurds who were stateless. A confederation of Kurdish territories is emerging.

Vol. 45, No. 12, Sep 30 -Oct 6 2012

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