Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Bosses 'live longer than their workers'

A new UK study has revealed that working class men are more than twice as likely to die earlier than their bosses.
The Office for National Statistics suggests that scaffolders, farm workers, bus drivers, labourers and cleaners are at more than double the risk of early death than workers including local and national government officials, civil engineers, doctors, teachers, social workers or nurses.

The gap between managers and manual workers has widened. In 2001, a worker in a routine or manual occupation was twice as likely to die before the age of 65 than his manager. But in 2008 that ratio had risen to 2.3 times as likely.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Being poor makes you a criminal

The beggars' home, and facilities run by the state of Karnataka for the detention of beggars, is essentially a jail meant for those convicted of begging.

Section 2 of the Karnataka Prohibition of Beggary Act (KPBA), 1975 defines beggar as a person “having no visible means of subsistence, wanders about or remains in any public place in such a condition or manner as makes it likely that he exists by soliciting or receiving alms”. This provision alone indicates that shabbily dressed persons, persons who may not “appear” to have gainful employment can be assumed to be beggars. Aged persons who are destitute can easily be presumed to be beggars. In fact, the section does not even require that a person is found begging for her to be considered a beggar. A bare reading of this provision alone indicates the wide latitude given to the police to make an arrest, setting it up for gross misuse and arbitrary enforcement. This is evidently a statute whose main purpose is to make poverty invisible and cleanse public places of sights of destitution. In effect, it is to criminalise poverty.

Despite being a criminal statute nowhere does the Act provide for a person accused of begging to be adequately represented .The Act assumes that if one is arrested, then one must be guilty. It is the responsibility of the state to ensure that he/she is provided with free legal aid. The Act does not even make a mention of representation of alleged beggars in the judicial enquiry before the magistrate. Those accused of non-cognisable offences under Indian Penal Code that are punishable with imprisonment for one year are accorded several rights, including a presumption of innocence, legal representation, bail etc. Alleged beggars under KPBA are not even given this fundamental right of a just and fair hearing.

Taken from here

Friday, August 20, 2010

bolton wants war

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and war monger, John Bolton, told Israel Radio today that there are only three days left for Israel to attack Iran if it wants to stop the Islamic Republic from manufacturing nuclear weapons. Earlier in the week, Bolton said, "If Israel wants to do something against the reactor in Bushehr, it must do so in the following eight days." Bolton has repeatedly stated that everything must be done to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, including a military attack.

However, the uranium that will power the Bushehr reactor is imported from Russia, while the reactor's spent fuel - from which Iran could hypothetically extract plutonium if it had the technology to do so, and if it weren't under the scrutiny of IAEA inspectors - will be removed from Iran by the Russians.Paul Brannan, a senior analyst at the Institute for Science and International Security said the Bushehr site is not a proliferation threat since Iran does not have the ability to reprocess the spent fuel into nuclear weapons-grade material.

Whereas Netanyahu likes to tell Western audiences that Iran is led by an irrational "messianic cult", that view is not shared by Israeli military and intelligence analysts, according to Yossi Alpher, a Mossad veteran and former adviser to Israel's Defense Minister, Ehud Barak. Alpher argues that in light of the potentially catastrophic consequences, Israel would only take military action if Iran was in a position to launch a nuclear attack on the Jewish State in an "extremely short" time frame - and that a strike could set back the Iranian program for a significant period of time. The fact is Iran is nowhere close to the ability to attack Israel with nuclear weapons. Israeli leaders tend to accept that even an Iran armed with nuclear weapons is unlikely to initiate a nuclear exchange that would be suicidal for Tehran given the size of Israel's own nuclear deterrent.Instead, they warn that an Iranian bomb's primary impact would be to end Israel's strategic dominance in the regional balance of power.

The U.S. intelligence consensus holds that while Iran is developing the infrastructure necessary to create a bomb and also doing theoretical research on bomb design, it is not currently developing nuclear weapons nor has it made the decision to do so. Its goal is generally viewed as "breakout" capacity, i.e. the ability to build a bomb relatively quickly if it chose to do so - and even that capacity still appears to be some way off.

The rise of the richer worker in Asia

Although "middle class" is more a subjective sociological term rather than an objective economic definition many socialists would prefer to describe such people as simply higher paid members of the working class, as they are just as often to be associated collectively in trade unions and recognise their class unity against the real true wealthy elite.

The Asian Development Bank define India’s middle class as those who spend anywhere between $2 and $20 (Rs 93 to Rs 930) a day on purchasing power. Broken down, the lower-middle class falls between US$2 and US$4 per day, the middle-middle class spends between US$4 and US$10 per day and is able to save and consume non-essential goods, and the upper-middle class consumes between US$10 and US$20 per day.

However, more than three-fourths of India’s 274 million-strong middle class face the risk of slipping back into poverty in the event of a major economic shock as they are in the lowest spending bracket of $2-4 (Rs 93-186) a day.Another financial crisis, wars or large natural disasters can reverse people’s move into higher income categories."Asia's rapidly-growing middle class remains vulnerable ... A major shock can easily send them back into poverty," said Jong-Wha Lee, chief economist at the ADB.

Over the next two decades, the Indian middle class population is expected to touch one billion. And 55% of the world’s middle class will be in Asia by 2030, up from 25% now.China had 817 million people, or 63% of its population, in the middle class bracket in 2008.

Diabetes, heart disease and cancer on the rise among Asian middle class and that people are adopting Western eating habits that may lead to obesity. The rise in obesity in China and India is cause for concern, especially when much of emerging Asia’s population is still living in poverty. China has almost 11 percent of its population living below the minimal level of dietary consumption while over 20 percent of Indians are dealing with the same problem.
“All indications are that in the next 20-30 years, Asia will be faced with an increasing number of chronic diseases on a scale previously unseen,”

Thursday, August 19, 2010

not equal

Forty years after the Equal Pay Act was passed a study shows that male and female managers will not be paid the same until 2067. Women face a 57-year wait before their take-home pay is equal to that of their male colleagues

"Girls born this year will face the probability of working for around 40 years in the shadow of unequal pay," said Chartered Management Institute's head of policy, Petra Wilton.

Another in the eye for the reformists.