Friday, April 30, 2010

Incurable gonorrhea may be next superbug

Some strains of STD showing signs of becoming resistant to all treatments

By Brian Alexander contributor

An alarming new superbug may be on its way — an incurable form of gonorrhea. The disease, once easily killed with a shot of penicillin, is increasingly becoming drug-resistant. Soon, the world may face a version that can’t be killed by any known antibiotic, warned Catherine Ison, the director of the sexually transmitted bacteria reference library with the United Kingdom’s Health Protection Agency.

In recent years, as the disease has evolved, medications once proven to kill the bacteria have become less effective except one, a class of antibiotics called cephalosporins. Now some strains of gonorrhea are showing signs of being resistant to even that, Ison told those at a scientific meeting last week in Edinburgh, Scotland.

"If this problem isn't addressed, there's a very real possibility that gonorrhea will become a very difficult infection to treat," she said.

Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported infectious disease in the United States. In 2008, there were 336,742 official cases, but this number, the most recent available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, may vastly underestimate the true number.

“We will probably have something like 700,000 cases of gonorrhea this year,” suggested Dr. Edward W. Hook, professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and an expert on STD infections.

Not all of those who are infected know it, contributing to the problem. Undiagnosed cases, or infections that are unsuccessfully treated and then linger without obvious symptoms, can create serious health problems. For example, teenage girls between 15 and 19 account for more cases than any other age group. If they aren’t cured, they risk pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility or ectopic pregnancies. People infected with gonorrhea are also about three times more likely to become infected with HIV should they come into contact with the virus.

“The other major cost is infection of children born to infected mothers,” Hook explained. “And rarely you can get gonorrheal infections of heart valves, and arthritis.”

Corruption-Treachery! God Save the Nation.

CRPF jawans, policemen arrested in U.P. arms racket

Atiq Khan

It is suspected that stolen arms and ammunition were being supplied to Maoists

A retired sub-inspector armourer of State police is said to be the kingpin

Huge arms haul; Raids in Rampur, Moradabad, Kanpur and Jhansi

LUCKNOW:The Special Task Force (STF) and the Uttar Pradesh police have busted an arms and ammunition racket, involving CRPF and police personnel, following simultaneous raids in Rampur, Moradabad, Kanpur and Jhansi.

Six persons, including two CRPF jawans and a retired sub-inspector armourer of the State police, said to be the kingpin, were arrested. The police seized 5,000 live cartridges, 16 magazines of Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) rifles and about 245 kg of used cartridge shells from them.

It is suspected that arms and ammunition were being supplied to Maoists, as investigations revealed the alleged involvement of some police personnel of the naxal-affected districts of Chandauli, Mirzapur and Sonebhadra in the racket.

According to police sources, the arms and ammunition, allegedly siphoned off from the armoury of the Central Reserve Police Force's 62 battalion Group Centre in Rampur and Police Training College-I in Moradabad, were being supplied to naxalites and anti-socials through a “contact” in Allahabad, whose identity has not yet been disclosed.

corruption - get-rich-quick schemes of vendors

Illegal chemical ripening methods

June 2nd, 2008 - 11:07 am ICT by admin -

By T.S.V. Hari
Chennai, June 2 (IANS) India’s Rs.3 billion ($70 million) mango trade is fraught with health hazards due to the get-rich-quick schemes of vendors who artificially ripen the fruit using a harmful chemical. Calcium carbide, used to ripen mangoes, is extremely hazardous and can have short-term as well as long-term health effects, said S. Krishna, the Chennai Corporation’s additional health officer.

“Calcium carbide contains traces of arsenic and phosphorus. Once dissolved in water, it produces acetylene gas that affects the neurological system resulting in headache, dizziness, mood disturbances, sleepiness, mental confusion and seizures on a short-term basis, while it can in the long term cause memory loss and cerebral oedema,” Krishna told IANS.

The Tamil Nadu police raided warehouses in six districts during the last fortnight and destroyed four tonnes of mangoes that were treated with calcium carbide.

Police sources said that in raids conducted in neighbouring Karnataka, over 300 kg of mangoes similarly ripened were destroyed in Bangalore city.

Using artificial methods of ripening fruit is punishable under law, as it falls under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act.

“Propelled by the quick-buck syndrome, vendors who wish to avoid the 3-4 days’ wait for the normal method of mango-ripening with hay, use the harmful chemical instead. The chemical gives the fruit a misleading ripe, healthy look,” said A. Karmegam, a Chennai trader who buys fruit from all over India.

The practice is prevalent in other parts of the country as well.

N.K. Aher, a wholesaler of mangoes in the Mahatma Phule Market in south Mumbai, told IANS over phone that mangoes were being widely treated with chemicals in Maharashtra. However, since no complaints have been made to the authorities, the practice was going on unchecked.

“This method of ripening is a south Indian import into the rest of India that can affect the Rs.3 billion-rupee nationwide annual turnover in mango trade. In Maharashtra, this has been going on for almost a year now. Even the world famous Alphonso mangoes sold in India have some chemical residues. As complaints are nonexistent, no remedial measures have been initiated,” said Aher, who also exports fruit.

Though it is not easy to distinguish between the normal and the artificially ripened fruit, this can be done, Krishna said.

“The chemically altered mangoes have a subtle but bad smell and dark patches on their skin because of the calcium carbide heat. The organically produced and ripened mangoes look very ordinary, while the artificially ripened ones look more inviting,” Krishna added.

There is of course, a bigger danger.

“Calcium carbide reacts exothermically with water forming calcium hydroxide and acetylene, an extremely inflammable gas. The heat of the reaction can be sufficient to raise the temperature above the ignition point for acetylene (305 degrees C) and upon mixture with air is likely to explode,” according to a study conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison published in 2003.

Acetylene - a gas used in metal cutting with a concentrated flame - can burn underwater at over 1,000 degrees C and result in an explosion when in contact with a naked flame, enough to bring down a whole market. People in the vicinity can suffer up to 80 percent burns. This can even be mistaken for terrorist violence resulting in time-consuming investigations and fear, police sources said.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wikipedia Article about India.

“The accomplice to the crime of corruption is frequently our own indifference”

Bess Myerson quotes

Corruption in

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Overview of the index of perception of corruption, 2007

As with many developing nations, corruption is widespread in India. India is ranked 84 out of a 180 countries inTransparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index, although its score has improved consistently from 2.7 in 2002 to 3.4 in 2008.[1] Corruption has taken the role of a pervasive aspect of Indian politics and bureaucracy.[2]




The economy of India was under socialist-inspired policies for an entire generation from the 1950s until the 1980s. The economy was subject toextensive regulation, protectionism, and public ownership, leading to pervasive corruption and slow growth.[3][4][5][6] License Raj was often at the core of corruption.

The Vohra Report was submitted by the former Indian Union Home Secretary, N.N. Vohra, in October 1993. It studied the problem of the criminalisation of politics and of the nexus among criminals, politicians and bureaucrats in India.

The report contained several observations made by official agencies on the criminal network which was virtually running a parallel government. It also discussed criminal gangs who enjoyed the patronage of politicians, of all parties, and the protection of government functionaries. It revealed that political leaders had become the leaders of gangs. They were connected to the military. Over the years criminals had been elected to local bodies, State Assemblies and Parliament. The unpublished annexures to the Vohra Report were believed to contain highly explosive material.

According to Jitendra Singh, "in the bad old days, particularly pre-1991, when the License Raj held sway, and by design, all kinds of free market mechanisms were hobbled or stymied, and corruption emerged almost as an illegitimate price mechanism, a shadowy quasi-market, such that scarce resources could still be allocated within the economy, and decisions could get made. [...] These were largely distortions created by the politico-economic regime. While a sea change has occurred in the years following 1991, some of the distorted cultural norms that took hold during the earlier period are slowly being repaired by the sheer forces of competition. The process will be long and slow, however. It will not change overnight."[7] One of the major problems and obstacles to development that many developing countries face is corruption by greedy, power-hungry politicians, which is endemic in certain parts of the world.


Criminalization of Indian politics is a problem.[8][9]

In July 2008 The Washington Post reported that nearly a fourth of the 540 Indian Parliament members faced criminal charges, "including human trafficking, immigration rackets, embezzlement, rape and even murder".[10] At state level, things are often worse. In Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections 2002, candidates with criminal records won the majority of seats.


A 2005 study done by Transparency International (TI) in India found that more than 50% of the people had firsthand experience of paying bribe or peddling influence to get a job done in a public office.[11] Taxes and bribes are common between state borders; Transparency International estimates that truckers pay annually $5 billion in bribes.[12]. A 2009 survey of the leading economies of Asia, revealed Indian bureaucracy to be not just least efficient out of Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, China, Philippines and Indonesia; further it was also found that working with the India's civil servants was a "slow and painful" process.[13].

Officials often steal state property. In Bihar, more than 80% of the subsidized food aid to poor is stolen.[7]

In cities and villages throughout India, Mafia Raj consisting of municipal and other government officials, elected politicians, judicial officers, real estate developers and law enforcement officials, acquire, develop and sell land in illegal ways.[14] Many state-funded construction activities in India, such as road building, are dominated by construction mafias, which are groupings of corrupt public works officials, materials suppliers, politicians and construction contractors.[15] Shoddy construction and material substitution (e.g. mixing sand in cement while submitting expenses for cement) result in roads and highways being dangerous, and sometimes simply washed away when India's heavy monsoon season arrives.[16] More often than not , minorities and minority-dominated areas bear the brunt of bureaucratic corruption , especially at the lower levels.

In Government Hospitals, corruption is associated with non availability of medicines (or duplicate medicines), getting admission, consultations with doctors and availing diagnostic services.[11]

Some airports, such as the Thiruvananthapuram airport in Kerala, are notorious for theft of valuables from bags checked on incoming flights. Such theft is a rude awakening to the state of corruption in Kerala to tourists and expatriates returning from vacations.> Corrupt officials and airport employees turn a blind eye to theft of passenger belongings often colluding in the theft.


Corruption is rampant in the judicial system of India. According to Transparency International, judicial corruption in India is attributable to factors such as "delays in the disposal of cases, shortage of judges and complex procedures, all of which are exacerbated by a preponderance of new laws".[17]


Despite State prohibitions against torture and custodial misconduct by the police, torture is widespread in police custody, which is a major reason behind deaths in custody.[18][19] The police often torture innocent people until a 'confession' is obtained to save influential and wealthy offenders.[20] G.P. Joshi, the programme coordinator of the Indian branch of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative in New Delhi comments that the main issue at hand concerning police violence is a lack of accountability of the police.[21] Again , religious , ethnic and linguistic minorities bear the brunt of Police miscounduct and corruption.

[edit]Religious institutions

In India, the corruption has also crept into religious institutions. Some deacons of the Church of North India are making money by selling Baptism certificates.[22] A group of church leaders and activists has launched a campaign to combat the corruption within churches.[23] Among Indian Muslims, the recent "cash for fatwas scandal" was a major affair that exposed the Imams of the Islamic ulama accepting bribes for issuing random, often nonsensical fatwas [1].

In Hindu religious institutions , corruption is rampant. Extracting money from superstitious believers , misleading people , trickery are never absent from India's Hindu religious "divines" and "saints".

The chief economic consequences of corruption are the loss to the economy , an unhealthy climate for investment and an increase in the cost of government-subsidised services. The TI India study estimates the monetary value of petty corruption in 11 basic services provided by the government, like education, healthcare, judiciary, police, etc., to be around Rs.21,068 crores. India still ranks in the bottom quartile of developing nations in terms of the ease of doing business, and compared to China and other lower developed Asian nations, the average time taken to secure the clearances for a startup or to invoke bankruptcy is much greater.

[edit]Anti-corruption efforts

[edit]Right to information act

The Right to Information Act (2005) and equivalent acts in the states, that require government officials to furnish information requested by citizens or face punitive action, computerisation of services and various central and state government acts that established vigilance commissions have considerably reduced corruption or at least have opened up avenues to redress grievances.[11][24] The 2006 report by Transparency International puts India at the 70th place and states that significant improvements were made by India in reducing corruption.[25][26]


  • Bhoomi is a project jointly funded by the Government of India and the Government of Karnataka to digitize the paper land records and create a software mechanism to control changes to the land registry in Karnataka. The project was designed to eliminate the long-standing problem of inefficiency and corruption.


Whistleblowers play a major role in the fight against corruption (See the TI page here India currently does not have a law to protect whistleblowers. However, subsequent to the murder of whistleblower Satyendra Dubey, the Government of India issued an order directing the Central Vigilance Commission to welcome and protect whistleblowers. The latest Administrative Reforms Commission also has suggested encouraging whistleblowing and protecting whistleblowers. However, this protection is not available to whistleblowers working under state governments. An ongoing effort can be seen here . is another "not for profit" website dedicated to increase awareness against corruption in India and contains comprehensive info of corruption in India.

[edit]Creation of Anti-Corruption Police and Courts

Some have called for the Central Government to create an anti-theft law enforcement agency that investigates and prosecutes corruption at all levels of government, including state and local level. Special courts that are more efficient than the traditional Indian courts with traveling judges and law enforcement agents are being proposed. The proposal has not yet been acted upon by the Indian government. Certain states such as Andrah Pradesh currently have similar agencies and courts. The creation of a central agency with specialized courts with broad powers, however, is likely to have greater impact in curbing corruption at all levels.

[edit]See also