Leave Racism Leave Obama – He is as human as we are

Obama’s tremendous victory embedded a single weakness: fairly narrow margin victory, about 52 percent of the vote. That means that almost as many people voted against him as voted for him. As he is enjoying the transition, the best part of a presidency, challenges are taking different shapes to test his ability.

To name a few:

 

1.     Obama’s agenda vs. expanding his political base

2.     U.S. Withdrawal from Iraq

3.     The Afghan dilemma

4.     The Russian Question

5.     Global Finance and the European Problem

But, one more challenge is building after Barack Obama’s historic election as America’s first Afro-American President. According to hate-crime monitoring group and analysts, it has led to a surge of racist incidents across the United States.

Recent reports:

1.     An interracial couple in Pennsylvania found the remains of a burnt cross in their front garden.

2.     In a California town, some have spotted cars and garages being vandalized with swastikas.  All of them were covered with racist epithets and slogans such as “Go back to Africa”.

3.     Effigy of a black citizen hung from noose in an island community in Maine.

4.     “Assassinate Obama” is what students chanting on a school bus in Idaho.

The last week of the US election campaign and its immediate aftermath had witnessed hate-related incidents in hundreds, said Mark Potok, Director of the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Centre.

“Kill Him!” shouts were reportedly heard from the section of a crowd during election rallies by Republican vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin. Potok added, what we’re witnessing now is everything from cross burning to ugly racial incidents schoolyards around the country.

It seems the rise in hate crimes would stay fit into part of a longer term trend, said Brian Levin (Professor at Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino). He also contributed by saying, “there is a significant spike in hate crimes from around the election period up until now”.

Levin also said White supremacist internet websites such as StormFront server cashed on the day after the election due to increasing hits in activity.

Potok said, “This soaring rate of racist crimes could be attributable to a “Perfect Storm” of conditions.

US Census Bureau recently estimated, by 2040 whites would lose their majority status with increasing non-white immigration. This would lead to unemployment and eventually create a favourable climate for hate group.

Potok said, “The idea having black man in the White House with a significant number of whites who feel the country built by their forefathers has somehow been stolen and they have lost everything. It seems sheer identity crises on the parts of whites.
 
Levin said, “Any advancement in race relations would result in concomitant violent backslashes referring to Klu Klux Klan which was formed just after the abolishment of slavery in 1865.

White supremacists refer this as the doomsday scenario wherein Obama is preparing to appoint yet another African-American as an Attorney General, Eric Holder. According to them Obama is nothing less than the Anti-Christ.

Barack Obama has come as a perfect storm that provoked the hardcore racist movement in the United States of America.

Why do people forget that colour cannot divide humans! It is a free world and everyone has equal rights to live under the same blue sky.

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Citigroup to sack 50,000 employees

What is stored for the employees when retrenchment is the sore reality in corporate India today? Companies are crumpling overnight and downsizing, cost cutting and improving efficiency usually translate to loss of jobs. In the past few months cost cutting and downsizing have been a recurring phenomenon. Industry giants like the Tatas and Birlas have sacked 10,000 and 3,000 employees respectively. If government doesn’t take any corrective actions then today’s situation might take an ugly turn, warned by corporate India’s leaders in India Economic summit on Sunday.

After the Tatas and Birlas who is the next?

In the coming quarters banking giant Citigroup Inc. is cutting approximately 50,000 more jobs. It’s supposed to be the recouping strategy to steady itself after suffering losses from deteriorating debt. The plan is already posted on company’s website and discussion with CEO Vikram Pandit is underway at the town hall meeting in New York.

The company had already announced in October that total headcount will be reduced by 20 percent from the total strength of 375,000 calculated at the end of 2007. As a proactive measure company has already eliminated about 22,000 jobs from those levels. The total workforce reductions include other thousands of jobs that are set to be axed when Citigroup complete the sale of German retail banking business and Citi Global Services.

Citigroup has incurred four straight quarterly losses including a massive loss of $2.8 billion during the third quarter. In addition to job cuts, company plans to reduce expenses by 20 percent approximately. Citi shares are falling down continuously and trading at 13-year lows. It would be irresponsible for Citi and other companies not to concentrate at staffing in the event of long running economic meltdown, said Citigroup Chairman Win Bischoff at a business forum in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Bischoff added, “We have carelessly added extra number of people during this benign period. The job losses will fall particularly on the financial sector in London and New York.

However, a Citigroup spokesman said that while concentrating on job cuts in certain regions, this would generally be across the entire company around the world.

Citigroup’s plan to sack employees includes top leaders would go without bonuses this year. A move that would effectively amount to a substantial pay cut for the company’s executives.

What will happen to the lost bonuses? Bischoff said, “Watch this space”.

MySpace Vs Hotselling iPod?

This is a strange world of Technology which outdates as soon it is launched. Competitors chew their brain cells and pour all the talent to bring down the product from another manufacturer. According to the recent news MySpace, the popular online social network, may develop a digital music player to compete against Apple Inc’s hot selling iPod. However, Chris DeWolfe, co-founder and chief Executive, made it clear and said “We have no immediate plans to make or sell such a device.

MySpace has recently launched a music joint venture with major music labels and it quite a possibility MySpace eventually build a device for listening to music, said DeWolfe. He also added that company is just focusing on the service right now. MySpace, the largest online social networking site, company launched MySpace Music in September, aiming to become the ultimate one-stop for music lovers.

 The joint venture partners such as Sony BMG, Universal Music and Warner Music with MySpace widen access to all the music services, from streaming to merchandising. The advertising sponsors of the site are McDonald, Sony Pictures, Toyota and State Farm.

“We wanted to come up with a program that meets the needs of music companies and artists, by definition, and users,” DeWolfe said. And added people streamed music more than 1 billion times in the first few days and have created 80 million playlists since the launch.

It wouldn’t be a bad idea since driving competition to iTunes and boost sales by another player has been in agenda for all the music companies.

MySpace vs. iTunes
Warner Music Group Chief Executive Edgar Bronfman said MySpace was different from iTunes in its focus on “community and sharing.” People can share playlists, peruse their friends’ music choices and discover new songs that way.

Apple has just added “Genius,” which builds playlists and offers recommendations based on songs in a person’s iTunes library.

But DeWolfe said the “Genius” feature doesn’t make iTunes a competitor to MySpace Music because Apple continues to focus on selling their music devices. And added “if anything, we’ll be accretive to iPod sales” as people use MySpace Music to download more music and videos for their iPods. “Unless we develop a device” said DeWolfe.

Whatever would be the end result, MySpace launches some device against iPod or not, but people will have all the time available to tune into their favorite music.

Cell phones + Gas station – A Hoax or a Fact?

You are just a call away no matter which part of the world you are. Sounds interesting!! Credit goes to people who first believed this technology was possible and proved it right by creating Cell Phones. In one hand people have high-tech cell phone connectivity and on the other alarming genetic damage due to cell phone emissions. According to industry-funded study cell phone emission may cause tumors, increased blood pressure, weakening of the immune system and memory loss. No concrete evidence could surface around this so people are least bothered and using it with no fear.

Cell phones are always surrounded by numerous warnings and in the recent time warnings have taken a different turn, a more incendiary kind. Large number of mails floating on the internet warning drivers who do not switch off the cell phone while fueling their cars being blown off in gas vapor explosion. A faulty cell phone can cause sparks or build up a static electricity in the user but could be duplicated under controlled condition. However, cautious cell phone manufacturers and gas station take no risks and advise users to switch off their phones. The warning email claims the Shell Oil Company as its source and quote incidents of gas station explosion due to cell phone emissions.

Incidents listed in the E-mail: 1) A cell phone rings on the boot and generates a ball of fire. 2) A person got a nasty facial burn while speaking on the phone. 3) Cell phone rings in the pocket and causes burns to the groin and in the thigh region. This hoax mail was first landed in the inbox of a Shell employee who rebroadcasted it with Shell Company seal on the mail. The non approved Shell seal gave the hoax more credibility. After a hard search no one had ever found the news reports that confirm any of the three incidents mentioned in the E-mail. Later, Shell denied having issued any such warnings and quoted:

We understand that there is an email, purportedly official Shell communication, circulating which describes various incidents that are supposed to have occurred as a result of cell phones ringing while at a retail station.

Please be advised that the email in question does not originate from Shell and we are unable to confirm any of the incidents quoted.

The first question: Can a cell phone ever set off a gas station fire? And the answer is NO according to ATB (Australian Transport Bureau) who closely investigated the reason behind 243 petrol fire cases happened worldwide between 1993 and 2004.  Even AMTA (the Australian Cell Telecommunications Association) and API (American Petroleum Institute) followed the statement by saying, “We have not found a cell phone responsible for any fire since the beginning of mankind”. In an episode of the popular television show MythBusters the myth that static electricity from a cell phone can ignite a nearby gasoline vapors fell flat to all the corners. The National Fire Protection Association conducts the research and tries permutations combination to address the potential gasoline vapor explosions. According to the guidelines fuel containers stay 18 inches deep below the customer fueling area and it doesn’t have explosive concentration of vapors. Fuel filler necks are located just 18 inches above the containers and expectancy is down to ZERO for any such explosive concentration of gasoline vapor in normal operating conditions. 

The second question: What was the reason behind 243 petrol station fire? And the answer is Static Electricity. All of us have seen or felt a spark coming out of synthetic clothing during dryness of winter, and synthetic car material stings needles while sliding in and out of the car. Synthetic material can build up a big static charge, if the wiring on the petrol hose is broken and you touch the metal nozzle of the petrol tank to any metal petrol tank, a visible spark can be easily discharged. In conclusion, synthetic clothing and materials are the culprits most of the time, cell phones are ok though.

The third question: Why do phone companies and gas stations post warnings? The first answer: Cell phones do not have “Intrinsic Safety” to make it suitable in truly hazardous inflammable vapor situations. The second answer: Fear of legal liability, despite of all the evidence proving cell phones non- hazardous at the gas station.

The last question: Is there still a chance of setting it off? According to the experts there is a risk involved in using a cell phone near the gas station as it may set off an explosion. We not only have found no real life incident of such an explosion so far, nobody has ever demonstrated experimentally that it is even possible. According to Nokia and Ericsson risk is too small that something will happen, but since risk is involved, it should be counted to avoid the unforeseen disaster. So far nothing gives a concrete reasoning to switch off the cell phones but why take a risk when it takes only a few minutes to refuel the thirsty car and zip on the road to explore other proven facts. Until then, cell phone setting the gas station on fire stays a myth.