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EDITORIALS

Pin Pakistan down
Promises to fight terrorism are not enough
A
T last the US has realised that Pakistan has emerged as the epicentre of terrorism. President Barack Obama has said that “the central front in our (the US) enduring struggle against terrorism and extremism” includes Pakistan and Afgha-nistan. The problem in Afgha-nistan as also in India cannot be handled successfully unless the situation in Pakistan is taken in view.

Grey but strong
Employees can work beyond 58
ONCE again, the long-pending issue of raising the age of retirement of Punjab government employees from 58 to 60 has cropped up and this time the state’s finance department is pressing for it. If the retirement age is raised to 60, the government, according to reports, would not have to pay about Rs 2,000 crore as gratuity, leave encashment, provident fund and pension to some 18,000 employees scheduled to retire in the next two years.




EARLIER STORIES

Civil services: The blunted edge
January 25, 2009
Credibility, the best asset
January 24, 2009
Obama on Pakistan
January 23, 2009
Words to remember
January 22, 2009
Metro is not for Maytas
January 21, 2009
President Obama
January 20, 2009
Adieu, George Bush
January 19, 2009
Making TV a scapegoat
January 18, 2009
Miliband’s ballistics
January 17, 2009
Terror under arrest
January 16, 2009
Friends or foes?
January 15, 2009


Right to live
Tackle, don’t kill stray dogs
S
TRAY dogs, even those which are causing “nuisance”, cannot be killed arbitrarily, the Supreme Court has rightly observed, thereby providing a new lease of life to thousands of homeless dogs in Mumbai. The court acted on a plea by the Animal Welfare Board of India and ordered an interim stay on the Bombay High Court’s decision that allowed the municipal authorities to kill “nuisance-causing” stray dogs.

ARTICLE

India and the ‘K’ word
Need to educate the world about Kashmir
by T. P. Sreenivasan
B
ritish Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Obama nominee for the United Nations Susan Rice are like the men who, we concede, have one thought in their mind 80 per cent of the time when they are with pretty women, but will be considered indecent and offensive if that thought is expressed. No one who has taken an interest in the India-Pakistan imbroglio has Kashmir off his mind at any time.

MIDDLE

Nothing theatrical
by Anjali Mehta
I
n the interest of furthering my daughter’s education, I take her for a play or a performance now and then. In order to make the outing more enjoyable for her, I invite one or two of her friends along. I also have a son, whom, I believe, is still a bit young for this.

OPED

War on terror
Declare Pakistan a terrorist state
by Ved Pratap Vaidik
W
e will continue to dwell in a gentleman’s paradise if we glibly believe that the Pakistani establishment will accept the evidence produced by the Government of India and the US will pressurise it to hand over the terrorists to India or attack the terrorist forces in Pakistan.

Japan helps immigrants find jobs
by Blaine Harden
T
he last thing that aging Japan can afford to lose is young people. Yet as the global economic crisis flattens demand for Japanese cars and electronic goods, thousands of youthful, foreign-born factory workers are getting fired, pulling their children out of school and flying back to where they came from.

Chatterati
A book that matters
by Devi Cherian
The launch of “Prism Me a Lie — Tehelka as Meta-phor,” Madhu Trehan’s 600-page tome on truth as it is practised in India, saw Hyatt’s banquet hall packed. Abandoning the ritual launch function format, Madhu innovated instead. She had a dozen “young lawyers” and a dozen “not-so-young”.

  • Arushi case


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EDITORIALS

Pin Pakistan down
Promises to fight terrorism are not enough

AT last the US has realised that Pakistan has emerged as the epicentre of terrorism. President Barack Obama has said that “the central front in our (the US) enduring struggle against terrorism and extremism” includes Pakistan and Afgha-nistan. The problem in Afgha-nistan as also in India cannot be handled successfully unless the situation in Pakistan is taken in view. There are at least 30 terrorist outfits operating from Pakistan. India is obviously one of their top targets. The Al-Qaida and Taliban bases inside Pakistan in the areas bordering Afgha-nistan are intact. Not only that, terrorism continues to enjoy official patronage clandestinely. Thus, it remains a major threat to peace and stability in South Asia despite all that is being done against the scourge.

The very fact that the Obama administration has appointed Mr Richard Holbrooke as its Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan shows that the US is serious about breaking the Pakistani leg of terrorism. The US has also told Pakistan categorically that Islamabad cannot expect US aid for non-military purposes without launching a serious drive against terrorism and extremism. But all this cannot satisfy India, which has been pressing for concrete results, as stressed by Defence Minister A. K. Antony. India has been suffering the maximum at the hands of Pakistan-based terrorists operating with the help of intelligence agencies. There remains no doubt about it after the Mumbai carnage, which was not possible without official support. There are even reports that the terrorists received training from the Pakistan Navy.

The world must find a way to punish Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism. This has become essential to send across the message that any country indulging in this heinous activity cannot escape the wrath of the world community. No pretext can be accepted to defend the killing of innocent people. Any argument based on the cause and effect theory will only go in favour of the terrorists. That is why international pressure should continue on Pakistan to force it to show results. If Pakistan fails to deliver the goods in a fixed timeframe, the international community should itself take the responsibility of accomplishing the task. There is no time for dithering.

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Grey but strong
Employees can work beyond 58

ONCE again, the long-pending issue of raising the age of retirement of Punjab government employees from 58 to 60 has cropped up and this time the state’s finance department is pressing for it. If the retirement age is raised to 60, the government, according to reports, would not have to pay about Rs 2,000 crore as gratuity, leave encashment, provident fund and pension to some 18,000 employees scheduled to retire in the next two years. That is a large sum for a cash-strapped government, which is currently under pressure to implement the latest pay commission report before the election code comes into force.

Apart from the persistent pressure from the employees, whom the government, anyway, would like to please ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, there is a strong case for enhancing the age of retirement to 60. The last pay commission had recommended that the employees should retire at that age. The Central government had raised the age of superannuation for its employees to 60 way back in 1999. States like Rajasthan, Delhi, Gujarat, Bihar, Karnataka and Maharashtra followed suit. Uttar Pradesh has gone a step further as it retires its teachers at the age of 62. The Human Resource Development Ministry has proposed that teachers of Central universities can be re-employed up to the age of 65. The Punjab government, too, has upped the retirement age for the teachers of medical colleges in view of their acute shortage.

As life expectancy of Indians has increased due to better health care and diet, many people can remain active, alert and functional beyond 58 years. The government can use for a longer period the services of its experienced employees, particularly the technical professionals, who are perpetually in short supply. At the same time, the government should ensure that the administration is rid of deadwood, inefficiency and corruption. The delivery of services to the public is pathetic and calls for improvement.

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Right to live
Tackle, don’t kill stray dogs

STRAY dogs, even those which are causing “nuisance”, cannot be killed arbitrarily, the Supreme Court has rightly observed, thereby providing a new lease of life to thousands of homeless dogs in Mumbai. The court acted on a plea by the Animal Welfare Board of India and ordered an interim stay on the Bombay High Court’s decision that allowed the municipal authorities to kill “nuisance-causing” stray dogs. Incidents of dog bites and the fear of rabies often fuel public hysteria. The municipal authorities looking for a quick solution tend to take the line of least resistance and high visibility by ordering the extermination of stray dogs, only to discover that it is not a solution and the same exercise has to be repeated year after year.

Animal rights activists have long advocated sterilisation of stray dogs so that their population stays in control. In fact, neutering is prescribed by the Animal Birth Control (Dog) Rules, which were issued in 2001 under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960. It is the only legal method of keeping their numbers in check. There are clear guidelines, issued by the Supreme Court itself, which maintain that a dog should be euthanised only if it is rabid, mortally wounded or is incurably ill. There are proper procedures for euthanising a dog and they must be observed.

What exactly constitutes “nuisance” caused by stray dogs needs to be defined, and as senior advocate Fali S Nariman, while arguing the case on behalf of the animal rights activists, said: “a dog cannot be exterminated because it barks.” Dogs afflicted with rabies suffer and can spread the disease among animals and human beings. No one argues that they should not be killed. However, the rest of the homeless canine creatures should not be made to suffer the same fate.

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Thought for the Day

A man will turn over half a library to make one book. — Samuel Johnson

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ARTICLE

India and the ‘K’ word
Need to educate the world about Kashmir
by T. P. Sreenivasan

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Obama nominee for the United Nations Susan Rice are like the men who, we concede, have one thought in their mind 80 per cent of the time when they are with pretty women, but will be considered indecent and offensive if that thought is expressed. No one who has taken an interest in the India-Pakistan imbroglio has Kashmir off his mind at any time. But the moment he utters the "K" word in public in the context of India and Pakistan, all hell breaks loose. No Indian spokesman will concede that Kashmir is at the core of the conflict, a mantra that the Pakistanis themselves seem to have abandoned because of the extreme sensitivity of the Indians. No wonder then that the youthful and affable British Prime Ministerial aspirant, who was invited to Amethi to be feted by his Indian counterpart, suddenly became a hateful figure.

Ms Susan Rice or her speech writer saw nothing wrong in inserting the mellifluous and familiar word, Kashmir, in a list of "hotspots" dotted with words unfamiliar to her listeners like East Timor and Liberia. She is not the first to make such sweeping references. Mr Bill Clinton and Mr Boutros Ghali were criticised by India more than once for such unfriendly references to Kashmir. Ms Rice was positively wrong when she listed Kashmir in the list of places where the United Nations has, "for more than six decades, played a critical role in forestalling renewed fighting, helping to resolve conflict and repair war-torn countries, providing humanitarian aid, organising elections and responding to threats to international peace and security".

The United Nations has done none of these in Kashmir. All that it has done is to incur the wrath of India every year by making a reference to the work of the United Nations Monitoring Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), which we do not recognise, but we continue to nurture. Indian reaction to such references has bewildered many in the past, but staff work in various foreign offices ensure that no one utters the "K" word in Indian company. Newcomers, who see the logic of addressing the "root cause" of the India- Pakistan conflict more than burn their fingers in Indian fury. In one stroke, Mr Barack Obama lost some of his sheen in Indian eyes when he not only uttered the "K" word, but also expressed his intention to do something about it.

For India, treating Kashmir as the core of the conflict in South Asia is not just offensive, but factually wrong. In the present scenario of terrorism, which threatens the very existence of India, Kashmir is just a small part of the problem. If Kashmir was the issue, the cancer of terrorism should not have spread from South Asia to other parts of the globe.

But most outsiders are convinced that if the Kashmir issue is resolved, Islamic fundamentalism will have one less grievance to fight for. They know that Palestine is another root cause, but that is a little bit too close to the bone for them. Interestingly, we have no hesitation in declaring that Palestine is at the core of the conflict in West Asia even if it hurts Israel and its supporters. After 9/11, India and the United States began to say that to look for root causes is to condone terrorism. But the vast majority of countries and commentators maintain that poverty, injustice and denial of the right to self determination are some of the issues that lie behind the spread of terrorism.

Mr Barack Obama, Mr David Miliband and Ms Susan Rice may have learnt their lessons and may refrain from talking of Kashmir as the core issue to us or in public pronouncements, but they are sure to say that behind our back, when Pakistan and others stress this point. They know that the Nobel Prize is waiting for the one who resolves the Kashmir issue to the satisfaction of India and Pakistan. So their actions will always be to deal with Kashmir in other guises like Obama's designation of Mr Richard Holbrooke as the special envoy for Pakistan, Afghanistan and related issues. The same is the case with the other dirty word in the Indian lexicon, "mediation". Mr Boutros Ghali, Mr Kofi Annan, Mr Bill Clinton and Mr Barack Obama have been ready to mediate and what holds them back is only Indian sensitivity to the word, but not the substance. We have no qualms to ask them to exert their influence on Pakistan to do our bidding, but we do not want it to be a two-way street extracting concessions from both. We shall never forget the Tashkent experience. Lal Bahadur Shastri did not die in vain.

Our position that there is no such thing as the Kashmir issue is right legally and constitutionally. Just because Pakistan desires a part of India, it does not mean that the onus of dealing with it is on India. But it is an urgent issue for the world because of its potential for war. We ourselves have conceded the point when we agreed to include it in the agenda of the composite dialogue. Khrushchev became our best friend when he declared that Kashmir was an integral part of India. Today, we expect our best friends to say merely that it is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan that should be resolved by the two countries. But even when they say it, they have the unexpressed fear that the emergence of the nuclear genie in South Asia has added a new dimension to India Pakistan conflict.

Whether we like it or not, world powers will meddle in South Asia for that very reason. Moral indignation over the use of certain words may be acceptable in diplomacy, but we should recognise that the rest of the world sees the situation differently and may have prescriptions unpalatable to us.

Indian diplomacy has been successful in delinking the terrorist threat to India from the Kashmir issue by stressing its international dimensions. By identifying the mountains in Afghanistan and Pakistan as the source of terror, the world has moved away from Kashmir. But we should not be paranoid about the "K" word, if newcomers like Obama, Miliband and Susan Rice utter it. Our case on Kashmir is beyond question and we lose nothing by educating them on this matter in detail.

Mention of Kashmir by itself should not be treated as an unfriendly act. It should serve to highlight the need to constantly educate the world about Kashmir. We cannot take it for granted that everyone has read or absorbed the marathon speech that V.K.Krishna Menon made in the United Nations Security Council. The process of patient education must continue.

The writer is a former Ambassador of India to the United Nations, Vienna.

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MIDDLE

Nothing theatrical
by Anjali Mehta

In the interest of furthering my daughter’s education, I take her for a play or a performance now and then. In order to make the outing more enjoyable for her, I invite one or two of her friends along. I also have a son, whom, I believe, is still a bit young for this.

The idea of the outing generates considerable excitement in the children’s minds. They chatter non-stop on the way to the event and carefully select their seats at the venue (loudly discussing the merits and demerits of each vantage position). Once comfortable, they send the accompanying adult (me) out to buy them popcorn and drinks.

Their excitement cannot be contained when the curtain goes up. The debuting performers are greeted with delighted squeals expressing loud and fervent anticipation. I try to pretend that I am just coincidentally sitting near these kids.

Then the actual performance begins. Sometimes they are riveted (thankfully!) and silent. Most often, loud questions begin to take shape. These are hurriedly tackled in mid-sentence by me with the advice to whisper instead. They then (obediently!) clarify the rest of their doubts in loud stage whispers. In my panic to ensure that the volumes remain acceptably low, my answers are delivered quickly and crisply.

A moot point during the performance is how much time is spent actually watching the show and how much in the bathroom. The moment a scene heads towards a sort of climax, their little bladders start acting up (side-effects of excitement) and we have to make a trip to the restroom. There we have a full performance and games instead of quick execution of the job. There are playful attempts to peep at one another from under the cut -off door, comments on shoes, legs, the desire to see how the soap flows out of the tap on pumping etc.

I once advised these little mites that their repeated trips through the rows disturb others and so they must walk fast when walking through the rows and preferably, bend down. My daughter took this literally and imagine my consternation when she went down on all fours and started crawling among the rows. Her friends quickly followed suit and it was a rather embarrassing few minutes when I had to also go down on all fours (to draw less attention to myself) and persuade them to stand up!

As the stage performance proceeds, there is near continuous movement on my lap and I have to keep tilting my head a little this way and that to see better. Without turning back, in my mind, I can visualise the domino effect and tilting of heads (accompanied by curses?) down the entire row behind me.

Finally, the show is over! The performers come to take a bow. The kids love clapping and put their vigorous energies into it. It encourages the artistes and makes up for the little distractions in between! The kids are only too willing to exchange their cramped up position for a standing one and so a standing ovation from them follows.

Though some of these experiences can be harrowing for me, I like to remain optimistic. With the passing months, the children get older, wiser, more appreciative of performances and seem to have better control of their bladders!

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OPED

War on terror
Declare Pakistan a terrorist state
by Ved Pratap Vaidik

We will continue to dwell in a gentleman’s paradise if we glibly believe that the Pakistani establishment will accept the evidence produced by the Government of India and the US will pressurise it to hand over the terrorists to India or attack the terrorist forces in Pakistan.

The pathetic state of affairs in Pakistan is very well illustrated by the dismissal of National Security Adviser M.A. Durrani, who publicly admitted that Kasab is a Pakistani citizen.

It seems that the civil society and the elected government of Pakistan is on one side and the Army and the ISI are on the other. If India wants to uproot terrorism from the Indian subcontinent, it will have to strengthen the former in Pakistan.

In order to achieve this goal, what else it can do except getting Pakistan declared a terrorist state and have the UN sanctions imposed on it.

The Indian Prime Minister is quite correct that a war against Pakistan is totally uncalled for. But who is responsible for creating a war psychosis in South Asia? The uncouth Indian TV anchors who supplanted all Pakistanis for terrorists and also the innocuous-looking “options-open” statement of the Indian Foreign Minister.

Everybody in India understood the hollowness of the above statement but in Pakistan, everyone took it as almost a declaration of war. This brought everybody, in Pakistan, be it the military, the government, the Opposition, the Taliban, terrorists and ordinary people on one platform against India.

These developments in Pakistan sidelined the issue of terrorism and “Save Pakistan” suddenly got propped up as the national slogan. Who wants to destroy Pakistan? Whose interests will it serve? Nobody’s. Pakistan is quite safe.

Though Pakistan is the younger brother of India but the younger one is clever of the two. The Pakistani leaders have baffled Indian diplomacy by blowing hot and cold together.

Now Indian leaders have no clue as what to do. They are indulging in a futile exercise of producing evidence. They are trying to wake up the awakened. Pakistani leaders have managed to put the ball in the American court.

During the last seven years Pakistan has cleverly managed to get more than $ 12 billion from the US as a ransom for joining the war on terror. The American money was gobbled up by Pakistani military officials to first line up their pockets and then to buy arms to fight against India.

Neither Osama bin Laden nor Mullah Omer has been captured and the Taliban are in ascendancy from Waziristan to Kabul.

Despite the fact that the American soldiers are dying everyday on the Pak-Afghan border, the US is earning a bad name all around in Pakistan. Nobody in Pakistan is grateful to the US for its sacrifices.

The US itself is completely bogged down in Pakistan but our government is naive enough to rely on the same US to solve its problem. The US has gone into Pakistan and Afghanistan to solve its own problem and not that of India.

An awkward question arises here. Whose interest America should guard first? Its own or that of India? The US would not like India at all to attack Pakistani terrorist camps. If the attack takes place, Pakistan will remove its armies from its western frontiers and deploy them on the eastern borders.

The huge protection money, offered to Pakistan by the US, is meant to keep its forces on the Pak-Afghan border. Why will the US harm its own interests? How does it matter if on-going terrorism in India is sniffed out or not? If the Pakistani establishment caves in by verbal threats, it is good enough, otherwise life would go on as usual.

If the Indian government has solid proof that not only non-state actors but state actors are also involved in the hideous acts of terror in Mumbai why should we rush to the US alone? The American support at this juncture is important for India but is the US ready to stop the flow of protection money to the Pakistani establishment or stop supplying weapons to it?

Unless this largesse is stopped, Pakistan would not budge an inch. It is time for India to go to the Security Council and appeal to the world leaders to declare Pakistan a terrorist state and prescribe the same sanctions which they imposed on Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq. A failed state now should be declared a terrorist state.

The imposition of sanctions will actually strengthen Asif Ali Zardari’s government. In the name of saving the country and common masses from international sanctions, Zardari will have good enough reason to act firmly against terrorists. The army and the ISI will be forced to follow the civilian government.

Today the question is to “save Pakistan from India” and then it will turn into “Save Pakistan from terrorism”. If India plays its cards properly, it can change the whole course of the game.

This will also give us a chance to gauge the sincerity of the American and Chinese rhetoric. And who knows by imposing sanctions America may just be able to nab Osama and Mullah Omer. The American objectives may be very well served inadvertently.

To achieve success in this arduous task, India will have to plan very carefully, perhaps the way Indira Gandhi did in 1971 by sending dozens of eminent persons to different parts of the world. This gigantic diplomatic exercise will not be meant to launch a war on Pakistan but to help Pakistan to heal its wounds. The feeling of revenge or the desire to create trouble for Pakistan’s common people should not motivate this effort.

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Japan helps immigrants find jobs
by Blaine Harden

The last thing that aging Japan can afford to lose is young people. Yet as the global economic crisis flattens demand for Japanese cars and electronic goods, thousands of youthful, foreign-born factory workers are getting fired, pulling their children out of school and flying back to where they came from.

Paulino and Lidiane Onuma have sold their car and bought plane tickets for Sao Paulo, Brazil. They are going back next month with their two young daughters, both of whom were born here in this factory town.

His job making heavy machinery for automobile plants ends next week. She lost her job making box lunches with black beans and spicy rice for the city's Brazilian-born workers, most of whom have also been dismissed and are deciding whether to leave Japan.

"We have no desire to go home," said Paulino Onuma, 29, who has lived here for 12 years and earned about $50,000 a year, far more than he says he could make in Brazil. "We are only going back because of the situation."

That situation — the extreme exposure of immigrant families to job loss and their sudden abandonment of Japan — has alarmed the government in Tokyo and pushed it to create programs that would make it easier for jobless immigrants to remain here in a country that has traditionally been wary of foreigners, especially those without work.

"Our goal is to get them to stay," said Masahiko Ozeki, who is in charge of an interdepartmental office that was established this month in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Taro Aso. "As a government, we have not done anything like this before."

Japanese-language courses, vocational training programs and job counseling are being put together, Ozeki said, so immigrants can find work throughout the Japanese economy. There is a shortage of workers here, especially in health care and other services for the elderly.

So far, government funding for these emerging programs is limited — slightly more than $2 million, far less than will be needed to assist the tens of thousands of foreign workers who are losing jobs and thinking about giving up on Japan.

But Ozeki said the prime minister will soon ask parliament for considerably more money — exactly how much is still being figured out — as part of a major economic stimulus package to be voted on early this year.

The government's effort to keep jobless foreigners from leaving the country is "revolutionary," according to Hidenori Sakanaka, former head of the Tokyo Immigration Bureau and now director of the Japan Immigration Policy Institute, a research group in Tokyo.

Sakanaka said the government's decision will send a much-needed signal to prospective immigrants around the world that, if they choose to come to Japan to work, they will be treated with consideration, even in hard economic times.

There is a growing sense among Japanese politicians and business leaders that large-scale immigration may be the only way to head off a demographic calamity that seems likely to cripple the world's second-largest economy.

No country has ever had fewer children or more elderly as a percentage of its total population. The number of children has fallen for 27 consecutive years. A record 22 percent of the population is older than 65, compared with about 12 percent in the United States. If those trends continue, in 50 years, the population of 127 million will have shrunk by a third; in a century, by two-thirds.

Japan will have two retirees for every three workers by 2060, a burden that could bankrupt pension and health-care systems.

Demographers have been noisily fretting about those numbers for years, but only in the past year have they grabbed the attention of important parts of this country's power structure.

Here in Ueda, a city of about 125,000 people in the Nagano region, a recent survey found that residents worried that the city's 5,000 immigrants were responsible for crime and noise pollution.

"The feeling of the city is that if foreigners have lost their jobs, then they should leave the country," said Kooji Horinouti, a Brazilian immigrant of Japanese descent who works for the Bank of Brazil here and heads a local immigrant group.

About 500,000 Brazilian workers and their families — who have Japanese forebears but often speak only Portuguese — have moved to Japan in the past two decades.

They have lived, however, in relatively isolated communities, clustered near factories. Because the government hired few Portuguese-speaking teachers for nearby public schools, many Brazilians enrolled their children in private Portuguese-language schools. With the mass firings of Brazilian workers in recent months, many of those schools have closed.

Paulino and Lidiane Onuma sent their 6-year-old daughter, Juliana, to the Novo Damasco school here in Ueda, where she has not learned to speak Japanese.

Her parents, too, speak and read little Japanese, although they moved to Japan as teenagers. There has been no government-sponsored program to teach them the language or how to negotiate life outside their jobs.

"Japan is finally realizing that it does not have a system for receiving and instructing non-Japanese speakers," said Sakanaka, the immigration policy expert. "It is late, of course, but still, it is important that the government has come to see this is a problem."

Had they known there would be language and job-training programs in Ueda, the Onuma family might not have sold their car and bought those tickets for Sao Paulo.

"If those programs existed now," Lidiane Onuma said, "I might have made a different choice."

— By arrangement with LA Times-Washington Post

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Chatterati
A book that matters
by Devi Cherian

The launch of “Prism Me a Lie — Tehelka as Meta-phor,” Madhu Trehan’s 600-page tome on truth as it is practised in India, saw Hyatt’s banquet hall packed. Abandoning the ritual launch function format, Madhu innovated instead. She had a dozen “young lawyers” and a dozen “not-so-young”.

The News Track team simultaneously launched the book. Having also bravely done away with the routine VIP-oriented launch, Madhu even dispensed with the standard talking-heads, debate with the author.

Instead Kiran Bedi, fresh with her newly acquired TV anchoring skills, played the traffic cop to a rowdy Town Hall-type conversation on the nature of corruption in India.

The irrepressible Kapil Sibal briefly attempted to hog the limelight. But Ashok Desai, Atul Punj and others also leapt in along with nameless others to keep the Town Hall yelling.

Madhu’s examination of the Tehelka affair goes well beyond the boundaries of just one celebrated sting operation. Madhu’s pains-taking research eventually had consumed “six years of her life,” said a gleeful publisher, Pramod Kapoor.

Looking hard at the sting operation that exposed the nexus of corrupt politicians, army officers and bureaucrats, it was a landmark expose. The indictment of the government of the day had made Tehelka a household name.

But it also resulted in the hounding of those who funded it and the journalists who ran it — the government clearly was vindictive. And too many chose to keep silent. Too many turned their heads away, as Trehan discovers, uncovers and laments.

The book sets about unravelling the deeper roots of corruption in India. But at the end there is also a message of hope. For the young lawyers and media folk, Trehan points to some directions. And she asks whether (it) will actually “bring about a change in this highly cynical, jaded, Machiavellian society.”

Clearly this is not a book for the faint-hearted. It’s a book that matters and will stand the test of time.

Arushi case

Delhiiets are shocked, angry and numb. Arushi’s murder case, which should have been an open-and-shut case, has left the CBI red in the face. The murder was committed in a two-bedroom tiny flat with the doors locked.

It is a known fact that the public has lost faith in our police and their various other outfits. Everything seems to be stage-managed by top corrupt politicians and their blue-eyed boys. Our top investigating agencies are used to settle scores by political parties.

In politics bed fellows change like bedsheets. So, then the cases become false and clean chits are given. Where the police fails the CBI comes in. If the CBI fails, then what? The judiciary? That is another story now.

Media pressure and panel discussions. The bigger the anchor’s name, the shriller the voice. In their fight for TRPs they are so aggressive.

Top officials are questioned on TV and Press conferences are held by the CBI and other chiefs. Making a mockery of their posts. Their work efficiency and deliverance is what Delhiiets want, not their appearances on TV channels, answering immature anchors.

Sad! I know for sure police reforms are not being given importance and posts remain vacant too. But in this case the CBI chief and his incompetent team members who were a part of this investigation are answerable. Everyone wants justice for the dead girl and her family and friends.

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