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World Links 7/11

July 11, 2008

Here – have a with today’s links.

Australian Bank to Offshore 400 Jobs to India

National Australia Bank is expected to send another 400 information technology jobs to India by the end of the year.

The bank has shortlisted technology companies Infosys and Oracle to develop its billion-dollar, next-generation platform, which will form the key pillar in the bank’s technology transformation plan, dubbed Program NEOS.

India’s Uranium Deal Threatens Nuclear Headache for Australia

The US and India are pursuing a deal that would give India access to nuclear technology outside the non-proliferation regime. The so-called 123 Agreement needs approval from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group.

That is where things get tricky for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. His Government has firmly restated its policy of banning uranium exports to countries that have not ratified the treaty. But what stance will it take at the Nuclear Suppliers Group when asked to allow other countries to supply India?

Gaping at Famine

THE BHARATIYA Janata Party completed 40 days of rule in Karnataka on July 7, but with 50 farmers across the state dead by their own hand in the same period, it has little to celebrate. The death count does not include Siddalingappa Choori, a farmer from Haveri, who on June 10 was the victim of police firing on a demonstration against the state’s severe fertiliser shortage. Choori had nothing to do with the protest: he was on his way to pick his children up from school and ended up dying of a bullet wound.

Flame Chasers Pocket More than Change

Lao Zhang made 100,000 yuan ($14,500) in two months and had a grand tour of China because of his Olympic torch relay trip.

Since the Beijing Olympic torch relay started its domestic leg in Sanya, Hainan province, Zhang has visited over 40 cities in 12 provinces, driving a van to the torch relay cities, selling T-shirts, flags and other Olympic souvenirs.

Kenyan Tobacco Firm Wants Smoking Ban Lifted

A KENYAN cigarette-maker has filed a suit against a new ban on smoking in public places, opening a battle between the government and tobacco firms.

Mastermind Tobacco Kenya Limited asked a Nairobi court to nullify the Tobacco Control Act 2007 on the ground that it is “unconstitutional, irrational and not a legitimate exercise of the state police powers,” three days after it entered into force.

An Israeli View: We Should Count Our Blessings

Better a lame-duck President George W. Bush in 2008 than the president who confronted us for the previous seven years. After all, now that Bush is taking fewer initiatives and casting a smaller shadow over our conflicts, it is just possible that less damage will occur and that our leaders will feel free to take independent and welcome initiatives.

Take democratization. Bush did enough damage by helping usher Hamas into power in Palestine (along with militant Islamists and pro-Iranian forces in Iraq and Hizballah in Lebanon). And that damage is lasting: it’s hard to conceive of new Palestinian elections without Hamas’ participation. But now that Bush has (quietly, with no soul-searching) backed off from his Middle East democratization campaign we at least don’t have to worry about new initiatives, and can lick our collective wounds while we figure out what to do with the fruits of his earlier efforts.

Open Case: Researchers Search for Clues to Date Drake Passage

Fascinating!

“It’s sort of a superhighway of cold water that moves swiftly around Antarctica,” Barbeau explained. Thanks to the formation of that coldwater highway, the continent cooled, and the ice sheets eventually formed. The Drake Passage, the hypothesis goes, helped turn Antarctica into an icehouse.

“It is a fact that the approximate date of the openings of the deep passageways and the completion of a circumpolar current coincides with ice on the Antarctic continent,” Dalziel said.

Once upon a time, before the Drake Passage formed, a range of mountains, the Andes, connected Antarctica and South America. Barbeau believes that by matching and dating rock samples on both sides of the Drake, he can better determine when the two sides parted ways, which would help date the opening of the passageway.

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