How should parties deal with leaders who threaten to change sides

Many recent examples have shown that political leaders are no longer hesitant to threaten their party for their personal desires and parties have treated this issue with various ways ranging from catering to their desires to ousting them from the party. This situation is aghast especially in world’s largest democracy.

Most of the these defectors are turning out to be from Congress and in most of the cases, they are going to the BJP camp. This is not a good indication for Congress as it suggests that it has become rudderless and lacks convincing strategy to move forward.

But the matter of the fact here is, if changing parties has become as easy as changing shoes; and it has, from the recent happenings, then both the parties do not stand for their doctrine that they claim to have as values are those which are not promulgated, but followed.

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THE HINDU : Recent ransomware attacks

This article throw some light on the recent ransomware attacks in over 150 countries. It is frightening reminder of the vulnerabilities of a connected world. The cyber-attackers are who are behind this attack are yet unknown. The attacker uses Microsoft’s outdated software to remotely gain access to computers. They demand a ransom (usually in Bitcoins, which are tougher to trace than regular currency) to decrypt the files they have force-encrypted. Cyence estimates the economic damage to be $4 billion. The organisations which are affected by this virus are U.K.’s National Health Service, German transport company Deutsche Bahn, courier delivery services company FedEx and carmaker Renault. Recently Microsoft had made available a patch to remove the chinks.

WannaCry has its origins in a tool developed by the National Security Agency in the U.S. Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer of Microsoft, wrote on his blog that governments should treat it as “a wake-up call” and “consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities.”President Donald Trump’s views on this process are not clear. It is more than obvious now that cyber vulnerabilities have massive global implications.

The Hindu: Gold shines- on reducing India’s demand for Gold

17th May, 2017, The Hindu

The article tries to find a pragmatic solution for reducing India’s tremendous demand for Gold. In India, investment in Gold is looked at as a safe option which safeguards against inflation as well. This idiosyncrasy of Indians is the reason for the spur in Gold demand; Demonetization hasn’t deterred this belief either, reducing the confidence in rupee.

The author points out the downside of this demand- trade deficit which has reached a whopping 13.2 billions in April. On top of that, Indian investors are wasting their money in buying a piece of metal when it could have been invested in income generating financial assets which could have in turn, braced the economy. Government has to make structural reforms in the financial sector to stimulate innovations pertaining to easy access to financial markets for the common man. Until then, Gold is likely to remain the favorite asset for Indian investors.

ET: Wannacry can actually be a boon rather than a curse for India’s Cybersecurity

17th May, 2017, Economic Times

The article gives a new and positive way to look at the whole wannacry issue. The author says if Indian government can learn from this attack to reinforce it’s cyber security, it will turn out to be a curse that is actually a boon.

The author suggest various ways in which the government can bolster it’s cyber security. Indian government should coordinate with other governments to share any cyber vulnerabilities that they come across.

A legal framework needs to be established to mandate companies to report any cyber attacks that they face so that preventive action can be taken; ethical hacking should also be encouraged.

The Hindu: Held at Ransom: On the recent ransomware attack

This article talks about the menacing spread, starting last Friday, of the malicious software WannaCry, which has since infected thousands of computer system in 150 countries. Its a frightening reminder of the vulnerabilities of a connected world.

These attacks have been in nature of what called ransomware , wherein attackers demand a ransom (usually in Bitcoins, which are tougher to trace than regular currency) to decrypt  the files they have created.

The list of unsuspecting users who fell prey to the malware includes the UK’s National Health Service, German transport company Deutsche Bahn, courier delivery service company FedEx. 

Cyber threats are only likely to grow, and the world needs to push for ground rules on such issue.

The Hindu : On GM mustard for farms, the Centre must privilege reason over politics in taking the call

This article mainly speaks about approving transgenic mustard for environmental release. Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee(GEAC)is an Environment Ministry body that evaluates genetically modified crops. Mr. Dave is Environment Minister and current issue before him is approving transgenic mustard for environmental release and he has to decide whether to go by the expert findings of the GEAC and decide the issue on scientific merits, or opt for a replay of the Bt brinjal case.GM mustard (DMH-11) was developed by a team of scientists at Delhi University led by former vice-chancellor Deepak Pental under a government-funded project.

local crop developers may develop versions of mustard with custom traits such as higher oil content and pest resistance.GM Mustard has also gone through safety and toxicity tests (on mice) prescribed by the regulator.Many of the opponent fear that introducing genes from soil bacterium or other forms of animal life into plants will amount to playing with the natural order of plant life. Years of field tests on transgenic corn, soyabean and brinjal in other countries have shown no health risks. Farmers need technology, new knowledge and governmental support to get the best out of their seeds. This issues is to be decided on the basis of science and it will be at the mercy of political expediency.

One step forward: On Colombia’s new challenges

15th May, 2017

The article talks about the recent peace accord ratification between Colombia government and FARC rebels. But this end to the five decades old civil war has left Colombia with festering wounds.

Last year, President Juan Santos was awarded with Noble Peace Price for his inimitable contribution in realizing this accord. Government had promised to provide amnesty to the rebels, which got a tremendous response.

But disarming of FARC has left a political vacuum in some regions where paramilitary groups have taken law in their hands and are targeting civil activists.

So, Juan Santos must come up with a strategy to mitigate this violence to provide stability to the nation.