Month: February 2012

Protests in Greece

Greece had protests over the years against austerity measures. Some protests were violent leading to death of people. European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund wanted Greek Parliament to pass a package of new austerity measures to lend 170 billion dollars to Greece. Greek Parliament obliged. Protests in Greece have turned more violent. Buildings are set on fire. People are angry about wage and pension cuts and higher taxes. Many are unemployed. There is a disconnect between the government and the people. Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos was imposed from outside. Greece should have dumped euro long back. It continues to hold on to euro. If it had drachma as currency many of its problems would have been solved. How much and why did Greece borrow and where did all the money go? The troika, as the three foreign lenders are collectively known, has decided to ask private lenders to take a cut of 70% of Greek debt. In that case Greece could have borrowed more than 300 billion dollars.

What happened in Greece can happen in Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy and many other countries. Ireland succumbed to pressure to take over loans of bankrupt banks. Iceland had rejected plans to take over loans of bankrupt banks. In its case the banks were too big to save. Portugal’s bonds are rated junk bonds. Spain and Italy are not much better. Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti was imposed from outside. So much for democracy in Europe.

People should spend within their means. If they borrow they have to return. Governments should spend within their means but most of them do not. They get away because they print notes and make payments. That leads to inflation and devaluation. Some countries spend recklessly. From printing notes of hundreds and thousands they go on to print notes of millions and billions. Everybody who earns in the country becomes a millionaire or billionaire. Ultimately those countries introduce a new currency in which one new unit is equal to thousand old units. In Zimbabwe some became trillionaires.

Western countries have talked about protests in Syria. They should pay attention to Greece. When elected representatives vote against the wishes of the people they undermine democracy.

Murderers are not victims

Last year during riots in London and other cities of England, many young boys committed crimes. Prime Minister David Cameron said the young boys will face full force of the law. If you are old enough to commit a crime you are old enough to face the law.

On 9/2/2012 a student murdered his Science and Hindi teacher Uma Maheshwari, St. Mary’s Ango-Indian Higher Secondary School, Armenian Street, Madras. He was angry with the teacher for informing his parents about his behaviour and lack of study by her remarks on his school diary.

Murder is a crime. In India nobody has been hanged for murder for many years. Death penalty is given in rarest of rare cases. Even when the president rejects a mercy petition it is challenged in a court and the case drags on. The message goes out that you will not be hanged if you murder.

It is strange that some people talk of the student as a victim. Murderers are not victims. Someone said he was victim of a dysfunctional family. What that means is spoilt brats of rich families can do whatever they want, even murder, and they will have sympathy.

One report said the boy was inspired by Agneepath, starring Hritik Roshan and Sanjay Dutt. The film is not about a student killing his teacher. Many films glorify crime and criminals. In India many people raise a hue and cry about scenes containing sex and nudity but are quiet about scenes with violence. Watching a film is not a justification for murder or any crime.

The boy being a minor may not have even life imprisonment which in reality means 14 years. Minors who commit adult crimes like murder should face punishment meant for adults.

Doubts about DRS

BCCI has consistently opposed DRS, or UDRS as it was originally known, since India under Anil Kumble’s captaincy lost a Test series in Sri Lanka. The decisions went against India. Other countries agreed on DRS. It was part of World Cup 2011.

Some decisions based on Hot Spot during India’s series in England in 2011 raised questions. India lost the Test series 0-4, five match ODI series 0-3 one match being a tie and another abandoned and the one T20 match. After that India did not have DRS in India and Australia.

Then came England-Pakistan Test series in UAE. England lost 0-3. Now English cricketers have raised questions about DRS. Many LBW decisions went against them and they are not happy about DRS.

BCCI has said it is not against use of technology but is not sure of ball-tracking technology and Hot Spot. It is likely that more Cricket Boards will oppose DRS when their cricket teams lose. In case of England the change was dramatic, from 4-0 victory and No. 1 Test ranking to 0-3 loss and No. 1 Test ranking under threat.

Ball-tracking has to be automatic and not someone’s imagination against field umpire’s imagination. It is said when there is DRS field umpires give more LBW decisions and many of the decisions are upheld. Batsmen do not get the benefit of doubt.

There will be winners and losers due to DRS. When winners turn losers they will complain about DRS. DRS to be acceptable to all should not have any room for error or manipulation.