Sunday, January 11, 2009



Troubled Galaxy Destroyed Dreams: Chapter 142

Palash Biswas

Mumbai-type attacks can be replicated: Obama

11 Jan 2009, 2314 hrs IST, PTI
WASHINGTON: President-elect Barack Obama on Sunday voiced fear that Mumbai-type attacks can be replicated by terrorists in other parts of 
world,including the US and said his administration will focus on putting more pressure on "our major target" al-Qaida.

Asked about 26/11 terror strikes in an interview to ABC News, Obama said the "danger is always there" to have a Mumbai-type attack in an American city.

"When you see what happened in Mumbai, that potentially points to a new strategy, not simply suicide bombings but you have commandos taking over...," he said.

"I think you have to anticipate that having seen the mayhem that was created in Mumbai, that there are going to be potential copycats or other terrorist organisations that think this is something that they can replicate," Obama said.

At a Congressional hearing on Mumbai attack this week, top US intelligence and police officials had expressed similar fear and said that this makes all the more necessary to ensure that those responsible for such an attack are brought to justice, given that US cities are always on top of the hit list of al-Qaida and other terrorist groups.

"So we're going to have to be vigilant in terms of our intelligence, we're going to have to make sure that we are more effective in terms of anticipating some of these issues, and we've got to continue to put pressure on al-Qaida, which is our major target — that's something that I talked about extensively during the campaign," Obama said.

"That has to be one of our primary areas of focus when it comes to our international security."

CD exposing Mayawati's 'corruption' released

11 Jan 2009, 1808 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh on Sunday released a CD containing telephonic conversations of what he claimed to be Bahujan 
Samaj Party (BSP) leaders asking party workers to collect money for Chief Minister Mayawati.

"The CD also has details of how Rs 20 lakh was collected by senior BSP leaders Tilak Chand Ahirwal and C P Singh and given to Delhi BSP leader Suresh Chand," Amar Singh told reporters.

He alleged that the money was then distributed among 39 party workers and local leaders, like corporators of Delhi, and they were directed to make bank drafts in the name of BSP chief Mayawati to be sent to her, he added.

He said all the drafts were issued within a span of 10 days in February 2007 and this was just one instance of how the Uttar Pradesh chief minister "converts her black money into white money".

"The CD has conversations of senior BSP leaders directing party cadres to send money to Mayawati," Singh said.

He said the CD had details of the bank drafts, including its number, the person who got it made and the name of the bank, among other things.

"We demand that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) should scan the bank accounts of Mayawati and other BSP leaders as the money collected in the name of donations for the party is going into Mayawati's account," Singh said.

"We will also approach the Election Commission and demand that the BSP's recognition be withdrawn," he added.

There was no immediate comment from the BSP on the charges.

Bhopal Supporters Continue Battle on 24th Anniversary
By ASHFAQUE SWAPAN December 18, 2008 02:21:00 PM  
  Nearly 25 years after the world’s worst industrial disaster ever in India’s Bhopal, the issue of compensation and justice for its survivors has refused to go away, thanks to a formidably durable grassroots movement of supporters in India and all over the world.

In the U.S., at least a dozen separate events commemorated the 24th anniversary of the disaster, according to Shana Ortman, U.S. coordinator for the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, a loose umbrella of organizations that support the disaster survivors. Nearly 500,000 people were exposed to poisonous methyl isocyanate during a runaway chemical reaction at the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal Dec. 3, 1984.

 “There are probably a dozen actions across the U.S. and Canada, as well as action in U.K. and Europe and over 80 actions in India,” Ortman told India-West. “People are going out and taking action in support of the demands of the Bhopal survivors and in commemoration of the 24 years of courage and hope in the face in their struggle.”

An 11-year-old child has joined in independently with an appeal of his own. Akash Mehta, founder of Kids for a Better Future, is requesting donations to support Bhopal victims.

“Every year, I do a birthday appeal where I ask for donations to KBF instead of gifts – it’s that time again!” Mehta said in an appeal that he sent out. “Can you help this year in my birthday appeal?

“This year I want to support the Sambhavna clinic in Bhopal which is helping to treat victims of the worst industrial accident in history…I hope you’ll think about contributing now, especially if you haven’t before!”

In addition to Mehta, numerous events were hosted all over the U.S. in support of the Bhopal disaster survivors, according to ICJB.

“There are middle school students who went to the UT Austin campus in Austin, Texas, showed a photo exhibit and raised awareness with the community on the issues on Bhopal,” Ortman told India-West.

The MIT chapter of the Association for India’s Development, in association with Amnesty International and the student group Sangam, hosted a cultural event Dec. 6 on campus in Cambridge, Mass. In addition, candlelight vigils were held in Bloomington, Ind.

According to an ICJB statement, areas near the Bhopal factory remain heavily polluted with chromium, copper, naphthol and other poisons left behind when Carbide abandoned its property following the disaster. These chemicals have leached into the local water supply with mercury levels far exceeding international safety standards.

“Second-generation disaster survivors, including many small children, are now coping with the chemical fallout,” the statement said. “There is a high incidence of babies born with cerebral palsy, cleft lips and other defects.”

Ortman said that their demands include Dow “facing trial, providing long-term health care, cleaning up the site, providing economic and social support and then for the (Indian) government to provide clean water for the communities that are still affected by the poisons from the factory and to support the call on Dow to accept liability.”

ICJB says their supporters have won several significant victories during the past year. In August, the Indian agreed to demands brought by survivors to address their continuing concerns with respect to health care, financial and social support and clean water in Bhopal. This victory came after a 500-mile march to Delhi undertaken by survivors and a 107-day protest in Delhi.

In September, supporters successfully pressured Indian officials to put a halt to a plan from Dow to build a research and development center near Pune, Maharashtra.

In the U.S., Bhopal survivors have been fighting tenaciously for decades, showing up at Dow meetings, filing lawsuits and trying to garner support from lawmakers.

While Bhopal supporters still have some ways to go, they have won significant victories along the way.

A resolution introduced at a Dow meeting asking the company to accept responsibility for the disaster at Union Carbide, which Dow bought, failed — but not before it got the support of large institutional investor TIAA Cref.

“We are always there at their AGMs, talking to their shareholders, letting them know that the liability still exists in Bhopal,” Ortman said. “It’s really hard to get those sort of resolutions passed but it’s really important to continue to bring this issue up to the shareholders and making sure that they know that the liability is there, that Dow has been hiding its liability and lying to their shareholders about it even though it’s now proving to hinder their ability to invest in India.”

In November, Bhopal activists won a major legal victory after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reinstated plaintiffs’ claims against Union Carbide for ongoing, massive water pollution at its plant in Bhopal, reversing a lower court’s dismissal of the case.

Supporters of Bhopal survivors also won a significant symbolic victory when they got 16 U.S. House members to sign a letter addressed to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, urging him to meet disaster survivors who had marched 500 miles from Bhopal to New Delhi.

“We urge you to personally meet the survivor groups and address their long-standing demands for justice and a life of dignity,” said the letter signed by Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., D-N.J., and 15 other lawmakers. “More than 25,000 people in Bhopal are forced to consume water known to be laced with poisons seeping out of Union Carbide's toxic wastes in and around the infamous factory. The plant site has not been cleaned up and toxic waste continues to pollute the environment and contaminate drinking supplies in the area. . . . It is outrageous that the executives of Union Carbide and its successor, Dow Chemical, have yet to be brought to justice. . . The government should hold Union Carbide and its parent company, Dow Chemical, responsible for the disaster.”

Ortman said that supporters of the Bhopal survivors are determined to continue.

“It’s been 25 years and that’s obviously a long, long time but I think that the one thing that the campaign has and the survivors have, more than anything else, is hope and a belief that justice will prevail and that the Bhopal campaign is stronger now that it ever has been.”

She pointed out the commission that the Indian government has set up to deal with outstanding issues of the Bhopal survivors and the fact that an Indian ministry had asked Dow for $25 million for clean-up of the toxic mess as some of their achievements. “Dow is facing roadblock after roadblock in trying to invest in India and I think the time will come when they realize that owning up to Bhopal and taking care of their liabilities there is worth more to their reputation.”

 India has not yet received any official communication from Pakistan on a dossier over the Mumbai terrorist attacks, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said here on Sunday.WAR HYPE continues in SOUTH ASIA stopping Winter to use its stings in the Heart of Blind nationalism in  the US Colony! On the other hand, Rahul Gandhi waits into the wings to inject YOUTH in the IMPOTENT Political system in Indian Brahaminical Zionist Hegemony! No one else, the First person of the KILLER Trio leading the Hegemony ruling India, PRANAB, the KULIN Brahmin from the Killingfields of bengal has confirmed it! What if the RSS Projected Primeministerial candidte, the Second person of the DEAT TRIO aspires otherwise! What if the third personality of LPG NUclear Chemical Multiplex Antipeople Trio Budhdadev and the most HyPOCRITE Politically worldwide, the marxists sing on the TUNE of so called third alternative discarding the Socialists as well as the DALITs! Considering the belief in the Congress that the Nehru-Gandhi family has almost a birthright to the prime minister’s position, it is hardly surprising that Rahul Gandhi’s name is occasionally mentioned in this context. Ever since Sonia Gandhi declined to accept the post, it is her son who is deemed to be the next member of the dynasty to don the mantle. If Pranab Mukherjee’s remark that, after Rajiv Gandhi, it is Rahul who will be the next young prime minister has attracted more than the usual attention, the reason is that the external affairs minister is known to weigh his words with care. Had it been Arjun Singh or Digvijay Singh, the suspicion would have been that they were trying to curry favour with the party’s first family. But the person who is nearly always the automatic choice to head a group of ministers is in a different category.

Our people, the Majority masses destined to be KILLED this day or that day, has lost the SESIVITY in Intense STARVATION. Our DISPLACED Destroyed Brothers and sisters may not have any Shelter to cover the Winter but they, however may never DARE to CRY Winter BLUES. Enslaved as they had been thanks to religion as well as politics, deprived of enlightment, empowerment, basic needs, endowed with inherent Injustice and Inequality , the Majority Indigenous aboriginal Masses happen to be in a WORSE Status than the Wild and PET ANIMALS. We may not deserve Human rights or Civil rights! Winter BLUES may not be our DESTINY as we tend to perish in any weather untimely. We had been the SCAPEGOATS EN BLOCK!

Light helps beat the winter blues! People lacking the spare time to go outside regularly can brighten their mood by using a light-therapy lamp at home. Tanning-bed sessions are not a suitable remedy, though. Light-therapy patients must keep their eyes open while sitting in front of the lamp. Its light, Voderholzer said, has no ultraviolet radiation. This is not the case with tanning beds, where eyes must be closed to prevent damage.

For me it happens to be quite a newsbreak that some of the Affluent people do suffer from Witer Blues right in Kolkata. I would not have been that surprised if it had been experienced in colder places like New Delhi! In short, Kolkata may not offer any reasonable space for Winter Blues where it ahppens the weather of Picnic and fairs! Clothing, dressing and parties!Tropical Kolkata experiences hot and humid summers with maximum temperatures often reaching to 40 degrees during May and June, mild winters with temperatures sometimes dipping to 11 degrees and annual rainfall of 1,582mm during the monsoon. it is BOOK Fair time in Bengal. Lacs of Indigenous aboriginal as well as caste Hindu Devottees throng on babughat for their Pilgrimage to GANGASAGAR!Kolkata is warm and humid most of the year around. However, the winter months, say, from November to February are cool, sunny, dry and very pleasant. Monsoon hits Kolkata generally in the second week of June and lasts till the end of September. During this period it rains regularly. The total rainfall during the season is about 20 cm. The temperature in summer goes up to about 37 Celsius and the relative humidity up to 100%. During winter months the temperature ranges from about 10 to 20 Celsius and the relative humidity is around 50%. Light woolen clothing is necessary during winter in Kolkata. Winter in Kolkata sets in with the withdrawal of monsoon in early October. October and November evenings are very pleasant. The winter in Kolkata lasts from ...The mood in general have to be Celebrate the winter chill in the true Kolkata style At the Zoo, Maidan, ... Winter has arrived in Kolkata in full swing, and so have the few days to be ...

It may be said that the Indian Money Machine called India Incs may feel some DEEP Depression despite National Revenue and Public money being pumped into feeding its KILLER INSTINCT just because of Satyam Asatyam exposing the INFLATED RISILIENCE to attarct FDI, Share HOLDERS, Govt.allocations and FII. We know well how Reliance settled into ILLUMINITI STATUS and Satyam tried its best to surpass the TATAs! Bill Clinton favoured SATYAM Recipe thanks to HIGH TECH Ex CM chandrababu Niadu!

Meanwhile,The Government nominated noted banker Deepak Parekh, IT expert Kiran Karnik and former SEBI member C Achuthan to Satyam Computer's Board, which will meet on Monday at Hyderabad to chart out the future course of action.
"We will meet tomorrow at Hyderabad," HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh told PTI.

Parekh along with Karnik, former Nasscom president, and Achutan was nominated to the board by the government in order to stabilise the fraud-devastated Satyam Computer Services.

Asked whether he would head the board, Parekh said, "Decision to this effect will be taken on Monday when the board meets for the first time."

The newly appointed board members would be reaching Hyderabad tonight, he added.

Earlier during the day, Corporate Affairs Minister Prem Chand Gupta said, "The board is expected to meet within 24 hours and decide (the) further course of action."

According to the order of the Company Law Board, the reconstituted board of the IT major can have a maximum of 10 members.

The Government on Friday disbanded the board of Satyam days after its founder B Ramalinga Raju admitted to a Rs 7,800-crore fraud in the books of the IT company.

Meanwhile, Satyam Computer Services today welcomed the reconstitution of the board, with the spokesperson saying, "This is a vital stabilising development for Satyam".

On demands from institutional investors like LIC and Lazard for representation on the Board, Gupta said, "All options are open in the interest of the company."

The board, he added, would have eminent personalities from finance, law, IT and administration, Gupta said. "Further appointments to the board may be made subsequently as required," he added.

It might be a FEEL of winter blues for the HEGEMONY as India called in troops to load fuel tankers and some striking employees at state oil firms went back to work on Friday, easing fears of a prolonged fuel crisis. The government dug in its heels on the third day of a stoppage that has triggered panic buying and cut natural gas and crude oil output in the energy-hungry nation, saying no further talks were possible and threatening to imprison striking workers. Company officials, who had walked out demanding better pay, returned to work at Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd, and with Hindustan Petroleum Corp not on strike, nearly half of India's 35,000 petrol stations were likely to be operating soon. Ministers turned the heat on union leaders after long queues at the few petrol pumps with supplies jammed rush-hour traffic in major cities, and officials feared that power plants may have to shut and cooking gas shortages could trigger anger.

 The LPG Mafia ruling India has destroyed our culture. it destroyed Regional Identity and indigenous culture and legacy! So, Kolakat is changing and losing its traditional look. it no longer happens to be the EXTENDED RURAL INDIAN TYPICAL BENGALI Village with Kalighat as well as Victoria Memorial in its heart! Sale of war games and toys has increased here with growing interest about violence and terrorism among kids since the terrorist attack in MUMBAI. The WAR Hype and TERROR PHOBIA has been injected into the veins of the GENERATION Next! nandigram, Singur and lalgarh Insurrection reflects STIFF Resistance against Brahaminical hegemony and LPG CULTURE turning into Marxist Genocide Ideology! Winter Blues seems to be quite aliegn! But the Emeregence of new Kolkat TOPOGRAPHY on the way of Mraxist capitalist superhighway the CREAMY Ruling Class may , of course suffer the bites and pangs of winter Blues!

We, the people have been DEPRIVED of LIGHT and SUN in this paert of World  best known for its AILING SUMMER and its EPIDEMICS, Calamities as well as NATURE GODs, DIVINIE SPRITUALISM and Natural Resources in abundance. We are not so FREE politically or Economically to go for outing as the citizens of the West do. They may enjoy the DISEASE as Lifestyle and LUXURYbut, I am afraid to say that we dare not AFFORD it! We, the aboriginal Indigenous Majority Masses of South Asian geopolitics!

Light deprivation during the cold months is the cause of people's depressed mood. "Scientists believe that light controls the melatonin system and influences the serotonin system," remarked Professor Ulrich Voderholzer, chairman of the Berlin-based German Society of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Neurology (DGPPN).The neurotransmitter melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle and the need for sleep. Serotonin, on the other hand, has a direct stimulative effect and brightens people's mood.Symptoms of winter depression typically begin in October, November or December, and abate in January.Winter is one of the four seasons of temperate zones. Calculated astronomically, it begins on the solstice and ends on the equinox. It is the season with the shortest days and the lowest average temperatures. It has colder weather and, especially in the higher latitudes or altitudes, snow and ice. The coldest average temperatures of the season are typically experienced in January in the Northern Hemisphere and in July in the Southern Hemisphere. In India, Winter called Shishir - in the months of Magh and Phalgun English calendar months are Jan and Feb [approximately]

Winter in India is never as severe as in the western countries. Snow is unknown to us unless we go to the Himalayas or to Jammu!
But even then, our winter can be freezing cold with temperature dropping extremely low and the very poor and the homeless have a difficult time coping with winter.

The Ruling Hegemony of this south Asian Geopolitics have REVERSED the fundamental character of our TOPOGRAPHY. Since Natural resources have been SOLD OUT and gifted to Corporates, MNCs and India Incs, since URBANISATION and Indiscriminate Industrialisation kills the GREEN, since DEFORESTATION continues and agriculture has been destructed as well as our independent Production system, GLOBAL WARMING hits us most. The UNIPOLAR Imperialist  United states of america has got enough OIL into its own heart and body, but it creates and manipulates SITUATION for Monoploistic AGGRESSION against OIL Rich Middle East and SUPPORTS Zionist ISRAEL allout under STRATEGIC ALLIANCE to Blackmail and BURGAIN the entire OIL world! In this process USA defends its ECOLOGY and Environment.But ECO consciou America and Europe never BEHAVE REASONABLE while the Natural resources being EXPLOITED for  Global market in the best interest of the developed world!

 Unfazed by then Rs 7,000 crore fraud by IT major Satyam Computers, a nine-member British Information and Communication Technology Mission will visit Kolkata this month.

"The nine-member ICT business delegation will be on a one-city business mission to Kolkata between January 12 and 15," a British Deputy High Commission official said.

The Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce mission is keen on forging linkages between Coventry Universities Enterprises Ltd and universities and business schools in Kolkata.

It will also meet the local chambers of commerce to explore the possibility of jointly bidding for EU funded projects in the ICT space.

Bengali writer Samaresh Basu wrote a short novel SHAMBA and was awarded the most revered literary award in India, sahitya academy for the work. HE dealt with LEPROSY in the novel using the MYTH of SHAMBA, the CURSED son of Lord krishna. Shamba was Cursed to suffer Leprosy by his FATHER, the GOD VISHNU in incarnation of Krishna just because he was so beautiful that the hundreds of queens, wives of the GOD could not reisit to be SENSUOUS with the Son. Remember the story of Sons and Lovers written by DH lawrence! Sons and Lovers is the third published novel of D. H. Lawrence, taken by many to be his earliest masterpiece, tells the story of Paul Morel, a young man and budding artist. Richard Aldington explains the semi-autobiographical nature of his masterpiece:

When you have experienced Sons and Lovers you have lived through the agonies of the young Lawrence striving to win free from his old life'. Generally, it is not only considered as an evocative portrayal of working-class life in a mining community, but also an intense study of family, class and early sexual relationships.
The original 1913 edition was heavily edited by Edward Garnett who removed eighty passages, roughly a tenth of the text. The novel is dedicated to Garnett. Garnett, as the literary advisor to the publishing firm Duckworth, was an important figure in leading Lawrence further into the London literary world during the years 1911 and 1912. It was not until the 1992 Cambridge University Press edition was released that the missing text was restored.

Lawrence began working on the novel in the period of his mother's illness, and often expresses this sense of his mother's wasted life through his female protagonist Gertrude Morel. Letters written around the time of its development clearly demonstrate the admiration he felt for his mother - viewing her as a 'clever, ironical, delicately moulded woman' - and her apparently unfortunate marriage to his coal mining father, a man of 'sanguine temperament' and instability. He believed that his mother had married below her class status. Rather interestingly, Lydia Lawrence wasn't born into the middle-class. This personal family conflict experienced by Lawrence provided him with the impetus for the first half of his novel - in which both William, the older brother, and Paul Morel become increasingly contemptuous of their father - and the subsequent exploration of Paul Morel's antagonizing relationships with both his lovers, which are both invariably affected by his allegiance to his mother!

Smaresh basu related Leprosy CURE to SUN WORSHIP. The Class struggle in Lawrence reflects in depth the social as well as psychic divide transforming into deep depression. Samaresh, being a COMMITTED Marxist also deals in depth with the class consciousness of the OUT CAST Leprosy Patients and at last seeks SALVATION in KONARK. The Novel ends with a long journey to Konark.

Reading all about Winter Blues I find different dimentions of depression in the works of lawrence, basu and the first Indian prominent woman writer ASHAPURNA Devi! All of them were dealing with different sphere of CLASS as well as DEPRESSIOn.

Even a grey, overcast sky has about 10,000 lux," Kunz noted, using a standard unit of illumination. Special light-therapy lamps often have a lesser luminosity. On a bright, sunny day, natural luminosity can be as high as several hundreds of thousands of lux.

To receive the greatest benefit from sunlight, Kunz said, people should look into the sky -- though not directly at the sun. Every minute outdoors is important, he emphasized, pointing out that in the morning it helped simply to get out of the bus a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way to work.

Natural light is relatively weak indoors, even on sunny days. "Only a fraction of the light passes through the window," Hegerle said.

In India, Winter Blues is not just limited in Seasonal Affective Disorder and depression in MOODs! It is more or less  rather a Class concept or Casteology or Patriarchial set up of Brahaminical society.

Samaresh basu solved the Puzzle with his journey to Sun God in KONARK. Medically he was correct as I have already written the prescription:Light helps beat the winter blues!

In the WEST, hit most by WINTER and winter Blues, Autumn is a time when nature prepares to rest, and a lot of people begin to withdraw into themselves too. They have no desire to meet with friends after work, preferring to sit lethargically in front of the television before going to bed early. And the next morning they find it hard to get up.For most people, this period of languor passes without any major effects. But a small minority suffer from out-and-out winter depression. Apart from lethargy and fatigue, the latter group often has symptoms uncharacteristic of depressive disorder.

"They have an increased need for sleep, and also for carbohydrates like chocolate," noted Dieter Kunz, a chronobiologist and head physician in the sleep-medicine department at St. Hedwig Hospital in Berlin. Normally, depression is accompanied by insomnia and loss of appetite.

In India, our people except the Recent upsurged SATYAM ASATYAM FREEsenSEX Affluent Brahaminical ruling class, we never may afford the Elite Liquor SESSION  for ENERGY! Productive forces do use the Liquor generally and that happens quite indigenous. But the Winter Blues may not inflect the Productive forces as they suffer from intense Stravation all the year round specially the LPG Mafia took over all the national Political and economic affairs and policy making. No less than eighty four Corore people out of 110 corore face intense FOOD Insecurity. We, the people are unequal, persecuted, starving, ailing, undereducated, insecure and unsafe, jobless, displaced and chosen for the ultimate Killing Fields.

We may not afford WINTER BLUEs! It is once again Class and caste affiar that Neo Liberalism has suceeded to inflect the western developed disease like personality disorder and winter Blues in our Deculturised nation of sun God! Just see how the 58 thousands of SATYAM Employeees suffer from Depression and it is not because of Winter Blues!In Kunz's estimation, 3 to 5 per cent of Germany's population suffer from winter depression. And another 25 per cent are conscious of mood changes. may we dare to imagine to afford such LUXURY?


Our women folk, the bulk declared enslaved SHUDRAS in a Patriarchial society ruled by the Holy Lawas of manusmriti however had been FEELING the pangs of  Winter Blues as their world had been closed into the KITCHEN, a cold and unhealthy place for thousands and thousands years. We came to know the psyche of our mothers and sisters from SATAYWATI, SUBARNOLATA and BAKUL, all the protagonists of ASHAPURNA TRILOGY PRATHAM PRATSHRUTI! She recieved Jnanpith Award for thsi work.The Jnanpith Award is a literary award in India. Along with the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship, it is one of the two most prestigious literary honours in the country. It is presented by the Bharatiya Jnanpith, a trust founded by the Sahu Jain family, the publishers of the The Times of India newspaper.The feminist theme has been present in Bengali fiction almost since the earliest day. Niruma Devi, Anurupa Devi, Shailabala, Jyotirmoyee Devi and other women writers have set forth the tragic plight, as well as struggles and success of Bengali women. Perhaps the high point of this tradition is represented by Ashapurna Devi in her Prothom Protiristi (First Promise) trilogy. Nabanita Deb Sen, Esha De, Suchitra Bhattacharya and many others have proved worthy successors. Fantasy, science fiction, mystery stories, fiction for children, in no field can we say that Bengali fiction has lagged behind. Experiments with style and technique have likewise been continuous.First PROMISE:This book is a translation of Ashapurna Devi's award winning novel Pratham Pratisruti. The novel captures the social and cultural changes that had swept through Bengal in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. I was completely captivated by the delightful eight year old Satyabati, the heroine of this novel.  The translation, which took four years, offered me the rare opportunity of synthesizing my archival experience and revisiting the past.Published by Orient Longman, New Delhi, The First Promise was released at the Kolkata Book Fair in February 2004..Pratham Pratishruti(First Promise) by Ashapurna Devi--The first book of a trilogy which seeks to rewrite Bengali women's history beginning from nineteenth century.

Ashapoorna Devi, also Ashapurna Debi or Asha Purna Devi, is a prominent bengali Writer.The Bengali people are the ethnic community from Bengal in Indian subcontinent with a history going back more than two mille...  She was born in 1909. She has been widely honoured with a number of prizes and awards. She was awarded the Padma Shri.Padma Shri is an award given by the Government of India generally to Indian citizens to recognize their distinguished contri...
 by the Government of IndiaGovernment of India Summary

The Government of India, officially referred to as the Union Government, and commonly as Central Government, was...
 in 1976; D.Litt by the Universities of Jabalpur, Rabindra Bharati, Burdwan and Jadavpur. Vishwa Bharati University honoured her with Deshikottama in 1989. For her contribution as a novelist and short story writer, the Sahitya AkademiSahitya Akademi

The Sahitya Akademi is an Indian organisation dedicated to the promotion of literature in the languages of India....
 conferred its highest honour, the Fellowship, in 1994. She died in 1995.

Ashapoorna Devi , also Ashapurna Debi or Asha Purna Devi, is a prominent Bengali novelist and poet. She was born in 1909. She has been widely honoured with a number of prizes and awards. She was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1976; D.Litt by the Universities of Jabalpur, Rabindra Bharati, Burdwan and Jadavpur. Vishwa Bharati University honoured her with Deshikottama in 1989. For her contribution as a novelist and short story writer, the Sahitya Akademi conferred its highest honour, the Fellowship, in 1994. She died in 1995.

The Telegraph reports:
Her house stands out in the congested Kanunga Park in Garia. The first floor has been let out to a Bata store. Ask anyone in the locality and they promptly point to the second floor of the off-white building where Ashapurna Devi lived with her family since 1970. It was in the mezzanine floor of this house that the author wrote many of her works of fiction, including Neel Parda and Bokul Kotha. Today that room lies in a sorry state just as many of her books have lost their sheen for GenNext.

As her daughter-in-law Nupur Gupta — the only family member living there — ushers you in, a world of memories unfolds. Photographs and mementoes all over the drawing room remind you of the heights the author had scaled despite not getting a formal schooling. Her Pratham Pratisruti and Subarnalata are among the boldest portraits in Indian literature of women pitched against a narrow, rigid, patriarchal society, but how many remember Satyabati of Pratham Pratisruti or her daughter Subarnalata now?

Not many know that 2008 is Ashapurna’s centennial year either. She was born in 1909. “We expected the state government to give Ashapurna Devi some recognition in her centenary year. They have done nothing. Surprisingly, not many writers and educationists have come forward to pay her a tribute either. Public memory is indeed short-lived,” says Gupta.

As the city stood witness to a pitched battle between the state government and environmentalists over Book Fair, a small group of writers and educationists mourned the loss of readers of Bengali literature. While English bedtime tales are slowly replacing Thakurmar Jhuli, Khirer Putul and Tuntunir Golpo, Pottermania is reigning over Podi Pishir Bormi Baksho or Raj Kahini and management books and the Chicken Soup series are disappearing fast from the shelves, the memory of older, redoubtable Bengali writers is fading away. The derelict houses of most writers and artists of yesteryear show how indifferent the state government is to literary and artistic heritage

What does it mean Winter Blues for GAZA and PALESTINE? What does it mean for we, the wretched Indian Masses to be killed otherwise? US trade mission, which will include representatives of General Electric, Westinghouse and USEC Inc, will visit India this week to hold talks with the government on how to leverage spinoffs from the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement, Shyam Saran, the prime minister’s special envoy on the Indo-US nuclear deal, has said.Although the signing of the Indo-US deal on October 10, 2008, will remove the technology-denial regimes for nuclear material as well as dual-use technologies and open a plethora of opportunities for private players, it is too early to comment if foreign companies can set up nuclear power plants, according to Saran.He added the government was cautious in this regard since India’s civilian and nuclear programmes were enmeshed. Under the separation plan that is part of the Indo-US nuclear deal, the separation will be completed by 2014.However, in the interim, the private sector can participate in collaborative ventures with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). However, the government did not have a “closed mind” on private sector participation, he added.Saran, speaking at the Fifth Indo-US Economic Summit in New Delhi, said with the path being cleared for India to freely access the international nuclear market, it could scale up nuclear power production to 20,000 Mw by 2020 and can reach 60,000 Mw by 2030.

Mraxist Brahaminical hegemony may suffer from fresh winter Blues as “Martyr’s mother” Firoza Bibi wins Nandigram assembly seat!Popular among Nandigram people as Shahider Ma or the Martyr’s Mother, Firoza Bibi, a 60-year-old homemaker, has won the Nandigram Assembly bypoll with the highest margin since the constituency first voted in 1951.However, the LEFT aspires to have DECISIVE role in Indian Ruling Hegemony. The MASTERMIND in Indiscriminate land acquisition for REALTY purpose on the name of Development and Industrialisation, West Bengal Industry Minister Nirupam sen is not ASHAMED to say in KOCHI that the Left will have KEY ROLE in the CENTRE after the Elections!The three-day central committee meeting of the CPM in KOCHI had to chalk out the party’s strategy for fighting the elections.Nirupam Sen, who was in Kochi to attend the meeting, in an interview to `Express’ said that the party would have to fight hard to retain its poll share in West Bengal in the coming general elections.

Nirupam SEN is VERY Hopeful to have GREEN SIGNAL for NAYACHAR Chemical HUB from the CENTRE despite the NUKE OPERA and Marxist betrayal to UPA. Mind you, the marxists Brahamins had to shift the Venue to Nayachar from from Nandigram facing STIFF RESISTANCE resultant in DEFEAT for the Marxists! SEN  told STAR ANAND to pursue the DEVELOPMENT agenda despite SINGUR setback!

``The extreme right and the extreme left have decided to join hands against the Left, especially against the CPM. A formal alliance has not been shaped yet, but once such an alliance materialises, it will be difficult for the party,’’ he said in KOCHI.But in the last panchayat elections, the party could manage to get more than 50 percent of votes even after having some differences among the Left parties over the issues like the land acquisition, industrial projects etc, he said.

But, in the Lok Sabha elections, the Left parties will sort out the issues and remain united. Nandigram will hardly be a poll issue in Bengal, he said.

The poll outcome will give birth to a hung Lok Sabha and the third front led by the Left will then have an important role. Parties like the BSP will fare better in North Indian states. The Left parties will have a say in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Tripura, he said.

``The general conviction that the policies of the Left could help cushion the shock of global economic recession will be a positive factor for us,’’ he said.

``We had warned the UPA Government.

But our advice fell on deaf ears,’’said Sen. `Defeat the BJP and Reject the Congress’, will be our stand, he said.

The Left has its own alternative for beating the meltdown. More money should be pumped into the infrastructure and agriculture sector.

The government should ask the banks to lend more loans to farmers, especially to the marginalised. The PSUs should be vitalised. Issues of the deprived and marginalised classes like dalits and minorities should get more attention, Sen said.

Is this the SYMPTOM of Winter Blues?

Trinamul Congress candidate Firoza Bibi defeated Paramananda Bharati of CPI (supported by Left Front that includes ruling CPM) by 39,549 votes in the by-election held on January 5, whose result was declared on January 9.

During the violent Nandigram movement in 2007 Bibi’s youngest son Sheikh Imdadul was killed in police firing on March 14, 2007.

“I have lost my son - Raja (Imdadul’s nick name). His character was similar to a king and he sacrificed his life during the fight. This win is dedicated to my son’s sacrifice and others who also sacrificed their lives. With this verdict, I have received a chance to live with many sons and I will be vocal in the Assembly to resolve the false cases filed against many people in Nandigram in district by the police” she told media.

It is widely said that the police had targeted Raja because he was trying to carry the injured away from the battle zone.

The government had tried to acquire farmland for a chemical hub in the area early 2007 and Nandigram, located about 170 km southeast of Kolkata, at the meeting point of the Hooghly and the Haldi Rivers, remained theatre of political violence all through 2007. The farmers resisted their land acquisition. After much violence involving police and Communist cadres, which saw several deaths in the Muslim dominated area the government had to shift the project from there.

The Nandigram seat fell vacant after sitting CPI MLA Sheikh Mohammed Ilyas resigned following disclosure, in a sting operation, of his involvement in corrupt practices.

Besides Nandigram in East Midnapore, the bypoll was also held for Para and Sujapur assembly seats in Purulia and Malda districts respectively. While Mausam Noor of Congress won Sujapur Minu Bauri of CPM won Para seat.

 We make so much HUE and cry about environment, ecology and global warming! On the other hand, it is claimed that Panipat’s petro-chem hub has to benefit polymer units in Northern states!Panipat, the ancient and historical city of Haryana, is all set to welcome the most prestigious project to become the petro chemical hub in North India. Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) along with Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) are working jointly on this proposal.It is expected that with the completion of this project downstream industries, especially polymer-based units in the northern states, will be benefited the most. Sources HSIIDC informed that a total of 4,000 acres of land is required for this project. However till now only 900 acres have been acquired. Officials of HSIIDC are still working on issues like ownership rights, development model to adopt and procedure to follow. Total investment required for the project is Rs35 billion. The HSIIDC further informed that currently IOCL is associated with them, however, in future they may get associated with any other organization depending on the progress of the project.The new complex is likely to attract an investment of more than Rs150 billion. Besides providing employment to about 15,000 persons directly, it will also generate indirect job opportunities through ancillary units.
So called Nobel laureate the most valuable brahaminical ICON of indian Intelligentsia advocates LPG Mafia saying acquisition of land by the government should be the last recourse to build industry.Ironically ,he was critical of the way land was acquired in Singur but came out in support of the Nano project. “There is no reason not to purchase land directly if you believe in market economy,” he told an interactive session attended by chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and industries minister Nirupam Sen.The industry, he said, should first try buying land from owners directly. He said purchasing land directly from Singur farmers shouldn’t have been a problem for the Tatas at a time they were buying British Steel (Corus).After the project left Bengal, the government has allowed industry to acquire land directly, changing its earlier stand to acquire land and lease it to companies. It hasn’t produced the desired results, though, as land holdings are highly fragmented in the state.

Finance minister Asim Dasgupta, who was moderating the session, said the Tatas would have faced problems in acquiring land on their own.

Sen, however, stressed the importance of security, which he said had to be ensured by the government and the Opposition. “Once it was decided that (a) factory will come up on the land in Singur, it was not right to go back on it.”Sen defended the right to criticism in a democracy but warned it shouldn’t be stretched so far that it harmed industry and Bengal eventually. “Industry will want to remain open and operate. The problem is if a large political party says production has to stop, production will stop here, maybe by a bandh also.”Sen called for ushering in social change to maintain continuity or paramparya, saying no business house would be interested in investing in Bengal unless that was ensured.

Economist Pranab Bardhan, who believes land should be taken for industry only after paying “adequate compensation to farmers”, proposed that the process be carried out by an independent body. Professor Amiya Bagchi said people must be convinced about land acquisition first, while sociologist Partha Chattopadhyay underscored the importance of the unorganised sector in Bengal’s progress.

Meanwhile,Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee challenged the Opposition on last Sunday by saying that the land acquired for the small car project in Singur will only be used for industrial purposes. Addressing the 22nd West Bengal State Electricity Board (WBSEB) employees’ union state conference at Barasat, Bhattacharjee accused the Opposition of “creating all sorts of problems for the government when it tries to undertake any kind of development work for which land acquisition is required”.

“They are a harmful power. In North 24 Parganas, they are preventing us from starting work on the widening of National Highway 34. Like Singur, the Trinamool Congress is causing disruptions here too. It was because of them that the Tata Motors factory could not come up. Now they are trying to create more trouble by demanding that the government returns all the acquired land,” he added. Bhattacharjee, however, claimed all was not lost. “Some good news is coming up. I just want to say that only factories can come up on the Singur land, which has been acquired for industry. We will make it happen,” he said.

The Bengal government today handed over around 750 acres to Jai Balaji Group for its proposed steel plant at Raghunathpur in Purulia.

Jai Balaji is the third company that has promised to start work on its proposed project in the state despite problems over land acquisition and meltdown in the steel sector. Sajjan Jindal’s JSW Bengal and home-grown Shyam Sel are the other two companies that have begun groundwork for their projects.The company will invest Rs 4,000 crore in the next three years in the first phase, comprising a 2-million-tonne (mt) steel plant, 400MW power unit and 1mt cement facility.

Bengal industry minister Nirupam Sen praised Jai Balaji’s move in the current economic environment. “I am happy that all our investors are still committed to their respective projects,” Sen said. He warned that the spate of investment proposals would come down in 2009. “It will be wrong to say we will remain insulated from the global meltdown. Bengal may not see the upswing witnessed in the last three years,” he said.

Stressing that development projects should not be an issue of political confrontation, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee on Wednesday termed the withdrawal of the Nano car plant from Singur as a “sad” episode.
Addressing the concluding ceremony of the 22nd Industrial Trade Fair at Milan Mela ground, Chatterjee said: “On the issue of all round development there should be no conflict, no hesitation and no competition.” He said that land acquisition is not unique to Bengal and it has happened across the country.

“There is a propaganda that there is no scope of industrialisation in West Bengal following the withdrawal of the Nano project,” he said while sharing the dais with the state Industry Minister Nirupam Sen. “I am totally out of the political scenario and will remain out of it. But development should not be a matter of confrontation.”

The Speaker also put his weight behind the organising of fairs at Kolkata Maidan. “There is a lot of talks going on about pollution. Of the 365 days in a year, if fairs are held for 100 days there should be no opposition to it.”

Insisting that he is not criticising the judiciary, he also questioned why books should not be sold at the Maidan.

According to Somnath, the policy of confrontation and fractured policies have made the parliamentary democracy weak. “I got the opportunity to enter Parliament in 1971, but looking back in 2008 I feel sad that the respect once the parliamentarians received is missing now,” he added.

First aerotropolis in India to come up in West Bengal’s Durgapur!
New Delhi, Jan 11: The first airport city project of the country would come up near Durgapur in West Bengal by 2011 as the process of acquiring 2,363 acres of land has begun with the issuance of a notification to this effect recently.

 The aerotropolis or an airport city, proposed to come up at the Andal-Faridpur block of Bardhaman district, would have an airport and related infrastructure spread over 650 acres, an IT and industrial park on about 550 acres, a housing project on 650 acres and a hospital, schools, community shopping areas and other structures on another 450 acres.

Despite the stiff resistance to land acquisition in Singur and Nandigram affecting industrial projects in the state, the process of land acquisition for the aerotropolis was initiated by the Bengal government by issuing a notification a few weeks ago.

"The notification has been issued... There is no resistance from the people as their dependence on land and agriculture is far less than in other parts of the state. Most of the land here is barren," Bengal Aerotropolis Projects Ltd (BAPL) Director Raj Shekhar Agrawal said here.

While the total project cost would be about Rs 10,000 crore, BAPL and its partners would be putting in about Rs 600 crore in the first phase in which the airport and related infrastructure would be developed by 2011, he said.

Learn about the World Coatings Market
World Coatings Market

This report analyzes the worldwide markets for Coatings in Million Gallons and US$ Million. The major Product segments analyzed are Architectural Coatings (Exterior Solvent Based Architectural Coatings, Exterior Water Based Architectural Coatings, Interior Solvent Based Architectural Coatings, Interior Water Based Architectural Coatings, Architectural Lacquers, and Other Architectural Coatings), OEM Product Coatings (Automotive and Other Transportation Equipment Finishes, Appliances Finishes, Wood Finishes, Metal Finishes, Container Finishes, Machinery and Equipment Finishes, Non-Wood Finishes, Paper and Paperboard Finishes, Electrical Insulation Coatings, and Powder Coatings, Other Industrial Product Coatings, & Other OEM Product Coatings), and Special Purpose Coatings (Industrial Maintenance Coatings, Automotive Finishes, and Other Special Purpose Coatings). The report provides separate comprehensive analytics for the US, Canada, Japan, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Latin America. Annual forecasts are provided for each region for the period of 2001 through 2015. A Seven-year historic analysis is also provided for these markets with annual market analytics. The report profiles 392 companies including many key and niche players worldwide such as Akzo Nobel N.V., Ashland Inc., BASF SE, Benjamin Moore & Co., CFC International, Inc., Columbia Chemical Corporation, Cook Composites and Polymers, Cray Vallery, DuPont Coatings and Color Technologies, Eastman Chemical Company, H.B. Fuller Company, Hempel A/S, ICI Paints, Kansai Paint Co Ltd, Lanxess AG, Nippon Paint Co Ltd, PPG Industries, Inc., Rohm and Haas Company, The Sherwin-Williams Company, Total S.A., Sartomer Company, Inc., and Valspar Corporation. Market data and analytics are derived from primary and secondary research. Company profiles are mostly extracted from URL research and reported select online sources.
American consumers crushed by job losses
Market seeks to read earnings, economic tea leaves
Fourth-quarter earnings 'disaster' sets 2009 up for mild recovery
Fourth-quarter earnings 'disaster' sets 2009 up for mild recovery
2009 Honda Fit: Frugal fun with a model makeover
Stocks in focus for Monday
Russia, Ukraine reportedly reach deal on natural-gas flows
For some stock-fund managers, cash is king
Fourth-quarter earnings 'disaster' sets 2009 up for mild recovery
Citi in talks to sell brokerage business, reports say

Last update: 8:12 a.m. EST Dec. 16, 2008
NEW YORK, Dec 16, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Reportlinker
ANALYSIS-Victory elusive for both Israel and Hamas
Reuters - 36 minutes ago
By Luke Baker JERUSALEM, Jan 11 (Reuters) - When the firing eventually stops in the Gaza Strip, the question of "who won?" will hang heavily over the death and destruction.
Protests in Lebanon, Syria against Gaza offensive The Associated Press
Israeli Troops Push Into Gaza City in Day of Fierce Fighting New York Times
BBC News - AFP - Bloomberg - Sify
all 18,395 news articles »  ?????? ??? »

SP to review support to UPA govt; says Amar Singh
SamayLive - 1 hour ago
New Delhi, Jan 11: The Samajwadi Party continued to speak in different voices with its leader Amar Singh today renewing a threat to review support to the UPA if it does not take firm action against Pakistan by January 14, a day after the party chief ...
Alliance with SP still possible: Khurshid Hindu
Sanjay Dutt's producer's worried Times of India - BBC News - Hindustan Times - Calcutta Telegraph
all 146 news articles »  ?????? ??? »

Getting Through Those Winter Blues, UK
Long cold nights and dull dark days - the British winter isn't fun for anyone. Travelling to and from work in the dark and spending all day cooped up in an artificially lit office can send some people into a downwards spiral of exhaustion, depression and anxiety. These symptoms, often referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) are thought to be a direct result of a lack of sunlight.
Source: Health News from Medical News Today 

Sunshine a welcome remedy to winter blues
Yvette Martinez     Updated: 1/8/2009 8:30:02 PM    Posted: 1/8/2009 6:55:49 PM
Clueless govt goes on ‘low-key’ ride
You are constantly referring only to the 38,000 registered autos. What about the tens of thousands of unregistered autos?

— Chief Justice S.S. Nijjar to advocate-general Balai Ray on Friday.

The answer to the scathing court query was blowing in the katatel-fuelled wind today with the government making it clear that it had no intention of moving against unregistered autos just yet.

First things first. How many unregistered autos are there on the streets of Calcutta, The Telegraph asked a transport official at Writers’ Buildings 24 hours after the court lashing.

“No one has a clue,” he said, on condition of anonymity.

Full marks for candour and callousness, in the true tradition of his big boss, Subhas Chakraborty.

[Unofficial estimates put the number of unregistered autos at “roughly equal” to the registered ones — around 30,000 unregistered against 38,000 registered.]

Next, what happens to the unregistered autos that the government was supposed to seize from July 18, 2008, The Telegraph asked the home secretary.

Nothing much at the moment, he mumbled.

Full marks for hum and haw, in the true tradition of his big boss, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who believes in waking up to a six-month deadline “one fine morning”.

'Illegal Bangladeshis have no business to be in India’
2009-01-11 [11:55:07 hrs]
Indicating stricter measures to check illegal immigration from Bangladesh, Home Minister P Chidambaram has said nationals from that country have "no business" to be in India without permission and that there is "no reason" why a large number of visas are being issued to them every month.
Chidambaram, who has been taking a close look at the security set up in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks, voiced concern over the "very ineffective" monitoring system to check whether a Bangladeshi coming to India has returned to his country after expiry of his visa or stayed on.

Noting that illegal immigration was causing "unexpected" demographic changes in Assam and West Bengal, he said, "I don't regard a Bangladeshi as a Muslim or a non-Muslim. He is a Bangladeshi. He has no business to come to India unless he has a visa. He has no business to live here unless he has a residence permit.

"He has no business to work here unless he has a work permit. He is a Bangladeshi. His religion is completely irrelevant," he told a private TV news channel.

To a question on steps to end illegal immigration, the Home Minister said, "I am now looking into what is happening on our borders, passport control points... I think we issue a very large number of visas to Bangladeshis every month.”

"There is no reason to issue so many visas. And there is very ineffective monitoring system (to check) whether the guy has gone back to Bangladesh or remained here," Chidambaram said. 
Truckers’ strike enters 7th day
11 Jan, 2009 [11:54 AM]
With the impasse between the transporters and government continuing, the truckers' strike entered the seventh day on Sunday, even as the Centre has called a meeting....Read More
Dawood's sister cannot be issued a passport, Centre tells HC
11 Jan, 2009 [11:53 AM]
The Centre has justified its move to deny a passport to underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's sister, Haseena Ibrahim Parker, by claiming before the Delhi High Court....Read More
Illicit opium cultivation is main source of income for Naxals
11 Jan, 2009 [11:52 AM]
Ever wondered how the Naxals get the money to procure latest arms and sustain their growing cadre? The answer lies in the obscure world of illicit....Read More
Somali pirates release seven Indians from hijacked vessel
11 Jan, 2009 [10:53 AM]
Seven Indians and the hijacked vessel, MV Delight, have been released by the pirates and they are safe, Directorate General of Shipping said in Mumbai on....Read More
Seven Indians released safely from hijacked vessel MV Delight
11 Jan, 2009 [10:51 AM]
Seven Indians and the hijacked vessel, MV Delight, have been released by the pirates and they are safe, Directorate General of Shipping said here on Saturday.....Read More
Rahul Gandhi as PM candidate was general comment: Pranab
11 Jan, 2009 [10:14 AM]
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said his statement about Congress MP Rahul Gandhi being a prime ministerial candidate was a general remark, though the....Read More
Gujrat likely to sign series of MoUs in renewable energy sector

11 Jan 2009, 2320 hrs IST, PTI

AHMEDABAD: The Government of Gujarat is likely to sign series of MoUs in the renewable energy sector, especially in the wind power segment, during 
the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit(VGGIS)-2009, state officials said on Sunday.

"Government has received a good response in all the four sectors with new key players of the industry showing willingness to avail benefits being offered in the state," Minister of Energy and Petrochemicals Saurabh Patel said.

"The new policies declared have not only found favour with the investors but also addresses the issue of climate change and global warming," Patel added.

Some of the big names in renewable energy sector expected to sign MoUs during VGGIS-2009 are Solitaire Energy, Vestas Wind Energy Technology, Suzlon Gujarat Windpark, Next Gen Syndicate, Astonfield Solar, Wellspun Urja, Enercon India Ltd, Moser Baer Energy, Caritas International and Swiss Park Vanija, Abellon Bio-energy Ltd and others.

The companies are expected to sign agreements for setting up power plant projects in renewable energy sector for generation of 50 to 1,000 MW, state officials said.

Likewise, the conventional power sector is also expected to attract major companies like L&T Power Development Limited, who is scheduled to sign MoU for setting up 1,680 MW coal-based power plant at Junagadh or Hazira, besides Shapoorji Pallonji Energy for a 2000 MW plant, GMR for 2000 MW power plant and Adani power for 2000 MW power plant at Dholera.

Govt unveils exhibition showcasing Nano on the eve of VGGIS

11 Jan 2009, 2218 hrs IST, PTI
AHMEDABAD: The State government, projecting Gujarat as the best destination for investment, on Sunday unveiled a mega exhibition, showcasing two of 
its most siginficant achievements, the Nano car and the Bomabardier metro train coach projects.

The exhibition, which began today on the eve of Vibrant Gujarat Global Investor Summit (VGGIS) 2009, has on display for the first time in Gujarat, Ratan Tata's Rs 1 lakh car Nano, among the 227 stall which are part of the exhibition.

Speaking on the ocassion, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said projects like Nano and Bombardier have come here because they have faith in Gujarat.

"There is something in Gujarat which is attracting companies from all over the world. They are coming here because they know they can gain from the relationship with Gujarat. They have faith in the state," Modi said while inagurating the exhibition which showcases companies from power and gas, engineering, SMEs, health and education to name a few.

"It is only because of the the good governance in the state that Nano and Bomabardier have come here," he added.

Emphasising the need to increase the manufacturing capabilities of the state the Chief Minister said, "In past Gujaratis have been known as traders. They would take goods from one place, deliver it to other and in between take the
commission from both. But now the things have changed. Traders are becoming manufacturers."

"I believe a manufacturer has a better future than a trader. Only by enhancing our manufactuirng capabilities we can become the leading economy," Modi added.

Pakistan govt has responded cooperatively: Mulford - 30 minutes ago
THE POINT ABOUT PAKISTAN: US Ambassador David Mulford says terrorist attacks on Mumbai had Pakistani link. is on mobile now.
Mumbai dossier: Pakistan yet to respond, says Pranab Hindu
An Indian version of Gaza Livemint
Reuters India - - Press Trust of India - Times of India
all 131 news articles »  ?????? ??? »

Who will save Israel from itself? - 1 hour ago
By Mark LeVine One by one the justifications given by Israel for its latest war in Gaza are unravelling. The argument that this is a purely defensive war, launched only after Hamas broke a six-month ceasefire has been challenged, not just by observers ...
Major cities stage fresh protests over Gaza AFP
Israel and Hamas Vow to Press on With Fighting in Gaza Voice of America
Reuters - Xinhua - Times Online - New York Times
all 18,683 news articles »  ?????? ??? »
In past two months, East Tennesseans have seen about 13 days of sunshine. For some people, a string of cloudy days can lead to a feeling of depression.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is also known as winter depression. The major thing is there is not enough seratonin because of the lack of light.

Sue Mitchell is a therapist at Peninsula. She says gray skies can actually affect how some people feel and act.

"The grumpiness, the moodiness, the weight gain, just confusion not wanting to do the things they used to do."

Seasonal Affective Disorder usually starts in October and November and can last through April or May, but there are solutions.

"You can do anti-depressants. You can also do some therapy, some cognitive behavior therapy is the word they use for it, in other words just talking," Mitchell said.

Plenty of artificial light could also help during rainy days to help offset the moodiness caused by SAD.

"Some techniques where you can do the light, have like a fake sunlight in the morning. You have a light, it goes from off to dim to brighter and brighter, it effectively gives you a sunrise in your bedroom," Mitchell said.

Healthy doses of some outdoor sunlight and activity are some other alternatives. "Light exercise because again it's getting out when the sun comes up first thing in the morning would be more helpful than at night when it's going down

Mitchell says if you have experienced depression during the winter for two years in a row, it may be time for an official diagnosis.

"You need to talk to some sort of professional so it can be diagnosed so they can get you the help most appropriate."

Mitchell says she has seen an increase in clients this winter, but she believes it could be a combination of people experiencing SAD and going through lay-offs during this declining economy.

The outcome of the Central committee meeting of the CPM held at Kochi had proved beyond doubt that the "dream of a secular Third 
Front" displacing the Congress and BJP at the centre had failed miserably, KPCC President Ramesh Chennithala claimed on Sunday.

"There are no takers for a Third Front. CPM General secretary Prakash Karat, who mooted the front led by BSP chief Mayawati now says the Left is not for an alliance with BSP," Chennithala told reporters.

Karat was in "a pathetic" position busy trying to woo partners of NDA and UPA. CPM which had now struck alliance with TDP, AIADMK and JD-S should remember that these parties had always forged ties for their own gains.

Karat was `inventing ideas' to criticise the UPA Government to cover-up the administrative failure in the states ruled by CPM-led LDF, Chennithala alleged.

Congress-led UPA government at the centre had opposed the Israeli attack on Gaza right from the start and expressed solidarity with the Palestinian people. However, CPM was spreading false propaganda on the issue with an eye on the vote bank, he charged.

He said the KPCC would launch a campaign against the `anti-people' policies of LDF Government from Jan 15 in three phases. Congress workers would lay siege to the secretariat and district collectorates on Jan 20.
Dow sees India sales driven by specialty productsReuters, Wednesday January 7 2009 * Sees 2008 sales in India up 25 pct from a year ago
* Sees 2008 sales in India of about 25 billion rupees
By Euan Rocha
MUMBAI, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Dow Chemical Co expects its portfolio of specialty chemical products to drive its growth in India and estimates that its 2008 annual sales in the country rose 25 percent from a year ago, a company official said on Wednesday.
Ramesh Ramachandran, head of Dow's operations in India said the company currently expects 2008 sales of about 25 billion rupees, or about $512 million. In 2007 the company posted sales in the country of 20 billion rupees, or about $410 million.
Dow, the largest U.S. chemical maker, has operated in India for more than 50 years and markets chemicals used in paints, pharmaceuticals, automobiles, cosmetics and other products.
"Across the gamut the specialty portfolio has provided the impetus for growth," said Ramachandran in an interview with Reuters.
Midland, Michigan-based Dow is currently targeting sales of $1 billion in India by 2010 and it is confident of achieving sales growth despite the global economic slowdown.
Dow and other chemical companies are struggling because of a recession in most developed countries and a sharp slowdown in many emerging economies.
The company said last month it would close 20 facilities, divest several businesses and cut 5,000 jobs to cope with the slump.
If anything, the global economic slowdown has reinforced the notion that geographic diversification, needs to be a critical component of the strategy, said Ramachandran.
The chemical maker is currently in discussions with potential joint venture partners in India, said Ramachandran.
"There are areas in India where we may not have the market expertise, but have the technology and those are the areas that we would look into a joint venture model," he said.
Last year, the company signed a 50:50 joint venture agreement with Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Ltd to set-up a manufacturing facility in Gujarat at a total cost of about $250 million.
The facility, which is due to be operational by 2011, will produce chloromethanes, which are used as a solvent in the manufacture of pharmaceutical products and other chemical processing applications.
Dow is following a joint venture strategy to grow its highly cyclical and low margin commodity chemicals business, while investing heavily in more profitable specialty chemical products.
However, this strategy was partially derailed last month when Kuwait scrapped a deal to form a $17.4 billion petrochemical joint venture with Dow, potentially upsetting Dow's plan to buy specialty chemical maker Rohm & Haas Co. Dow planned to use the proceeds from the Kuwaiti joint venture to pay down debt that would have been used for the Rohm & Haas Co acquisition. [ID:nLS308821]
Despite, strong sales growth, Dow also has faced a great deal of opposition in India.
Many Indians link Dow with the catastrophic industrial accident, which occurred in Bhopal in central India in 1984, when tonnes of toxic gas leaked from a pesticide plant owned at the time by Union Carbide.
Nearly 3,800 people died soon after exposure to the gas, while tens of thousands of others fell ill. Union Carbide later became a subsidiary of Dow. There is still argument over who should clean up the site, which remains polluted.
Dow's plans to construct a $100 million research and development center about 200 km (120 miles) from Mumbai were put on hold after protesters, worried about industrial pollution, set fire to the construction site in July.
"To find that a science and technology investment can run into activism issues sends a very dangerous signal," said Ramachandran.
"Growth in India purely by building roads and bridges is not sustainable. You can build the infrastructure, you can build airports, but these are all enablers -- at the end of the day growth in the country is going to come because there is innovation here." ($1= 48.8 rupees) (Reporting by Euan Rocha; editing by Carol Bishopric)

Year when Dow problem was to end, but hasn’t
Font Size  -A +A
Nisha Nambiar
Posted: Dec 30, 2008 at 0335 hrs IST
Pune Chief Minister Ashok Chavan’s promise to end the Dow Chemical imbroglio by year-end seems unlikely to be fulfilled. He made the commitment on the floor of the House during the Nagpur session.
Last week, he told The Indian Express he would stand by the commitment and end the row before New Year starts.

“I have sought reports from the affected parties and the company,” he said. When queried on a timeframe he said, “Let the reports come. I will decide accordingly.”

The issue was raised by BJP members who wanted all Dow Chemical projects to be scrapped. With Gujarat keen on the project, some analysts feel the BJP may have made a political move.

“The company has been denied permission in Europe and the US for manufacturing poisonous chemicals. It is surprising our country welcomes it,” said BJP MLA Devendra Phadnavis who had raised the issue in the House.

It has been almost a year since villagers of Shinde and Vasuli rose against the Dow India’s Rs 400-crore proposed global R&D centre having around 500 researchers on 40 hectares of grazing land at Shinde village in Chakan, some 30 km from Pune.

The standoff continued throughout the year, which saw a host of non-government organisations and later the politically powerful Warkaris supporting the villagers, fearing pollution of river Indrayani.

In January, villagers blocked the road to the construction site. In July, when the company attempted reconstruction with police protection, Warkaris demolished the construction at the site.

In October, Warkaris threatened to a stage demonstration at the venue of the Commonwealth Youth Games. The then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh had to issue a notice to the company to halt construction work. He also proposed a panel to address the problem. A panel appointed under retired justice R J Sinkar in November was asked to submit a report by December 19. It sought an extension on December 17, but it was denied. It will have to hear complaints of the public regarding the project and conduct site inspections. But the deadline is long over.

It’s raining SEZs
Four SEZs on 2,100 hectares will bring in Rs 8,308 crore as investment and create 60,000 new jobs, putting Pune firmly ahead of the rest of the state in the SEZ investment race. Eighteen more SEZ proposals are in pipeline for Pune. Two SEZs will be in the IT sector and two multi-product ones. Both IT SEZs feature new entrants — Cavalcade Properties and Skyzone — while the multi-product ones involve players already into SEZs — D S Kulkarni and Bharat Forge.

Joint drill, with Mumbai peg
- India-US war games to draw on lessons in urban warfare 
New Delhi, Jan. 10: The Indian and US armies are planning a new series of joint exercises, a set of which will draw on lessons in urban warfare in the wake of the November attack by terrorists in Mumbai.

“We in the Indian Army are looking towards taking our relationship further. Our co-operation has come a long way,” Lieutenant General A.S. Sekhon, India’s Director General of Military Operations (DGMO), is understood to have told his counterparts during a meeting hosted by the US Army, Pacific, at its headquarters in Hawaii.

“It started from a lower level of co-operation, with subject matter engagements to tactical level exercises with boots on the ground, and I think the doctrinal exchange... has really paved the way to take this co-operation further higher,” Sekhon has been quoted as saying in a US Army statement.

New York police have already begun training officers in heavy weapons to equip the force’s emergency service unit to fight off a commando-style attack like the Mumbai siege. Representatives had come to Mumbai to study the attacks and draw lessons.

Sekhon was leading the Indian delegation at the latest (13th) meeting of the India-US executive steering group (ESG) of the two armies. The ESG reviewed relations between the two armies in 2008 and drew up a fresh calendar of events for 2009. The ESG is one of the bodies under the Defence Policy Group, the apex committee that decides military-to-military relations between India and the US.

Senior defence ministry sources said the joint drills to follow were expected to be more complex than the exercises of the past. This goes for naval and air exercises as well.

The US delegation was led by Lt Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon, commander, US Army, Pacific.

The ESG meeting follows on the heels of the visit by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, who shuttled between Islamabad and Delhi to defuse the tension in the wake of the Mumbai attacks. During his meetings here the two sides were understood to have shared security perceptions, not only on the terror attacks, but also on Afghanistan.

“Since 1995, we have met annually to enhance our relationship and we have made significant progress over the last many years,” the statement quoted Mixon as saying. “Our relationship with India has been and will continue to be a centrepiece of our strategy with the United States Army in the Pacific,” he said.

The two sides are understood to have agreed on an “eight-initiative programme” during the visit of India’s army chief, General Deepak Kapoor, to the US last year, when he was hosted by the US Army Chief of Staff, General George Casey. Details of the eight-point programme have not been shared, but the two sides believe that military cooperation must intensify.

“The need for these initiatives are more urgent now in light of the Mumbai terrorist attacks,” the US statement quoted Mixon as saying. “A great deal of work has been done by our staff in preparation for the ESG, and I am optimistic that we can work together to produce outstanding results. I would like to continue to build upon these successes so we can enhance our professional and personal friendships.”

There have been more than 50 India-US joint military drills in the last six years. Though Pranab Mukherjee as defence minister signed a 10-year framework co-operation agreement for the India-US defence relationship — that governs military-to-military ties — there are outstanding issues that are proving a major hitch.

Among these are India’s hesitation and US insistence on signing three agreements that would make transfer of military technology and sharing of experiences wider.

These are: an End User Verification Agreement, under which Americans want to carry out annual onsite inspection of all systems sold under government-to-government deals and all sensitive technologies bought directly from defence firms; a Logistics Supply Agreement that would allow ships and aircraft of both sides to use each other’s berthing facilities and refuel on a barter basis; and a Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement, a prerequisite for some sensitive American defence sales.

India last month decided to place an order for eight Boeing-made P8i maritime surveillance aircraft for the navy. Earlier in 2008, India contracted six C-130J Hercules transport aircraft for its special forces for $962 million (Rs 4,646 crore).

New race to explore the Himalayas

Navin Singh Khadka

Himalayan peaks such as Mount Machhapuchre are feeling climate impacts. The Hindu-Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region in South Asia has remained a nagging gap in the global climate change knowledge bank.

In the absence of field studies and adequate data, the impact of global warming in the area stretching from Afghanistan in the west to Burma in the east is largely unknown.

In effect, there has been virtually no climate change adaptation plan for the zone, which is ecologically hypersensitive, yet a vital natural service provider.

Millions of people in the region, most of them poor ones who would be hardest hit by climate change, rely on these natural systems including river waters and forests.

But if what experts and government officials from the region and international organisations have recently agreed on is translated into action, the crippling information gap could become a matter of the past.

The temperature is risingt and that means species are shifting northwards. This is quite alarming

Eklabya Sharma,

International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development

They have come up with a plan to first gather key information on the impacts of climate change in the region, and then chalk out responses.

"At present the lack of basic environmental data for the Himalayan region is so serious that the IPCC, the world's apex body on climate change, says that the region is a white spot for data," say officials with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

ICIMOD is a Kathmandu-based international organisation that together with UNESCO recently organised a meeting for the initiative.

"The meeting discussed ways of systematically gathering and sharing the information needed, developing a reliable picture of the present situation, and formulating approaches to respond," they say.

The regional initiative is in line with UNESCO's strategy for co-ordinated research on global change in mountain biosphere reserves around the world.

Alarming signs

Seven landscapes have been identified in the HKH region for the studies, and they are transboundary areas between eight countries - with Burma the farthest east, and Kyrgyzstan at the western end.

"It will be a comprehensive study of all ecological aspects," says Eklabya Sharma, environmental programme manager with ICIMOD.

"Before, such studies have happened here and there, but this time we are adopting a transect approach, which means it will cover latitudinal (from east to west) and altitudinal (high altitude) locations.

Lakes are still used as playgrounds when frozen

"The idea is to encourage everyone from big global programmes to individual researchers to focus their efforts in these sites, under a co-ordinated arrangement that helps make all the information available for everyone."

Although scientists will have cryosphere issues, Ramsar sites, biodiversity hotpots and endemic species on their radars, they will be zooming in on high altitudes that are already bearing the brunt of climate change in the region.

"This is where we have found the temperature rising between 0.1C to 0.4C in a year, and that means species are shifting northwards at the rate of 80 to 200 metres in 10 years," says Mr Sharma.

"This is quite alarming."

That is one of the reasons why, immediately after the meeting, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and ICIMOD launched a study in the trans-Himalayan Kailash sacred landscape area, criss-crossing Nepal and Chinese-controlled Tibet.

The two organisations together issued a warning in 2002 that 20 glacial lakes in Nepal and 24 in Bhutan were rapidly filling up, due to global warming-induced fast glacier melting, and that they could burst anytime.

The report was based on satellite images, but there have been no follow-up studies, even though glaciologists have called for urgent further investigation.

Out of balance

There are 3,300 glaciers in the Nepalese Himalayas and 2,300 of them contain glacial lakes that are quietly growing because of rising temperatures. But a sufficiently close eye is not being kept on them, campaigners say.

Fast-melting Himalayan glaciers often find a place in climate change reports, papers and discussions.

But how fast are they melting? And with what consequences for Himalayan ecology and the enormous human population depending on it?

The lack of basic environmental data for the Himalayan region is so serious that the IPCC says the region is a white spot for data


These are questions awaiting long overdue field studies.

"We need to get the data to fill in the gap the IPCC report has," says Gregory Greenwood, of the Mountain Research Initiative, who also participated in the meeting aimed at launching co-ordinated studies in the HKH region.

"Records of directly measured glacier mass balances are few and stretch back only to the mid-20th Century," reads one of the latest IPCC reports.

"Because of the very intensive fieldwork required, these records are biased towards logistically and morphologically 'easy' glaciers.

"An effective strategy for advancing the understanding of adverse impacts of climate change in Asia will require strengthening the academic and research institutions.

"It will be necessary to conduct innovative research on the response of human and natural systems to multiple stresses at various levels and scales," the report says.

That goal could perhaps be met to some extent if the latest bid for launching detailed field studies in the HKH region works.

Money talks

But those who have been in the climate business for years now say it is largely a money matter.

"The need for such studies is a compelling story, but true success will be getting the funding," says Mr Greenwood.

"Organisations that have been advocating such studies will have to keep beating the drum."

Then there are the ultra-sensitive geopolitical issues that have seen countries in the region not sharing information on aspects such as water resources.

But on a positive note, key regional players have of late hinted that they may co-operate in the fight against climate change.

In a recently released white paper on climate change, China has committed itself to international co-operation.

"In recent years, China's president and premier have both stated China's position on international co-operation on climate change at multilateral and bilateral exchanges, energetically promoting global action to cope with climate change," read the document.

Another major player in the region, India, has stressed a regional approach in the climate change action plan it launched earlier this year.

"That has been quite encouraging for us as most of the studies will have to be transboundary, and that will mean co-operation on the part of the countries in the region," says Mr Sharma.

If the co-operation is there and of course, the money, the HKH region will perhaps no more remain a hole in the climate change information repository.

Himalayan peoples depend directly on the region's ecological health

(Source: BBC World Service. )

Call for signatures

The following Declaration was prepared by a committee elected for this purpose at the Paris Ecosocialist Conference of 2007 (Ian Angus, Joel Kovel, Michael Löwy), with the help of Danielle Follett. It will be distributed at the World Social Forum in Belem, Brazil, in January 2009.

To add your name to the list of signatories who support the analysis and political perspectives set forth in this statement, email your name and country of residence to

The Belem Ecosocialist Declaration

“The world is suffering from a fever due to climate change,
and the disease is the capitalist development model.”
— Evo Morales, president of Bolivia, September 2007

Humanity’s Choice

Humanity today faces a stark choice: ecosocialism or barbarism.

We need no more proof of the barbarity of capitalism, the parasitical system that exploits humanity and nature alike. Its sole motor is the imperative toward profit and thus the need for constant growth. It wastefully creates unnecessary products, squandering the environment’s limited resources and returning to it only toxins and pollutants. Under capitalism, the only measure of success is how much more is sold every day, every week, every year – involving the creation of vast quantities of products that are directly harmful to both humans and nature, commodities that cannot be produced without spreading disease, destroying the forests that produce the oxygen we breathe, demolishing ecosystems, and treating our water, air and soil like sewers for the disposal of industrial waste.

Capitalism’s need for growth exists on every level, from the individual enterprise to the system as a whole. The insatiable hunger of corporations is facilitated by imperialist expansion in search of ever greater access to natural resources, cheap labor and new markets. Capitalism has always been ecologically destructive, but in our lifetimes these assaults on the earth have accelerated. Quantitative change is giving way to qualitative transformation, bringing the world to a tipping point, to the edge of disaster. A growing body of scientific research has identified many ways in which small temperature increases could trigger irreversible, runaway effects – such as rapid melting of the Greenland ice sheet or the release of methane buried in permafrost and beneath the ocean – that would make catastrophic climate change inevitable.

Left unchecked, global warming will have devastating effects on human, animal and plant life. Crop yields will drop drastically, leading to famine on a broad scale. Hundreds of millions of people will be displaced by droughts in some areas and by rising ocean levels in others. Chaotic, unpredictable weather will become the norm. Air, water and soil will be poisoned. Epidemics of malaria, cholera and even deadlier diseases will hit the poorest and most vulnerable members of every society.

The impact of the ecological crisis is felt most severely by those whose lives have already been ravaged by imperialism in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and indigenous peoples everywhere are especially vulnerable. Environmental destruction and climate change constitute an act of aggression by the rich against the poor.

Ecological devastation, resulting from the insatiable need to increase profits, is not an accidental feature of capitalism: it is built into the system’s DNA and cannot be reformed away. Profit-oriented production only considers a short-term horizon in its investment decisions, and cannot take into account the long-term health and stability of the environment. Infinite economic expansion is incompatible with finite and fragile ecosystems, but the capitalist economic system cannot tolerate limits on growth; its constant need to expand will subvert any limits that might be imposed in the name of “sustainable development.” Thus the inherently unstable capitalist system cannot regulate its own activity, much less overcome the crises caused by its chaotic and parasitical growth, because to do so would require setting limits upon accumulation – an unacceptable option for a system predicated upon the rule: Grow or Die!

If capitalism remains the dominant social order, the best we can expect is unbearable climate conditions, an intensification of social crises and the spread of the most barbaric forms of class rule, as the imperialist powers fight among themselves and with the global south for continued control of the world’s diminishing resources.

At worst, human life may not survive.

Capitalist Strategies for Change

There is no lack of proposed strategies for contending with ecological ruin, including the crisis of global warming looming as a result of the reckless increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The great majority of these strategies share one common feature: they are devised by and on behalf of the dominant global system, capitalism.

It is no surprise that the dominant global system which is responsible for the ecological crisis also sets the terms of the debate about this crisis, for capital commands the means of production of knowledge, as much as that of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Accordingly, its politicians, bureaucrats, economists and professors send forth an endless stream of proposals, all variations on the theme that the world’s ecological damage can be repaired without disruption of market mechanisms and of the system of accumulation that commands the world economy.

But a person cannot serve two masters – the integrity of the earth and the profitability of capitalism. One must be abandoned, and history leaves little question about the allegiances of the vast majority of policy-makers. There is every reason, therefore, to radically doubt the capacity of established measures to check the slide to ecological catastrophe.

And indeed, beyond a cosmetic veneer, the reforms over the past thirty-five years have been a monstrous failure. Isolated improvements do of course occur, but they are inevitably overwhelmed and swept away by the ruthless expansion of the system and the chaotic character of its production.

One example demonstrates the failure: in the first four years of the 21st Century, global carbon emissions were nearly three times as great per annum as those of the decade of the 1990s, despite the appearance of the Kyoto Protocols in 1997.

Kyoto employs two devices: the “Cap and Trade” system of trading pollution credits to achieve certain reductions in emissions, and projects in the global south – the so-called “Clean Development Mechanisms” – to offset emissions in the highly industrialized nations. These instruments all rely upon market mechanisms, which means, first of all, that atmospheric carbon dioxide becomes a commodity under the control of the same interests that created global warming. Polluters are not compelled to reduce their carbon emissions, but allowed to use their power over money to control the carbon market for their own ends, which include the devastating exploration for yet more carbon-based fuels. Nor is there a limit to the amount of emission credits which can be issued by compliant governments.

Since verification and evaluation of results are impossible, the Kyoto regime is not only incapable of controlling emissions, it also provides ample opportunities for evasion and fraud of all kinds. As even the Wall Street Journal put it in March, 2007, emissions trading “would make money for some very large corporations, but don’t believe for a minute that this charade would do much about global warming.”

The Bali climate meetings in 2007 opened the way for even greater abuses in the period ahead. Bali avoided any mention of the goals for drastic carbon reduction put forth by the best climate science (90% by 2050); it abandoned the peoples of the global south to the mercy of capital by giving jurisdiction over the process to the World Bank; and made offsetting of carbon pollution even easier.

In order to affirm and sustain our human future, a revolutionary transformation is needed, where all particular struggles take part in a greater struggle against capital itself. This larger struggle cannot remain merely negative and anti-capitalist. It must announce and build a different kind of society, and this is ecosocialism.

The Ecosocialist Alternative

The ecosocialist movement aims to stop and to reverse the disastrous process of global warming in particular and of capitalist ecocide in general, and to construct a radical and practical alternative to the capitalist system. Ecosocialism is grounded in a transformed economy founded on the non-monetary values of social justice and ecological balance. It criticizes both capitalist “market ecology” and productivist socialism, which ignored the earth’s equilibrium and limits. It redefines the path and goal of socialism within an ecological and democratic framework.

Ecosocialism involves a revolutionary social transformation, which will imply the limitation of growth and the transformation of needs by a profound shift away from quantitative and toward qualitative economic criteria, an emphasis on use-value instead of exchange-value.

These aims require both democratic decision-making in the economic sphere, enabling society to collectively define its goals of investment and production, and the collectivization of the means of production. Only collective decision-making and ownership of production can offer the longer-term perspective that is necessary for the balance and sustainability of our social and natural systems.

The rejection of productivism and the shift away from quantitative and toward qualitative economic criteria involve rethinking the nature and goals of production and economic activity in general. Essential creative, non-productive and reproductive human activities, such as householding, child-rearing, care, child and adult education, and the arts, will be key values in an ecosocialist economy.

Clean air and water and fertile soil, as well as universal access to chemical-free food and renewable, non-polluting energy sources, are basic human and natural rights defended by ecosocialism. Far from being “despotic,” collective policy-making on the local, regional, national and international levels amounts to society’s exercise of communal freedom and responsibility. This freedom of decision constitutes a liberation from the alienating economic “laws” of the growth-oriented capitalist system.

To avoid global warming and other dangers threatening human and ecological survival, entire sectors of industry and agriculture must be suppressed, reduced, or restructured and others must be developed, while providing full employment for all. Such a radical transformation is impossible without collective control of the means of production and democratic planning of production and exchange. Democratic decisions on investment and technological development must replace control by capitalist enterprises, investors and banks, in order to serve the long-term horizon of society’s and nature’s common good.

The most oppressed elements of human society, the poor and indigenous peoples, must take full part in the ecosocialist revolution, in order to revitalize ecologically sustainable traditions and give voice to those whom the capitalist system cannot hear. Because the peoples of the global south and the poor in general are the first victims of capitalist destruction, their struggles and demands will help define the contours of the ecologically and economically sustainable society in creation. Similarly, gender equality is integral to ecosocialism, and women’s movements have been among the most active and vocal opponents of capitalist oppression. Other potential agents of ecosocialist revolutionary change exist in all societies.

Such a process cannot begin without a revolutionary transformation of social and political structures based on the active support, by the majority of the population, of an ecosocialist program. The struggle of labour – workers, farmers, the landless and the unemployed – for social justice is inseparable from the struggle for environmental justice. Capitalism, socially and ecologically exploitative and polluting, is the enemy of nature and of labour alike.

Ecosocialism proposes radical transformations in:

1. the energy system, by replacing carbon-based fuels and biofuels with clean sources of power under community control: wind, geothermal, wave, and above all, solar power.

2. the transportation system, by drastically reducing the use of private trucks and cars, replacing them with free and efficient public transportation;

3. present patterns of production, consumption, and building, which are based on waste, inbuilt obsolescence, competition and pollution, by producing only sustainable and recyclable goods and developing green architecture;

4. food production and distribution, by defending local food sovereignty as far as this is possible, eliminating polluting industrial agribusinesses, creating sustainable agro-ecosystems and working actively to renew soil fertility.

To theorize and to work toward realizing the goal of green socialism does not mean that we should not also fight for concrete and urgent reforms right now. Without any illusions about “clean capitalism,” we must work to impose on the powers that be – governments, corporations, international institutions – some elementary but essential immediate changes:

*drastic and enforceable reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases, *development of clean energy sources, *provision of an extensive free public transportation system, *progressive replacement of trucks by trains, *creation of pollution clean-up programs, *elimination of nuclear energy, and war spending.

These and similar demands are at the heart of the agenda of the Global Justice movement and the World Social Forums, which have promoted, since Seattle in 1999, the convergence of social and environmental movements in a common struggle against the capitalist system.

Environmental devastation will not be stopped in conference rooms and treaty negotiations: only mass action can make a difference. Urban and rural workers, peoples of the global south and indigenous peoples everywhere are at the forefront of this struggle against environmental and social injustice, fighting exploitative and polluting multinationals, poisonous and disenfranchising agribusinesses, invasive genetically modified seeds, biofuels that only aggravate the current food crisis. We must further these social-environmental movements and build solidarity between anticapitalist ecological mobilizations in the North and the South.

This Ecosocialist Declaration is a call to action. The entrenched ruling classes are powerful, yet the capitalist system reveals itself every day more financially and ideologically bankrupt, unable to overcome the economic, ecological, social, food and other crises it engenders. And the forces of radical opposition are alive and vital. On all levels, local, regional and international, we are fighting to create an alternative system based in social and ecological justice.

To read the initial list of signatories, visit the Ecosocialist International Network

Get our news feed sent directly to your web site, syndicate us: RSS / Atom Get involved with the NSG. We have branches in several cities in Canada. Contact us by clicking here

Winter in kolkata - Pujo, Pithey, Party!!!
Ah, the onset of winter in Kolkata. Due to global warming and pollution in general, the climate has been screwed up big time and the proper seasonal cycle has gone for a toss.

Still, tossing aside the effects of globalisation and MNCs, I love winters here in Kolkata. It is the perfect time for me. As a certain someone puts it, I seems to be wilting in the summer. Well, I do agree that I do not take summers very agreeably (but wilting is a bit too much i think, I am at least that much of a sport :P ). So what I am really saying is that, being a night person, I am in love with winters.

The temperature is just right for comfort (cuddle comfort is the word here people!) and it is so very snug under the covers on your bed. And being a foodie who loves sweets, is just heavenly to be Bengali in Kolkata during winter! If you are no familiar with my culture, I will explain things in some other post, this one I am simply going to gloat and drool!

First things first. Durga Pujo is nearly here, two more days to go. One actually, by now. And the food doesn't get any better. The restaurants go all out to woo us foodies and we LOVE IT!
Different types of Bhaja; Ghee Bhaat; Pulao; Luchi; Chingri machher malai curry;Daab Chingri, Chitol Muittha; Tangra; Bhetki; Pabda; Phulkopi; Poneer; Doi Machh; Mangsho Kosha; Khichuri; Chutney; Payesh; rosogolla; Pantua; Sondesh; - you name it, they serve it!!! For those who have the money, anyways. I, for one, simply love it when all of that is home cooked, 'cept for the Mishtis obviously, you just can't make it like that at home! It takes skills honed for generations!

Yes, I am hopeless when it comes to good food! :D
Then we have the snacks - Hot kati Roll makes the best rolls, agreed. But since park street is a staple all year round EXCEPT Pujo, let me tell you what you already know - Parama Roll Centre at Gariahat is the best you can get!!! It can be found on the same stretch as and the right before the Ballygunje AC Market. YUMM!!!

Other than that, various snacks during pandal hopping is just the thing! Also, do have some great chaat at Rallis in Esplanade when u go for shopping. As I told Suki today - Pujo Shopping: It ain't over till the Pujos are! Do go easy on the roadside chaats though, don't wanna mess up that constitution on Shoshthi itself! carry loads of digestive tablets and tablets made of pure chalk - antacids!!!

And then when the Pujo is over, we have Bijoya Dashami! Free Mishtis galore! Then, when the winters finally set in, you have notun gur!!! Notun chaal! Nobanno! And you know what that means... PITHEY! Yes, that blessing of a culinary invention! WE (me n me family n friends) simply cannot get enough of it!

Then there are the cold mornings and lazy afternoons! And the hazy evenings over steaming hot, freshly brewed natural coffee or good tea. Cozy-ing up is the main idea and if you are single, like I was last time, simply cozy up and play your favourite music. Pull on those cover alls and go out for walks in the haze, with your music plugged into you head! Trust me on this one, nothign beats solitary walks in the evenings and/or mornings in winter.

Keep those cold medicines handy though, just in case!

And how can it all stop there! It is just the beginning! Winter is for Christmas and cakes from Nahoums! Ah those fruit cakes, rich with extra goodness! And those soups for dinner and breakfast! Cheese to go with the bread with the soup. May the chickens never become extinct! And here I go, sounding all evil. I am sorry, I am talking as a die hard gastronomist now! Also, new years celebrations are simply there for those long detox sessions for the next three weeks :P ! Cheers to life in Kolkata, especially october onwards till the year ending! And Cheers to being a bengali through it all! The others are fun too, but I like the way we do things!

So knock you selves out fellas! It is festivity time! And if you need a Dj, call on ME!!! I'll happily oblige!



Conjured by the lost_poet around 10/15/2007 12:31:00 AM   

Found under: Confessions, Food GLORIOUS FOOD, Life as a Bengali, My adventures, My Life, My life as a Dj, Reflections of Me

Cheat sting nettles Raju
B. Ramalinga Raju (face hidden) leaves after meeting the magistrate in Hyderabad on Saturday. (Uday Kumar Srichakra)
Hyderabad, Jan. 10: The first question stung like a bullet. “Mr Ramalinga Raju, please tell us why you cheated.”

With that sharp poser around 10.30 on Friday night, the legal investigation into India’s biggest corporate fraud began. CID interrogators squared off with the former Satyam chief who had surrendered to police an hour earlier along with brother Rama Raju.

Almost 20 hours later, around 5.30pm today, the Raju brothers were produced before a magistrate who remanded them in judicial custody till January 23. Srinivas Vadlamani, the chief financial officer of the company, was arrested tonight.

Raju will have to spend the night at Chanchalguda prison for undertrials, a far cry from his plush Jubilee Hills home and also from the air-conditioned room offered to the brothers yesterday at the DGP’s office.

For some time after their surrender and arrest, the police had been hospitable, even kind. Considering his health condition — Raju, 54, suffers from high blood pressure, acute ulcers and is diabetic — he was permitted to have a personal assistant who gave him his medicines and updated wife Nandini every hour. He had milk and bread and was given an air-conditioned room for the night.

But the niceties ended once Raju was taken to the conference room. His brother was questioned separately.

Sources in the state police said the first question was enough to rattle the Satyam founder, never mind that he was a seasoned corporate campaigner used to long verbal duels, tough posers and late nights.

“What the…” was his instant response, but he cooled off when he saw the grinning faces of his three interrogators who knew they had had their desired effect: Raju was unsettled.

The smiles soon vanished as the CID chief interrogator curtly informed Raju: “Please be seated and from now on you are here to answer and not to ask us questions, particularly no expletives or retorts.”

The second question was a repeat, but firmly asked: “Tell us why you cheated?”

As a pale-faced Raju began to explain, sources said, one of the interrogators rudely interrupted him. “For a sin of this nature, if you were in Saudi Arabia, you could have been meted out harsh physical punishment. You are lucky to be in India.”

Then began the barrage of questions from the three.

They first made him sit on a single chair for more than an hour after which he was asked to shift to another place and then after some more time, to yet another seat. Drinking water and tea were made available. Raju accepted water and a cup of black tea without sugar.

When he complained of chest pain, the police summoned government doctors, who gave him a clean bill of health, saying he was suffering from fatigue and exhaustion.

“It is normal to have these symptoms during such moments,” the doctors assured Raju and gave him a mild sedative.

After midnight the questioning stopped and he was asked to catch some sleep, but only till 6am.

The next round actually began around 7.30 this morning. Raju reportedly said he could not sleep well in the new environment and also because a foul smell bothered him.

Around 9am, they offered him and his brother breakfast and allowed them some privacy. But no calls were allowed except from his advocate Bharat Kumar, who came over to see for himself his client’s condition.

In the afternoon, after a vegetarian lunch of dal, rice, roti, curries, curd and ice cream, Raju was told that some Sebi officials wished to speak to him. His advocate was allowed to be present.

The Sebi deliberations went on till 4.30pm, when the CID said it was ready to present him before the magistrate.

Raju’s admirers

An angry herd of investors from all over the country who have been badly hit by the scandal greeted Raju as he began his legal battles.

But rubbing shoulders with them were some two dozen admirers of Raju, most of them from his Byrraju community.

“He is a one in a million leader and only he can help revive Satyam,” one of them said, and even offered to work gratis for the company if Raju was asked to lead it.

If a bout of the "winter blues" is brief and easily remedied by a trip to the gym or a night out with friends, then it is likely that this melancholy will pass.

If, however, a sense of gloom hangs on too long, you may need to consider the possibility that you are suffering from depression. More specifically, some people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.

The most typical type of SAD occurs during the winter months, and it occurs more frequently in northern regions. Studies indicate that there is a much lower occurrence of SAD in sunny Florida, for example, than in some northern parts of the country.

Symptoms of winter SAD include a sense of hopelessness, loss of energy, oversleeping and appetite changes (particularly carbohydrate cravings).

These are also symptoms of other types of depression, but if you notice a pattern in which these symptoms reoccur during the same time each year, it is possible that SAD may be the culprit.

Left untreated, SAD may pass with time--or it may become quite serious. If, for any reason, you experience severe symptoms of depression, you should seek treatment. If your symptoms are manageable, then there are several things you can do to improve your mood:


I recommend making sure you have one of those nice, puffy, warm coats that are on sale this time of year, so you can get outdoors for some sunshine. Light is one of the primary remedies for SAD.

If you can stay warm enough, there are plenty of fun things to do in the winter sun. Walking and hiking are always possible. Any time we get a couple of inches of snow, I pull out an old pair of cross-country skis. Any flat area is considered fair game for a ski trail.
Human Security on the Global Commons
The consequences of what we do in the present must lead to an improved quality of life.

     by Hassan bin Talal

The term ?°human security?± was coined to shift the focus of security from the state to the individual, to emphasize freedom from fear and want. But I would like to depart from the familiar dichotomy between security as the defense of states and security as a personal right, and offer a different perspective, viewing this question through a wider lens, a lens which captures the full gamut of interpersonal, community-oriented and culturally founded relationships which take place between the levels of individual and state. This lens is the one with which I am the most familiar, and the lens which I believe gives us a way to frame and implement effective and collective action toward the advancement of human security.

It would seem obvious that we must frame the meaning of security within an expanded context, that human security must now contain the imperative of human survivability and resilience. Imbalances between nations ?? population growth, poverty, food, resources, ecology, migration, energy, money, peace and cultural understanding ?? are pivotal security issues. They have the capacity to impact individual lives exponentially in all places across the world. As transnational issues, they are multipliers of human security ?? either for widespread stability or instability ?? and these multipliers can provide a new foundation for human security as a responsibility of the global commons.

I will explain what I mean by briefly reviewing current global conditions.

Population Security

The world population is now 6.6 billion, and we are adding 220,000 new people each day. Our enlarging global population ?? combined with rising wages, purchasing power and consumption in the emerging economies ?? has escalated the demand for food, commodities, oil and other resources. If the world is going to carry 9 billion people by 2050, we must all have the right to population security, ensuring that the resources available on this planet are sustainable in relation to our population growth and consumption per person.

Food Security

As the world grows more populous, many nations are also becoming more prosperous overall. Some two dozen states from the emerging South have enjoyed economic growth and have become more dependent on one other?¯s growth, but the poorer states of the developing South are just as dependent on demand from the North as they were 30 years ago. One billion people still live in extreme poverty, 70% of whom are in Africa. Unbearable poverty continues to afflict major regions of Asia and Latin America. Three-quarters of the world?¯s poor live in rural areas, where food accounts for more than half of a family?¯s spending.
Tightening food supplies and rising food demand are now resulting from:
     * poor harvests;
     * lack of fresh water and fertile soil;
     * rising prices for seeds and fertilizer;
     * the use of food crops for bio-fuels;
     * increases in the land needed for meat and dairy production (displacing grain production for people);
     * rising oil and transportation prices;
     * trade-distorting subsidies on agriculture; and
     * food export restrictions.

As demand soars, supplies are unable to keep pace. Food aid, health services and medicinal supplies also decline as the price of food goes up, pushing hundreds of millions into hunger and malnutrition, economic depression and social unrest. It should be clear by now that water and food, which are essential to life, are human rights reflecting the personal dignity, common needs and well-being of humanity.

Resource Security

Non-renewable resources are also being depleted at a rapid rate. As population, industrial output and consumption continue to rise, more and more capital and energy are needed to grow food and to locate, extract and process the remaining resources. Major new investment is being diverted both into agriculture and the extraction of non-renewable resources. While this increasing financial speculation in food and resources is decisive in meeting human needs, it is also draining the money that would otherwise be going into industrial production and basic capital growth.

This misallocation of investment ?? which is further distorted by uneven terms of trade ?? diminishes the quality of life and security for local populations across the world. Obviously, the inequitable distribution of world resources has a profound impact on human security. Each of us should have the right to an adequate supply of goods based on our interdependence with one another, the interests of our future welfare and that of our descendants.

Environmental Security

Rising temperatures and extreme climate patterns are also having an enormous impact on human security. Many people ?? especially the poor in some of the world?¯s most crowded and marginally productive areas ?? are affected by:
     * a lack of water for drinking and irrigation;
     * a decline in agricultural production;
     * increased resource scarcity;
     * loss of supportive wildlife;
     * widespread disease from mosquitoes and other pests;
     * declining health;
     * economic losses caused by hurricanes, tornadoes and cyclones;
     * volatility in economic output and trade; and
     * increasing poverty.

The harmful impact of these climate extremes on human livelihoods and living conditions, combined with heightened competition for scarce resources, has triggered disputes over territory, food and water supplies, social and cultural traditions, and tribal and religious differences. Fundamental and unresolved issues of territoriality, identity and movement1of peoples lead to sectarian and ethnic violence, armed conflict, mass migration and the spread of infectious disease. The health, well-being and rights of those who are forced to leave their homes and communities through external disruptions must be given particular attention. We usually think of migrants and refugees fleeing political conflict, but increasingly they are also victims of the menacing effects of global warming. We are currently witnessing many instances of this kind of temperature-driven civil strife and social displacement in parts of Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

Environmental stability, including the protection of displaced persons, is an essential human right that flows from our commitment to human dignity, our connectedness with all living beings and our responsibility to the Earth.

Energy Security

In addition to food, resource and environmental instability, there is growing anxiety about whether the world has enough oil to meet its future energy requirements. An energy disruption in one area of the world has an immediate impact on prices and energy security in other areas.

The national security dangers arising from dependence on foreign oil, combined with aggressive competition for strategic reserves of fossil fuels, will likely lead to further degradation of natural resources, continued global warming and major economic instability, particularly in the world?¯s most impoverished regions. And this is likely to further inflame extremism and terrorism in some places, particularly where rising energy costs severely impact human livelihoods ?? which is why legal empowerment of the poor through improved access to justice, the rule of law, and property, labor and business rights is now so critical.

Access to reliable and affordable supplies of clean energy is an essential human right based on the responsibility of the world community to empower the poor to meet their material needs, to fuel economic productivity and to ensure the quality of life for people everywhere.

Monetary Security

The rising demand for food, energy and other resources, which is now causing significant declines in supply, has also become a source of macroeconomic instability. Although emerging and developing states have been decoupling from the United States financially for several years, they are still closely linked monetarily. If oil producers and states that peg or manage their currencies against the U.S. currency decide that the long-term value of the dollar is unsustainable, they may shift their funds into other currencies. The U.S. would be forced to 1) reduce its massive current account deficit (its trade flows and other international payments) through a significant drop in the value of the dollar; and 2) increase its savings, either through a huge decline in consumer and corporate spending or by slashing its federal budget deficit drastically.

These two fiscal adjustments ?? especially if combined with the continuing inflation of food, commodity and energy prices ?? would send shockwaves across the world. It would produce volatility in exchange rates, currency instability, disruption of global capital flows, a disorderly unwinding of global debt payments, and increased protectionism. National budgets, trade balances, economic growth, jobs, income and political stability would all be affected.
That is why monetary security is vital now for everyone, especially the poor. Our purchasing power, which directly affects the ability to feed our families, pay our bills, save and invest, is an essential social entitlement. The right to stable currency rates ?? as an expression of our collective cultural values, personal livelihood and self-worth ?? is particularly important as we enter this uncertain period of adjustment.

Cultural Security

Money, energy, resources and materials are necessary but not all-encompassing attributes of the human experience. Cultural security, a critical but often forgotten multiplier of human security, sets the stage through which all other forms of security ought to be defined and understood. One cannot feel secure without mutual understanding and cultural integrity, a reality which has become increasingly apparent among both the developing and developed worlds.

Perceptions of too-rapid cultural change or ?°cultural invasion?± spurred by globalization and migration have strained interpersonal and international relationships. Lasting security for the individual and the nation necessitates a practical approach which understands culture as a pivotal component of human experience and political dialogue.

Preventive Security

There is an additional multiplier of human security which is closely related to the others. In states vulnerable to genocide, ethnic cleansing, and other crimes against humanity, as all may indeed be, there is an obvious need to protect individuals from atrocities before they are committed. The concept of states having a ?°responsibility to protect?± (R2P) citizens of all nations, debated in recent years by the United Nations in response to escalating violence, remains more heightened and ideologically colored than such issues commonly are.

The question today is whether intervention in the affairs of a state is a moral duty of the international community or a violation of state sovereignty, yet there is no forward reason why sovereignty could not be shared to reflect the realities of an interdependent world. Preventive security demands that we prepare for potential local and regional conflicts to protect people at risk of grave harm, and this becomes decisive as we face the grim prospect of mass hunger, large-scale environmental disruption and clashes over increasingly scarce resources like oil and water in some areas. The right to preventive security arises from our collective responsibility to guarantee political stability, protect the defenseless and ensure human betterment, based on the unique value of every person.

State and Market Security

The final two human security multipliers are so familiar they scarcely need to be emphasized. I am referring to states, which have the responsibility of providing political security to the people within their borders, and, of course, to free markets ?? including labor, production and finance ?? which provide a vital basis for economic security. States and markets are the cornerstones of modern civilization, and I could not possibly enumerate all of their many virtues in providing essential goods and services to consumers and protecting the welfare of citizens. But I also think we overestimate their importance to human security. Because they exist virtually everywhere, there is a tendency to assume that only governments and markets can solve the world?¯s problems, or that governments and markets are the sole agents of human security. Indeed, most of us are conditioned to see the world this way, which is a very limiting point of view.

As we ponder the global challenges we are facing, it becomes increasingly clear that there are few foreign policy or commercial solutions that will ensure the common security of humanity. Strategic planning and cooperation for the future of the planet are desperately lacking.

The real issue today is not whether markets are self-correcting or whether they need regulating by states. The real issue is that nation-states and markets are not sufficient to handle the many problems that transcend national borders ?? problems like world hunger, resource depletion, economic deprivation, wealth disparity, global warming, environmental pollution, infectious diseases, cross-cultural conflicts and terrorism.

Global Commons

There must be a third sector of popular will ©¤ a powerful countervailing force dedicated to ensuring human security and cooperation across borders. Responsibility and authority must shift from governments downwards to individuals, communities and civil society, and upwards to international organizations, regional systems and networks. As a global citizenry, we must now confront the many problems that impact our lives across territorial boundaries, involving matters of shared international concern that governments and markets are not equipped to address.

The real issues are:
1) that states have not relinquished their sovereignty to cooperate with one another more effectively, and market-driven solutions have proven incapable of addressing the systemic problems that transcend national borders;
2) that a new balance between the common interests of states, markets and people is essential to economic and social development, environmental harmony and peace;
3) that all matters bearing on the global commons must soon be linked together in one multilateral agenda and discussed by a diverse group of representatives from every sector ?? government, business and civil society;
4) that these representatives should launch an immediate global action program ensuring the end of poverty, adequate food supplies, fair distribution of resources and commodities, a clean environment, protection of migrants and refugees, reliable and affordable energy, stable purchasing power and a climate of peace; and
5) that this common action plan must also be seen as a tentative step toward geo-political realignment and global economic adjustment, leading to a greater degree of international unity and the creation of inclusive global governance.


The principle of ?°dignity and justice for all of us?± can only flow from human civilization as a single functioning whole, and, therefore, the question of cross-border intervention versus state sovereignty is ultimately a false dichotomy. To allow everyone in the world the opportunity to live free from fear and want and to develop our full potentials in a healthy and supporting environment means that individual rights, states rights and international rights must be seen as an indivisible and dynamic unity, not as a source of polarization and conflict.

As human beings we naturally inhabit the future and the present ?? not just the present. If some individuals lose food, water and shelter, they can be provided with the means to obtain food, water and shelter over and over again. But if they have also lost their hope and their values, providing for their material needs will never provide them with a future again. Hope can only be rekindled with the re-implementation of those values that have been lost.

When we say that we are looking at human security, what we mean is that we want to alleviate the present situation by creating a system so that, as the future keeps arriving, it arrives in the form of better and better present situations. The consequences of what we do now must bring about a better present moment in which to live. The results of our actions now should lead to improved quality of life and the ability to instill hope.

This article is based on HRH Prince Hassan?¯s address at the Thematic Debate on Human Security, the United Nations General Assembly, New York, May 22, 2008

Julia Dunn
Winter Blues Study Underway in Vermont

Posted: Jan 10, 2009 04:06 AM

Updated: Jan 10, 2009 04:06 AM

The dark days of winter could lead to seasonal affective disorder, more commonly known as the winter blues.  It's a depression that affects millions of people every year.

Right now, there's a study being done with people in Vermont to help deal with SAD. 

"Fatigue or feeling excessively tired is probably the most universal symptom," Associate Professor of Psychology Kelly Rohan said.

SAD is a type of depression.  Those suffering from it have the urge to sleep more, and often feel run-down, unmotivated, and unfocused.  About one third of suffers have suicidal thoughts.  What makes SAD different from regular depression is it only happens during the fall and winter.

"In SAD there is a light at the end of the tunnel so to speak," Rohan said.  "People know that they're going to improve in the spring, so it doesn't breed the same kind of hopelessness like in non-seasonal depression."

Rohan is also a professor at UVM and has studied SAD for more than a decade.  She says sufferers count down the days to winter solstice, December 21, when daylight hours seem to disappear.

"The further away from the equator, the more prevalent SAD is. For example - maybe one percent of people in Florida will suffer from it, while up here in Vermont 9%-10%," Rohan said.

Currently Rohan is conducting a four year study comparing light therapy, the most common form of treatment, to a new cognitive behavioral therapy for depression.  More than 100 adults will be randomly assigned to either six weeks of light therapy, or six weeks of talk-therapy.

"When feeling depressed, people tend to have very negative thoughts about themselves:  the world, the future, and in SAD, about how bad the winter is. So we work to identify those thoughts and challenge them change them into things less negative, and more positive in connotation," Rohan said.

Those selected for light therapy use a light that gives off the same amount of energy as a morning sunrise.  During the trial, participants must sit with the device 18 inches from their eyes for 30 minutes when they wake up every morning.

This is Rohan's third time doing the comparison study.  She says short-term, both treatments are effective, but the talk-therapy has better long-term outcomes.

"We believe this means people learn skills that they take with them into the next winter to try and fortify themselves against a relapse," Rohan said.

There are other ways to combat the winter blues, according to Rohan:

Talk walks outside
Exercise as much as possible
Don't indulge in foods loaded in carbohydrates

Seasonal affective disorder
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Seasonal affective disorder
Classification and external resources
Light therapy lamp for Seasonal Affective Disorder
DiseasesDB 11910
MedlinePlus 001532
MeSH D016574
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as winter depression or winter blues, is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the winter or, less frequently, in the summer,[1] repeatedly, year after year. The US National Library of Medicine notes that "some people experience a serious mood change when the seasons change. They may sleep too much, have little energy, and crave sweets and starchy foods. They may also feel depressed. Though symptoms can be severe, they usually clear up."[2] The condition in the summer is often referred to as Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder, and can also include heightened anxiety.[3]

There are many different treatments for classic (winter-based) seasonal affective disorder, including light therapies with bright lights, anti-depression medication, ionized-air administration,[4] cognitive-behavioral therapy, and carefully timed supplementation of the hormone melatonin.

Fighting the winter blues
Hindustan Times
Email Author
January 04, 2009
First Published: 00:21 IST(4/1/2009)
Last Updated: 00:25 IST(4/1/2009)
I had been feeling low  the past few days and a friend suggested it was probably the weather getting me down. It’s well established that cold and sunless weather affects mood and leaves you feeling low. There’s even a clinical term to describe the condition—seasonal affective disorder—that pushes up Prozac and Calmpose sales in the winter months.

Well, he was right about the weather, but not about the cause for my plummeting mood. What was  getting me down was the thought of going back to work after a three-week vacation, but whatever the cause, the treatment for the blues is the same.

Instead of throwing away money on prescriptions and pills that carry the risk of dependence—the kinder word for addiction—I decided to treat myself by spicing up my diet.

Hot chillies are just the thing you need to beat the winter blues. Capsaicin, the natural component that gives chillies their kick, stimulates the mouth’s nerve endings and prompts the brain to release endorphins, the ‘happy hormones’ that act as natural painkillers by producing a temporary high.

Not big on chillies like I am? Opt for low-fat proteins such as chicken and fish that have the amino acid tyrosine that boosts stress-busting chemicals in the brain.

Adding protein to a meal also slows the absorption of sugar and carbohydrate, preventing a sudden dip in glucose levels that may cause depression.

Seafood is also high in selenium, a mineral that counters the affects of stress hormones, and mood-boosters vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids. Shellfish (oysters and crab) and fatty fish such as halibut and salmon, are good sources.

Winter foods like broccoli, mustard greens and soya are high in mood-elevating folate,  also found in cottage cheese,  milk, eggs, lentils, sunflower seeds and soyabeans.

Magnesium found in bananas also counters irritability and insomnia, but I prefer to get my daily dose from sources such as cocoa— which explains the chocolate high—nuts and  beans.

Lastly, having a guava or an amla (Indian gooseberry) a day—oranges and lemons are other substitutes—can  boost stress-busting norepinephrine levels in the brain. Vitamin-C deficiency also slows the absorption of iron needed to fight fatigue, and lowers immunity, leading to frequent colds and fever. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, the body does not store the water-soluble vitamin C, so a daily dose is needed to brighten up the winter months.

If you cannot be bothered with  dietary changes, go for small meals every five hours to ensure your brain gets a constant supply of energy.

Depression (mood)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In the fields of psychology and psychiatry, the terms depression or depressed refer to both expected and pathologically chronic or severe levels of sadness, perceived helplessness, disinterest, and other related emotions and behaviours.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) states that a depressed mood is often reported as feeling depressed, sad, helpless, and hopeless. In traditional colloquy, "depressed" is often synonymous with "sad," but both clinical and non-clinical depression can also refer to a conglomeration of more than one feeling.

Such a mixture can include (but is not limited to) anger, fear, anxiety, despair, guilt, apathy, and/or grief, in addition to what many people would describe as typical "sadness". It is harmful for the human body and can affect proper functioning of the brain.

Winter Blues
Advice From C. Geraghty
From C. Geraghty, for
Updated: November 29, 2007 Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by our Medical Review Board

Q: What do you suggest to beat the "Winter Blues?". Winter begins the mood swings, the hibernation effect and the lack of everything. I try really hard to be upbeat and positive but I slowly fall into the abyss...
A. These days if you mention “Winter Blues,” it is surprising if the result is not a conversation about Seasonal Affective Disorder (acronym “SAD”) or the use of full spectrum illumination to combat the lessening of light that we experience in the winter months. SAD is a legitimate mood disorder and should be treated accordingly. However, as your query intimates, there is more to the “winter blues” than the seasonal variation of light to the pineal gland.

Your question hints at a process, from mood swings to a slow teetering toward the “abyss,” the “lack of everything.” What you are describing is an uncomfortable, yet common, experience that most people, regardless of gender, have at some point in their lives, if not every winter.

In days before these, people lived closer to Nature. Their bodies discerned the dawn and drew homeward at dusk. One could argue that there is nothing wrong – you have unconsciously taken notice of seasonal change and have gone about the millennia old habit of preparing for the rightful descent of spirit and body into the coming winter. This “winterizing of the soul” is generally characterized by an upheaval in mood as one swings from resistance to acceptance of the coming darkness and the introspection that it brings.

What is profoundly different in our day and age, however, is the way that darkness is perceived. From autumn on, the chilling and darkening of days becomes more profound until the winter solstice, on or about December 21. For thousands of years, cultures the world over feted the winter solstice as the moment of the sun’s return, the turning of the wintry tide. Though it is weak, light is reborn from the darkness to our natural and psychic worlds. It is on the increase at the very moment when we mark the beginning of our winter. Thus the innate darkness of winter is finite.

All of Nature must at some point rest and fall fallow. In our relentlessly stimulating world we must produce, improve and carry on regardless of season or the natural signals that our bodies might otherwise give us. You mention that you try to remain upbeat and positive but that slowly these good intentions give way. Striving to resist the inturning of the season can be an exhausting and sometimes futile undertaking. A psychic “winter” can occur anytime during the year or a life. During these seasons it is often wise to work with the environment instead of against it. This is a time to be dormant, not asleep. Take stock, watch, gain power from the seed ideas and plans that you are germinating. One cannot live a meaningful life without taking time to ponder it first. Thus the gradual slowing of activity and thought during any winter season is necessary.

To many, darkness either of day or the mind is frightening. We are enculturated to seek light, to shed light, to have a bright idea. An abyss, an unknown dark place of great depth, would seem a frightening prospect. But what if you did look there, in the place of lacking, what would you see or feel? What would it be like to sit with it, even for a few minutes a day, to wait for an image – anything that you could hold in your mind or write on paper? What would you find there? The name of a friend you would like to contact? An unresolved question? Or the stifling presence of the understanding that there are more desirable paths that you would like to take in life?

Guidance can be found by peering into the darkness to find the light, the thought, the project, the vision that can enlighten your own individual path. The abyss can be a fertile place indeed but one must sit with it to hear its secrets – your secrets. Indeed it is not a lack of everything but an unfathomable richness, if only one can wait and hear – look deeper into the darkness. Thus the darkness, the mystery of life can be fruitful.

So how do you beat the winter blues? Perhaps if you can’t beat ‘em, you might join ‘em. By taking cues from nature we can more comfortably traverse the seasons of our lives. In the autumn we can acknowledge the going to ground, the rightful descent of nature and ourselves, put things to rest, enjoy the quietude of good friends, hobbies, and the inward work of each unique life.

Seasonal mood variations are believed to be related to light. An argument for this view is the effectiveness of bright-light therapy.[5] SAD is measurably present at latitudes in the Arctic region, such as Finland (64º 00´N) where the rate of SAD is 9.5%[6] Cloud cover may contribute to the negative effects of SAD.[7]

SAD can be a serious disorder and may require hospitalization. There is also potential risk of suicide in some patients experiencing SAD. One study reports 6-35% of sufferers required hospitalization during one period of illness.[7] The symptoms of SAD mimic those of dysthymia or clinical depression. At times, patients may not feel depressed, but rather lack energy to perform everyday activities.[5] Norman Rosenthal, a pioneer in SAD research, has estimated that the prevalence of SAD in the adult United States population is between about 1.5 percent in Florida and about 9 percent in the northern US.[7]

Various etiologies have been performed. One possibility is that SAD is related to a lack of serotonin, and serotonin polymorphisms could play a role in SAD,[8] although this has been disputed.[9] Mice incapable of turning serotonin into N-acetylserotonin (by Serotonin N-acetyltransferase) appear to express "depression-like" behavior, and antidepressants such as fluoxetine increase the amount of the enzyme Serotonin N-acetyltransferase, resulting in an antidepressant-like effect.[10] Another theory is that the cause may be related to melatonin which is produced in dim light and darkness by the pineal gland, since there are direct connections, via the retinohypothalamic tract and the suprachiasmatic nucleus, between the retina and the pineal gland.

Subsyndromal Seasonal Affective Disorder is a milder form of SAD experienced by an estimated 14.3% vs. 6.1% of the U.S. population.[11] The blue feeling experienced by both SAD and SSAD sufferers can usually be dampened or extinguished by exercise and increased outdoor activity, particularly on sunny days, resulting in increased solar exposure.[12] Connections between human mood, as well as energy levels, and the seasons are well documented, even in healthy individuals.

Mutation of a gene expressing melanopsin has been implicated in the risk of having Seasonal Affective Disorder.[13]

[edit] Diagnostic criteria
The Mayo Clinic[3] describes three types of Seasonal Affective Disorder, each with its own set of symptoms. According to the American Psychiatric Association,[14] for a diagnosis to qualify as SAD, it must meet four criteria: depressive episodes at a particular time of the year; remissions or mania/hypomania also at a characteristic time of year; these patterns must have lasted two years with no nonseasonal major depressive episodes during that same period; and these seasonal depressive episodes outnumber other depressive episodes throughout the patient's lifetime.

[edit] Treatment
Another type of light therapy lampThere are many different treatments for classic (winter-based) seasonal affective disorder, including light therapies, medication, ionized-air administration, cognitive-behavioral therapy and carefully timed supplementation of the hormone melatonin.

Bright light treatment using a specially designed lamp, or light box, provides a much more intense illumination than traditional incandescent bulbs are capable of. The light is usually white "full spectrum", although blue light is also used. The light box has proven to be effective at doses of 2500 - 10,000 lux,[11] the sufferer sitting a prescribed distance, commonly 30-60 cm, in front of the box with her/his eyes open but not staring at the light source.[6] Most treatments use 30-60 minute treatments, however this may vary depending on the situation. Many patients use the light box in the morning, and there is evidence that morning light is superior to evening light, although people can respond to evening light as well.[15] Discovering the best schedule is essential. One study has shown that up to 69% of patients find the treatment inconvenient and as many as 19% stop use because of this.[6]

Dawn simulation has also proven to be effective; in some studies, there is an 83% better response when compared to other bright light therapy.[6] When compared in a study to negative air ionization, bright light was proven to be 57.1% effective vs. dawn simulation, 49.5%.[4] Patients using light therapy can experience improvement during the first week, but increased results are evident when continued throughout several weeks.[6] Most studies have found it effective without use year round, but rather as a seasonal treatment lasting for several weeks until frequent light exposure is naturally obtained.[5]

SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressants have proven effective in treating SAD. Bupropion is also effective as a prophylactic.[7] Effective antidepressants are fluoxetine, sertraline, or paroxetine.[5][16] Both fluoxetine and light therapy are 67% effective in treating SAD according to direct head-to-head trials conducted during the 2006 CAN-SAD study.[17] Subjects using the light therapy protocol showed earlier clinical improvement, generally within one week of beginning the clinical treatment.[5]

Negative air ionization, involving the release of charged particles into the sleep environment, has also been found effective with a 47.9% improvement.[4] Depending upon the patient, one treatment (ie. lightbox) may be used in conjunction with another therapy (ie. medication).[5] Modafinil may be also an effective and well-tolerated treatment in patients with seasonal affective disorder/winter depression.[18]

Alfred J. Lewy of Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, OHSU, and others see the cause of SAD as a misalignment of the sleep-wake phase contra the period of the body clock, circadian rhythms out of synch, and treat it with melatonin in the afternoon. Correctly timed melatonin administration shifts the rhythms of several hormones en bloc.[19]

[edit] Incidence

[edit] Nordic countries
Winter depression is a common slump in the mood of some inhabitants of most of the Nordic countries. It was first described by the 6th century Goth scholar Jordanes in his Getica wherein he described the inhabitants of Scandza (Scandinavia).[20] Iceland, however, seems to be an exception. A study of more than 2000 people there found the prevalence of seasonal affective disorder and seasonal changes in anxiety and depression to be unexpectedly low in both sexes.[21] The study's authors suggested that propensity for SAD may differ due to some genetic factor within the Icelandic population. A study of Canadians of wholly Icelandic descent also showed low levels of SAD.[22] It has more recently been suggested that this may be attributed to the large amount of fish traditionally eaten by Icelandic people, 225 lb per person per year as opposed to about 50 in the US and Canada, rather than to genetics.[23]

[edit] Other countries
In the United States, a diagnosis of seasonal affective disorder was first proposed by Norman E. Rosenthal, MD in 1984. Rosenthal wondered why he became sluggish during the winter after moving from sunny South Africa to New York. He started experimenting increasing exposure to artificial light, and found this made a difference. In Alaska it has been established that there is a SAD rate of 8.9%, and an even greater rate of 24.9%[24] for subsyndromal SAD. American science fiction-fantasy author Barbara Hambly had undiagnosed SAD for many years and speaks freely about her condition.[25]

Around 20% of Irish people are affected by SAD, according to a survey conducted in 2007. The survey also shows women are more likely to be affected by SAD than men. [26] An estimated 10% of the population in the Netherlands suffers from SAD. [27]

[edit] SAD and Bipolar
Most people with SAD experience unipolar depression, but as many as 20% may have or may go on to develop a bipolar or manic-depressive disorder. It is important to discriminate the improved mood associated with recovery from the winter depression and a manic episode because there are important treatment differences.[28] In these cases, persons with SAD may experience depression during the winter and hypomania in the summer.
See also: Neurobiology
Biological influences of depression are varied, but can include malnutrition, heredity, hormones, seasons, stress, illness, neurotransmitter malfunction, long-term exposure to dampness and mold[1] and to aerosol exposure.[2][3] There are also correlations between long term sleep difficulties and depression. Up to 90% of patients with depression are found to have sleep difficulties.[4]

[edit] As mechanism of adaptation
While a depressed mood is usually referred to (and perceived) as negative, it can sometimes be subtly beneficial in helping a person adapt to circumstance. For example, physical illness, such as influenza, can lead to feelings of psychological malaise and depression that seem, at first, only to compound an already unpleasant situation.

However, the experience of depression, or feeling "down," often results in physical inertia, which leads to the compulsion to rest. The fleeting helplessness and immobility of the physically ill may also serve to elicit care from others."[5]

From an evolutionary standpoint, some argue that depression could be at least partially related to atavistic fears that were originally based on real dangers. Paul Keedwell, in his book, How Sadness Survived: The Evolutionary Basis of Depression, suggests that, because "social support and interdependence were important features of the [human] ancestral environment," "the [peer] group could have offered extra help to the depressed person until the condition resolved."

Further, "...a depressed person may change the attitudes of other people around him, making them more sympathetic to his needs and therefore giving him a long term [social or reproductive] advantage."[6]

Milder depression has been associated with what has been called depressive realism, or the "sadder-but-wiser" effect, a view of the world that is relatively undistorted by positive biases.[7]

Major depressive disorder
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Clinical depression)
Jump to: navigation, search
Major depressive disorder
Classification and external resources
Vincent van Gogh's 1890 painting At Eternity's Gate
ICD-10 F32., F33.
ICD-9 296
OMIM 608516
DiseasesDB 3589
MedlinePlus 003213
eMedicine med/532 
Major depressive disorder (also known as clinical depression, major depression, unipolar depression, or unipolar disorder) is a mental disorder characterized by a pervasive low mood, low self-esteem, and loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities. The term "major depressive disorder" was selected by the American Psychiatric Association for this symptom cluster under mood disorders in the 1980 version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) classification, and has become widely used since. The general term depression is often used to describe the disorder, but as it is also used to describe a depressed mood, more precise terminology is preferred in clinical and research use. Major depression is a disabling condition which adversely affects a person's family, work or school life, sleeping and eating habits, and general health. In the United States, approximately 3.4% of people with major depression commit suicide, and up to 60% of all people who commit suicide have depression or another mood disorder.

The diagnosis of major depressive disorder is based on the patient's self-reported experiences, behavior reported by relatives or friends, and a mental status exam. There is no laboratory test for major depression, although physicians generally request tests for physical conditions that may cause similar symptoms. The most common time of onset is between the ages of 30 and 40 years, with a later peak between 50 and 60 years. Major depression occurs about twice as frequently in women as in men, although men are at higher risk for suicide.

Most patients are treated in the community with antidepressant medication and some with psychotherapy or counseling. Hospitalization may be necessary in cases with associated self-neglect or a significant risk of harm to self or others. A minority are treated with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), under a short-acting general anaesthetic. The course of the disorder varies widely, from one episode lasting months to a lifelong disorder with recurrent major depressive episodes. Depressed individuals have shorter life expectancies than those without depression, in part because of greater susceptibility to medical illnesses. Current and former patients may be stigmatized.

The understanding of the nature and causes of depression has evolved over the centuries, though many aspects of depression remain incompletely understood and are the subject of discussion and research. Psychological, psycho-social, evolutionary and biological causes have been proposed. Psychological treatments are based on theories of personality, interpersonal communication, and learning theory. Most biological theories focus on the monoamine chemicals serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine that are naturally present in the brain and assist communication between nerve cells. Monoamines have been implicated in depression, and most antidepressants work to increase the active levels of at least one.
Symptoms and signs
Major depression is a serious illness that affects a person's family, work or school life, sleeping and eating habits, and general health;[1] its impact on functioning and well-being has been equated to that of chronic medical conditions such as diabetes.[2]

A person suffering a major depressive episode usually exhibits a low mood pervading all aspects of life and an inability to experience pleasure in previously enjoyable activities. Depressed people may be preoccupied with, or ruminate over, thoughts and feelings of worthlessness, inappropriate guilt or regret, helplessness or hopelessness.[3] Other symptoms include poor concentration and memory, withdrawal from social situations and activities, reduced sex drive, and thoughts of death or suicide. Insomnia is common: in the typical pattern, a person wakes very early and is unable to get back to sleep.[4] Hypersomnia, or oversleeping, is less common.[4] Appetite often decreases, with resulting weight loss, although increased appetite and weight gain occasionally occur.[3] The person may report multiple physical symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, or digestive problems; physical complaints are the most common presenting problem in developing countries according to the World Health Organization's criteria of depression, in developing countries.[5] Family and friends may notice that the person's behavior is either agitated or lethargic.[4] Older depressed persons may have cognitive symptoms of recent onset, such as forgetfulness, and a more noticeable slowing of movements.[6] In severe cases, depressed people may have symptoms of psychosis such as delusions or, less commonly, hallucinations, usually of an unpleasant nature.[7]

Depressed children often display an irritable rather than a depressed mood,[3] and show varying symptoms depending on age and situation.[8] Most exhibit a loss of interest in school and a decline in academic performance. They may be described as clingy, demanding, dependent, or insecure.[4] Diagnosis may be delayed or missed when symptoms are interpreted as normal moodiness.[3]

[edit] Causes
The biopsychosocial model proposes that biological, psychological, and social factors all play a role to varying degrees in causing depression.[9] The diathesis–stress model posits that depression results when a preexisting vulnerability, or diathesis, is activated by stressful life events. The preexisting vulnerability can be either genetic,[10][11] implying an interaction between nature and nurture, or the result of past experience such as learned views of the world[12] formed in childhood. These interactive models to understanding the causes of depression have gained empirical support. For example, a prospective, longitudinal study uncovered a moderating effect of the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) gene on stressful life events in predicting depression. Specifically, depression may follow such events, but is more likely to in people with one or, even more so, two short alleles of the 5-HTT gene.[10] A Swedish study estimated the heritability of depression (the degree to which individual differences in occurrence are associated with genetic differences) to be approximately 40% for women and 30% for men.[13]

[edit] Biological
Main article: Biology of depression
Most antidepressants increase synaptic levels of serotonin, one of a group of neurotransmitters known as monoamines. Serotonin is hypothesized to help regulate other neurotransmitter systems; decreased serotonin activity may allow these systems to act in unusual and erratic ways.[14] According to this "permissive hypothesis", depression arises when low serotonin levels promote low levels of norepinephrine, another monoamine neurotransmitter.[15] Some antidepressants enhance the levels of norepinephrine directly, whereas others raise the levels of dopamine, a third monoamine neurotransmitter. These observations gave rise to the monoamine hypothesis of depression. In its contemporary formulation, the monoamine hypothesis postulates that a deficiency of certain neurotransmitters is responsible for the corresponding features of depression: "Norepinephrine may be related to alertness and energy as well as anxiety, attention, and interest in life; [lack of] serotonin to anxiety, obsessions, and compulsions; and dopamine to attention, motivation, pleasure, and reward, as well as interest in life."[16] The proponents of this theory recommend the choice of an the antidepressant with mechanism of action that impact the most prominent symptoms. Anxious and irritable patients should be treated with SSRIs or norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, and those experiencing a loss of energy and enjoyment of life with norepinephrine and dopamine enhancing drugs.[16]

Schematic of a synapse between an axon of one neuron and a dendrite of another. Synapses are specialized gaps between neurons. Electrical impulses arriving at the axon terminal trigger release of packets of chemical messengers (neurotransmitters), which diffuse across the synaptic cleft to receptors on the adjacent dendrite temporarily affecting the likelihood that an electrical impulse will be triggered in the latter neuron. Once released the neurotransmitter is rapidly metabolised or pumped back into a neuron. Antidepressants influence the overall balance of these processes.In the past two decades, research has revealed multiple limitations of the monoamine hypothesis, and its explanatory inadequacy has been criticized within the psychiatric community.[17] Intensive investigation has failed to find convincing evidence of a primary dysfunction of a specific monoamine system in patients with major depressive disorders. The medications tianeptine and opipramol have long been known to have antidepressant properties despite lacking any effect on the monoamine system. Experiments with pharmacological agents that cause depletion of monoamines have shown that this depletion does not cause depression in healthy people nor does it worsen symptoms in depressed patients—although an intact monoamine system is necessary for antidepressants to achieve therapeutic effectiveness.[18] According to an essay published by the Public Library of Science, the monoamine hypothesis, already limited, has been further oversimplified when presented to the general public.[19]

MRI scans of patients with depression have reported a number of differences in brain structure compared to those without the illness. Although there is some inconsistency in the results, meta-analyses have shown there is strong evidence for smaller hippocampal[20] volumes and increased numbers of hyperintensive lesions.[21] Hyperintensities have been associated with patients with a late age of onset, and have led to the development of the theory of vascular depression.[22]

There may be a link between depression and neurogenesis of the hippocampus,[23] a center for both mood and memory. Loss of hippocampal neurons is found in some depressed individuals and correlates with impaired memory and dysthymic mood. Drugs may increase serotonin levels in the brain, stimulating neurogenesis and thus increasing the total mass of the hippocampus. This increase may help to restore mood and memory.[24][25] Similar relationships have been observed between depression and an area of the anterior cingulate cortex implicated in the modulation of emotional behavior.[26] One of the neurotrophins responsible for neurogenesis is the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). The level of BDNF in the blood plasma of depressed subjects is drastically reduced (more than threefold) as compared to the norm. Antidepressant treatment increases the blood level of BDNF. Although decreased plasma BDNF levels have been found in many other disorders, there is some evidence that BDNF is involved in the cause of depression and the mechanism of action of antidepressants.[27]

Major depression may also be caused in part by an overactive hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis) that is similar to the neuro-endocrine response to stress. Investigations reveal increased levels of the hormone cortisol, enlarged pituitary and adrenal glands, suggesting disturbances of the endocrine system may play a role in some psychiatric disorders, including major depression. Oversecretion of corticotropin-releasing hormone from the hypothalamus is thought to drive this, and is implicated in the cognitive and arousal symptoms.[28]

Depression may be related to the same brain mechanisms that control the cycles of sleep and wakefulness.Depression may be related to abnormalities in the circadian rhythm, or biological clock. The serotonergic system is least active during sleep and most active during wakefulness. Because of this relationship of sleep to the synaptic levels of serotonin, compounds that decrease serotonin levels impair sleep.[29] Prolonged wakefulness due to sleep deprivation also activates serotonergic neurons, leading to processes similar to the therapeutic effect of antidepressants, such as the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Depressed individuals can exhibit a significant lift in mood after a night of sleep deprivation. SSRIs may directly depend on the increase of central serotonergic neurotransmission for their therapeutic effect, the same system that impacts cycles of sleep and wakefulness.[29]

Research on the effects of light therapy on treating Seasonal affective disorder suggests that light deprivation is related to decreased activity in the serotonergic system and to abnormalities in the sleep cycle, particularly insomnia. Exposure to light also targets the serotonergic system, providing more support for the important role this system may play in depression.[30] Sleep deprivation and light therapy both target the same brain neurotransmitter system and the brain areas as antidepressant drugs, and are now used clinically to treat depression.[31] Light therapy, sleep deprivation and sleep time displacement (sleep phase advance therapy) are being used in combination quickly to interrupt a deep depression in hospitalized patients.[30]

The REM stage of sleep is precipitated by decreased serotonin levels in the brain stem.[29] The REM sleep stage, the one in which dreaming occurs, may be quick to arrive, and intense, in depressed people. Although the relationship between sleep and depression is unclear, it appears to be particularly strong among those whose depressive episodes are not precipitated by any obvious factors. In such cases, patients may be relatively unaffected by therapeutic intervention.[32]

The hormone estrogen has been implicated in depressive disorders due to the increase in risk of depressive episodes after puberty, the antenatal period, and reduced rates after menopause.[33] Conversely, the premenstrual and postpartum periods of low estrogen levels are also associated with increased risk.[33] The use of estrogen has been under-researched, and although some small trials show promise in its use to prevent or treat depression, the evidence for its effectiveness is not strong.[33] Estrogen replacement therapy has been shown to be beneficial in improving mood in perimenopause, but it is unclear if it is merely the menopausal symptoms that are being reversed.[33]

Major depressive disorder is nearly identical to sickness behavior, the response of the body when the immune system is fighting an infection.[34] This raises the possility that depression is due a maladaptive manifestation of sickness behavior as a result in abnormalities in circulating cytokines.[35][36][37]

Deficiencies in certain essential dietary nutrients, particularly vitamin B12 and folic acid, have been associated with depression;[38] other agents such as the elements copper and magnesium,[39] and vitamin A have also been implicated.[40]

[edit] Psychological
Various aspects of personality and its development appear to be integral to the occurrence and persistence of depression.[41] Although depressive episodes are strongly correlated with adverse events, a person's characteristic style of coping may be correlated with their resiliance.[42] Additionally, low self-esteem and self-defeating or distorted thinking are related to depression. Depression may be less likely to occur, as well as quicker to remit, among those who are religious.[43] It is not always clear which factors are causes or which are effects of depression; however, depressed persons who are able to make corrections in their thinking patterns often show improved mood and self-esteem.[44]

American psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck developed what is now known as a cognitive model of depression in the early 1960s. He proposed three concepts which underlie depression: a triad of negative thoughts comprising cognitive errors about oneself, one's world, and one's future; recurrent patterns of depressive thinking, or schemas; and distorted information processing.[45] From these principles, he developed the structured technique of cognitive behavioral therapy.[46] According to American psychologist Martin Seligman, depression in humans is similar to learned helplessness in laboratory animals, who remain in unpleasant situations when they are able to escape, but do not because they initially learned they had no control.[47]

Depressed individuals often blame themselves for negative events.[48] In a study of hospitalized adolescents with self-reported depression, those who felt responsible for negative events did not take credit for positive outcomes.[49] This tendency is characteristic of a depressive attributional, or pessimistic explanatory style.[48] According to Albert Bandura, a Canadian social psychologist associated with social cognitive theory, depressed individuals have negative beliefs about themselves, based on experiences of failure, observing the failure of social models, a lack of social persuasion that they can succeed, and their own somatic and emotional states including tension and stress. These influences may result in a negative self-concept and a perceived lack of self-efficacy; that is, they do not believe they can influence events or achieve personal goals.[50]

An examination of depression in women indicates that vulnerability factors—such as early maternal loss, lack of a confiding relationship, responsibility for the care of several young children at home, and unemployment—can interact with life stressors to increase the risk of depression.[51] For older adults, the factors are often health problems, changes in relationships with a spouse or adult children due to the transition to a care-giving or care-needing role, the death of a significant other, or a change in the availability or quality of social relationships with older friends because of their own health-related life changes.[52]

[edit] Social
Poverty and social isolation are associated with increased risk of psychiatric problems in general.[41] Child abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, or neglect) is also associated with increased risk of developing depressive disorders later in life.[53] Disturbances in family functioning, such as parental (particularly maternal) depression, severe marital conflict or divorce, death of a parent, or other disturbances in parenting are additional risk factors.[41] In adulthood, stressful life events are strongly associated with the onset of major depressive episodes;[54] a first episode is more likely to be immediately preceded by stressful life events than are recurrent ones.[55]

The relationship between stressful life events and social support has been a matter of some debate; the lack of social support may increase the likelihood that life stress will lead to depression, or the absence of social support may constitute a form of strain that leads to depression directly.[56] There is evidence that neighborhood social disorder, for example, due to crime or illicit drugs, is a risk factor, and that a high neighborhood socioeconomic status, with better amenities, is a protective factor.[citation needed] Adverse conditions at work, particularly demanding jobs with little scope for decision-making, are associated with depression, although diversity and confounding factors make it difficult to confirm that the relationship is causal.[57]

[edit] Evolutionary
Main article: Evolutionary approaches to depression
From the standpoint of evolutionary theory, major depression is hypothesized to, in some instances, increase an individual's ability to reproduce. Evolutionary approaches to depression and evolutionary psychology posit specific mechanisms by which depression may have been genetically incorporated into the human gene pool, accounting for the high heritability and prevalence of depression by proposing that certain components of depression are adaptations,[58] such as the behaviors relating to attachment and social rank.[59] Current behaviors can be explained as adaptations to regulate relationships or resources, although the result may be maladaptive in modern environments.[60]

From a counseling psychology viewpoint, the therapist may see depression, not as a biochemical illness or disorder, but as "a species-wide evolved suite of emotional programmes that are mostly activated by a perception, almost always over-negative, of a major decline in personal usefulness, that can sometimes be linked to guilt, shame or perceived rejection".[61] This suite may have manifested in aging hunters in humans' foraging past, who were marginalized by their declining skills, and may continue to appear in alienated members of today's society. The feelings of uselessness generated by such marginalization could hypothetically prompt support from friends and kin. Additionally, in a manner analogous to that in which physical pain has evolved to hinder actions that may cause further injury, "psychic misery" may have evolved to prevent hasty and maladaptive reactions to distressing situations.[62]

[edit] Diagnosis

[edit] Clinical assessment
See also: List of rating scales for depression
A diagnostic assessment may be conducted by a general practitioner or by a psychiatrist or psychologist,[1] who will record the person's current circumstances, biographical history and current symptoms, and a family medical history to see if other family members have suffered from a mood disorder, and discuss the person's alcohol and drug use. The assessment also includes a mental state examination, which is an assessment of the person's current mood and thought content, in particular the presence of themes of hopelessness or pessimism, self-harm or suicide, and an absence of positive thoughts or plans.[1] Specialist mental health services are rare in rural areas, and thus diagnosis and management is largely left to primary care clinicians.[63] This issue is even more marked in developing countries.[64] Rating scales are not used to diagnose depression, but they provide an indication of the severity of symptoms for a time period, so a person who scores above a given cut-off point can be more thoroughly evaluated for a depressive disorder diagnosis.[65] Several rating scales are used for this purpose.[65] Screening programs have been advocated to improve detection of depression, but there is evidence that they do not improve detection rates, treatment, or outcome.[66]

Before diagnosing a major depressive disorder, a doctor generally performs a medical examination and selected investigations to rule out other causes of symptoms. These include blood tests measuring TSH and thyroxine to exclude hypothyroidism; basic electrolytes and serum calcium to rule out a metabolic disturbance; and a full blood count including ESR to rule out a systemic infection or chronic disease.[67] Testosterone levels may be evaluated to diagnose hypogonadism, a cause of depression in men.[68] Subjective cognitive complaints appear in older depressed people, but they can also be indicative of the onset of a dementing disorder, such as Alzheimer's disease.[69] Depression is also a common initial symptom of dementia.[70] Conducted in older depressed people, additional tests such as cognitive testing and brain imaging, can help distinguish depression from dementia.[71] A CT scan can exclude brain pathology in those with psychotic, rapid-onset or otherwise unusual symptoms.[72] No biological tests confirm major depression.[73] Investigations are not generally repeated for a subsequent episode unless there is a medical indication.

[edit] DSM-IV-TR and ICD-10 criteria
The most widely used criteria for diagnosing depressive conditions are found in the American Psychiatric Association's revised fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), and the World Health Organization's International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) which uses the name recurrent depressive disorder.[74] The latter system is typically used in European countries, while the former is used in the US and many other non-European nations,[75] and the authors of both have worked towards conforming one with the other.[76]

Major depressive disorder is classified as a mood disorder in DSM-IV-TR.[77] The diagnosis hinges on the presence of a single or recurrent major depressive episode.[3] Further qualifiers are used to classify both the episode itself and the course of the disorder. The category Depressive disorder not otherwise specified is diagnosed if the depressive episode's manifestation does not meet the criteria for a major depressive episode. The ICD-10 system does not use the term Major depressive disorder, but lists very similar criteria for the diagnosis of a depressive episode (mild, moderate or severe); the term recurrent may be added if there have been multiple episodes without mania.[78]

[edit] Major depressive episode
Main article: Major depressive episode
A major depressive episode is characterized by the presence of a severely depressed mood that persists for at least two weeks.[3] Episodes may be isolated or recurrent and are categorized as mild (few symptoms in excess of minimum criteria), moderate, or severe (marked impact on social or occupational functioning). An episode with psychotic features—commonly referred to as psychotic depression—is automatically rated as severe. If the patient has had an episode of mania or markedly elevated mood, a diagnosis of bipolar disorder is made instead.[76] Depression without mania is sometimes referred to as unipolar because the mood remains at one emotional state or "pole".[79]

DSM-IV-TR excludes cases where the symptoms are a result of bereavement, although it is possible for normal bereavement to evolve into a depressive episode if the mood persists and the characteristic features of a major depressive episode develop.[80] The criteria have been criticized because they do not take into account any other aspects of the personal and social context in which depression can occur.[81] In addition, some studies have found little empirical support for the DSM-IV cut-off criteria, indicating they are a diagnostic convention imposed on a continuum of depressive symptoms of varying severity and duration:[82] excluded are a range of related diagnoses, including dysthymia which involves a chronic but milder mood disturbance,[83] Recurrent brief depression which involves briefer depressive episodes,[84][85] minor depressive disorder which involves only some of the symptoms of major depression,[86] and adjustment disorder with depressed mood which involves low mood resulting from a psychological response to an identifiable event or stressor.[87]

[edit] Subtypes
The DSM-IV-TR recognizes five further subtypes of MDD, called specifiers, in addition to noting the length, severity and presence of psychotic features:

Melancholic depression is characterized by a loss of pleasure in most or all activities, a failure of reactivity to pleasurable stimuli, a quality of depressed mood more pronounced than that of grief or loss, a worsening of symptoms in the morning hours, early morning waking, psychomotor retardation, excessive weight loss (not to be confused with anorexia nervosa), or excessive guilt.[88]
Atypical depression is characterized by mood reactivity (paradoxical anhedonia) and positivity, significant weight gain or increased appetite (comfort eating), excessive sleep or sleepiness (hypersomnia), a sensation of heaviness in limbs known as leaden paralysis, and significant social impairment as a consequence of hypersensitivity to perceived interpersonal rejection.[89]
Catatonic depression is a rare and severe form of major depression involving disturbances of motor behavior and other symptoms. Here the person is mute and almost stuporose, and either remains immobile or exhibits purposeless or even bizarre movements. Catatonic symptoms also occur in schizophrenia or in manic episodes, or may be caused by neuroleptic malignant syndrome.[90]
Postpartum depression (Mild mental and behavioral disorders associated with the puerperium, not elsewhere classified in ICD-10[91]) refers to the intense, sustained and sometimes disabling depression experienced by women after giving birth. Postpartum depression, which has incidence rate of 10–15% among new mothers, typically sets in within three months of labor, and lasts as long as three months.[92]
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression in which depressive episodes come on in the autumn or winter, and resolve in spring. The diagnosis is made if at least two episodes have occurred in colder months with none at other times, over a two-year period or longer.[93]

[edit] Differential diagnoses
To confer major depressive disorder as the most likely diagnosis, other potential diagnoses must be considered, including dysthymia, adjustment disorder with depressed mood or bipolar disorder. Dysthymia is a chronic, milder mood disturbance in which a person reports a low mood almost daily over a span of at least two years. The symptoms are not as severe as those for major depression, although people with dysthymia are vulnerable to secondary episodes of major depression (sometimes referred to as double depression).[83] Adjustment disorder with depressed mood is a mood disturbance appearing as a psychological response to an identifiable event or stressor, in which the resulting emotional or behavioral symptoms are significant but do not meet the criteria for a major depressive episode.[87] Bipolar disorder, previously known as manic-depressive disorder, is a condition in which depressive phases alternate with periods of mania or hypomania. Although depression is currently categorized as a separate disorder, there is ongoing debate because individuals diagnosed with major depression often experience some hypomanic symptoms, indicating a mood disorder continuum.[94]

[edit] Treatment
For a fuller discussion of standard, rarely used, and more experimental treatments, see Treatment for depression.
The three most common treatments for depression are psychotherapy, medication, and electroconvulsive therapy. Psychotherapy is the treatment of choice for people under 18, while electroconvulsive therapy is only used as a last resort. Care is usually given on an outpatient basis, while treatment in an inpatient unit is considered if there is a significant risk to self or others.

Treatment options are much more limited in developing countries, where access to mental health staff, medication, and psychotherapy is often difficult. Development of mental health services is minimal in many countries; depression is viewed as a phenomenon of the developed world despite evidence to the contrary, and not as an inherently life-threatening condition.[95]

[edit] Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy can be delivered, to individuals or groups, by mental health professionals, including psychotherapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, counselors, and psychiatric nurses. With more complex and chronic forms of depression, a combination of medication and psychotherapy may be used.[96] In children and young people under 18, medication should only be offered in conjunction with a psychological therapy, such as CBT, interpersonal therapy, or family therapy.[97] Psychotherapy has been shown to be effective in older people.[98][99] Successful psychotherapy appears to reduce the recurrence of depression even after it has been terminated or replaced by occasional booster sessions.

The most studied form of psychotherapy for depression is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), thought to work by teaching clients to learn a set of useful cognitive and behavioral skills. Earlier research suggested that CBT was not as effective as antidepressant medication; however, research in 1996 suggests that it can perform as well as antidepressants in patients with moderate to severe depression.[100] Overall, evidence shows CBT to be effective in depressed adolescents,[101] although one systematic review noted there was insufficient evidence for severe episodes.[102] Combining fluoxetine with CBT appeared to bring no additional benefit,[103][104] or, at the most, only marginal benefit.[105] Several variants have been used in depressed patients, most notably rational emotive behavior therapy,[45] and more recently mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.[106]

Interpersonal psychotherapy focuses on the social and interpersonal triggers that may cause depression. There is evidence that it is an effective treatment. The therapy takes a structured course with a set number of weekly sessions (often 12), the focus is on relationships with others. Therapy can be used to help a person develop or improve interpersonal skills to allow him or her to communicate more effectively and reduce stress.[107]

Psychoanalysis, a school of thought founded by Sigmund Freud that emphasizes the resolution of unconscious mental conflicts,[108] is used by its practitioners to treat clients presenting with major depression.[109] A more widely practiced, eclectic technique, called psychodynamic psychotherapy, is loosely based on psychoanalysis and has an additional social and interpersonal focus.[110] In a meta-analysis of three controlled trials of Short Psychodynamic Supportive Psychotherapy, this modification was found to be as effective as medication for mild to moderate depression.[111]

[edit] Antidepressants
Prescription antidepressants are as effective as psychotherapy, although more patients cease medication than cease psychotherapy, most likely due to side effects from the medication.

The effectiveness of antidepressants continues to be questioned. They have not been conclusively shown to be more effective than placebo, especially when unpublished studies are taken into account. Their effectiveness increases with the severity of the depression. It[clarification needed], however, only reaches clinical significance in the most severely depressed and has no benefit on mild or moderate depression.[112] This seems to be due to the fact that the group with very severe depression had a decreased response to the placebo effect rather than the medication having a greater effect.[112] An editorial in the BMJ drew attention to bias in the publication of studies showing antidepressant efficacy compared to unpublished studies where the data did not support efficacy. Though these unpublished studies might have suffered methodological or other problems, the article called attention to the possibility that sponsor or journal bias might have inflated or created the apparent efficacy of antidepressants over placebo.[113] A black box warning has been introduced in the United States in 2007 on SSRI and other antidepressant medications due to increased risk of suicidality in patients younger than 24 years old.[114]

While antidepressants, specifically fluoxetine, might be effective in adolescents they have not been found to be beneficial in children.[115]

To find the most effective antidepressant medication with tolerable or fewest side effects, the dosages can be adjusted, and, if necessary, combinations of different classes of antidepressants can be tried. Response rates to the first antidepressant administered range from 50–75%, and it can take at least six to eight weeks from the start of medication to remission, when the patient is back to their normal self.[116] Antidepressant medication treatment is usually continued for 16 to 20 weeks after remission, to minimise the chance of recurrence.[116] People with chronic depression may need to take medication indefinitely to avoid relapse.[1] The terms refractory depression or treatment-resistant depression are used to describe cases that do not respond to adequate courses of least two antidepressants.[117] Any antidepressant can cause low serum sodium levels (also called hyponatremia);[118] nevertheless, it has been reported more often with SSRIs.[119]

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as sertraline, escitalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine, and citalopram are the primary medications prescribed owing to their effectiveness, relatively mild side effects, and because they are less toxic in overdose than other antidepressants.[119] Patients who do not respond to one SSRI can be switched to another, and this results in improvement in almost 50% of cases.[120] Another option is to switch to the atypical antidepressant bupropion.[121][122][123] It is not uncommon for SSRIs to cause or worsen insomnia; the sedating antidepressant mirtazapine can be used in such cases.[124] Fluoxetine is the only antidepressant recommended for patients under the age of 18 years.[125]

Venlafaxine, and other serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, may be modestly more effective than SSRIs;[126] however, venlafaxine is not recommended in the UK as a first-line treatment because of evidence suggesting its risks may outweigh benefits,[127] and it is specifically discouraged in children and adolescents.[125]

Amitriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant, so called because there are three rings in its molecular structure.Tricyclic antidepressants have more side effects than SSRIs and are usually reserved for the treatment of inpatients, for whom the tricyclic antidepressant amitriptyline, in particular, appears to be more effective.[128][129]

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors, an older class of antidepressants, have been plagued by potentially life-threatening dietary and drug interactions. They are still used only rarely, although newer and better tolerated agents of this class have been developed.[130]

[edit] Pharmacological augmentation
A doctor may add a medication with a different mode of action to bolster the effect of an antidepressant in cases of treatment resistance.[131] Medication with lithium salts has been used to augment antidepressant therapy in those who have failed to respond to antidepressants alone.[132] Furthermore, lithium dramatically decreases the suicide risk in recurrent depression.[133] Addition of a thyroid hormone, triiodothyronine may work as well as lithium, even in patients with normal thyroid function.[134] Addition of atypical antipsychotics when the patient has not responded to an antidepressant is also known to increase the effectiveness of antidepressant drugs, albeit offset by increased side effects.[135]

[edit] Electroconvulsive therapy
Main article: Electroconvulsive therapy
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a procedure whereby pulses of electricity are sent through the brain via two electrodes, usually one on each temple, to induce a seizure while the patient is under a short general anaesthetic. Hospital psychiatrists may recommend ECT for cases of severe major depression which have not responded to antidepressant medication or, less often, psychotherapy or supportive interventions.[136] ECT can have a quicker effect than antidepressant therapy and thus may be the treatment of choice in emergencies such as catatonic depression where the patient has stopped eating and drinking, or where a patient is severely suicidal.[136] ECT is probably more effective than pharmacotherapy for depression in the immediate short-term,[137] although a landmark community-based study found much lower remission rates in routine practice.[138] Used on its own the relapse rate within the first six months is very high; early studies put the rate at around 50%,[139] while a more recent controlled trial found rates of 84% even with placebos.[140] The early relapse rate may be reduced by the use of psychiatric medications or further ECT[141][142] (although the latter is not recommended by some authorities[143]) but remains high.[144] Common initial adverse effects from ECT include short and long-term memory loss, disorientation and headache.[145] Although objective psychological testing shows memory disturbance after ECT has mostly resolved by one month post treatment, ECT remains a controversial treatment, and debate on the extent of cognitive effects and safety continues.[146][147]

[edit] Other treatments
Further information: Self-medication
St John's wort is available over-the-counter as a herbal remedy in some parts of the world;[119][148] however, the evidence of its effectiveness for the treatment of major depression is varying and confusing. Its safety can be compromised by inconsistency in pharmaceutical quality and in the amounts of active ingredient in different preparations.[149] Further, it interacts with numerous prescribed medicines including antidepressants, and it can reduce the effectiveness of hormonal contraception.[150]

Reviews of short-term clinical trials of S-adenosylmethionine indicate that it may be effective in treating major depression in adults.[151] A 2002 review reported that tryptophan and 5-hydroxytryptophan appear to be better than placebo, but it did not recommend their widespread use owing to lack of conclusive evidence on efficacy and safety, and generally prefered the use of safer antidepressants instead.[152]

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation utilizes powerful magnetic fields which are applied to the brain from outside the head. Multiple controlled studies support the use of this method in treatment-resistant depression; it has been approved for this indication in Europe, Canada, Australia, and the US.[153][154][155] Although its effectiveness has been demonstrated in the treatment of major depressive disorders, especially as an alternative to electroconvulsivotherapy (ECT) in medication-resistant depressions, the optimal treatment parameters, such as the strength of stimulation, the number of maintenance sessions, and the ideal patient selection remain open to question.[156]

Physical exercise is recommended by U.K. health authorities,[157] but systematic review has been inconclusive as to its effectiveness in the treatment of depression.[158] Vagus nerve stimulation was approved by the FDA in the United States in 2005 for use in treatment-resistant depression,[159] although it failed to show short-term benefit in the only large double-blind trial when used as an adjunct on treatment-resistant patients.[160]

[edit] Prevention
A 2008 meta analysis has found that behavioral interventions are effective at preventing new onset depression.[161]

[edit] Prognosis
Major depressive episodes often resolve over time whether or not they are treated. Outpatients on a waiting list show a 10–15% reduction in symptoms within a few months, with approximately 20% no longer meeting the full criteria for a depressive disorder.[162] The median duration of an episode has been estimated to be 23 weeks, with the highest rate of recovery in the first three months.[163]

General population studies indicate around half those who have a major depressive episode (whether treated or not) recover and remain well, while 35% will have at least one more, and around 15% experience chronic recurrence.[164] Studies recruiting from selective inpatient sources suggest lower recovery and higher chronicity, while studies of mostly outpatients show that nearly all recover, with a median episode duration of 11 months. Around 90% of those with severe or psychotic depression, most of whom also meet criteria for other mental disorders, experience recurrence.[165][166]

Recurrence is more likely if symptoms have not fully resolved with treatment. Current guidelines recommend continuing antidepressants for four to six months after remission to prevent relapse. Evidence from many randomized controlled trials indicates continuing antidepressant medications after recovery can reduce the chance of relapse by 70% (41% on placebo vs. 18% on antidepressant). The preventive effect probably lasts for at least the first 36 months of use. [167]

Depressed individuals have a shorter life expectancy than those without depression, since depressed patients are at risk of dying by suicide.[168] However, they are also more susceptible to medical conditions such as heart disease.[169] Up to 60% of people who commit suicide have a mood disorder such as major depression, and the risk is especially high if a person has a marked sense of hopelessness or has both depression and borderline personality disorder.[170] Depressed people also have a higher rate of dying from other causes.[171] The lifetime risk of suicide associated with a diagnosis of major depression in the US is estimated at 3.4%, which averages two highly disparate figures of almost 7% for men and 1% for women[172] (although suicide attempts are more frequent in women).[173] The estimate is substantially lower than a previously accepted figure of 15% which had been derived from older studies of hospitalized patients.[174]

[edit] Epidemiology
Depression is a major cause of morbidity worldwide.[175] Lifetime prevalence varies widely, from 3% in Japan to 17% in the US. In most countries the number of people who would suffer from depression during their lives falls within an 8–12% range.[176][177] In North America the probability of having a major depressive episode within a year-long period is 3–5% for males and 8–10% for females.[178][179] Population studies have consistently shown major depression to about twice as common in women than in men, although it is unclear why this is so, and whether factors unaccounted for are contributing to this.[180] The relative increase in occurrence is related to pubertal development rather than chronological age and reaches adult ratios between the ages of 15 and 18, and appears associated with psychosocial more than hormonal factors.[180]

People are most likely to suffer their first depressive episode between the ages of 30 and 40, and there is a second, smaller peak of incidence between ages 50 and 60.[181] The risk of major depression is increased with neurological conditions such as stroke, Parkinson's disease, or multiple sclerosis and during the first year after childbirth.[182] It is also more common after cardiovascular illnesses, and is related to a worse outcome.[183][169] Studies conflict on the prevalence of depression in the elderly, but most data suggests there is a reduction in this age group.[184]

Depression is often associated with unemployment and poverty.[185] Major depression is currently the leading cause of disease burden in North America and other high-income countries, and the fourth leading cause worldwide. In the year 2030, it is predicted to be the second leading cause of disease burden worldwide after HIV, according to the World Health Organization.[186] Delay or failure in seeking treatment after relapse, and the failure of health professionals to provide treatment are two barriers to reducing disability.[187]

[edit] Comorbidity
Major depression frequently co-occurs with other psychiatric problems. The 1990–92 National Comorbidity Survey (US) reports that 51% of those with major depression also suffer from lifetime anxiety.[188] Anxiety symptoms can have a major impact on the course of a depressive illness, with delayed recovery, increased risk of relapse, greater disability and increased suicide attempts.[189] American neuroendocrinologist Robert Sapolsky similarly argues that the relationship between stress, anxiety, and depression could be measured and demonstrated biologically.[190] There are increased rates of alcohol and drug abuse and particularly dependence,[191] and around a third of individuals diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder develop comorbid depression.[192] Post-traumatic stress disorder and depression often co-occur.[1]

Depression and pain often co-occur. One or more pain symptoms is present in 65% of depressed patients, and anywhere from 5 to 85% of patients with pain will be suffering from depression, depending on the setting; there is a lower prevalence in general practice, and higher in specialty clinics. The diagnosis of depression is often delayed or missed, and outcome worse.[193]

[edit] History
Main article: History of depression
The Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates described a syndrome of melancholia as a distinct disease with particular mental and physical symptoms; he characterized all "fears and despondencies, if they last a long time" as being symptomatic of the ailment.[194] It was a similar but far broader concept than today's depression; prominence was given to a clustering of the symptoms of sadness, dejection, and despondency, and often fear, anger, delusions and obsessions were included.[195]

The term depression itself was derived from the Latin verb deprimere, "to press down".[196] From the 14th century, "to depress" meant to subjugate or to bring down in spirits. It was used in 1665 in English author Richard Baker's Chronicle to refer to someone having "a great depression of spirit", and by English author Samuel Johnson in a similar sense in 1753.[197] The term also came in to use in physiology and economics. An early usage referring to a psychiatric symptom was by French psychiatrist Louis Delasiauve in 1856, and by the 1860s it was appearing in medical dictionaries to refer to a physiological and metaphorical lowering of emotional function.[198] Since Aristotle, melancholia had been associated with men of learning and intellectual brilliance, a hazard of contemplation and creativity. The newer concept abandoned these associations and, through the 19th century, became more associated with women.[195]

Although melancholia remained the dominant diagnostic term, depression gained increasing currency in medical treatises and was a synonym by the end of the century; German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin may have been the first to use it as the overarching term, referring to different kinds of melancholia as depressive states.[199]

Freud likened the state of melancholia to mourning in his 1917 paper Mourning and Melancholia. He theorized that objective loss, such as the loss of a valued relationship through death or a romantic break-up, results in subjective loss as well; the depressed individual has identified with the object of affection through an unconscious, narcissistic process called the libidinal cathexis of the ego. Such loss results in severe melancholic symptoms more profound than mourning; not only is the outside world viewed negatively, but the ego itself is compromised.[200] The patient's decline of self-perception is revealed in his belief of his own blame, inferiority, and unworthiness.[201] He also emphasized early life experiences as a predisposing factor.[195] Meyer put forward a mixed social and biological framework emphasizing reactions in the context of an individual's life, and argued that the term depression should be used instead of melancholia.[202] The first version of the DSM (DSM-I, 1952) contained depressive reaction and the DSM-II (1968) depressive neurosis, defined as an excessive reaction to internal conflict or an identifiable event, and also included a depressive type of manic-depressive psychosis within Major affective disorders.[203]

In the mid-20th century, researchers theorized that depression was caused by a chemical imbalance in neurotransmitters in the brain, a theory based on observations made in the 1950s of the effects of reserpine and isoniazid in altering monoamine neurotransmitter levels and affecting depressive symptoms.[204]

The term Major depressive disorder was introduced by a group of US clinicians in the mid-1970s as part of proposals for diagnostic criteria based on patterns of symptoms (called the "Research Diagnostic Criteria", building on earlier Feighner Criteria),[205] and was incorporated in to the DSM-III in 1980.[206] To maintain consistency the ICD-10 used the same criteria, with only minor alterations, but using the DSM diagnostic threshold to mark a mild depressive episode, adding higher threshold categories for moderate and severe episodes.[206][207] The ancient idea of melancholia still survives in the notion of a melancholic subtype.

The new definitions of depression were widely accepted, albeit with some conflicting findings and views. There have been some continued empirical arguments for a return to the diagnosis of melancholia.[208][209] There has been some criticism of the expansion of coverage of the diagnosis, related to the development and promotion of antidepressants and the biological model since the late 1950s.[210]

[edit] Sociocultural aspects
See also: List of people with depression

Even today, people's conceptualizations of depression vary widely, both within and among cultures. "Because of the lack of scientific certainty," one commentator has observed, "the debate over depression turns on questions of language. What we call it—'disease,' 'disorder,' 'state of mind'—affects how we view, diagnose, and treat it."[211] There are cultural differences in the extent to which serious depression is considered an illness requiring personal professional treatment, or is an indicator of something else, such as the need to address social or moral problems, the result of biological imbalances, or a reflection of individual differences in the understanding of distress that may reinforce feelings of powerlessness, and emotional struggle.[212][213]

The diagnosis is less common in some countries, such as China. It has been argued that the Chinese traditionally deny or somatize emotional depression (although since the early 1980s the Chinese denial of depression may have modified drastically).[214] Alternatively, it may be that Western cultures reframe and elevate some expressions of human distress to disorder status. Australian professor Gordon Parker and others have argued that the Western concept of depression "medicalizes" sadness or misery.[215][216] Similarly, Hungarian-American psychiatrist Thomas Szasz and others argue that depression is a metaphorical illness that is inappropriately regarded as an actual disease.[217] There has also been concern that the DSM, as well as the field of descriptive psychiatry that employs it, tends to reify abstract phenomena such as depression, which may in fact be social constructs.[218] American archetypal psychologist James Hillman writes that depression can be healthy for the soul, insofar as "it brings refuge, limitation, focus, gravity, weight, and humble powerlessness."[219] Hillman argues that therapeutic attempts to eliminate depression echo the Christian theme of resurrection, but have the unfortunate effect of demonizing a soulful state of being.

American president Abraham Lincoln appears to have had at least two major depressive episodes.[220]Historical figures were often reluctant to discuss or seek treatment for depression due to social stigma about the condition, or due to ignorance of diagnosis or treatments. Nevertheless, analysis or interpretation of letters, journals, artwork, writings or statements of family and friends of some historical personalities has led to the presumption that they may have had some form of depression. People who may have had depression include English author Mary Shelley,[221] American-British writer Henry James,[222] and American president Abraham Lincoln.[223] Some well-known contemporary people with possible depression include Canadian songwriter Leonard Cohen[224] and American playwright and novelist Tennessee Williams.[225] Some pioneering psychologists, such as Americans William James[226][227] and John B. Watson,[228] dealt with their own depression.

There has been a continuing discussion of whether neurological disorders and mood disorders may be linked to creativity, a discussion that goes back to Aristotelian times.[229][230] British literature gives many examples of reflections on depression.[231] English philosopher John Stuart Mill experienced a several-months-long period of what he called "a dull state of nerves," when one is "unsusceptible to enjoyment or pleasurable excitement; one of those moods when what is pleasure at other times, becomes insipid or indifferent". He quoted English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Dejection" as a perfect description of his case: "A grief without a pang, void, dark and drear, / A drowsy, stifled, unimpassioned grief, / Which finds no natural outlet or relief / In word, or sigh, or tear."[232][233] English writer Samuel Johnson used the term "the black dog" in the 1780s to describe his own depression,[234] and it was subsequently popularized by depression sufferer former British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill.[234]

Social stigma of major depression is widespread, and contact with mental health services reduces this only slightly. Public opinions on treatment differ markedly to those of health professionals; alternative treatments are held to be more helpful than pharmacological ones, which are viewed poorly.[235] In the UK, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Royal College of General Practitioners conducted a joint Five-year Defeat Depression campaign to educate and reduce stigma from 1992 to 1996;[236] a MORI study conducted afterwards showed a small positive change in public attitudes to depression and treatment.[237]
Ayr shakes off the winter blues to give British racing a jump start for the year


« Previous « PreviousNext » Next »View GalleryPublished Date: 11 January 2009
By Bob Magill
ON A day when even the bookies had to give best to the weather, Ayr hosted the resumption of jumps racing in Britain after the recent cold snap had blanked meetings for a week. All credit to the Ayr executive for getting the meeting on at short notice, and there were some cracking prizes courtesy of sponsors Blue Square, but the 1,600 hardy spectators must have wondered if it was worth the candle in gale force winds and freezing rain.

Indeed candle was nearly the operative word as the last race was run in semi-darkness, by which time only seven of the 18 Tattersalls bookmakers were still doing business and one of the five rails layers had also called it a day – they're usually sucADVERTISEMENTh hardy chaps, too.

Howard Johnson reached his target of a half-century of winners before December 31 and continued where he left off, Denis O'Regan producing Johnson's Prince De Beauchene to lead at the penultimate flight in division one of the Blue Square Novices' Hurdle and drawing away to pass the post with seven lengths to spare over Bracken Lad.

Winning owner Graham Wylie said of the 13-8 chance: "We bought him to go chasing – he has won over fences in France – but I think we will keep him to hurdling for this season."

Johnson's Companero (4-9) extended his winning sequence to five in the Blue Square Casino Novices' Chase, while Nicky Richards' decision to give Harmony Brig a break from the chasing game paid off when the 10-year-old won a thrilling Blue Square SP Guarantee Handicap Hurdle, getting up in the last strides to win by a short head.

Keith Reveley watched Jass (100-30) come out best under his son James in the Blue Square Handicap Chase. The Willie Amos-trained Lie Forrit, owned by Hawick-based John McNeill and ridden by his grandson Campbell Gillies, won division two of the Blue Square Novices' Hurdle at 4-6 favourite.

Lucinda Russell's consistent Prosecco (5-1) made it two wins from five starts this term under Peter Buchanan in the Blue Square Mobile Handicap Hurdle, and the trainer said: "They have done well to get the meeting on and all credit to everyone."

Scotland's greatest-ever National Hunt jockey, Peter Niven, had his latest success as a trainer when Pinewood Legend (11-2) landed a gamble under Graham Lee in the concluding Blue Square Novices' Handicap Hurdle.

Meanwhile at Lingfield, Contest set up a trip to the Dubai Carnival when landing a punt on his debut for David Simcock in the William Hill January Sale – Why Bet Elsewhere Conditions Stakes. Jim Crowley's mount was backed down to 9-1 from 25s and benefited from laying up with the pace to deny pace-setting Turn On The Style by a length and a quarter. Bonus and 5-4 favourite Aeroplane clashed during the week, finishing first and second at Kempton, but the pair never landed a blow under hold-up rides.

Scots-born Mark Johnston's Lady Jane Digby (7-1) showed a smart turn of foot to win the William Hill January Sale – Bonuses Galore! Handicap under Hawick jockey Greg Fairley who has had a tremendous start to 2009.

 18:8 IST 
Ministry of Earth Sciences

Considerable progress has been achieved under several programmes/schemes of the Ministry. However, the most significant achievements and initiatives during 2008 are highlighted below:

(i) Atmospheric science, information & services: Towards monsoon prediction for the year 2008-09, a great deal of modeling efforts has gone into. The overall forecast all India rainfall issued in April and June were 99% and 100% of the Long Period Average compared to 98% actual. Thus the performance of IMD model turned out to be quite accurate. Both onset and rainfall forecast given in April 2008 were found to be quite reasonable. A new technique of intra-seasonal variability has been studied to understand the active and break monsoon spells during the year. During the period, 11 low pressure systems were monitored including 1 deep depression, 3 depressions and 7 lows formed over the Indian region and the north Indian Ocean during monsoon season (June-September), 2008 The genesis of 8 out of 11 systems were predicted by IMD about 2-3 days in advance. The forecast for extreme event of heavy rainfall occurred in May 2008 was done 3 days ahead and observations are found to be accurate. Under the agromet services, the district level weather forecast & advisories started from June 2008, which was issued after value addition from Regional Met. Centres (RMCs) / Met. Centres (MCs). The information is being sent through 130 AgroMet Field Units (AMFUs) located in various districts. The State Level Composite Agromet Advisory Service (AAS) Bulletins are prepared by State MCs, where as the National Agromet Advisory Bulletins are prepared by the National Agromet Advisory Service Centre, IMD, Pune. With regard to aviation services, the major work taken up were installation of Integrated Automatic Aviation Meteorological Systems ( IAAMS) in 8 airports including Delhi (Runway 27 and New Runway 29-11), Mumbai (All runways), Jaipur, Hyderabad (HIAL), Bangalore (BIAL) and initiation of upgrading 20 more airports. The implementation of phase-1 of moderinsation include installation of 550 Automatic Weather Station, 1350 Automatic Rain Guages, 10 IMS – 1500 stations, 5 GPS stations, new Optical & electronic theodolites, development of new generation Radio Sonde and AWS instruments, and 12 Doppler Weather Radars. As a part of ongoing scheme of satellite meteorology, IMD had carried out work on reception and processing unit for INSAT-3D, NOAA/MODIS/Metop satellite, and 5 Nos. GPS based IPWV measure equipment installed at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Guwahati and Chennai. Under environmental studies, work carried out include rain Water chemistry measurements at 10 stations, Ozone monitoring from existing 7 stations including one at Antarctica, New Ozone Sonde stations at Port Blair and Guwahati for measuring vertical profiles of Ozone, Upgradation of surface ozone measurements, Archival of environmental data along with metadata for scientific research and applications.

(ii) Geosphere & seismological hazards: The Tsunami warning centre is now equipped to give a warning with 15 minutes of occurrence of earth quake anywhere in the Indian ocean which is a remarkable achievement. Infact, the tsunami warning centre had monitored a major earthquake during September 2008, which has been used as test for the centre, by providing timely advisories. Another main mandate of IMD is to provide information in earthquakes under which a total number of earthquakes monitored (detected/located) during the period which include Local events: 157, Regional events: 188, and Distant events: 233. The magnitudes of the earthquakes estimates by IMD are very much consistence with the estimates made by USGS. Besides, seismic History and Seismicity for 33 projects were prepared for various Hydro Electric and other projects for different users. As a part of microzonation about 70 cities to be covered with small units of likely uniform hazard level and nature, based on geoscientific, geotechnical, seismological and engineering seismological parameters which would be on 1:50000 scale and detailed level on 1: 10,000 scale.

(iii) Ocean science & services: One of the major programme of the Ministry is to acquire ocean observations in real-time from the seas around India. Under this programme, two sets of 11 and 14 each data buoys deployed in the Arabian Sea the Bay of Bengal in April-May and July & October 2008, respectively A Real time data reception at INCOIS achieved through INSAT was achieved. Currently, about 93 Argo floats deployed by India are working in the Indian Ocean. Over 18 Drifting Buoys were made operational besides, collection of data from 3 Current meter moorings deployed in the equatorial Indian ocean. Under XBT campaign about 16 XBT cruises: 16 BoB- 12 (162 profile), Lakshadweep – 5 (59 profile) and deployed 2 Wave ride buoys one each on east and west coast of India. The major activity of INCOIS was to give ocean state forecast during the year significant Wave & swell height, Direction using SW model were made operational at a resolution: 0.5 x 0.5, Duration: Forecast for 10 days, Interval: 3 hours, for Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal, South China Sea, Red Sea, Persian Gulf and Southern Indian Ocean (60° S). In addition, location specific models for the forecast for Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Pondicherry have been set up. The Validation shows promising results. Recognizing the importance of Ocean modeling activities for operational forecast a number of experiments were carried out during this period which includes studies on remotely forced component even at periods as short as 10 days and water depth as shallow as 10-20m along the West India Coastal, analysis of spatio-temporal variability of the East India coastal current using Coastal altimetry data, setting up of basin scale model for the region 30ºS-30ºN and 30º -120º E, fine tuning of two high resolution coastal models using Princeton Ocean Model (POM) for the east and west coast of India, setting up of a newly developed next generation mesoscale model (Weather Research and Forecasting) few numerical experiments. The Upper ocean response of Nargis cyclone was analysed in conjunction with recently deployed flux mooring. The analysis indicated that the upper ocean heat content along the track of Nargis was high as the cyclone moves towards Myanmar and hence the intensity of the cyclone increased. Besides, several data products were generated viz., MODIS – Aqua data products, chlorophyll a, SST, K_490 and TSM, for the period Apr-Sep, 2008. The daily, weekly and monthly composite images for the months from Apr to Sep 2008 were generated and displayed on web. The base map for disseminating MODIS – Aqua near real time (NRT) data were implemented upto 40º S to cover the countries Sri Lanka, Maldives, Iran, Kenya, Oman, Tanzania and Thailand. The red tide index (RTI) algorithm was incorporated in SeaDAS and is currently being evaluated for live MODIS data sets and is undergoing further testing. The oil-spill detection exercise was continued using MODIS – Aqua high resolution data, in optical and IR bands. The goal of the exercise is to publish the results. The number of users of INCOIS website had gone up from 5000 to over 27000.

(iv) Climate Science: The Ministry has taken up a programme to set up a dedicated centre at Pune to address various scientific issues relating to climate change including impacts on sectors like health, agriculture and water. The main objectives of Climate change centre is to address issues relating to science aspects particularly on Observations (GHG emissions like carbon, di-oxide, methane, CFCs, nitrous oxide etc), Physical Processes, Modelling, Data Products, Impact Assessment and Climate scenarios and Outreach. With the mandate to explore and assess targeted science-facets of climate change that are of high relevance for the Indian region, along with their global linkages through the creation of a research infrastructure to be coordinated by a exclusive program on climate change science, integrate existing research groups and develop new groups through the development of institutional research network, developing collaborative linkages with international institutions and research groups to enhance research capabilities, coordinate systematic observation program for climate change related parameters including fluxes, over Indian region and ocean in the neighbourhood.

(v) Polar Science & Cryosphere: Polar Science activities included mainly expedition to Antarctic, glacial ice retrieval, bathymetry studies conducted in the 3rd Antarctic station, Southern ocean studies etc., The important activities under the programme during the period include preparation for launch of 28th expedition has left on Nov. 23, 2008, enter into an agreement with M/s. Nicholas Piramal to work on Biotechnological application on strains isolated from Antarctic samples, establish video conferencing facility between NCAOR and Maitri, operation of Himadri, new station established in the Arctic. The preparation have also been made to the Southern ocean expedition, third in series scheduled for Jan.2009 to conduct a multi-disciplinary studies looking for filling of gaps in scientific information related to biogeochemical changes in carbonate/silicate chemistry and study sinks for CO2 by looking at sedimentary evidences/present day structure & how the biological pump must have operated during glacial episodes.

(vi) Ocean technology: The major accomplishments under the projects are (i) Desalination (operational, technology demonstration), (ii) Deep Ocean Mining (poly-metalic nodules)(ii) Energy (Gas hydrate) and (iii) Coastal Engineering. The major work includes LTTD plant of 1 LLPD using waste heat from thermal power plants being installed for the first time in North Chennai Thermal Power Station – EDC Dec 2008 and putting up LTTD plants in three more islands in Lakshadweep( Agatti, Androth and Minicoy) schedule for commission within One year design commenced, new 10 MLD Offshore LTTD plant. The Coastal Engineering Sustainable Shoreline management work include site characterisation studies with Bathymetry, Geophysical surveys, Current, wave, tide observations at Ennore, Towards development Of Support Submersible Ss2500, the land based trials have been completed and Launching and Recovering System (LARS) commissioned onboard Sagar Nidhi ROSUB 6000 mts demonstrated at a depth of 1100 mt. off Chennai. Under the development Of Autonomous Coring System, the design review of ACS completed and fabrication of ACS commenced. One of the important mandate of NIOT is to develop S&T products for operational at the Islands of the Indian. The major achievements include demonstration of fattening of lobster/crabs of Cobia fish weighing 55 and 63 g which can grow upto 510 and 650 g, respectively, within 110days, development of 32 species of microalgae for exploration of biolipid and biochemicals production, collection of over 10 species of seaweeds for screening for potential antifouling compounds.

(vii) Coastal Marine Ecology services: PFZ services were extended for non-ban period to both east and west coast by INCOIS in addition to initiation of experimental based species specific forecast based on both Satellite and In-situ information on various parameters to the selected group of fishermen and obtaining feed back on Tuna Fish Catch Data from the Fishery community. A Methodology has been derived for identification of Tuna Fish aggregation zones. The Marine living centre at kochi had prepared CDs on Marine Mammals seasonal and climatological Atlas for Indian EEZ and conducted a National Seminar & Training on Acoustics for fish & plankton biomass estimation. This centre also monitored the harmful algal blooms in various coastal waters such as Noctiluca bloom off Kochi (30 Kms area)-(10-18 Sep 08), Noctiluca bloom (20 Kms wide) off Goa. (3-5 Oct 08),bloom of Gonyaulax sp. off Manglore (8-10 Oct 08). As a part of monitoring of marine pollution, the work carried out along Indian coasts except for Goa and Mumbai which suggests that pollution trends remain same in hot spot locations such as Vizag, Kochi. Besides, oil spill modeling were initiated for Chennai and Dhahanu including development of marine pollution data base completed for 7 sites for web based dissemination.

(viii) Non-living resources (ocean): The new activities initiated during the current year are (i) Hydrothermal Sulphides aims at Characterization of slow spreading Carlsberg ridges, Andaman Subduction zone in terms of tectonic, volcanic and hydrothermal processes and to delineate the zones of hydrothermal mineralization, and their relation with seafloor and sub seafloor ecosystems. (ii) Cobalt Crusts Exploration primarily to identify areas of occurrence of cobalt-enriched ferromanganese crusts, assessment of resource potential of co-rich deposits on Afanasiy-Nikitin seamount in the Afanasiy-Nikitin Seamount region. Under the existing programme of CLCS, a comprehensive Technical report on the Indian claim with respect to CLCS finalized and besides carrying out marine geophysical surveys in and off the EEZ of Myanmar for the delineation of the outer limits of the country’s Continental Shelf.

(ix) Research Vessels: The Ministry has a set of research vessels to carry to a wide range of oceanographic research activities. Viz., Sagar Kanya, Sampada, Nidhi, Manjusha and coastal research vessels like Purvi and Paschami. To harness various non-living resources in a sustainable way, a suitable platform like Technology Demonstration Vessel(TDV) is essential. Sagar Nidhi equipped with the state-of-the art facility, was dedicated to the nation in March 2008 which was made fully operational. This new facility will also cater to shallow water survey, and act as a supply and support platform for the various deep ocean activities planned by the Ministry. This vessel will serve as a platform for the programme envisaged in the XI Plan and also serve as a utility science vessel which will augment the capacity needs of the marine living and non-living resources programme of the Department. The NIOT, Chennai is the nodal agency to implement this programme and to operate and maintain the vessel. Each vessel has been acquired for specific research. From the cruise plans available, it can be seen that most of the vessels are fully utilized for the purpose they been acquired.

(x) Outreach: Efforts are underway to identify a suitable private partner for implementation of various programmes. A new extra mural scheme for supporting the R&D projects in the Earth Sciences had been launched besides implementation of the existing programmes on Ocean Science and Technology.

(xi) Dedicated Weather Channel: Recognizing the importance of day to day weather information for the development of the country in various centres namely, Aviation, Tourism, Defence, Transport, Power, Sports and other socio economic events, the Ministry has decided to launch a state-of-the-art weather channel for providing the information on 24X7 basis. The various expertises available in the research, observations, modeling and communication would form an integral part of the endeavour.

(xii) Cloud Aerosol Interaction and Precipitation Enhancement Experiment (CAIPEEX): Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), launched a new programme for conducting a coordinated sustained national programme of cloud studies designed to reduce the knowledge gaps in the cloud microphysics is required. Cloud seeding experiments can be a part of major cloud physics programme. Aerosols play an important role in the earth-atmosphere energy balance and cloud formations. Thus additionally, there are requirements of aerosol observations for understanding aerosol-cloud interactions. To address these problems, special cloud, aerosol observations over different parts of the country are essential. In this regard scientific and technical resources in the country are required to bring together to have an observational programme to focus on the key uncertainties in aerosol distribution and rain formation processes. Research work carried out during last one year at IITM Pune has contributed to the studies relating to severe weather systems affecting Indian subcontinent, Asian monsoon variability and predictability, application of satellite data in weather forecasting, climate modelling and dynamics, regional aspects of global climate change using instrumental and proxy climate records, short-term and long-term climate diagnostics and prediction, hydrological modeling, cloud modeling, theoretical understanding of atmospheric and oceanic circulation, atmospheric monitoring and air pollution studies through LIDAR, radiometric and spectrometric remote sensing systems, middle atmosphere and chemical climate, atmospheric boundary layer experiments, atmospheric electrical characteristics, development of simulation techniques in cloud physics and surface observations of atmospheric electricity and electrical properties of clouds.


 Winter fog — a health and environmental hazard
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
By By B. Ghauri
Every winter satellite images show a dense fog belt over northeastern India extended to northwestern India and eastern Pakistan. Winter fog thoroughly disrupts all human activities in the affected areas of the sub-continent. Low visibility causes multiple accidents, cancellation of air flights and delays in road and railway transport. Fog affects human health as the particulates’ load increases during fog episode due to inversion and low dispersion. Therefore, depression, respiratory and heart ailment and other problems have been observed to increase during the episode. Similarly increasing aerosol load of the atmosphere and reduced insulation can seriously harm agricultural produce and the economic loss to the region can be immense.

Although fog formation relates to meteorological conditions, it becomes denser and persists for longer duration due to high level of chemical species in fine particulates matter or aerosols such as sulphate. The fog thickness is largely determined by the altitude of the inversion boundary, layer, above which the air mass is warmer and drier.

The airborne particles burden over Asia have increased significantly as the population, industrialisation and urbanisation are continuously rising without prevalent control planning. The airborne fine particulate matter directly perturbs the livelihood of millions of inhabitants by inhalation and indirectly by disturbing the regional hydrological cycle and climate.

NOAA image of 26th Dec-2008 at 0922 PST received and processed at SUPARCO Satellite Ground Station (ADRPC), Karachi, showed a fog cover over northern India and north- eastern Pakistan covering an area of 46,281

Haze consists of a combination of water droplets and minute particles. Water droplets in a haze are less than 0.001 mm in radius. There are two possible sources for particles in a haze. They are either generated naturally (e.g. sea salt, dust) or man-made (e.g. sulphate or soot). From a satellite, the haze appears brown when the fraction of soot or dust is large.

A winter fog study carried out by SUPARCO in Lahore from 1999 to date has shown high pollutants levels in all field samples of SO4-2 from 4 to 141 µg/m3 and NO3-1 from 3 to 74. 5 µg/m3. High trace elements’ concentration has also been observed.

Concentration of black carbon (BC) determined every 5 min in Lahore from November, 2005 to January 31, 2007 was among the highest urban values worldwide ranging from about 5 to 110 µg/m3 with a mean of 21.7 µg/m3. On a global basis black carbon contributes ~0.5 Wm-2 to radiative forcing. High concentration of soot over India and China are responsible for a trend toward increased flooding in the south and drought in the north. It is estimated that the reduced atmospheric trans boundary caused by high soot concentration over India and China decreases agriculture productivity by 10-20%. Soot deposited on plant leaves also reduces plant productivity.

The visibility impairment in the form of brown cloud, fog and haze/smog is experience in Asia whole year. Smog/fog is a mixture of various gases with water vapours and dust. A large part of the gases that form smog is produced when fuels are burnt. Indian Ocean Experiment (INDOEX) carried out an extensive aerosol measurement in South and Southeast Asia and reported that aerosol contained substantial amounts of both inorganic and organic pollutants, including black carbon. Scientists reported that due to man-made aerosols, India is about six to seven percent darker in about 60 years. Indian coal-based thermal power plants consume thousands of tons of coal daily and emit tons of sulfur dioxide, black carbon, arsenic etc. and introduce heavy regional atmospheric pollution load which plays a key role in the climate change process. Sulfur dioxide is converted to sulfate and change the nature of regional aerosol to acidic. Extensive agriculture burning in the region is a major source of black carbon in addition to industrial and vehicular emissions. Black carbon or soot carbon is the light-absorbing component of aerosols, which is formed in combustion processes. Sulfate and black carbon particles also play a major role in changing atmospheric and cloud chemistry in addition to direct health implications. They affect cloud nature, rain patterns, severity of rain and aerosol radiative forcing etc. which drastically affect human health and crop yield of this region which is dependent on agriculture.

An important characteristic of fog is a marked decrease in visibility. This occurs because of the presence of aerosols, i.e. particles and water droplets dispersed in atmosphere.

A major factor contributing to fog is the chemical composition of the aerosols (which showed a significant concentration of soot) and derivation of the radiative forcing associated with the aerosols. The presence of soot (black carbon) in fog warms the atmosphere, which is diametrically opposite to the effect of sulphate aerosols which cools the atmosphere. Aerosols particles can modulate the radiative energy balance of the atmosphere by changing the amount of solar and terrestrial radiation absorbed and scattered by the atmosphere. The size distribution of aerosols and their chemical composition control the manner in which aerosols alter the radiation budget of the atmosphere. The presence of aerosols decreases the solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth and usually increases the solar radiation reflected to space. In the infrared region, the presence of aerosols increases the atmospheric radiation reaching the surface and decreases the atmospheric radiation emitted to space. Aerosols can also act as cloud condensation nuclei. An increase in the concentration of aerosols increases the number of cloud droplets and hence also the reflectivity of clouds. The presence of soot in clouds increases the absorption of solar radiation and hence can lead to a cloud-cover change. Thus aerosols can also have an indirect impact on the radiation budget.

SUPARCO, the national space agency of Pakistan, is carrying out a research project to study the phenomenon of visibility impairment in the form of fog/smog in Punjab (Lahore city). The study is focused to study the atmospheric fog aerosols, their composition, and their impacts on human health, agriculture etc. Particulate matter levels (course and fine) have been observed many folds in mega cities of Pakistan, especially in Lahore, as compared to standards/guidelines given by USEPA/ WHO. For example observed 24 hours average PM2.5 (Particulates with an aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 micrometer) concentrations were 2 ~ 14 times higher than the prescribed limits of USEPA i.e. 35µg m-3 in winter and spring. PM2.5 is of the utmost importance to be considered it can penetrate deep into lungs and many trace and toxic material and carcinogenic pollutants absorbed on these particles (PM2.5) may cause a serious damage to people health. The preliminary one hospital respiratory illness-related retrospective data analysis showed increasing trend of asthma patients and number of patients are also increasing with the passage of time. The number of asthma patients has also been correlated with monthly fine particles levels. PM2.5 concentration affects the respiratory and cardiac health. The fine particulate load increased many fold from October to April and play a key role in changing seasonal and monthly pattern of climate. The fine particles (increased concentration of greenhouse gases, black carbon and sulphate) accelerate the haze/smog/fog episode, reduced the sunny days and radiative forcing, increase the cloud cover and cause unexpected heavy rains and temperature anomalous etc. have bigger extent to damage the quality and quantity of cash and cereal crops such as cotton, rice and wheat etc. in addition to health and other environmental damages.

The writer is a researcher with SUPARCO

Winter  blues
By Timothy Egan Published: January 8, 2009


A few days into the new year, I stood outside the house and stared into the darkness of a deep winter night at this far western edge of America - defiant on a bone-chilling eve.

It felt lonely and hypnotic here on the Olympic Peninsula, where a jut of land the size of Massachusetts holds an immensity of snow, surrounded on three sides by unknowable depths of gunmetal-gray salt water.

At this northern location, at a latitude equal to Newfoundland, it's hard not to feel the seasonal blues in all their smothering inevitability. Because there were no big-city lights on the horizon, and clouds veiled a thin moon, the darkness had a particularly strong grip.

I wanted to get inside by the fire, to drink something strong, to eat something sweet, to find a bear's den of deep sleep. If you live in the north, in places where the sun is an unreliable companion for many months, you can't escape the urge to hide and hoard in winter.

Today in Opinion
Who should take a statin?Apple's long-awaited shift on musicA cuddly welcome for DaschleBut this year, I've decided to fight lethargy with logic, to welcome the new president, the babies just born, to see something other than closure, dormancy and loss in the annual dark season.

It's tough, and perhaps absurd, to battle biological imperative.

I crave light, pruning high up in the trees around my house to open more patches of sky, keeping the strings of Christmas luminescence hanging into January's bleakness, checking the daily sunset tables for those few jumps of the clock that will hold back the curtain of night until 4:35 p.m., instead of 4:33.

Friends suffer from that dreaded affliction, Seasonal Affective Disorder, the aptly named SAD. They park themselves next to south-facing windows by day, and full spectrum, 10,000 lux light boxes by night. They escape to the desert or the beach to the south.

Still, for most of us, some variant of depression brought by the prevailing gloom of short days cannot be kept at bay.

Rage is another reaction. In Spokane, where six feet of snow has fallen in the last three weeks, a man was just arrested for shooting at a snow plow operator (no injuries, he missed), and mental health clinics say they are getting twice the number of calls they usually get.

"Man is the only animal that blushes," Mark Twain famously said. "Or needs to." We stand out in another way, as well: We can't hibernate, unlike many of our fellow animals.

Creatures that are capable of slowing their metabolic rates and lowering their body temperatures can close the whole shebang down for a few months, living off stored body reserves through the long winter.

Sad to say, we can't generate heat from fat. The only way to get warmer during a season of sloth is to be active.

As a country, we Americans have been through a long winter - endless, in some regards. Our departing president told us to shop in a time of war, to spend what we didn't have, to act as if sacrifice was no longer a national character trait.

During that long winter, when everything was supposed to be sunshine, we bought homes we could not afford. We invested in funds that could not sustain themselves. We made hits out of television shows in which we watched other people lose weight - virtual virtue.

Our leaders fostered a certain amnesia about our history, trying to get us to forget that we don't torture, that we don't hold people without trial, that we were founded by rebels demanding basic human dignity.

That winter will soon be gone, leaving us with a terrible toll. The federal deficit is now projected to be $1.2 trillion this year, even without a stimulus package. New jobless numbers on Friday will make us shudder. It will take years to sort the mess and lift the gloom.

And then there is fresh war in a place of ancient hatreds. What else could winter bring?

But even with a reckoning at home and the killings overseas, I've chosen to embrace the few ticks of extra daylight coming on every day, in that Washington and this Washington. Action is generating heat, as it should, following the laws of nature for animals that can't hibernate.

When the world is muffled, at its darkest, there lies possibility, if only for a sunless day.

Timothy Egan writes Outposts, a column at

Palash Biswas

No comments: