The Hindu: October 3, 2015 02:29 IST
Social movement to political party
In terms of immediate impact, single-agenda social movements are often more effective than multi-dimensional political parties. That the Patel reservation agitation managed, within a short time, to mobilise large sections of the Patel community in support of a separate reservation quota for it is in no small measure owing to the singular focus on a pressing demand. What drew many youth to the movement, and to its leader Hardik Patel, was the prospect of a quick realisation of the demand for reservation in education and jobs, not any desire for long-term political change. By seeking to expand the role of the movement by launching a political party, the Akhil Bharatiya Patel Navnirman Sena, Hardik Patel is thus taking a big gamble. True, the reservation movement was unable to make any headway despite having forced the Gujarat government to offer financial assistance for higher education and relax the age limit for government employment. But there is no way the new party can immediately advance the cause of the community's demand for reservation. That Mr. Patel is intent on expanding the scope of the agitation even without anything to show for all his efforts thus far, betrays a political ambition that wants to vault over ground realities. While the reservation agitation found the backing of Patels affiliated to different political formations, this will not be the case with the new party. Many among the community who have been traditional supporters of the BJP will doubtless see this as counter-productive. Instead of being able to pressure the BJP government in Gujarat to back their demand, the Patels could now find themselves further alienated from the power centres. The new Sena would have to adopt an all-or-nothing political strategy while taking on the BJP.
While Patels account for more than 10 per cent of Gujarat's population, they do not have the numbers to elect a government on their own. If political power is what Hardik Patel is after, he would have to build political alliances. That he is trying to cut himself loose from the BJP was clear from his stated support for Nitish Kumar in Bihar. His party wants to negotiate with the Gujarat government from a position of strength, not as a supplicant. But as an active political player it would lose its ability to negotiate with parties. Networking with other caste groups such as Kurmis and Gujjars can only offer limited political purchase. If the new outfit enters the electoral fray, that would be at the cost of the efficacy of the reservation movement that Hardik Patel helped build. There is no way he can be both apolitical lobbyist and partisan politician.
>Intention or purpose.
· make headway
› to make progress or get closer to achieving something:
I'm trying to learn to drive, but I'm not making much headway (with it).
› [I usually + adv/prep, T] to jump over something by first putting your hands on it or by using a pole:
He vaulted over the gate.
› having an effect that is opposite to the one intended or wanted:
Improved safety measures in cars can be counterproductive as they encourage people to drive faster.
› a person who asks a god or someone who is in a position of power for something in a humble way
· fray verb (CLOTH)
› to become or to cause the threads in cloth or rope to become slightly separated, forming loose threads at the edge or end:
Denim frays so easily.
I frayed the edges of my jeans since that was the fashion in those days.
› strongly supporting a person, principle, or political party, often without considering or judging the matter very carefully:
The audience was very partisan, and refused to listen to her speech.
› not interested in or connected with politics, or not connected to any political party:
The organization insists that it is apolitical and does not identify with any one particular party.
> to try to persuade a politician, the government, or an official group that a particular thing should or should not happen, or that a law should be changed:
Small businesses have lobbied hard for/against changes in the tax laws.
The Hindu: October 3, 2015 02:28 IST
Preparing for Paris
India's commitment to adopt low-carbon pathways for development is welcome reaffirmation that it fully recognises its role in averting dangerous climate change. In the statement of climate goals and plans — formally called the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs — which has been submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Narendra Modi government has emphasised the expansion of clean technologies to generate power, greater energy efficiency in infrastructure, and a significant widening of forestry as key measures. There are several other actions that it will take in the areas of transport, buildings, agriculture and waste management in order to balance economic growth with carbon emissions. With all this, India promises to reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 per cent by 2030, from 2005 levels, while not committing itself to any absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. What is significant is that the national plans given in the INDC, ahead of the Paris Climate Conference in December 2015, depends on the "unencumbered availability of clean technologies and financial resource from around the world". Such a position is consistent with the principle of 'common but differentiated responsibilities' that guides climate negotiations. Yet, India cannot avoid addressing the internal contradiction — affluent citizens have access to cheap, abundant energy and mobility while the poor and the vulnerable are forced to fend for themselves — in facing the negative effects of climate change.
On the positive side, since much of India's infrastructure is yet to be built, the Central and State governments can adopt the greenest technologies to ensure that the long-term impact on emissions is positive. This is particularly important in the design and construction of built structures, including housing and offices, mass transport systems and lighting, to name a few. New coal-based power generation facilities have a prolonged lock-in effect of high emissions, and it is vital to opt for the cleanest systems. Financing such a major effort requires massive funding; the INDC data estimate that between now and 2030, at least $2.5 trillion would be required for the country to meet climate change action requirements. Some of the funding could come from the taxing of fuels. As with the coal cess, there could be a climate tax on transport fuels — this would result in a tax-and-share arrangement where high-volume users would pay a tax to fund common facilities. Another area that needs support is in helping citizens scale up their contribution to renewable energy. Incentivising citizen-investment in roof-top solar installations would unlock private funds and help the country exceed the 100 GW it aims to generate from this source. That will be a world-leading achievement.
› a track that a person can walk along:
New pedestrian pathways are being built alongside the road.
› a path (= set of actions that you take in life):
Working your way up through a company is a difficult pathway.
› to state something as true:
[+ (that)] The suspect affirmed (that) he had been at home all evening.
· avert verb [T] (PREVENT)
› to prevent something bad from happening:
to avert a crisis/conflict/strike/famine
› without something making it difficult for you to do something:
People can decide how to care for their children, unencumbered by interference from the state.
> having a lot of money or owning a lot of things:
· fend for yourself
› to take care of and provide for yourself without depending on anyone else:
The corporation will no longer receive a government subsidy, and must fend for itself financially.
Climate change & development
India must secure headroom for its growth demands
As the date of the United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Paris in December comes closer, there is an increasing global interest in what stance India will adopt at the forthcoming summit. This was amply reflected in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's various consultations with world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, during his recent US visit, where the issue of climate change dominated the agenda. Though the main interest is about whether New Delhi will make or mar a positive outcome from the Paris meeting, there is also a growing appreciation of the subtle, but distinct, change in the country's climate diplomacy. The clinching evidence of this came when, after the bilateral meeting with the US, Mr Obama remarked that India's leadership in the upcoming conference would set the tone, not just for today but for decades to come. The forceful articulation by Mr Modi of India's concern about global warming and, more so, about the need to shun negativism to pave the way for a positive agenda to tackle global warming has also contributed to changing the world leaders' perception of India. At the United Nations, too, Mr Modi rightly stressed the need for cooperation in ensuring "climate justice" by adhering to the well-propounded and widely accepted principle of "common but differentiated responsibility" for global climate action.
It is, therefore, time that India walked the talk and demonstrated its keenness to do much more to stave off the catastrophic climate change than it was willing to do in the past. With the major environment polluters like the US, China and the European Union having already declared their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) - most of which are a shade better than anticipated - New Delhi, too, will need to come out with an INDC package, which should be both impressive and pragmatic. It should be feasible without sacrificing the development imperatives, which are of paramount importance to India. The point to note is that China has pledged to reach peak greenhouse gas (GHG) emission level by 2030, but only after raising the carbon footprint of its economic development to a fairly high level - becoming the world's biggest polluter in the process. India, on the other hand, has yet to cover a good deal of ground to come up to China's level of economic development and, therefore, needs more carbon space in the coming few decades. A possible date for India's peak carbon emissions could be 2040 or 2045.
India's legitimacy for playing a constructive role in crafting a climate deal at Paris has become relatively easy, thanks to its already-announced commitment to lower the carbon intensity of its gross domestic product (GDP) by 20 to 25 per cent from 2005 levels by 2020 and taking some well-advised initiatives towards this end. These include, among others, setting an ambitious renewable energy target of 175 Gw for 2022, taxing mineral oils and coal, increasing the use of relatively low- or non-polluting fuels for public transport and cleaning up the cities and rivers. However, with its rather heavy dependence on imports to meet its energy needs, the country cannot afford to cut down the use of coal in the near future. It is, therefore, imperative for India to safeguard its development space even while contributing positively towards global climate action based on the principle of common but differentiated obligations. In other words, India must not compromise on equality in terms of emissions per head or emissions per unit of GDP.
· ample adjective (ENOUGH)
> more than enough:
You'll have ample opportunity to ask questions after the talk.
› to spoil something, making it less good or less enjoyable:
Sadly, the text is marred by careless errors.
> not loud, bright, noticeable, or obvious in any way:
The room was painted a subtle shade of pink.
The play's message is perhaps too subtle to be understood by young children.
› small but important:
There is a subtle difference between these two plans.
· clinch verb (WIN)
› to finally get or win something:
I hear he finally clinched the deal to buy the land he wanted.
clinch verb (DECIDE)
› to make someone decide what to do after a lot of thought or discussion:
When they said the job would involve travelling to Paris, that clinched it (for her) (= that made her certain that she wanted the job).
› to avoid something:
She has shunned publicity since she retired from acting.
› to ignore someone and not speak to that person because you cannot accept their behaviour, beliefs, etc.:
After the trial he was shunned by friends and family alik
· stave sth off
› to stop something bad from happening, or to keep an unwanted situation or person away, usually temporarily:
We were hoping to stave off these difficult decisions until September.
> solving problems in a sensible way that suits the conditions that really exist now, rather than obeying fixed theories, ideas, or rules:
In business, the pragmatic approach to problems is often more successful than an idealistic one.
· imperative adjective (URGENT)
> extremely important or urgent:
[+ that] The president said it was imperative that the release of all hostages be secured.
Since the Zurich raid, the US Department of Justice has indicted 14 current and former Fifa officials and associates on charges of "rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted" corruption.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter has built a formidable reputation for defying fate. But the crisis in world football's governing body has taken on a melodramatic dimension that would put the Mexican soap opera to shame. Blatter, at 79, is now being investigated by the Swiss attorney general for signing a contract "unfavourable to Fifa" in 2005 and for making a "disloyal payment" of £1.6 million to Uefa chief Michel Platini in 2011. Blatter, who won re-election for a fifth consecutive term after the dramatic raid at a luxury hotel in Zurich in May — in which seven Fifa officials were arrested — quit his post days later, only to retract, promising to step down in February 2016. This time too, Blatter's defiance is entirely in character.
Since the Zurich raid, the US Department of Justice has indicted 14 current and former Fifa officials and associates on charges of "rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted" corruption. Although the investigation initially concerned only the bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, the US probe is retrospectively looking at 25 years of alleged corruption, including "racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracies" by these officials.
As the world's most powerful sport body, responsible for organising the world's most-watched sporting event, Fifa's crisis puts into question the transparency of how football is administered, how the World Cup is allocated and even how its president is elected — in fact, every major decision taken by Fifa in the last 25 years is now under suspicion.
The denouement of the Blatter saga is yet unknown. Although still not proven guilty, the pressure on him will only mount. Sadly, Blatter's potential successor, Platini, is having to do some explaining himself about the 2011 payment, apparently for services rendered nine years earlier. To fix Fifa, it isn't enough that Blatter step down. The structure of power and privilege he erected needs to be overhauled
· rampant adjective (INCREASING)
› (of something bad) getting worse quickly and in an uncontrolled way:
Rampant inflation means that our wage increases soon become worth nothing.
Inspiring fear or respect through being impressively large, powerful, intense, or capable.
> to refuse to obey a person, decision, law, situation, etc.:
It is rare to see children openly defying their teachers.
A few workers have defied the majority decision and gone into work despite the strike.
to take back an offer or statement, etc. or admit that a statement was false:
retract an invitation/confession/promise
When questioned on TV, he retracted his allegations.
› [I or T] to pull something back or in:
The wheels retract after the aircraft takes off.
The cat retracted its claws.
› a show of the work an artist has done in their life so far:
a Hockney retrospective/a retrospective of Hockney's work
› the end of a story, in which everything is explained, or the end result of a situation
Ø mount verb (INCREASE)
> to gradually increase, rise, or get bigger:
The children's excitement is mounting as Christmas gets nearer.
Ø mount verb (GET ON)
> to get on a horse, bicycle, etc.. in order to ride:
She mounted her horse and rode off.
Ø mount verb (GO UP)
› to go up or onto:
He mounted the platform and began to speak to the assembled crowd.
>used to say you have read or been told something although you are not certain it is true:
Apparently it's going to rain today.
Apparently he's had enough of England and is going back to Australia.
> used when the real situation is different from what you thought it was:
You know I told you Alice's party was on the 13th? Well I saw her last night and apparently it's on the 14th.
She looks about ten, but apparently she's 14.
I thought they were married but apparently not (= they are not married).
> used to say that something seems to be true, although it is not certain:
An 80-year-old woman was badly hurt in what the police describe as an apparently motiveless attack (= an attack for no apparent reason).
Oct 03 2015 : The Times of India (Ahmedabad)
just in jest! - Getting Babus To Exercise
Adventure sports are being offered to improve their morale and efficiency
Being a babu sounds exciting enough, with aam admi to tycoons co urting your favour. So why is the Modi government bent on provi ding its mandarins further thrills like jungle safaris and gyms?
The PM-headed DoPT has declared itself alarmed about the impact of stress and sedentary life on the morale and efficiency of babudom.Such concern was missing when babus' golf memberships were cancelled. But that was in the early days of this government. Since then stress has presumably grown.
Now adventures like jungle and desert safaris are being offered as rejuvenating solutions. What remains unclear is whether the badlands of Central Secretariat will suffer by comparison. These days life here can seem more rough and tough than any jungle if your Hindi is weak or if you like sleeping late or don't like doing pranayama in the capital's toxic air or like holidaying on Christmas ... Many are the ways in which government is keeping babus on their toes. One favoured sport is musical chairs in 16 months it has already transferred more top level bureaucrats than the cricket, football, hockey , basketball, baseball, volleyball, rugby , kabaddi and polo teams put together.
Then it has the babus doing yoga. Even though most of them are far from flexible, they have to try to contort themselves into challenging postures.
Like padmasana, because the lotus po se is trending these days. Or vajrasana, which helps digest unpleasant new re alities such as having to work hard in stead of hardly working. And pavana muktasana, because gasbags really be nefit from the wind-releasing posture.
Particularly affected are the creati ve babus, the ones who unlike other government types like auditors, poli cemen, taxmen and town planners churn out charming English fiction with comforting regularity . As our MEA spokesperson of Slumdog Millionaire fame Vikas Swarup has said, the writing is done in the crevices of the day job. When those crevices are filled with yoga and the PM's good governance speeches and jhadu, there is not going to be time for anything other than a few hurried tweets.
Still, all grouses will turn sweet when Santa Claus comes calling.His real name is not Raghuram Rajan but the Pay Commission, who is invariably munificent when it comes to rewarding our babus. If their separate gyms don't reassure the babus that they are still VIPs, then surely their guaranteed salary hikes do.
Last time they got a goodly one, it was when the rest of the economy was cutting salaries and even jobs in the face of a domestic slowdown, tight monetary policy and global recession. They have been warned to `perform or take VRS' but remain safe from the CTC formula cost to country .
And yet babus are beginning to mount resistance. Biometric attendance has already taken a guerrilla hit, with machines broken and even stolen. Government now wants to send them rock climbing and parasailing. Such an unexpected stimulus may just tip over this sedentary species into rock throwing now.
› a person who has succeeded in business or industry and has become very rich and powerful:
a business/property/shipping tycoon
Ø mandarin noun [C] (FRUIT)
› (also mandarin orange) a small, sweet type of orange that has a thinner, looser skin
mandarin noun [C] (OFFICIAL)
› a person who has a very important job in the government, and who is sometimes considered to be too powerful:
It often seems that true power lies with the Civil Service mandarins, rather than MPs and cabinet ministers.
> involving little exercise or physical activity:
a sedentary job/occupation
› a dry area without plants and with large rocks that the weather has worn into strange shapes, especially the area like this in Dakota and Nebraska in the US
› to (cause something to) twist or bend violently and unnaturally into a different shape or form:
His face contorted with bitterness and rage.
› a small, narrow crack or space, especially in the surface of rock
› a deep line in an old person's face, or a deep fold in someone's body:
The harsh light revealed every crevice and wrinkle in his face.
Sweat poured out of every crevice of the fat man's body.
Ø grouse noun (BIRD)
› (plural grouse) a small fat bird, shot for sport and food
grouse noun (COMPLAINT)
› (plural grouses) informal an angry complaint
› very generous with money:
A former student has donated a munificent sum of money to the college.
› using unusual methods to get attention for your ideas, products, etc.:
Oct 03 2015 : The Economic Times (Mumbai)
How Green Our Valley Could Still Be
Swachh Bharat needs a big engineering fix
Official statistics on the lakhs of toilets built in homes and schools notwithstanding, Swachh Bharat remains a non-starter. The reasons range from unchanged, unaddressed cultural mores to poor conceptual design of the scheme. Manual scavenging of human excreta continues in many parts of the country . Urban solid waste management remains patchy at best. This underachievement of a scheme launched with high-profile commitment by Prime Minister Narendra Modi a year ago underlines the difficulty of the challenge rather than questions the scheme's intrinsic merit.
Engineering is the missing part of the Swachh Bharat campaign, as it was of the Nirmal Gaon Yojana, the ongoing scheme that the present government rebranded and relaunched. Sanitation is mostly about engineering and then about bringing about cultural and behavioural change. If rural households have to use the toilets a benevolent government builds for them right on their homestead, there has to be water supply . If you have to carry pots of water home on your head for several kilometres from a distant pond or borewell, you are unlikely to be enthusiastic about pouring it down a drain just because someone has brought the drain to your home. In rural areas, septic tanks are fine, while towns do need to build sewerage systems. But people have to be educated about septic tanks. Excessive use of chemicals can kill the bacterial action that make septic tanks function. Sewage treatment is no longer just about disposal but about digesting the organic matter in it to produce methane, composting the solid residue and recycling the water. This costs money and the money has to be recovered from the public as user charges and revenue from compost and gas sales for power generation.That calls for political courage.
Blown-up pictures of the Prime Minister wielding a broom had helped reinforce a notion that sanitation is about spatial shifting of garbage and waste. That notion is garbage and leads to wastage of the valuable political commitment the Prime Minister invested in sanitation.Swachh Bharat needs a change of course.
› the traditional customs and ways of behaving that are typical of a particular (part of) society:
› to look for or get food or other objects in other people's rubbish:
The flood has left people and animals desperately scavenging for food.
We managed to scavenge a lot of furniture from the dump.
› If a wild animal scavenges, it feeds on the flesh of dead decaying animals.
› the waste material produced by a body, especially solid waste
>to hold a weapon or tool and look as if you are going to use it:
She was confronted by a man wielding a knife.
wield influence, power, etc.
> to have a lot of influence or power over other people:
He still wields enormous influence in politics.
› relating to the position, area, and size of things:
This task is designed to test children's spatial awareness (= their understanding of where things are in relation to other things).
> a belief or idea:
[+ that] The show's director rejects the notion that seeing violence on television has a harmful effect on children.
view on the Conservative conference: Tories should enjoy the moment
the Conservative party conference, which opens in Manchester on Sunday, is always a very different occasion from the Labour conference which has just finished in Brighton. This year, the distinctions are particularly telling. The first is that the Tory party will not hesitate to scrutinise and debate the lessons of the May 2015 general election. The second is that the conference already has the election of 2020 in its sights. Neither of these things was remotely true of Labour's energised gathering in Brighton.
A preoccupation with power has been the hallmark of the Conservative party for nearly two centuries. The 2015 election marked another milestone in that long story. It was the first time the party has won a majority in parliament since 1992. As one political scientist has recently noted, the result suggests that the Tories may once again have become the default option in British politics. They have won six of the nine elections since 1979. They stand to gain from boundary changes in this parliament. With protection from the first-past-the-post electoral system, and amid a reasonable if fragile economic outlook, a long period of Tory rule is very much on the cards.
But Tory serenity in Manchester will not be impregnable. As ever, Europe will be the critical issue. The migration crisis and the continuing weakness of the eurozone mean the polls are beginning to turn against EU membership. If that continued, it would not just mean UK exit from the EU but very likely Scottish exit from the UK. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking towards the planned referendum and David Cameron has little to show for his efforts to secure a pro-European outcome. With Ukip faltering electorally, many Tories will feel emboldened to embrace an out campaign, now led by Margaret Thatcher's still-forceful chancellor, Nigel Lawson. Though George Osborne is making it clear that such behaviour will not be forgotten if he becomes party leader, speculation about Boris Johnson's intentions in the referendum campaign are rife.
As this implies, the European issue is closely intertwined with that of the succession to Mr Cameron. By the time of the next general election the Tory party will have a new leader. The manoeuvring and calculations are well under way. Mr Osborne seems more entrenched as favourite to succeed than ever. The chancellor is seen as the prime minister in waiting, rather as Gordon Brown was after 2005. His visit to China last month underscored his political reach, while next month's spending review will shape the economic agenda of this whole parliament. Mr Osborne comes to Manchester surrounded by a sense of inevitability. But he only needs to make one false step – and he has made them before – and the mood could change fast. If it did, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, and apparently Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, are waiting.
The third issue, itself also intertwined with both Europe and the Tory leadership, is Lord Ashcroft. The former party treasurer has upstaged Mr Cameron with his vengeful biography. Lord Ashcroft may have shot his bolt in September, but as usual he is expected to be a prominent presence at the conference. He is the party's loose cannon, loaded in every sense. The Tory party's status as the voters' default option, and Mr Cameron's command over the party he led to a majority in May, may not infinitely survive a display of division of the kind that the peer may create.
And then there is Jeremy Corbyn. The Tory party has mostly resisted the temptation to gloat. But a Tory conference, especially one in which the champagne is back in the wine cooler as it apparently is this time, is neither a biddable nor a well-behaved place. Mr Corbyn's ascetic and decent image, with his wish to do politics in a kinder and more reasoned manner, could not be a starker contrast, and one in which most people would side with Mr Corbyn. A Tory conference that pulls to the right over Europe, in spite of the Labour leader's Euroscepticism, or over the leadership, could help Labour and thus Mr Corbyn too. The Tory party may seem stronger than for many years – and it is. It may appear the favourite for 2020 – and it is that, too. But Britain does not love the Tory party. Even a decade after Mr Cameron became leader, the party remains uncomfortable in the centre ground. Its position rests upon being better trusted with the nation's economic fortunes than any of the alternatives. If the Tories succumb to hubris, the politics of Britain could change more decisively than currently seems likely. Manchester will be the test.
>in the middle of or surrounded by:
On the floor, amid mounds of books, were two small envelopes.
The new perfume was launched amidst a fanfare of publicity.
> easily damaged, broken, or harmed:
Be careful with that vase - it's very fragile.
> peaceful and calm; worried by nothing:
She has a lovely serene face.
› A building or other place that is impregnable is so strongly built and/or defended that it cannot be entered by force:
Despite burglar alarms and window locks, homes are never impregnable against determined thieves.
› mainly UK powerful and impossible to beat, especially in sport:
Surrey have been building up an impregnable lead in this season's County Championship.
Ø falter verb [I] (STOP)
› to lose strength or purpose and stop, or almost stop:
The dinner party conversation faltered for a moment.
Her friends never faltered in their belief in her.
Nickie's voice faltered and he stopped speaking.
falter verb [I] (ALMOST FALL)
› to move awkwardly as if you might fall:
The nurse saw him falter and made him lean on her
› to make someone brave:
Emboldened by drink, he walked over to speak to her.
Ø embrace verb (ACCEPT)
> formal to accept something enthusiastically:
This was an opportunity that he would embrace.
embrace verb (HOLD)
> literary to hold someone tightly with both arms to express love, liking, or sympathy, or when greeting or leaving someone:
She saw them embrace on the station platform.
He leaned over to embrace the child.
Ø manoeuvring noun (CLEVER ACTION)
› the action of cleverly planning something to get an advantage:
The directors managed to secure a good deal for the company with a bit of subtle manoeuvring.
He claimed he knew nothing about the political manoeuvrings which had got him into power.
manoeuvring noun (MOVEMENT)
› the action of moving, or of moving something, with skill and care:
With some careful manoeuvring, I was able to get the car into the narrow space.
› Entrenched ideas are so fixed or have existed for so long that they cannot be changed:
It's very difficult to change attitudes that have become so deeply entrenched over the years.
Ø loose cannon
› someone who behaves in an uncontrolled or unexpected way and is likely to cause problems for other people:
He's seen as something of a loose cannon by other team members.
> to look carefully or with difficulty:
When no one answered the door, she peered through the window to see if anyone was there.
› avoiding physical pleasures and living a simple life, often for religious reasons:
They live a very ascetic life.
› empty, simple, or obvious, especially without decoration or anything that is not necessary:
It was a stark room with a bed and chair as the only furniture.
The stark reality is that we are operating at a huge loss.
› a way of talking or behaving that is too proud:
He was punished for his hubris.
> to lose the determination to oppose something; to accept defeat:
The town finally succumbed last week after being pounded with heavy artillery for more than two months.
The Dawn (pakistan)
UAE labour reform
MILLIONS of migrant workers from South Asia, including Pakistan, work on construction sites and in other sectors of Gulf sheikhdoms in order to support their families.
Yet, these migrant workers lead less than ideal lives and are often subjected to exploitation by local employers, and have few options for reporting abuse. However, as reported recently, the United Arab Emirates has taken steps that — if implemented in earnest — may improve the conditions for foreign workers.
These changes, due to take effect from Jan 1, would make job terms and contracts more transparent, while also providing options for breaking contracts and changing employers.
Across most of the Gulf, foreign workers are employed under the kafala system; in many instances, this virtually makes them the property of their employers — with hardly any rights and widespread chances of abuse. Hopefully, the changes proposed by the UAE authorities will be adopted in letter and spirit; other Gulf states should also attempt similar progressive changes to improve conditions for their foreign workers.
In actuality, what is needed is a change of mindset in these states; instead of being treated like chattel, foreign workers must be given respect and due rights, in accordance with international labour conventions.
Organisations such as the International Trade Union Confederation have been highly critical of the Gulf states' attitudes towards foreign workers. In the UAE, working conditions have at times deteriorated so much that labourers have taken to the streets — an unusual and a brave move as protest is not tolerated in the Gulf.
Payment of wages can be delayed while living conditions for blue-collar workers are quite appalling. Living far from home and in deplorable conditions, it is easy to understand how workers' patience can boil over. Qatar has also been criticised as reportedly hundreds of migrant workers have died over the past few years as the sheikhdom experiences a building boom in preparation for the 2022 football World Cup.
Thanks largely to their wealth by way of the petrodollar, the Gulf states seek everything that defines the modern world: skyscrapers, cavernous malls, state-of-the-art airports and all the other trappings of modernity.
Yet they must realise that along with the infrastructure they seek to replicate, they should also consider the rights most Western states have given to working people. It is about time that the men who toiled to build the modern Gulf metropolises are given their due.
› serious and determined, especially too serious and unable to find your own actions funny:
He was a very earnest young man
› a personal possession:
He treated his wife as little more than a chattel.
goods and chattels
› to cause someone to be extremely upset or shocked:
I was appalled by the condition of our facilities, especially the dirty locker room.
Ø boil over (PERSON)
› If a difficult situation or negative emotion boils over, it cannot be controlled any more and people start to argue or fight.
› a very tall modern building, usually in a city
› If something is cavernous, there is a very large open space inside it:
a cavernous 4,000-seat theatre
› [T] formal to make or do something again in exactly the same way:
Researchers tried many times to replicate the original experiment.
› [I or T] specialized biology, computing If organisms and genetic or other structures replicate, they make exact copies of themselves:
Chromosomes replicate before cells divide and multiply.
› hard work, especially work that makes you feel physically tired:
Lindi has achieved her comfortable life only after years of hard toil.
humorous Well, after a day's toil in the office I like to relax a little