Archive for May, 2011

India: How to Keep the Water Flowing

Posted on May 16, 2011, by Hanna Ingber, under India, International, environment.

MUMBAI, India — No large city in India offers all its residents a constant supply of water, and most provide water at unreliable times.

The wealthy manage this by paying for tanks, pumping systems and filters, as this chart by Professor Srinivas Chary, the director of urban government at the Administrative Staff College of India, shows. The poor must spend their own precious resource: time.

Among families across India and much of South Asia who receive piped water, the women spend a significant chunk of their days waiting — and waiting — for the water to arrive. They often have to delay or miss going to work or the market or performing other obligations while they wait. Once the water comes, they rush to fill every bucket and container they have.

If the women choose to leave and the water comes during their absence, they may have to wait another five or six days until they get another chance.

A group of graduate students from the University of California, Berkeley, decided to tackle this problem of unreliable water supply by creating a system that harnesses the ubiquity of mobile phones in India and dependability of crowd-sourcing to provide accurate information on water availability.

Continue reading at GlobalPost.

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India: The Cheerleader Who Went Too Far

Posted on May 14, 2011, by Hanna Ingber, under Culture, India, International, women.

MUMBAI, India — A beautiful blonde South African cheerleader came to India, dazzled cricket fans with her glamorous looks and fancy moves, and partied with the players after games. But then, and here was her fatal flaw, she blogged about it.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) reportedly fired the young woman, Gabriella Pasqualotto, and sent her back to South Africa this week after it became known that she was the anonymous writer of a blog detailing cricket after-parties.

The blog, called “The Secret Diary of an IPL Cheerleader,” appears on The Alternative Cricket Almanack website and tells of the parties after matches where “the music pumps, the drinks flow and the cricketers come and go.”

Pasqualotto, who cheered for the Mumbai Indians, writes in her blog, “cricketers are the most loose and mischievious sportsmen I have come across,” and names a few “naughty” Australian players.

The young woman’s blog sheds light on not just what the stars do behind closed doors but also how India’s cheerleaders — virtually all attractive, voluptuous white women in scantily clad outfits — are treated by fans.

“We are practically like walking porn!” she writes. “The men see your face, then your boobs, your butt, and then your boobs again! As we walk, all you hear is ‘IPL, IPL!’ with a little head jingle!”

Continue reading at GlobalPost.

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India Steps Up the Fight Against Piracy

Posted on May 12, 2011, by Hanna Ingber, under Crime, India, International.

MUMBAI, India — Over the past few years, Somali pirates have posed a bigger and bigger challenge to India, disrupting its trade, capturing its merchants, attacking closer to its shores and — like a game of Calvinball — changing the unwritten rules as they go.

But India will not give up.

Faced with a growing threat from these men in boats, India is stepping up its fight with a variety of measures aimed at ending the menace. The efforts, say maritime security experts, also provide India an opportunity to flex its muscles on the world stage and show that it is willing and able to be a strong regional and global power.

“It’s a very big priority for us,” said P.K. Ghosh, a senior fellow at Observer Research Foundation with an expertise in maritime security. “The Indian government is taking [piracy] very seriously.”

Continue reading at GlobalPost.

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