Second India blackout in two days cuts power to 670 million(Reuters) – Half of India’s 1.2 billion people were without power on Tuesday as the grids covering a dozen states broke down, the second major blackout in as many days and an embarrassment for the government as it struggles to revive economic growth.
Stretching from Assam, near China, to the Himalayas and the deserts of Rajasthan, the power cut was the worst to hit India in more than a decade.
Trains were stranded in Kolkata and Delhi and thousands of people poured out of the sweltering capital’s modern metro system when it ground to a halt at lunchtime. Office buildings switched to diesel generators and traffic jammed the roads.
“We’ll have to wait for an hour or hour and a half, but till then we’re trying to restore metro, railway and other essential services,” Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters.
More than a dozen states with a total population of 670 million people were without power, with the lights out even at major hospitals in Kolkata.
Palestinians accuse Romney of “racist” remark
Palestinians have accused US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney of racism after he suggested disparities between the Israeli and Palestinian economies had cultural roots while not mentioning Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and blockade of Gaza.
In a speech to fundraisers in Jerusalem on Monday, Romney, who is on a foreign tour, said Israel’s gross domestic product was about twice that of the Palestinians, “a dramatic, stark difference in economic vitality”. The actual gap is greater.
Romney made the remarks in the context of juxtaposing two books he said had informed his thinking: “Guns, Germs and Steel,” by Jared Diamond, which argues that geography primarily decides a society’s success, and “The Wealth and Poverty of Nations” by David Landes, which argues for the importance of culture.
“If you could learn anything from the economic history of the world it’s this: culture makes all the difference … recognise the hand of providence in selecting this place,” Romney said.
Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator in the peace process, told Reuters that Romney’s comments amounted to “a racist statement that shows a lack of knowledge”.
Romney said Israel’s GDP per capita was $21,000, while for Palestinians it was $10,000, though the US Central Intelligence Agency estimates Israel’s is $31,400 and the Palestinians’ about $2,900.
“Everyone knows that the Palestinians cannot reach their full potential given the Israeli restrictions imposed on them,” Erekat said. More…
ACTA killed: MEPs destroy treaty in final vote
ACTA has received a knockout blow from the European Parliament as the majority of MEPs voted in favor of rejecting the controversial trade agreement, which critics say would protect copyright at the expense of freedom of speech on the Internet.
MEPs voted overwhelmingly against ACTA, with 478 votes against and only 39 in favor of it. There were 146 abstentions.
“In am proud to say that the highly controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will not come into force in the European Union,” the Treaty’s rapporteur in the European Parliament, David Martin MEP, wrote on his blog after the session.
Martin recommended that Parliament reject the treaty as it would not effectively tackle online piracy.
The anti-ACTA mood was strong among MEPs during the session, with some members holding banners reading “Hello democracy. Goodbye ACTA”. More…