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China wants to Fuel its Fire from the Ice Cap, Norway pulls back

It is a matter of high interest for the entire world to see how the melting of the Arctic ice cap in combination with developments in other places regarding future energy security is fuelling a fiction between a good number of countries.

During the cold war, the Arctic was a security flashpoint with the US and Soviet nuclear submarines patrolling under the North Pole and bombers airborne over the region. With times changing, the role of the Arctic has also changed quite a lot. Countries which have military interest in this region and in the Arctic are Russia, Canada, Norway, Denmark and the US. Russia also grabbed attention with the Chilingarov expedition planting a Russian flag on the sea bed under the North Pole.
Scientists have claimed that the Arctic region has over 25% of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas reserves. Therefore, a number of other countries apart from those located in the region are also taking a keen interest in this area. Countries from outside the region like UK, France, Germany, China, Japan and South Korea are looking up to this region to get additional supplies of oil and gas. The country which is ahead of all other countries in this race is the Socialist Republic of China which is emerging as a major power outside the Arctic zone.
To explore the reserves at the Arctic to get an access to the sea route through the Arctic ocean, China is looking at all options to get an entry into the Arctic Council. And the entire world knows that seeing the present growth of the country, China is not going to be satisfied by even having access to all existing energy resources. And it is quite evident that it will be extremely difficult to deter China. The country is also not hiding its goals at the Arctic.
Earlier, around two years back a diplomatic incident took place which also changed a lot in regards with the Arctic Council. Norway and China had been actively developing their bilateral ties and among other things, a lot of dialogue also took place about the observing membership of China in the Arctic Council. Things so developed that Norway also started talking about supporting China’s permanent candidacy in the council.
Things, however, changed when Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The decision of the Nobel committee caused a host of protests in Beijing. This led to the relations going sour between the two countries who were earlier working on to make harmonious relations with each other.
A recently released report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says that China might be pursuing its geopolitical interests in the Arctic. It is not hidden that China has long sought access to Greenland to share in its wealth of rare earths and minerals like zinc, iron ore, uranium, lead and gemstones.
As China further multiplies and grows its economic growth and military capacity building, suspicions about the country’s intentions in the Arctic are also gaining momentum. With China eyeing a candidacy at the Arctic Council, which is an eight country intergovernmental forum dedicated to questions concerning the region, it has said in the past that it wants a seat as an observer in the council.
However, things do not remain as rosy as they seemed earlier. Although China has repeatedly said that it does not have a clear Arctic theory, it is evident that the country has a clear policy for this region.
Apprehensions have been growing as the Chinese presence in the continent is rapidly increasing. In fact, to gain momentum in the region, a Chinese businessman is looking to buy a big chunk of land in Iceland. It is evident that China is no longer satisfied with just being a strategic partner of the region and wants a slice for itself. The country is taking over European companies, increasing European treasury bond holdings, and is even investing in various infrastructure in Europe’s periphery. China is working quite well to improve its relations with the Nordic countries and wants to magnify its say in the Arctic politics through enhanced cooperation with other East Asian economies.
China, which has remained quite aloof till now is suddenly making up with the entire Arctic zone. With so much development happening inside the country, the country is indeed concerned about its energy supplies. As it is, it is known to the world how China wants to develop itself as a single most powerful nation in the entire region and is fuelling this mighty aspiration through various means.
With Norway now opposing China’s candidacy in the Arctic Council, it is sure that China is looking up to other nations present in the region for support. With bilateral talks with Canada, the country is aiming at improving its chances of being a strong contender in the council.
It is anybody’s guess that China is not leaving any stone unturned to become a part of the Arctic Council so that it can gain both from the sea route and the oil reserves and fuel its economic growth. Although, it cannot openly come out with its intentions of accessing the reserves hidden under this ice covered region, it is trying by all means to convince the entire community for the same.
On behalf of the team of the Oslo Times, I want to bring this point forward that the communist country should put a stop to its ambitions in the Council. It is time that the dragon should pull back and remember that it does not originally belong to the region. China should not forget that it does not belong to the region and should be content with what is available for it in the free spirit of the council instead of lurching around to get the biggest chunk of the pie which already has a lot of buyers.

Harmful Practices to the female body; Part 4 Female Infanticide

“I lay on my bed weak after childbirth. My mother-in-law picked up the baby and started feeding her milk. I knew what she was doing. I cried and tried to stop her. But she had already given her milk laced with yerakkam paal [the poisonous juice of the oleander plant]. Within minutes, the baby turned blue and died.”

This is just one of thousands of stories told by women giving birth to newborn girls. In the west were the mothers first reaction is to get the baby lied down n her chest so that mother and child bond together, women in India has to witness their baby taking their last breath. One of the popular methods of killing newborn girls is to use the oleander plant looking like a pleasant flower but a milky sap that if ingested, can be a deadly poison.

Female infanticide is the intentional killing of baby girls due to the preference for male babies at or soon after birth. This twisted custom was common in China during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) due to the overpopulation and the second half of the twentieth century due to the one child policy. The practice was so common in Greece of 200 BC that among the 6,000 families living in Delphi, only 1% had two daughters. Arabs before Islam used to kill their newborn daughters but was prohibited when Islam came (“And when the female (infant) buried alive (as the pagan Arabs used to do) shall be questioned; for what sin she was killed?”

Today, this practice is most common in China, Taiwan, South Korea, India, Pakistan, Caucasus (Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia), Artic (Inuit tribes especially) and some sub-Saharan African countries, among the Yanomani in Brazil, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, China, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan. Some methods used globally vary between starving her to death, suffocating her by wrapping her tightly in a quilt, poisoning her, strangling, drowning, or breaking her spinal cord by snapping it.

In India it made awareness to the international world when in the 19th century, when it was found out that in some villages in India, no girl babies were found at all and in other cities, there were 343 boys to 54 girls.

The reasons behind it are almost always cultural rather than directly religious. It remains as a head ache in the third world countries but two of the most populous countries are notoriously famous for the high number of killing newborn girls, China and India. In India, family and social pressures to produce a son are immense. In most regions, sons are desired for reasons related to kinship, inheritance, marriage, identity, status, economic

  • Earning power: Men are usually the main income-earners, either because they are more employable or earn higher wages for the same work, or because they are able to do more agricultural work in subsistence economies. Since male babies have a greater income potential, they are less likely to be killed.
  • Potential pensions: In many societies, parents depend on their children to look after them in old age. But in many of these cultures a girl leaves her parental family and joins her husband’s family when she marries. The result is that parents with sons gain extra resources for their old age, when their sons marry, while parents with daughters lose their ‘potential pensions’ when they marry and move away.
  • Dowry: Some girl babies are killed so that the family doesn’t have to pay a dowry when they get married. In Indian society it is tradition for the parents of the bride to give a dowry to the groom and his family. The dowry consists of large amounts of money and valuable goods. For families with several daughters this can be a serious financial burden.

Mothers are often helpless to do anything, having no rights over their children while the women on the husband’s side commit the killing. The methods used have been handed down from generation to generation and there is a variety of them. Babies are fed milk laced with the sap from poisonous plants or pesticides, given paddy (rice with its husk) to swallow, which will slit their throats, fed salt to increase their blood pressure, stuffed in clay pots, swallow poisonous powdered fertilizer while others were smothered with a wet towel, strangled or allowed to starve and dehydrate to death.

INDIA

According to census statistics, “From 972 females for every 1,000 males in 1901. The gender imbalance has tilted to 929 females per 1,000 males. These numbers shows a serious imbalance that over time will have serious consequences.

A study of Tamil Nadu by the Community Service Guild of Madras similarly found that “female infanticide was common” in the state, though only among Hindu (rather than Moslem or Christian) families. “Of the 1,250 families covered by the study, 740 had only one girl child and 249 agreed directly that they had done away with the unwanted girl child. More than 213 of the families had more than one male child whereas half the respondents had only one daughter.” (Malavika Karlekar, “The girl child in India: does she have any rights?,” Canadian Woman Studies, March 1995.)

Fetal Murder

The number of female babies killed by feticide is greater than the number killed by infanticide. Abortion is legal in India under certain conditions, but sex-selective abortions or female feticide is a crime.The missing status of innumerable women (more than 100 million women are reported to be missing worldwide) points toward female feticide, infanticide, and other forms of gender discrimination as resulting in the high mortality of females at most stages of life. Abortions are most common among rich couples who can afford ultrasound scans to illegally check their unborn baby’s sex according to a research done by the UNPF. At one point, several clinics have been closed as hundreds of foetuses were found outside.

All medical tests that can be used to determine the sex of the child have been banned in India, due to incidents of these tests being used to get rid of unwanted female children before birth. The selective abortion of female feotuses is most common in areas where cultural norms value male children over female children, especially in parts of People’s Republic of China, Korea, Taiwan, and India. A 2005 study estimated that over 90 million females were “missing” from the expected population in Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan, South Korea and Taiwan alone, and suggested that sex-selective abortion plays a role in this deficit.

In order to cope with the problem, the Indian state has taken some measures in Tamil Nadu for families with one or two daughters and no sons; if one of the parents undergoes sterilization, the government will grant the family $160 in aid per child as instalments as the girl goes through school. She will get a small golden ring and on her 20th birthday, $650 will be paid to serve as dowry or to pay the expenses of higher education. Another campaign driven by the Delhi government deposits 5,000 rupees ($202) in the name of a girl at the time of her birth and 25,000 more through her childhood as long as she stays in school.

Indian Girls Bear Dowry Burden

After birth, it is also usual for girls to eat less than boys and to eat when the male has finished his meal. In cases of illness, it is usual for boys to get more healthcare than girls and more money is spent on clothing for them rather than the girls.

2001 census reports show that Punjab and Haryana reported fewer than 900 girls per 1,000 boys. Like China, there is a strong son preference for various socio-economic reasons, such as the son being responsible for carrying on the family name and support in old age.

Families pay large sums in order to marry off their daughters. Although dowry was prohibited in 1961, newspaper reports illustrates that the phenomenon is continuing. There has also been escalation in dowry demands and related offenses such as harassment of the bride’s family, the acid burning of a bride, and even her murder. The advertisements for sex determination in the 1980s bore slogans like, “Pay five hundred now to save fifty thousand later.” The gender-based oppression of women in India starts at birth in the form of infanticide and feticide.

Going by a rough calculation, nearly 6,000 female babies must have been poisoned to death in Usilampatti taluk in the last decade and births are registered only if the deliveries take place in the hospitals. “There is also this widespread belief among the Kallars that if you kill a daughter, your next child will be a son.”

Many Kallar families realise that they are committing a crime, but they are convinced that, given their difficult circumstances, they are taking the only course open to them. A villager woman once said; “How can we poor people rear so many daughters in this painful dowry situation? The village panchayat and the village administrative officer have no right to investigate or interfere in our personal affairs. If I and my husband have the right to have a child, we also have the right to kill it if it happens to be a daughter, and we decide we cannot afford it. Outsiders and the Government have no right to poke their noses into this.” Her husband, Andi, concurred: “we have no money to keep our daughters alive.”

China

A missionary (and naturalist) observer in China the late 19th century interviewed 40 women over age 50 who reported having borne 183 sons and 175 daughters, of whom 126 sons but only 53 daughters survived to age 10; by their account, the women had destroyed 78 of their daughters.” (Coale and Banister, “Five Decades of Missing Females in China,” Demography, 31: 3 [August 1994], p. 472.)

According to Zeng et al., “The practice was largely forsaken in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s but the number of “missing” women showed a sharp upward trend in the 1980s, linked by almost all scholars to the “one-child policy” introduced by the Chinese government in 1979 to control spiralling population growth.

Jonathan Manthorpe reported a study by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, claiming that “the imbalance between the sexes is now so distorted that there are 111 million men in China — more than three times the population of Canada — who will not be able to find a wife.” As a result, the kidnapping and slave-trading of women has increased: “Since 1990, say official Chinese figures, 64,000 women — 8,000 a year on average — have been rescued by authorities from forced ‘marriages’. The number who have not been saved can only be guessed at. The thirst for women is so acute that the slave trader gangs are even reaching outside China to find merchandise. There are regular reports of women being abducted in such places as northern Vietnam to feed the demand in China.” (Jonathan Manthorpe, “China battles slave trading in women: Female infanticide fuels a brisk trade in wives,” The Vancouver Sun, January 11, 1999.)

Although the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) created laws to provide equal rights for women and men, female infanticide has increased dramatically since 1989 and the one child policy. This policy was created to prevent the increasing population and children born outside the plan would not be issued residence cards which would deny them education and other benefits. The parents would risk fines, salary cuts and even imprisonment.

The preference for male babies coupled with the “one child per couple” policy has led to an increase in female infanticide, the concealment of female births, sex-selective abortion, and the abandonment of infant girls. If parents choose to hide the birth of a daughter, she will have no legal existence. She will face difficulties receiving healthcare, education, and other state services.

Girls are less likely to be given adequate healthcare and nutrition than their the males. If abandoned or given up for adoption, Chinese infant girls risk horrible neglect and mistreatment in state orphanages. The infant girls spend their days tied to wicker “potty” chairs. They are provided with no toys, physical attention, or mental stimulation. Disease runs rampant in the orphanages, and an estimated one in five children die (Woods, Brian “The Dying Rooms Trust”).

The Chinese government has taken a number of steps to combat the practice of female infanticide, as well as promote and protect women’s rights. The Marriage Law and Women’s Protection Law prohibit female infanticide, and the latter prohibits discrimination against women who give birth to daughters.The Sex Selective Abortion Law and Maternal Health Care Law of 1994 were created to put an end to sex selective abortions, and the latter prohibits the use of medical technology to determine the gender of a fetus but unfortunately, the practice continues in China despite these efforts.

A crime against humanity

  • According to a recent report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
    up to 50 million girls and women are missing from India’ s population as a result of systematic gender discrimination in India.
  • In most countries in the world, there are approximately 105 female births for every 100 males.
  • In India, there are less than 93 women for every 100 men in the population.
  • The United Nations says an estimated 2,000 unborn girls are illegally aborted every day in India.
  • Upon marriage, a son makes a daughter-in-law an addition and asset to the family providing additional assistance in household work and brings an economic reward through dowry payments, while daughters get married off and merit an economic penalty through dowry charges.

The lack of education, low financial productivity and old customs and traditions have played a high role in this crime. Although many young people try to defy this act, you can still find female infanticide in every part of the country. Not only in the villages and poor areas but among rich families who desire a son.

This human rights violation of denying birth to a female child or not allowing her to live because she is a female is a crime. It not only affects the communities it also impacts in many ways on the national and international communities where female infanticide and feticide may not occur. Social unrest as a result of the disproportionate female and male gender ratio may manifest itself as crime in these societies, such as, the kidnapping of young women, forced marriages, sex crimes, wife purchasing, frustration-related psychological problems, and an increase in prostitution. Sadly some of these effects have already been reported in China.

Alarming Facts:

  • In 1992 Amartya Sen calculated that 37 million women were ‘missing’ in India . The UN in 2001 estimated that there were 44 million missing women in India.
  • A report by Palash Kumar published on Dec. 15, 2006 says India Has Killed 10 Million Girls in 20 Years. The report says “Ten million girls have been killed by their parents in India in the past 20 years, either before they were born or immediately after, a government minister said, describing it as a “national crisis”.
  • Punjab loses every fourth girl. “By the 2011 census, we would be killing off 10 lakh (1,000,000) girls a year.” (Stop Murdering The Girl Child, Tribune, Correspondent or Reporter, Sep 26, 2007)
  • Every year in India, an estimated 500,000 female foetuses are aborted because they are female.
  • In Tamil Nadu recent analysis of statistics indicates a shortfall of about 13,000 daughters per year, 67% due to pre-birth deficit which suggests a high rate of female foeticide and 33% due to infanticide, and neglect.
  • Data compiled for 2008 by the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) showed that there were 8,172 dowry deaths in the country, and for the same year, there were 81,344 cases of cruelty towards women by husbands and relatives. The actual numbers are probably much higher since many cases go unreported, or are reported as suicide.

What can be done?

Eliminating the practice requires changes in the way girls and women are valued by society. In India, UNFPA supports the Government in a comprehensive approach that includes building media interest, creating community-based networks to advocate against the practice, sensitizing health providers and involving youth and other key stakeholders. In Haryana State, where the sex ratio imbalance is one of the highest, function as women’s social action groups that promote the rights of daughters. These groups have convinced families and doctors not to practice sex selection.

Following a campaign by health and human rights activists, legal measures to ban the use of prenatal diagnostic techniques for sex selection were first passed in the Indian state of Maharashtra in 1986. Among the advocates against female infanticide were United Nations organizations, including UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO, who were working alongside international NGOs and India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

1. Support legislation and organizations that will increase access to education for girls. When more girls become educated there will be more opportunity for them to achieve success and for there to be more value placed on women and girls in society.
2. Outreach to health professionals, young women and men about stopping this practice In rural areas, poverty, lack of education, economic resources and inadequate healthcare facilities lead to the killing of infant girls whereas in urban areas selective abortion is commonly employed by individuals with access to modern technology that allows for early sex detection.

Harmful practices to the female body; Part 2 Foot binding

“When I was seven my mother washed and placed alum on my feet and cut my toenails. She then bent my toes toward the plantar with a binding cloth ten feet long and two inches wide doing the right foot first and then the left. She ordered me to walk but when I did the pain proved unbearable, that night my feet felt on fire and I couldn’t sleep. Mother struck me for crying. On the following days I tried to hide but was forced to walk on my feet. After several months all toes but the big one were pressed against the inner surface and mother would remove the bindings and wipe the blood and puss which dripped from my feet. She told me that only with removal of the flesh could my feet become slender and every two weeks I changed to new shoes. Each new pair was one to two tenths of an inch smaller than the previous one. At summer my feet smelled offensively because of puss and blood and in winter my feet felt cold because of lack of circulation. Four of the toes were curled in like so many dead caterpillars and it took two years to achieve the three inch model. My shanks were thin; my feet became humped, ugly and odoriferous. “– A woman explaining about her foot binding.

Food binding, a practice that as bizarre as it sounds, was performed on almost 10 million females through 1000 years until it was banned. Underneath its mask of silk and colors, there was a world of pain agony, and symbols of family life, beauty, and fashion. It made small girls feet deformed, tortured them and was extremely painful. It basically began in the Tang Dynasty (618-906) and spread through the upper class during

Why was it done?

The custom of foot binding started as a luxury tradition among the rich to identify the high class from the poor but most important it was a way to keep the women and girls home and not outside losing their chastity. The bound feet isolated the women at home so that they were not able to walk out and stayed home most of the time.

The problem was that the men had the right to call off a wedding if the girl’s foot was not bonded and this brought pressure to those who couldn’t afford to perform on their daughters since a mother was obligated to bind her daughter’s feet to make sure she would get married. The men were charmed by the small feat that restricted their women to the home as it became a symbol of chastity and as they dressed in their robes, their movements reminded of the lotus flower blowing in the wind and the small feet made them walk slowly.

The ritual of foot binding
The process was started before the arch of the foot had a chance to develop fully, usually between the ages of 2-5and usually during the winter months so that the feet were numb, and therefore the pain would not be as extreme.

First, each foot would be soaked in a warm mixture of herbs and animal blood; this was intended to soften the foot and aid the binding. Then, the toenails were cut back as far as possible to prevent in-growth and infections, since the toes were to be pressed tightly into the sole of the foot. Then the girls feet were massaged delicately while cotton bandages were soaked in blood and herbal mixture. The next step was to curl the toes under by pressing with great force downwards until they broke. The broken toes were held tightly against the sole of the foot while the foot was then drawn down straight with the leg and the arch forcibly broken. The actual binding of the feet had then begun. The bandages were repeatedly wound in a figure-eight movement, starting at the inside of the foot at the instep, then carried over the toes, under the foot, and round the heel, the freshly broken toes being pressed tightly into the sole of the foot. At each pass around the foot, the binding cloth was tightened, pulling the ball of the foot and the heel ever close together, causing the broken foot to fold at the arch, and pressing the toes underneath, this would cause the young girl extreme pain. When the binding was completed, the end of the binding cloth was sewn tightly to prevent the girl from loosening it, and the girl was required to stand on her freshly broken and bound feet to further crush them into shape. As the wet bandages dried, they constricted, making the binding even tighter. All this was done without any kind of pain relief.

The girl’s broken feet required a great deal of care and attention, and they would be unbound regularly. Each time the feet were unbound, they were washed, the toes carefully checked for injury, and the nails carefully and meticulously trimmed. After this pedicure, the girl’s broken toes were folded back under and the feet were rebound and the bindings were pulled ever tighter each time, so that the process became more and more painful. Whilst unbound, the girl’s feet were often beaten, especially on the soles, to ensure that her feet remained broken and flexible. This unbinding and rebinding ritual was repeated as often as possible (for the rich at least once daily, for poor peasants two or three times a week), with fresh bindings. It was generally an elder female member of the girl’s family or a professional foot binder who carried out the initial breaking and ongoing binding of the feet as the mother would give up on their daughter’s cries and tears. A professional foot binder would ignore the girl’s cries and would continue to bind her feet as tightly as possible and they would also tend to be more extreme in the initial breaking of the feet, sometimes breaking each of the toes in two or three separate places, and even completely dislocating the toes to allow them to be pressed under and bound more tightly. This would cause the girl to suffer from devastating foot pain, but her feet were more likely to achieve the 7 cm (3 in) ideal. The girl was not allowed to rest after her feet had been bound; however much pain she was suffering, she was required to walk on her broken and bound feet, so that her own body weight would help press and crush her feet into the desired shape.

This bizarre process would take around 2 years as the foot would die or become useless. To maintain it, the feet’s had to be washed and manicured on a daily basis, if not the nails would grow in and lead to infections. If the bandage was too tight, the circulation would be cut off and lead to gangrene and blood poisoning.  The flesh would then rot and fall of and in some cases the toes would ooze pus.

Some of the other problems foot binding caused were the loss of toes and/or even death. If the woman’s feet were not properly bound, an insufficient amount of blood supply in the feet led to gangrene, causing the decayed toes to fall off. Some of the women even died from foot binding. One of the reasons were the failure to give the feet proper cleaning and grooming but another important problem was that foot binding disrupted the regular menstrual flow.

The general names commonly used for bound feet were “golden lilies,” “lily feet,” or “golden lotus.” Natural footed women, who did not bind their feet because they had to work in the fields or those who rebelled against the traditions, were called “Duckfoot” or “Lotus Boat” and they were disliked and despised for not following the traditional Chinese custom. But they were the lucky ones as footbinding caused enormous pain and agony for the women. Even walking around the house was a difficulty and if the woman had to attend a funeral or anything that took place Outside of her house, she had to be carried on a sedan chair. The unbearable pain and deprivation caused physiological and psychological effects on the women that had to suffer in silence as they covered up their true feelings.

Suppressing the women

This painful custom controlled the women’s life and restricted them to stay home and showed that their place was at home, not on the outside that belonged to the men. The girls did not have a choice as this was done to them on a early age were they didn’t even understand what was happening to them. It had become such important part of tradition and culture that those who chose not to perform it was discriminated and could not get married. While the men enjoyed the sight of the girls walking with small steps and femininity, the women however covered their pain, agony and depression inside of themselves just to satisfy their husbands. Foot binding is banned now and not performed anymore, but there is several old women with small feet that remembers the procedure and pain.

 

 

The easy way out

Suicide is defined as the deliberate killing of oneself. Nowadays, suicide has become the most growing cause of death among youth between 15 and 25. The difficult question is; “why do the students kill themselves?”

Some of the reasons may be the pressure the students face as they must succeed with the expectations back at home from parents. The shame in the classroom mixed with the shame at home marks the students deeply. Suicide does not come to mind immediately but slowly grows stronger as the person feels lost, lonely, confused, anxious, depressed and stressed. The major victims are those who come from a small town or village and are harassed by the “cool” students from the metro cities.

South Korea

Korea is famous for its education and one of the effects of this pressure has increased the suicide rates among students down to teenagers. A total of 146 students have committed suicide in 2010 alone.

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) is one of the nation’s top universities, but it has become known for the rising suicides among its students. Four students and one professor have committed suicide in the last three months at this prestigious university. KAIST’s students have blamed the pressure of intense competition and the unique penalty system which charges the students extra fees for underachievement that has contributed to the suicides. If the grades falls below 3.0, the student is forced to pay 63,000 Korean Won (around 58$)

KAIST University was established by the Korean government as the nation’s first science and engineering institution and has received huge government financial and legal support. Therefore, many have argued that KAIST students should not complain about the stress and competition since they are being supported by the government and enjoy privileges while ordinary students have none of these benefits. They are also excluded from military duty while all able bodied Korean men are obliged to take.

Mental Weakness

Right after the 4th suicide, President of KAIST, Suh Nam-pyo said in a press conference that the school will scrap its penalty system but it was not enough for the public who called for the President to resign since he had created this system. His comments after the suicide made people go against him as he meant that the students who committed suicide were suffering from mental weakness.

India

Between 2006 and 2008, 16,000 school and college students committed suicide according to the health ministry.  The World Health Organization (WHO) along with experts and doctors has demanded that a long term strategy needs to be put in place to tackle problems like anxiety, depression, stress and suicidal tendencies. As Cherian Verghese, a specialist with WHO India said; “The mental health system needs and overhaul. Our schools might be giving good education but we need education in life skills.”

The social taboo around mental health is a problem and the country needs more psychiatrists and social counselors who can counsel people during post-disaster trauma disorder. In a country with almost 1,21 billion people, living with social stigma, growing competition and the desire to succeed in every field, there are almost 3,500 psychiatrists trying to cope with the mental health.

From the beginning of 2010, more than 20 students committed suicide in Mumbai, India’s biggest financial capital. One of the mistakes of the schools is that, the schools pay more attention to results than to the “total education” of the child. And when parents are caught up with work, it creates a lack of attention and love but the expectation of good grades remains.

Japan

According to a report issued by the national police of Japan (NPA) as an annual study of suicide on March 3, 2011, suicide rates in Japan have increased 20% in 2010 and those who commit suicide mostly are unemployed. NPA report mentions the unemployed who committed suicide were mostly students or scholars. In 2009, the rate of student suicide unemployment counted 23 people and this number increased in 2010 with 53 people, 130% more.

China

As millions of students graduate every year, one in three graduates is unable to find a job. Already in 2009, suicide was listed as the leading cause of death among students. With 1.5 million graduates from 2009 still out of work, there are simply not enough jobs to go around, and the problem has been exacerbated by the impact of the global financial crisis.

In a country where university education has become crucial for the future success, the government has tried to manage the problem by offering soon-to-be-graduates positions as teachers and low level government positions in rural areas, but few are willing to return to the country side since their degrees was supposed to guarantee them escape and a better life.

Self-poisoning suicide attempts among students in Tehran, Iran.

A cross-sectional study was conducted on self-poisoned students admitted to Loghman-Hakim Hospital in Tehran, Iran and the study included age, sex, substance abuse, personal history, familial history and the immediate precipitant for the suicide attempt.

The results showed that a total of 248 students (200 F and 48 M) Self poisoning with a pharmaceutical agent was the most common attempt modality (87.5%). The most common precipitant for the suicide attempt was family conflict (54.4%), followed by romantic disappointment (29.4%). The most common psychiatric disorders were adjustment disorder (84.3%). and depression (18.1%).

Facts about suicide (religious tolerance.org)
  • Industrialized countries tend to have a higher suicide rate than poor developing countries.
  • U.S. suicide rates are highest in the western and rocky mountain states and low in the northeastern states.
  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among the population.
  • The most common method used my male are firearms (58%) and women to choose poisoning (40%).
  • More females than males attempt suicide.
  • More males than females succeed at suicide.
  • Married people have a lower rate of suicide than those who are divorced, separated, widowed or single.
  • Among the most common faith groups in the U.S., protestants have the highest suicide rate, Roman Catholics second and Jews as the lowest rate.
  • A person has a higher risk of committing suicide if their parent, close relative or close friend has taken their own life.

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What are the reasons?

According to WHO, in the last 45 years, suicide rates have increased by 60% around the world and are placed among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 and almost 30% of the suicides in the world occur in India, Japan and China. India stands for 10% of the suicides in the world, Japan has 30,000 suicides every year, in South Korea, one human life is ended by suicide every 40 minutes and in China, 287,000 people take their own life vey year.

Now that we have seen the numbers and statistics of suicide, the focus should actually be on the reason why people choose to end their life, and researches have shown many various reasons combined with the culture and environment of the country they live in. But one important reason is economic hardship together with the society becoming more and more materialistic and the people’s struggle to keep up. In the urban areas, stress and depression is the major causes for suicide.

Japan has always had very traditional societal structure and for a person to lose his/her job is considered as the ultimate shame and suicide preserves the person’s honour and makes them avoid shame. Then there is the pressure placed on the Korean students that the exam season is known as the “suicide season”. Now, the Korean government has started to launch public campaigns against suicide as well as educational programmes to avoid signs of depression and prevent suicidal tendencies. In China, there is awareness of the problem but there is still no strategy put forward to prevent it.

I have collected various reasons from different sources and put them together as a small guideline to prevent students in any age to commit suicide.

1. Lack of harmony between child and parents.

Many parents work to make an earning and as they are pressured with time, tension from work, tight schedules, family problems and worries about life, they become unable to pay attention to their children. The only thing they achieve is to fulfil the children’s basic needs and provide money. The children feel lonely and pressured to not fail as this will bring them shame. Another important aspect is that parents must find time to follow what the children are doing, where they go, who their friends are and etc.

2. Inefficiency

Some parents expect too much of their children and this imposes a heavy burden on the child. The parents must not be disappointed, angry or insult the child in case of a failure but rather encourage them to succeed next time as failure is the pillar of success.

3. Admission process

India is one of the countries with this problem where students have to wait in long queue throughout the day in rural areas or at computer centers as t electricity comes and goes. Situations like this bring frustration and anger. Here the government or the school must provide better ways for the students to get the necessary tools they need.

4. Keeping happy atmosphere at home.

Parents should not involve the children in their tensions and listen carefully to them. The children will be stronger if the parents give them discipline together with love and good culture. By this, the parents will manage to transfer confidence to the children.

5. Frequent meetings between parent-teacher and child.

Frequent meetings make aware of children’s real position and their right things as well as wrong things can be checked out. Parents and teachers should encourage children by giving rewards and explain when they have done something wrong. These remedies will build the child for the future to handle failure much better.

 

China – The new superpower

What comes to your mind when you think about China?

We think about that everything is made in China; think about the strict discipline they are raised with, noodles, kung fu movies and communism. But the fact is that now days everybody is speaking about China’s economical growth and that they are on their way to become the new superpower.

So now they are about to become the world’s largest in the car market as there is bought more cars in China than in any other country in the world. This has resulted in endless traffic jams and very much pollution in the air. So here are some numbers to highlight China’s economical growth and success in the international world.

1, 34 billion;

Chinese people eat, drink, consume and produce more than any other country in the world and this means that every 1 in 5 people are Chinese. Therefore the new frightening word in US industry is “China price”.

17 million;

Vehicles were sold in China in 2010 and it is expected that by 2020 the number will increase to 40 million. China has about 85 million registered cars, buses and trucks. With this enormous sales growth, China will beat USA with its 250 million in 10 years.

2000;

Cars were sold each day in the first 9 months alone in Beijing, the world’s most polluted city. On a normal day, Beijing’s pollution level is 4 times higher than what WHO (World Health Organization) describes as acceptable to live in.

46 500;

Vehicles are sold every day in China. Norway in contrast sells 127.000 cars in a year and has 2, 5 million registered vehicles.

Over 500 million;

Bikes are in China and in 1998, 60% of the Chinese people used their bikes to get to work. Today the number has decreased to 20%. What once used to be bike paths are now turned into car roads.

China borders to 14 countries;

The countries are; North Korea, Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, Laos and Vietnam. In addition to this, China also borders to the South China Sea, East China Sea, Yellow Sea and Korea Bay.

The world’s largest;

Dam is located in China and is called Three Gorges Dam. All 13 small cities have been relocated to make room for the reservoir which took 10 years to build.

3, 7 million km;

Paved road runs through a landscape of 9, 6 million square kilometers.

70 000 km;

Highway is located around the country linking the 169 largest cities with more than 2 million people.

Climate in China;

The climate is varied. The North is cold and dry the more near you get the Himalayas and Tibet and in the South it is warm tropical climate.

6000 billion;

Was the total value of China’s exports of goods and services in 2009. China has overtaken the US, Germany and Japan as they became the world’s largest exporter.

200,000 km;
China produces 200,000 km with zippers, enough to measure 5 times around the earth and 15 billion buttons in a year.

80%;
of all the toys for children and adults are made in one of the 10 000 toy factories in China.

Ice cream was invented in China as they combined milk, rice mixture and snow. For many centuries, China was one of the most advanced civilizations in the world and the great inventions such as the compass, gunpowder, paper, printing art, fireworks and Chinese medicine was invented by them.

China is rich in;
natural resources such as coal, oil and iron ore. Meanwhile, China is also the world’s largest energy consumer and second largest consumer of oil and it is expected that they take back the United States.

800 million
mobile users are in China. Perhaps not so surprising considering that half of all mobile phones is also manufactured there.

50%;
of all the world’s pigs are eaten in China. The insatiable Chinese also eat a third of the world rice, 53% soya beans and 19% of all poultry. However, China remains a “poor” country which until recently received support through the UN World Food Program.

These are huge numbers and China is the largest in producing, exporting, consuming etc. But what is concerning is that by having so much production, the country is getting severely polluted and not a healthy place to live. Because of the increasing population, many Chinese people also do have problems to finding a place to live as the rent prices is high. Not long ago, I read about students and working families who had to live in a small tiny room 5 -6 floors under the ground (basement). The room was so small that it seemed like a prison cell with no windows and view. I was amazed how people could live there, but then they also mentioned that the students had wireless internet connection.

Another case is the yearly migration of people. Tens of millions travel across the country to reach home for the Lunar New Year celebrations. This year, an estimated of 2, 85 billion people planned to return to their homes for the Lunar New Year, 0,3 billion more than last year. But it’s not easy as mentioned. People have to stand for hours and throughout the night in the cold waiting to purchase a ticket. But if you are willing to pay a “little extra” there is always a ticket available.

Religions without Prophets – List of those religions where prophets were not born.

Sikhism: Formed in 15th Century AD as a reaction to the social and religious practices of the time in the Indian subcontinent. The Sikh Gurus (or teachers) have emphasized on recognizing all humans as equal before Waheguru (Guru Nanak), regardless of colour, caste or lineage. The Sikh Gurus did not call themselves as prophets. The emphasis is on a single all pervading God and creating a relationship with him. There is no place for intermediaries. The Sikh holy book is known as the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Which was compiled by Arjan Dev Singh, added the teachings of 5 Gurus beginning with Guru Nanak Dev Ji and includes passages from both Hindu and Sufi saints.The Sikh Gurus have referred to their compositions as “dhur ki bani” or the word of primal divine source. Place of ritual is Gurudwara Sahib. Major locations of stronghold are States of West Punjab, NWFP in Pakistan & in India East Punjab, Delhi NCR, Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan. Major places of worship; Golden Temple Amritsar – India, Nanakana Sahib – Pakistan, Ponta Sahib – Punjab, Hem Kund, Nanak Matta – Uttrakhand, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib Delhi – India.

Buddhism: Founded by Prince Siddhartha Gautama of North India in 6th Century BC who was after his enlighten known as Gautama Buddha? Its sacred texts are Pali Canon (Tripitaka), numerous Mahayana sutras written originally in Pali. As per Tibetan Buddhism Monk is the spiritual leader. Buddhism follows the system taught by Buddha. Place of worship is Temple, meditation hall. Main sects in Buddhism are Theravada and Mahayana. Major locations of stronghold are India, China, Japan, Korea, Sri Lanka, South East Asia. Major locations: Sarnath, Gaya, Patna, Twang, Dharamshala, Leh, Laol Spiti, Gangtok – India, Colombo – Sri Lanka, Bangkok – Thailand, Cambodia, Guangzou, Lahsa – China, Bagan – Burma.

Jainism: Jains derive their name from the jinas, spiritual conquerors who have achieved liberation and perfection. Included among these are the 24 spiritual leaders called “ford-makers” or tirthankaras. The last of the tirthankaras was Mahavira (599-527 BC), a contemporary of the Buddha and the man generally considered the founder of Jainism. Jinas are believed to reside in the

top level of heaven, above the realm of the gods. Accordingly, liberated souls are revered more than the gods. Formed in 550 BC, sacred scriptures are the teachings ofMahavira written originally in Sanskrit, major sects are Digambaras (“sky-clad”); Shvetambaras (“white-clad”), monks are the spiritual leader’s place of worship is the temple. Major location is India. Major places of worship are: Palitana, Shankheshwar, Shikharji, Vataman, Mumbai, Mahudi Shri Ghantakarna Vir Temple and Ahmedabad – India.

Taoism: also known as Daoism was founded by Lao – Tze in China in 550 BC, based on the teachings of the Tao Te Ching, a short tract written in the 6th century BC in China. Its emphasis on spiritual harmony within the individual complements; Taoism is also increasingly influential in the West, especially in the fields of alternative medicine and martial arts like Tai Chi. There are two main strands and schools within Taoism, usually labeled “philosophical Taoism” (Tao-chia) and “religious Taoism” (Tao-chaio). Tao Te Ching, Chuang-Tzu is sacred scripture originally written in traditional Chinese. Sage is a spiritual leader in Taoism. House of worship is temple. Major locations are; China, South East Asia.

 

Shintoism: Shinto (also Shintoism) is the term for the indigenous religious beliefs and practices of Japan. Shinto has no founder, no official sacred scriptures, and no fixed creeds, but it has preserved its main beliefs and rituals throughout the ages. The word Shinto, which comes from the Chinese shin tao, meaning “the way of kami“, came into use in order to distinguish indigenous Japanese beliefs from Buddhism, which had been introduced into Japan in the 6th century AD. Shinto has no founder or founding date. When the Japanese people and Japanese culture became aware of themselves, Shinto was already there. Yayoi culture, which originated in the northern area of the island of Kyushu around the 3rd or 2nd century BC, is directly related to later Japanese culture and Shinto. Among the primary Yayoi religious phenomena were agricultural rites and shamanism. Early shamans (miko) performed the ceremonies; eventually those of the Yamato tribe did so; on behalf of the other tribes and their chieftain assumed duties that led to headship of the Shinto state. Texts comprises of Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters), Nihongi or Nihon shoki (Chronicles of Japan). Major location is Japan. Major places of worship are: Mt. Fuji, Dazaifu Tenmangu, Oyama Shrine, Toshogu Shrine, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Ise Shrines, Izumo Shrine, Atsuta Shrine, Heian Shrine, Meiji Shrine all are in Japan.

Baha’ism: Also popularly known as Bahai Faith was founded in 1844 – 1882 in Iran by the two controversial leaders proclaimed to be the first preacher of Bahai named Bab & Baha ullah, declaring themselves as the prophets of modern world. The laws of the Bahá’í Faith primarily come from the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, written by Baha’u’llah, which is also a main scripture, It is sometimes also referred to as The Aqdas, “the Most Holy Book”, “the Book of Laws” and occasionally the Book of Aqdas, originally written in Arabic & its title in Persian. The Manifestations of God are analogous to divine mirrors which reflect God’s created attributes and thus reveal aspects of God without being incarnations of God’s essence.

It is through these divine educators that humans can approach God, and through them God brings divine revelation and law. Bahá’ís believe that God expresses his will at all times and in manyways, and specifically through a series of divine messengers referred to as Manifestations of God or sometimes divine educators. The supreme seat is based in Israel. Major locations are Israel, Europe, US, India, South East Asia.

Greek Religion: Greek religion is the collection of beliefs and rituals practiced in ancient Greece in the form of both popular public religion and cult practices. Greek people recognized the major gods and goddesses: Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Apollo, Artemis, Aphrodite, Ares, Dionysus, Hephaestus, Athena, Hermes, Demeter, Hestia and Hera though philosophies such as Stoicism and some forms of Platonism. Grreks believes in afterlife or re incarnation. Their sacred texts are Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and Pindar’s Odes. Major Locations are Greece, Italy, and Cyprus. Major places of worship were: Arcadia.

Crushing the Jasmine Revolution seeds – China flexises his muscles on his own people

The Chinese government warned Wednesday foreign journalists to cover the demonstrations in the country. If they report on such demonstrations, they risk being thrown out of China.

It became clear at a meeting of the Beijing police and dozens of international journalists in China’s capital on Wednesday. The meeting, which was filmed by police, was held after several journalists were detained and beaten up in downtown Beijing at the weekend. Sunday, journalists trooped in front of a McDonald’s restaurant in Wangfujing – Beijing’s large pedestrian this place was one of 13 that were designated on social media as a rallying point for a “jasmine revolution”, inspired by the peaceful protests in Egypt.

People were asked to “take a walk” in front of fast-food restaurant to avoid getting in trouble with the police and foreign journalists were there to see if anyone showed up.

The protesters did not materialize, but plainclothes police officers were present and strongly attacked the foreign journalists. A reporter from Bloomberg was dragged into an alley and beaten up so hard that he ended up in hospital, the agency writes in a news release.

Also, reporters from the BBC and several other news media was being pushed on, detained, harassed or deprived of their equipment.

– My producer started filming me with a small camera, but an undercover police officer knocked the camera out of her hand. Three large men grabbed her. Three others grabbed me and held my arms tight. They pushed and pulled away to a bank branch where they had already detained other journalists, writes CNN reporter Eunice Yoon in a blog post.

Enraged, the U.S. ambassador

The reactions of the treatment reporters have been met with is many and strong.

U.S. Ambassador to China, John Huntsman, said Monday that the foreign journalists were “illegally detained or harassed” on Sunday.

– This type of harassment is unacceptable and extremely upsetting, “said Huntsman, who recently announced that he gives himself as the U.S. ambassador. Probably he asks for president in 2012.

Also, the organization Committee to Protect Journalists reacts sharply.

– This is the worst we’ve seen since the Summer Olympics in 2008. Such rough treatment put the ruling Communist Party into disrepute and reveal their fear of popular resistance, “said the organization’s Asia director Bob Dietz in a statement.

Chinese authorities have refused to take self-criticism. At a press conference Tuesday complained Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu claimed that foreign journalists had a tendency to “get into trouble” and that they should understand and cooperate better with local police.

Foreign journalists are far from the only one who notices that the Beijing authorities appear to tighten the moment. The last two weeks are over 100 human rights activists and lawyers detained, abducted or harassed, according to several organizations.

For instance, the famous lawyer Teng Biao disappeared not long ago.

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