Dishonest money-making was under scrutiny

The picture of 2012 elsewhere in the world was equally depressing. Although the UPA survived the coalition politics, the coalition governments in Italy and Japan fell. Media ethics came under severe scrutiny in the UK, following Rupert Murdoch-led NewsCorp’s phone-hacking scandal, as well as in India. One of India’s leading TV channels, Zee, is facing investigation into alleged blackmailing of businessman-MP Naveen Jindal reportedly demanding Rs. 100 crore to drop a campaign against the business group over its involvement in the coal block allocation scandal. Murdochs – father and son – were summoned to the House of Commons to face grilling by the Parliamentary committee. Junior Murdoch was attacked with shaving foam pie. Two Zee editors spent weeks in the lock-ups to face police investigation. Management deficit grounded cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines, India’s second largest commercial carrier, and threatens to bust the embattled Sahara group over returning public deposits amounting to thousands of crores of rupees.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, suffering from severe lung infection, threatened to expose more illegal government deals across the world.  The Indian government and money launderers have reasons to worry. Business and media baron turned politician Sylvio Berlusconi, who brough down the Italian government just before the 2012 Christmas, is said to be engaged with a girl, 48 years his younger. The former Italian prime minister’s fresh wedding is likely in 2013. The America’s top commander in Afghanistan, General Petraeus, lost his job over sex scandal. NATO soldiers in Afghanistan continue to dies in hordes in attacks by Afghan police and military, owing allegiance to Taliban. Repeated school massacre in the US, the last one being at Connecticut in early December, eroded the confidence of parents and guardians of American children across the country leading the chorus against the lack of public security and free arms sale.

John Dalli is considering legal action over the circumstances in which he was removed from his job as European Health Commissioner. Party leaders in the European Parliament have unanimously backed a new code of conduct for members after a spate of alleged corruption scandals. Dishonest money-making on the side has been under scrutiny among the European Parliament’s group presidents. Bribery allegations in the European Parliament have brought promises of tighter rules to govern relations between the members and lobbyists. Brazil’s Supreme Court found three top aides of former President Luiz Inacio da Silva guilty of corruption. An anti-crime squad in the southern French city of Marseille has been shut-down due to alleged widespread corruption. The wife of former German president, Bettina Wulff has published a new autobiography in which she rejected allegations that she once worked as an escort. The London Summer Olympics and Para-Olympics went off peacefully amidst unprecedented security, reconfirming China’s ascendancy in the games. India, the world’s second most populous country, failed to bag even a single gold.

‘Vatileaks’ of modern day Judas shook Catholic Church as Pope Benedict XVI’s personal butler, Paolo Gabriele, 46, was accused of leaking sensitive documents to the media. The scandal has come to be called ‘Vatileaks’. Paolo got Christmas pardon from the Pope. Umberto Bossi, founder and former leader of Italy’s Northern League is under investigation in a probe into the misuse of public funds. British Prime Minister David Cameron was forced to make a statement in the House of Commons to defend his embattled cultural minister against alleged secret help to embattled media mughal Rupert Murdoch. Former Turkish head of police, Mehmet Ağar, was handed down a five-year jail sentence, 15 years after a scandal exposed links between the police and the Mafia. Former US presidential candidate John Edwards has appeared in court in America on charges of using campaign contributions to cover up an affair. Spain’s King Juan Carlos invited public ire for his elephant-hunting holiday to Botswana at a time when the country is reeling under a debt crisis.

The Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee expelled its former top politician Bo Xilai’s on crime and corruption charges. The New York Times said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s family has accumulated huge wealth during his period in power. On November 15, China’s 'princeling' Xi Jinping was crowned the new head of the ruling CPC and the powerful military in a smooth transition to steer the world's second largest economy over the next decade, ending the 10-year reign of President Hu Jintao amid concerns over rampant corruption and widening rich-poor divide. Xi Jinping will assume the charge in March, 2013. Sino-Japan relations reached almost a flash point over the control of a tiny island, Senkaku, in East China Sea. North Korea’s year-end rocket launch and intercontinental ballistic missile programme and the presidential election victory of Park Guen-hye, daughter of South Korea’s longest ruling former dictator Park Chung-hee, added diplomatic tension in east Asia.

Secular Egypt voted for Islamist constitution. UN ‘observer’ recognition to the state of Palestine and the rise of Arab Spring brought hope for peace and democracy in West Asia despite the defiance of Syrian dictator, Bashar Hafez al-Assad, against the growing public and international demand for him to step down to usher in democracy in the Arab country that led to massacre of tens of thousands of innocent as well as revolting Syrian civilians through 2012.

          Notwithstanding the hanging of Ajmal Kasav, the lone survivor among the Pakistani terrorists involved 26/11 Mumbai massacre held with a killer carbine in hand, the Indo-Pakistan peace process continued to suffer following unnecessary and undiplomatic verbal onslaught against India by visiting Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik in New Delhi. Pakistan failed to decide on according the most favoured nation (MFN) treatment to India for business and commerce despite an earlier understanding on the subject between the two countries.  Planners have scaled down India’s 12th Plan annual GDP growth target to eight per cent from an earlier 8.5 per cent. (IPA/Concluded)

Friday, 4 January, 2013