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Column
For the Record

July 19, 1999

Society
A world fit for people - Human aspects
Leadership for 21st century

Column
For the record
Politics & Policy
Change in the policy of Kargil

*** "The assets of the 200 richest persons exceeded the combined income of 41 per cent of the world’s total population . . . The internet is a ‘two-edged sword’, cutting many people in but also increasingly cutting people out as its main users are educated young white males with access to money."

(Finding of the UNDP’s report which showed the stark and ever widening gap between rich and poor primarily due to the globalisation of the economy)

*** "This is a disgraceful case. A major and well respected car manufacturer colluded with dealers who were fixing prices, by penalising distributors."

(John Bridgeman, director general of Office of Fair Trading UK, on price-fixing by Volvo Motor Corporation. Volvo admitted that it supported secret arrangements to fix car prices higher in the UK as compared to Europe)

*** "This money has never made any difference to mother’s life and it won’t make any difference to mine . . . I will control the money. It certainly won’t control me . . . I have never gone mad with money and I don’t intend to start now . . . I will not let it ruin my life."

(John Hargreaves of Leeds explaining why a Pound Sterling 6.3 million inheritance from his unassuming rich mother would not change his life)

*** "The animals have fought for food and they have become little thieves . . . We have to keep the monkey population low.

(An official of southern Thailand province of Phetchburi where hundreds of male monkeys will undergo vasectomy)

*** "Thailand has two comparative advantages— sex and golf courses."

(Excerpt of Newsweek report on Thailand’s prospects for economic recovery after its worst crisis which caused furore in the country)

*** "The popular perception is, this is a sellout . . . I don’t see mass upheaval, but yes, there is widespread resentment; yes, this could bring a split in the establishment, and yes, it has strengthened the hands of extremist groups."

(Washington Post quoting an expert on Indo-Pakistan relations at the Centre for Regional Studies on Clinton-Nawaz agreement to pull out forces from Kargil in disputed Kashmir)

*** "Democracy is not a finished product that you can buy at a store or a medicine ... to swallow according to a doctor’s prescription. We want to restore the credibility of Africa and its institutions. [However] We will not accept interference in our internal affairs."

(Algerian president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika rejecting an imposed model of democracy at the 35th summit of the Organisation of African Unity)

*** "He’ll never leave. He’s too well off staying: the stewardesses give him their luncheon vouchers, the cleaners open the showers for him at dawn, the tourists buy him food and the police take great care of him. What more a man who is alone in the world hope for?"

(A waitress at a restaurant at Charles de Gaulle Airport Paris on ‘Sir Alfred’, the Iranian-born refugee M. Mehran, who spent 11 years at the airport due to lost indentity document. Alfred’s document was found recently to allow him entry in the UK which was denied to him in 1988)

*** "While I have not decided to become a candidate at this time, if the Reform Party nominated me, I would probably run and probably win. [However] if I won, I would ask for an immediate recount."

(Flamboyant developer cum Casino and hotel mogul, Donald Trump, hinting at possibility to contest the US presidential election next year)

*** "Parents find their children attracted by products and role models from alien cultures . . . Instead of widening our choices, globalisation seem to be forcing us all into the same shallow, consumerist culture— giving us the same appetites but leaving us more than ever unequal in our ability to satisfy them. Many millions of people have yet to feel its benefits at all.

(Human Development Report of UNDP which said that globalisation threatens the cultures of the Third World countries because ‘today’s flow of culture is unbalanced and heavily weighted in one direction— from rich countries to poor.’)

*** "They have taken a traditional tobacco product and turned it into a high delivery nicotine product [to encourage smoking] . . . Tobacco companies are making it harder for those smokers who want to quit."

(Joint report by British charity Imperial Cancer Reasearch Fund and the anti-smoking group ASH revealing cigarette manufacturers are using chemical additives to enhance flavour and addiction)