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Archive for October 7th, 2012

Shutdown hits normal life in Karnataka

Posted by Admin on October 7, 2012

http://in.news.yahoo.com/shutdown-hits-normal-life-karnataka-063958980–finance.html

By Indo Asian News Service | IANS India Private Limited – 14 hours ago

Bangalore, Oct 6 (IANS) A day-long shutdown to protest the release of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu crippled life in Karnataka Saturday.

The state-wide shutdown called by farmers and pro-Kannada organisations is supported by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular.

Uneasy calm prevailed in Bangalore and other cities and towns of the state.

“The 12-hour shutdown began at 6 a.m. There were stray incidents of road blockade, forcible closure of shops and damage to a couple of state-run buses,” a senior police official told IANS here.

The state-run transport services of Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) were suspended amid fears of damage to the vehicles by miscreants.

Although train and flight services remained unaffected, passengers were stranded at the railway station here, as autorickshaws and taxis remained off the roads.

The state education department late Friday advised schools and colleges to declare a holiday Saturday to ensure safety of students during the bandh.

Companies offering 24×7 services like call centres and business process outsourcing had to make arrangements to escort their employees to work and back home.

With commercial establishments like shops, malls, restaurants and petrol pumps shut, life has virtually come to a standstill in the state capital, Mysore, Hassan, Mangalore, Hubli, Belgaum and Shimoga.

Supply of essential commodities like milk and medicines and ambulance service were, however, exempted from the shutdown.

The security has been beefed up across the state.

Additional police personnel were deployed at vital installations and sensitive areas, especially in Bangalore.

The state has been releasing 9,000 cusecs of water daily since Sep 29 in compliance with the Supreme Court order of Sep 19, directing the prime minister, who is also the chairman of the Cauvery River Authority, to supervise the distribution of water in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

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Companies That Collaborated With Nazis

Posted by Admin on October 7, 2012

http://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/companies-collaborated-nazis-211837425.html

By Greg McFarlane | Investopedia – Wed 3 Oct, 2012 2:48 AM IST

For a brief period in the late 1930s and 1940s, Adolf Hitler managed to redefine and personify evil in a way that even ancient mass-murderers such as Tamerlane and Genghis Khan never aspired to. By virtue of Hitler taking complete control of the most powerful country on the European continent, practically every existing business entity in Germany thus became a de facto instrument of this new and tyrannical government. At that time, doing business in Germany meant supporting Hitler, so it’s not fair to frame all these businesses as enthusuastic Nazi collaborators. While some of these businesses exist and flourish today, it’s likely that millions of their customers have no idea of these companies’ past dealings with the Nazi party.

Bayer
It seems that almost any German multinational of a certain vintage can find a link to the Nazi regime. In some cases, that link is more direct than in others. Bayer was founded in Germany in 1863, and has been a household name in North America since not long after. Today, despite making everything from polymers to blood glucose monitors, Bayer remains most famous for being the company that first discovered (or more accurately, isolated) aspirin.

The most outrageous thing about Bayer’s connection to the Nazi regime is the timing. In 1956, Bayer welcomed a new chairman of the board: a second-generation chemist named Fritz ter Meer. Bayer’s directors must have liked what they saw in Fritz ter Meer, whose resume included the study of law, employment with his father’s company and three years in prison for war crimes.

It’s not as if ter Meer had been punished for, say, being ordered against his will to stand guard at Dachau. No, he helped plan Monowitz, a concentration camp better known as Auschwitz III. He also built the infamous Buna factory, where his colleagues conducted human experiments and forced slaves to build critical components for the Wehrmacht. Furthermore, Fritz ter Meer never denied his involvement, and he was sentenced to seven years in prison during the infamous Nuremburg Trials.

However, ter Meer served less than half of his sentence. Even then, having been subjected to a wrist slap from a light and fluffy pillow, ter Meer didn’t merely fall into obscurity. He not only held the highest executive position at Bayer, but also served on the boards of several other companies before retiring in the 1960s and dying of natural causes at the age of 83.

Siemens
Next time you’re in your garage, look at the brand names of the products you find. If you own a damping pin, turbo compressor or fluoroscope, there’s a good chance it carries the Siemens logo. The company is worth approximately $89 billion, employs roughly 370,000 people and claims to operate in about 190 countries.

When World War II became the major topic of concern for Germany, Siemens was there. The company forced slaves to manufacture components for the rockets that ended up raining down on London and Antwerp, Belgium in short order. In the early 21st century, Siemens began to pay reparations to the workers it had paid nary a pfennig to 55 years earlier.

IG Farben
For some of us of a certain age, BASF was the company that made cassette tapes. Another German multinational that’s been around since the 19th century, BASF is similar to Siemens in another way, in that it produces the unglamorous if vital things that make life better: engineering plastics, chemical coatings and polymers that their end users don’t even notice.

In 1925, BASF and a couple of partners formed an infamous conglomerate named IG Farben. One of the chemicals manufactured by the company at the time was Zyklon B, which was the gas used to suffocate untold millions of concentration camp prisoners during the Holocaust.

In 1951, when the victors partitioned Germany, the Western Allies restored IG Farben into its original components. Today, BASF continues to trade as one of the featured securities on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, with a market capitalization of over $60 billion.

The Bottom Line
In a world where Chick-Fil-A can face a boycott because of the religious views of its chairman, and British Petroleum can be the subject of virulent protests because of a tragic accident, it’s tough to imagine what form of consumer activism would be appropriate if the companies featured on this list were doing business today with hated regimes.

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