The news inside the gaffes

Two news items in the last two days made me see things more carefully than I would have had there been no gaffes in the headlines.IBN Live carried a headline: China is India’s best neighbor. The news item, however puts it differently:

Describing China as India’s “greatest neighbour”, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said that New Delhi wanted the “strongest relationship” with Beijing.

Well, there is a difference between being the greatest and the best: the greatest is not necessarily the best.

In another report in The Hindu, the headline “G8 pledges to lift Africa out of poverty” is misleading since the news item- in fact, the sub- text itself says something else. The sub- text says:

$60-billion plan to fight AIDS, tuberculosis

While the news report further clarifies:

“They say $60 billion for AIDS, TB and malaria and it sounds great, but that’s not earmarked for Africa, it’s a global figure and there’s no timeline,” he said. The G8 agreed during its summit on a programme worth more than $60 billion in aid, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said. However, in its final communique, the amount pledged had no timeframe and did not specifically single out Africa as the beneficiary.

Removal of poverty from the continent will have to wait. Even in the time of globalization.

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2 Replies to “The news inside the gaffes”

  1. Interestingly, OECD does not come out with a ‘progress report’ of its ealier commitments. The rich nations have still not met their promises of ‘debt-cancellation’ to African countries made in Gleneagle in 2005.

    One of the reasons is also that these aid packages come with conditions attached. Last time, the debt-cancellation was tied to elimination of “trade-distorting” subsidies given by African countries to the agriculture (besides changing the policies to more conducive for private-sector – read MNC – entry into the country) . This objection to “agricultural subsidies”, coming from Euope and US, was ridiculous.

    I haven’t seen the text of the OECD stattement this time, but am quite sure that conditionalities would be part of the promises.

  2. That’s right, Madhukar. The only thing that seems to have come out of this particular meeting is the West’s rediscovery of the “cold war”. Whatever be the nature of his rule, Putin is increasingly seen as standing up to the west.

    I think you did not intend a pun when you term it a “progress” report 🙂

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