Citizens' Issues
2011 witnessed the rampage of social media over internet

Social media like Facebook, Twitter and others helped topple three governments in 2011. And when countries wait on the verge of a second coming, the digital space now appears more potent

It was a whirlwind year on the digital front. But there is one thing that defined 2011 the rampage of the social media such as Facebook, Twitter and several other such sites. We have been hearing that social media has arrived, but this was during 2011 when it took the world by storm; literally. From Tahrir Square in Egypt to the heart of Beijing, revolutions spread via Facebook and Twitter. Three governments have been toppled, and now, when countries wait on the verge of a second coming, the digital space now appears more potent.

Let us re-live the story. On 18 December 2010, a man in Tunisia, Mohamed Bouazizi, set himself on fire, protesting against police atrocities. A spark had been ignited. Stirrings were visible in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Yemen; the war spread online: video evidence of the state’s repression appeared, along with suppressed facts. Revolutionaries, who thought they were alone, perceived and made friends.

Then, one day the Tunisian President fled (with a large chunk of the nation’s wealth). The wave had struck. Its might have manifested in the form of an unprecedented gathering at Tahrir Square in Egypt followed by similar protests in Yemen and Libya. Victory came to Egyptian citizens when in February its President of 30 years, Hosni Mubarak stepped down. What followed was unthought-of. In Yemen, Jordan, Iraq and Sudan, governments were sacked, and leaders announced they are going to step down. A new era had begun.
Birth pangs persist and with the West’s interference, things have become more complicated. But this time, the middle-eastern and African countries have made it clear that they will write their own history. The digital media, now, has become that weapon of self-assertion. Protests against the NATO bloodbath in Libya, including Gaddafi’s killing, existing and intended puppet governments are gathering force, and the digital media has become its herald.

Despite their failed attempt to overthrow the Red State with Jasmine Revolution, protestors in China have managed to find chinks in the government’s armour. If 2010 saw China’s bitter spat with Google about email addresses and internet transactions of human rights activists, this was the year when the people decided to take things in their own hands. When reports appeared that the high-speed bullet train project was about to bankrupt the country, the news was blocked out. But hackers made sure that it did not. While the censors worked overtime, another tragedy struck in the form of a recent train accident. Not only did activists publicise the incident on the internet, evidence of the authorities’ fault was also put up. The government has not been able to contain the damning content.

Another story raised hopes during 2011. Artist-activist Ai Weiwei has always been a vocal critic of Chinese government’s stance on democracy and human rights. Following his arrest in April, the Chinese regime got brickbats from all corners, including its own people, who took to the internet with a vengeance. After he was released from jail, Weiwei was slapped with a monumental 12 million yuan fine for tax evasion. But, within three days, online donations from citizens and fans worldwide provided a million yuans. The collection drive continues, and the government has withdrawn into silence, probably planning its next move.

However, 2011 also turned out to be apprehensive for cyber activists. Wikileaks suffered a big blow, when Mastercard, Paypal and other payment portals were blocked from its website, and donations were disabled. Julian Assange appeared more tensed during the press conference when he announced this than the day he was arrested.

The US however, did not have time to relish its triumph over Mr Assange. Soon after Mr Assange gave his interview, Mastercard suffered a breakdown in the hands of hacktivists who avenged blocking donations to Wikileaks. Thanks to groups Anonymous and Lulszec, the US was in for some other massive hacks, from which they are yet to recover and appear clueless about countering them. Individually, and teaming up on occasions, they hacked websites of FBI, US Senate, CIA, Sun newspaper, gaming and tourist websites; leaked military email addresses and snatched files from Viacom and Universal. But their biggest hit was the Sony Playstation website data theft, which not only left the authorities embarrassed, but also earned the latter scathing criticism for citizens for negligence. British authorities arrested Scottish hacker ‘Topiary’ of Lulszec, but nothing came out of it apart from a support campaign by Anonymous, which only garnered more sympathy for the hackers.

During 2011, internet search giant, Google also had to face some uncomfortable moments. Google+, the search giant’s answer to Facebook, began with a bang, but fizzled out soon. What followed was a hilarious blunder on their part, when a staff member’s personal post slamming Google for Google+ and pointing out their inability to do ‘platforms’ leaked online. However, taking a dignified stand, Google declared it would not censor any content, and refused to sack the engineer; because it was his right to express his views.

Google Zeitgest reveals that worldwide, last years pop-viral sensation, Rebecca Black (who also has the highest number of ‘dislikes’ on YouTube), was the most searched term, followed by Google+. Breakout singer Adele beat Fukushima nuclear plant and late Steve Jobs to appear at number seven slot.
In India, it was the celebrities’ triumph all the way. Anna Hazare had the fastest rising searches, while controversial model Poonam Pandey followed closely. However, Mr Hazare was beaten by Katrina Kaif as the most searched personality. Facebook, YouTube and Gmail were the top searches for India. IPL, despite the low TRPs it received, beat World Cup 2011 as the most searched event of the year.

In 2012, the most talked about issue will be the various internet censorship Bills that many governments are planning. In India, which has seen considerable action for the Lokpal movement via Facebook and Twitter, the government plans to bring in the law. But popular opinion is against any media censorship. India saw a 13% rise in number of internet users, Internet and Mobile Association of India reported, and by year end, the number is expected to stand at 121 million.
In the US, Congress wants to bring the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which is a gag order in disguise. However, much to the chagrin of most governments, Google issued a firm critique of the SOPA, and got the support of MasterCard and then revealed that most requests they get for blocking content come from the government who want all their misdeeds blocked out.
While efforts are made to push for similar gag orders throughout the world, activists are prepared to battle. With protests mounting in totalitarian states everywhere, 2012 will prove to be crucial for internet, which will probably see the beginning of clash between the democratic-digital domain and authorities.


GTL Infra rejigs top mgmt

GTL Infrastructure said it had appointed Milind Bengali as co-chief operating officer.

Telecom equipment manufacturer GTL Infrastructure said it had appointed Milind Bengali as co-chief operating officer. He was heading the company's M&A division. Besides, Milind Naik has been re-designated as whole-time director and co-chief operating officer, GTL Infra said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

The company said it had also received approval from the Corporate Debt Restructuring (CDR) Cell, Mumbai, for restructuring loans. A committee of the board is constituted to discuss, negotiate, finalise the various terms and conditions stipulated therein, interalia issuance of securities in terms of the CDR process, the filing said.

GTL Infrastructure chief financial officer Prasanna Bidnurkar has been re-designated as head (CDR) and will be responsible for all the matters related to the CDR. Accordingly, Bhupendra Kiny has been appointed as chief financial officer, the filing said.

The committee formed will also consider withdrawal of scheme of arrangement between the company and Chennai Network Infrastructure (CNIL) and consider fresh scheme of amalgamation. The company's shareholders had approved scheme of amalgamation of CNIL with itself in April 2011.

The scheme envisaged an exchange ratio of one equity share of GTL Infra for every four equity shares of CNIL. CNIL was formed as a special purpose vehicle to acquire Aircel's tower assets.

In the late afternoon, GTL Infrastructure was trading at around Rs9.20 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 2.79% up from the previous close.


Lupin gets USFDA nod for generic cholesterol drug

Lupin has got the approval to sell 48 mg and 145 mg of generic Fenofibrate tablets in the American market.

The US health regulator has granted approval to Lupin to market generic Fenofibrate Tablets, a cholesterol lowering drug, in the American market.
According to information on the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) website, Lupin has got the approval to sell 48 mg and 145 mg of generic Fenofibrate tablets in the American market. However, the company did not comment on the issue and the possible launch date of the product.

According to Morgan Stanley Research, Abbott, the innovator of the drug, had filed patent litigations against seven firms, out of which five including those against Lupin and Teva have been settled. Abbott sells the drug under Tricor brand.

As per the report Lupin could launch its generic version as early as July next year.

"We have assumed December, 2012 (181st day) launch for Lupin, which may now potentially be earlier [July, 2012] in light of possible forfeiture of Teva's exclusivity. This would translate into earlier and greater upside for Lupin from this product in 2012," Morgan Stanley Research said in a report.

Teva, which had the exclusive marketing rights for the generic drug, had said its version of Tricor 145 mg ($1.2 billion brand sales) will not be approved by USFDA in 2012, the report said.

Under the provisions of its settlement with Abbott, Teva was expected to launch it in either March, 2011 or July, 2012 under certain circumstances.

"We have assumed this to be a $50 million annual sales opportunity for Lupin [starting December 2012], assuming 80% price erosion and 20% market share, which may turn out to be conservative," Morgan Stanley said.

In the late afternoon, Lupin was trading at around Rs444 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 0.95% up from the previous close.


We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.

To continue

Sign Up or Sign In


To continue

Sign Up or Sign In



The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)