Facebook outage creates panic among users

Facebook suffered an unusual crash on Thursday leading to users taking to other social networking sites like Twitter to poke fun and despair at the state of their 20 minutes breakdown

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook in the movie Social Network is quoted as saying,“The difference between Facebook and everybody else is WE DON’T CRASH.” The world’s most popular social networking site Facebook faced outage for 20 minutes Thursday afternoon. Users who are not used to functioning without a Facebook window open on their devices all day, received a message saying “Sorry, something went wrong.”

As almost 1.8 billion users faced the longest outage after four years, the hashtag ‘#facebookdown’ trended on Twitter throughout the day. To show their angst, Twitter was flooded with the posts on the outage.
The outage has hit both the website and the Facebook app users. This was not enough, once the site started working as usual, the reaction again trended on Twitter, but this time it was hashtag #whenfacebookwasdown.

To apologise to the users, a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement sent to The Guardian, “Earlier this morning, we experienced an issue that prevented people from posting to Facebook for a brief period of time. We resolved the issue quickly, and we are now back to 100%. We're sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

To the technology doomsayers this was dream come true, and to some a sign of our times when a Facebook outage was among the top news of the day. For the health and well-being of millions of millennials around the world, let's hope this does not happen again, or maybe that would help.


Indian money in Swiss banks rise to Rs14,000 crore in 2013

The total Indian money held in Swiss banks included 1.95 billion Swiss francs held directly by individuals and entities, and another 77.3 million Swiss francs through ’fiduciaries’ or wealth managers at the end of 2013

Indians’ money in Swiss banks has risen to over two billion Swiss francs (nearly Rs14,000 crore) during 2013, despite a global clampdown against the famed secrecy wall of Switzerland banking system.


As per the latest data released the Swiss National Bank (SNB), funds held by Indians with banks in Switzerland rose by over 40% during 2013, from about 1.42 billion Swiss francs at the end of the previous year.


In contrast, the money held in Swiss banks by their foreign clients from across the world continued to decline and stood at a record low of 1.32 trillion Swiss francs (about $1.56 trillion or over Rs90 lakh crore) at the end of 2013.


During 2012, the Indians’ money in Swiss banks had fallen by over one-third to a record low level.


The total Indian money held in Swiss banks included 1.95 billion Swiss francs held directly by Indian individuals and entities, and another 77.3 million Swiss francs through ’fiduciaries’ or wealth managers at the end of 2013.


The latest data from Zurich-based SNB comes at a time when Switzerland is facing growing pressure from India and many other countries to share foreign client details, while its own lawmakers are resisting such measures.


India has also constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe cases of alleged black money of Indians, including funds stashed abroad in places like Switzerland.


The funds, described by SNB as ‘liabilities’ of Swiss banks or ‘amounts due to’ their clients, are the official figures disclosed by the Swiss authorities and do not indicate towards the quantum of the much-debated alleged black money held by Indians in the safe havens of Switzerland.


SNB’s official figures also do not include the money that Indians or others might have in Swiss banks in the names of entities from different countries.


The Swiss National Bank said that the focus of banks in the country continues to shift away from foreign clients to domestic business, as reflected in the decline in their overall amounts due to overseas customers.


There are a total of 283 banks in Switzerland, down from nearly 300 at the beginning of 2013. This include two banks (UBS and Credit Suisse) classified as big banks, while there are 93 foreign-controlled banks operating in the country. A total of close to 1.25 lakh staff work at these banks.


According to the SNB data, funds held by the US entities in Swiss banks also rose during 2013 – from 189 billion Swiss francs to 193 billion Swiss francs – despite a major crackdown by the American authorities against the Swiss banks.


However, a number of countries saw their exposure to Swiss banks decline during the year, resulting in the overall funds held by foreign clients in Switzerland’s banking institutions decline to 1.32 trillion Swiss francs, from 1.39 trillion Swiss francs at the end of 2012.


With regard to the money held by Indians in Swiss banks, it rose during 2013 after a sharp decline in 2012. Prior to that, Indian money in Swiss banks had risen during 2011 also.


The quantum of Indian funds in Swiss banks stood at a record high level of 6.5 billion Swiss francs at the end of 2006, but it declined by more than 4 billion Swiss francs after four straight years of fall till 2010.


For clients across the world, total funds in Swiss banks stood at a record high level of 2.9 trillion Swiss francs at the end of 2005, while the all-time high level in the US currency was recorded in 2007 at $2.4 trillion.


Amid allegations of Indians stashing huge amounts of illicit wealth abroad, including in Swiss banks, the Indian government has been saying that it was making various efforts to bring back the unaccounted money.


UP Pollution Board shuts Coca-Cola plant

Coca-Cola's bottling plant has been shut down in Mehdiganj by the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board following violation of certain norms and complaints of increase in water pollution

This article was updated on 21 June 2014 at 3pm

The Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) has ordered Coca-Cola to shut down its bottling plant in Mehdiganj after the soft-drink company was found violating certain norms under the 'No Objection Certificate' (NOC). This action taken by the UPPCB was a result of Coca-Cola's failure to meet a key condition in the temporary license given to it, including to obtain a clearance to extract groundwater from the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA), Lok Samiti, which has been fighting for the closure of Mehdiganj plant said in a release.


The groundwater in Mehdiganj, which was marked in the 'safe' category in 1999 when Coca-Cola first opened it's plant had gone to the 'critical' category in 2009. In its order on 6 June 2014, the Pollution Board, said, “Coca-Cola had increased its production capacity from 20,000 cases per day to 36,000 without the Board’s permission, and suggested that the company may have misled the Board about the actual amount of industrial waste discharge (which has remained constant, according to Coca-Cola, in spite of increasing production by 80%). The Board also cast doubt on Coca-Cola’s waste treatment plant, noting that the 'Treatment System/Plant' was not operating 'smoothly/properly'.”


In a release, Amit Srivastava from the international campaigning group, India Resource Center (IRC) said, “Coca-Cola’s thirst for profits in India have placed its business interests over the well-being of communities and the environment and this is not acceptable as the community of Mehdiganj has shown. We will ensure that Coca-Cola will face heightened scrutiny anywhere it plans to operate in India because the track record of the company is dismal”.


Coca-Cola had been seeking to expand the capacity of its existing plant in Mehdiganj five-fold as a part of its aggressive growth strategy of India. In 2012, they announced an additional $5 billion investment by 2020 as sales in industrialized countries decline or stagnate due to health concerns. The expanded facility in Mehdiganj has already been built but has not been able to begin commercial operations, the Lok Samiti said in a statement.


The closure of this bottling plant comes at the peak of Coca-Cola's sale in India. The company has approached National Green Tribunal (NGT), an environmental court in India appealing against the UPPCB decision, citing financial losses as a reason for re-opening the plant quickly. Post three hearings, NGT has so far refuted the re-opening.


Another major hurdle the company faces is about the land it acquired for its plant. According to the Lok Samiti, the land is community owned land and cannot be used for private purposes. In December 2013, local authorities passed an order to evict Coca-Cola from the illegally occupied land but the company had obtained a stay order from court.


However, this is not the first time that Coca-Cola's bottling plant has been cloed in India. Earlier in 2004, Coca-Cola's botteling plant at Plachimada in Kerala was shut down and the company still owes $47 million in damages as a result of it's operations there. Its plant in Kala Dera, Rajasthan is also in the news with locals demanding clsoures due to rapid depletion of groundwater levels.



In an email reply, an official from Coca-Cola said, its Mehdiganj plant is operating again as the NGT on 20th June has stayed the order passed by UPPCB.




3 years ago


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