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Modi wraps up US visit with love fest in America

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source: ndtv

Washington: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrapped up yet another hugely successful visit to the US with a warm hug for President Barack Obama, a courtship with Silicon valley and a love fest with the Indian diaspora.

As Obama said after an hour-long meeting in New York on Monday with “good friend” Modi, building on his “wonderful visit” to Delhi in January, “We’ve elevated our ties. We’ve committed ourselves to a new partnership between our two countries.”

Modi agreed they had “achieved significant progress in our bilateral cooperation and international partnership” and welcomed “the progress in giving shape to our joint strategic vision on Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean region”.

As anticipated, Obama chose to focus on climate issues. India’s leadership at the Paris climate change conference in December, he believed, “will set the tone not just for today but for decades to come”.

Obama said he was encouraged by “the aggressive nature” of Modi’s commitment to clean energy.

Modi said he and Obama “share an uncompromising commitment on climate change without affecting our ability to meet the development aspirations of humanity”.

But Modi also made it clear to Obama, French British Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron, whom he met separately, that a negative approach of capping emissions or adding restrictions was not going to help. Instead a positive approach that includes help for developing countries like financing and technology transfer was needed, he said.

Modi also won renewed support from the big three for India getting a permanent seat in the Security Council and asked them to have the UN reform process completed within a “fixed time frame”.

Modi said after meeting with Obama “we have resolved to further deepen cooperation on counter-terrorism and radicalism”.

source: blogs.wsj.com
source: blogs.wsj.com

But beyond the power meetings with Obama and other world leaders, the real measure of Modi’s success was writ in his wooing the big business and winning over the tech titans of Silicon Valley.

From Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai, Indian-American chief executives of Microsoft and Google to Apple’s Tim Cook and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg everyone seemed keen to get behind Modi’s digital dream.

If Pichai offered to bring wireless Internet or WiFi to 500 railway stations across India, Nadella outlined Microsoft’s plan to help Indian government take low-cost broadband to half a million villages.

Qualcomm promised a 10 billion rupee fund for startups in India “to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy”.

It will also set up a number of ‘design houses’ for product innovation in India.

And selling his dream of turning India’s $8 trillion economy into a $20 trillion economy at the Facebook Townhall with a promise of four D’s — demography, democracy, demand and now de-regulation — he told investors: “Want to Invest? I Have an Address – India.”

source: indianexpress

But it was the rock star like reception he received in Silicon valley reminiscent of the ‘Madison Square Garden moment’ on the eve of his summit with Obama last year that wowed them all.

Modi “wooed and wowed the tech crowd” and “conquered” Silicon Valley, as the influential New York Times put it.

Modi’s trip, said the Washington Post, had made Silicon Valley “a must-see destination for world leaders” and “signals the rising influence and economic power wielded by this technology hotbed.”

(By Arun Kumar, IANS)

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Silicon Valley, Google Walk Off To Protest Against Mishandling Of Sexual Harassment Cases

The workers went back to their offices but vowed to continue pressuring Google to change.

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Google, Web summit, sexual misconduct, trafficking
Google employees fill Harry Bridges Plaza in front of the Ferry Building during a walkout, Nov. 1, 2018, in San Francisco. Hundreds of Google employees around the world briefly walked off the job in a protest against what they said is the tech company's mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations against executives. VOA

It was a protest that went around the globe.

From Singapore to Dublin, Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Pryor, Oklahoma, Google employees walked out of their offices to protest the internet search giant’s handling of sexual discrimination cases, and express their frustration with its workplace culture.

In San Francisco, where Google has several offices, hundreds of workers congregated at a plaza where they gave speeches and held signs. One read: “I reported and he got promoted.”

The unusual protest — tech companies are not unionized and typically keep strife about personnel matters behind closed doors — riveted Silicon Valley, which has struggled in recent years over the treatment of women in the industry.

Resignation, severance

The Google protest was spurred by a New York Times story that outlined allegations against high-profile leaders at the firm, including Andy Rubin, known as “the father of Android,” who was reportedly paid $90 million in severance. Rubin has denied the allegations in the article, as well as reports of his severance amount.

Richard DeVaul, a director at X, a unit of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, resigned from the company on Tuesday. He was accused of making unwanted advances to a woman who was a job applicant at the firm.

 

Google, protest
Google employees walk off the job in a protest against what they said is the tech company’s mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations against executives. VOA

 

 List of demands

“We are a small part of a massive movement that has been growing for a long time,” protest organizers said in an article published in the online magazine The Cut. “We are inspired by everyone — from the women in fast food who led an action against sexual harassment to the thousands of women in the #metoo movement who have been the beginning of the end for this type of abuse.”

Leaders of the protest issued a list of demands, including that Alphabet add a worker-representative to its board of directors and that the firm internally disclose pay equity information.

They also asked the company to revise its human resources practices to make the harassment claims filing process more equitable, and to create a “publicly disclosed sexual harassment transparency report.”

Google
Google employees gather in a courtyard as they take part in a walkout from their jobs at the Google campus in Kirkland, Washington. VOA

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in an email to employees that “as CEO, it’s been personally important to me that we take a much harder line on inappropriate behavior. … We have taken many steps to do so, and know our work is still not done.”

Social media protest

The global protest unfolded on Twitter and Facebook as employees from offices around the world posted photos of themselves walking out at the appointed time of 11:10 a.m.

Google
Tanuja Gupta, programming director at Google, addresses hundreds of Google employees during a protest rally. VOA

 

The greatest concentration of Google workers is in the San Francisco area. In San Bruno, 12 miles south of San Francisco, employees at YouTube, which is part of Google, walked out, as did those in Mountain View, company headquarters.

“As a woman, I feel personally unsafe, because if something were to happen, what accountability measures will be in place to make sure that justice is sought?” said Google employee Rana Abdelhamid at the San Francisco protest.

Christian Boyd, another Google employee, was angry about what she said was protecting the powerful, even in the face of credible allegations.

“It’s sad to see that what we consider the best companies are not immune to this, as well,” Boyd said.

Also Read: Everything You Need To Know About The #MeToo Movement

After 30 minutes of speeches, the workers went back to their offices but vowed to continue pressuring Google to change. (VOA)