Johannesburg, Feb 8, 2017: According to Food and Agriculture organisation report, Africa’s biggest humanitarian crisis will likely to retrograde during ‘lean’ season between season between June and August in northeast Nigeria.
According to PTI, It is estimated that more than 120,000 Nigerians will suffer to the detrimental famine like conditions caused by Boko Haram Islamic uprising. Among 11 million are bearing severe food shortages this year in accordance to a new UN report.
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The worst affected zone is Borno State, which accounts 65 per cent of the “expected famine zone”. It is coincidently the place of origin of Boko Haram.
UN agencies have reported that children are perishing in this region already and if any help is not given, half a million will die.
Rampant Corruption and conflict between the government and aid agencies are exacerbating the crisis. Investigation officials report that local government agencies embezzled with the food aid.
The report stated that even though the Boko Haram uprising has evacuated hundreds and thousands of farmers off their land. Despite that, Nigeria’s cereal production went up by about 5 per cent in 2016, said PTI
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Increased government support for agriculture, above-average rainfall and increased commodity prices are said the factors for increased cereal production stated in the report.
The report also stated that Nigeria remains a “food-deficit country” with cereal imports, mainly rice and wheat, predicted to exceed 7 million tons this year.
Nigeria remains the world’s biggest importer of rice, indicating a failure of government efforts to reduce dependence on food imports. This is amid a gross shortage of foreign currency caused by low global prices for oil.
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Thousands of Nigerians marched and protested this week for growing hardship through high food prices, poverty, corruption and unemployment.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo assured them that he feels their pain but life will get better. “With complete focus on improving the economy every day, the recession will soon be history,” he said in a statement Tuesday, without elaborating.
Voodoo is a sensationalized pop-culture caricature of voudon, an Afro-Caribbean religion that originated in Haiti, Western and Central Africa. Though, it’s followers can be found in Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, the United States of America and elsewhere.
This practice is a whole assortment of cultural elements: personal creeds and practices, including an elaborate system of folk medical practices; a system of ethics transmitted across generations including proverbs, stories, songs and folklore. This practice is more than a belief.
More so, this religious practice has always been misunderstood.
Listen to this priestess named Miriam Chamani having an experience of 30 years. She has her Voodoo temple in New Orleans where people can learn more about faith.
“We need art through the good and the bad. For an art lover, luxury is a necessity; it is an essential to help us maintain our equilibrium in these trying times”, says Ritu Vajpeyi-Mohan, Publisher, DAG (Delhi Art Gallery).
She adds: “I am confident of the abilities of artists to create innovative and referential works that capture this moment in time.”
The gallery recently featured a digital fundraiser for COVID-19 relief, featuring 51 artworks from its collection. 100 percent of the proceeds of the sale will be donated. In a conversation with IANSlife, Mohan shares her views on the impact of the pandemic on the arts as a sector.
Q. COVID-19 has impacted every sector, industry and profession, art being no exception. How has the world of art been impacted?
Mohan: Art as a medium in traditional understanding has been a great moment for shared experience between artists and their communities. While it may certainly be created in isolation, art’s appreciation comes from its outreach with wider audiences and their emotional connect with a work’s potency.
The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly limited the physical intimacy between artworks and the public. We are now confined to viewing it in isolation and within the confines of screens, be it a mobile phone or a computer. The immediacy of our experiencing art has been limited, but enterprising art enthusiasts have been creating a multitude of forums whereby we can experience art by newer technologies, especially experiential, real time, augmented reality and virtual reality formats.
So while the sector has been impacted, artists and others in the eco system have also creatively adapted to the times by forging newer ways forward. Art’s great thrust has always come from the human imagination, and we see abundant examples of this all around us.
Q. In a way, art is a historian. Do you think the world might see some of it’s greatest works being born from this crisis?
Mohan: Art is definitely being created. Online forums are replete with examples of the same, though we shall perhaps have to wait for the end of this period to see the manifest ways in which artists have reacted.
The complexity or scale of the works shall also be apparent over time, once we understand the varied ways in which individual artists react to the current human predicament. Every age produces artistic excellence and we are surrounded by remarkable examples from the past. I am confident of the abilities of artists to create innovative and referential works that capture this moment in time.
Q. Luxury is known to be recession proof. Do you think that holds true for art despite the economic slowdown?
Mohan: Luxury to my mind is not the monetary value of an object, but the deep emotional satisfaction that it brings to our experience of life. People will continue to live, to create, nourish and sustain their everyday lives. Art shall be with them shoulder to shoulder, helping them move along in this journey. Art then is the balm that shall allow people to get on with their lived experiences through every vicissitude that comes their way. We need art through the good and the bad. For an art lover, luxury is a necessity; it is an essential to help us maintain our equilibrium in these trying times.
Q. To keep the conversation alive and client engagement in the arts, does DAG also plan to go all out with their digital platform?
Mohan: We have an online presence through our social media, YouTube channel and website. These have been active before the pandemic hit us and we have been effectively using these formats to reach out to our patrons and supporters.
We have also been reaching out to our network through more detailed analytics of our digital follower base and are trying to understand what they need and how best to service their queries and concerns. These are carried out with more personalised attention. Digital reflection is also allowing us to strategize on how best to serve our client base and anticipate future blind spots and gaps in our digital efforts. It is a constant space of learning and innovation and our teams are upgrading their digital skills and working at future proofing.
Q. Tell us more about this initiative and the works on sale at the DAG Fundraiser sale from April 20-30.
Mohan: At a time when the nation and the world is grappling with a pandemic beyond easy comprehension, our immediate instinct was to try and help efforts towards Covid -19 relief. The natural leverage we had to raise funds is our art inventory and we decided that this was the best time to hold an online Fundraise sale of 51 artworks.
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An e-catalogue was designed in-house, in record time, all remotely between various team members functioning from the safety of their homes. We chose to have one artwork per artist thus putting together 51 artworks by preeminent Indian artists, adding up to a total value of Rs. 1 Crore. The prices of these artworks were made competitive and within the range of Rs 50,000 and Rs 5 lakhs to ensure healthy participation by larger audiences. Hundred per cent of the money raised by the sale shall be donated. Very early on we decided to support larger initiatives being run on National and State level that were transparent in their fund disbursal. Hence, our choice in supporting PM CARES & Lt. Governor/Chief Minister Relief Fund (Delhi). We are heartened by the unprecedented speed at which the sale has occurred and are hugely thankful to the art buying community for wholeheartedly supporting this pioneering initiative.
When asked how galleries such as DAG are coping with license fees and rentals across various galleries in India due to the COVID-19 crisis and whether the are being offered any support by their licensors, the Gallery refused to comment. (IANS)
As the coronavirus pandemic dominates global news in the United States, progress toward the next presidential election scheduled to be held on November 3 moves slowly forward. President Donald Trump had no real opposition in the Republican party and is running for re-election. And it has now become apparent that former Vice President Joe Biden will be his opponent as the Democratic candidate for president.
What would a Trump victory bode for the future of US-India relations? What would a Biden victory bode? Let me answer each of those questions in turn.
Given the love fests of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Howdy Modi’ event in Houston, Texas, in which Trump participated in September of 2019, and Trump’s ‘Namaste Trump’ event hosted by Modi in India in February of this year, it might be assumed that the future for US-India relations is a splendid one. This would be an incorrect assumption.
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Both of these events were more symbolic than substantive. Trump’s participation in them undoubtedly helped to persuade some — perhaps many — Indian American Modi supporters who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 to cast their ballots for Trump in 2020. Trump’s campaign team took steps to ensure this by holding an event at his Mar-a-Lago resort in which a group of prominent Indian Americans announced their plans to work for his re-election and to mobilize Indian Americans on his behalf.
To understand the future potential of India’s relations with the US. with Trump as president, however, it is necessary to look beyond these political moves and to examine the present state of those relations and Trump’s personal style.
In a word, the best way to characterize the current relations between the US and India is “functional”. The relationship was relatively good for the first two years of Trump’s presidency. In fact, near the end of 2018, Alice Wells, the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, was quoted in the media s saying: “This has been a landmark year for US-India ties as we build out stronger relationships across the board.”
Then, in 2019, the relations went off the track in the first half of the year after the US and India got into a tit-for-tat tariff war after the US terminated India’s Generalized System of Preferences which allowed India to send certain goods to the US duty-free. There have been continuing efforts to structure a “modest” trade deal since then. It was thought there might be some type of deal done in September of 2019 while Modi was in the US by year’s end, and then during Trump’s India visit. But, as of today, there is still no deal.
This inability to get any meaningful trade agreement in place speaks volumes about India’s potential future relations with India with Trump as president. So, too does Trump’s style.
Trump’s campaign slogans this time around are “Keep America Great” and “Promises Made, Promises Kept.” Trump is not a policy wonk and most of his effort will go toward “America First”. This involves making the US more isolated by withdrawing from international agreements, restructuring trade agreements, emphasizing building walls to stop immigrants at the border, using tariffs to block trade with countries who are taking away American jobs, and confronting businesses who are allegedlly stealing American trade secrets.
This perspective suggests what India can expect for its relations with the US if it has to deal with Trump for a second term as president. The relations will stay functional at best. As I have said before, that’s because the words partnership, cooperation and collaboration are not in Trump’s vocabulary. Nationalism, isolationism and protectionism are.
Joe Biden stands in stark contrast to President Trump both professionally and personally. Biden is a strategic thinker and doer with a solid eight-year track record of leadership experience as Vice-President in forging alliances that have made a difference around the world and he has also been a long-standing friend of India.
He was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a leading advocate for the Congressional passage of the Indo-US civic nuclear deal in 2005. At a dinner convened 10 years later in 2015 by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Vice President Biden discussed the tremendous joint progress that had been made by the two countries in the past and declared “We are on the cusp of a sea change decade.”
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Early in his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president in July of 2019, in laying out his foreign policy vision, Biden stated that the US had to reach out to India and other Asian partners to strengthen ties with them. The items on Biden’s foreign policy agenda for strengthening which are of importance for India include climate change, nuclear proliferation and cyberwarfare.
During his vice presidency, Biden worked side by side with President Barack Obama to do things that would contribute to achieving Obama’s vision stated in 2010 of India and America being “indispensable partners in meeting the challenges of our time.” In 2020, those challenges are even greater than they were a decade ago.
That is why it is so essential that India and the US develop a strategic relationship that enables them to become those indispensable partners. That can happen if Biden assumes the presidency on January 20, 2021. It cannot happen if Donald Trump remains as president for a second term.
The results of this upcoming election in the US matter greatly for the future of the United States. They matter greatly for the future of India-US relations as well. Time and the American electorate will tell what that future will be. (IANS)