Cloud Computing: Cloud Adoption Uneven Across Countries in Europe

first_imgLast week Friday we looked at two surveys about the scope of cloud acceptance — a survey by CA Associates that found that 93 percent of companies are using the cloud, and another one by SWC Technology Partners that concluded that less than 4 percent of companies are using applications hosted in the cloud.  The conclusion was that there is currently a huge split between what different segments of  companies are doing. segments.  It’s not clear exactly what the parameters are that make up the profile of a cloud-adopter company versus the cloud-abstainer ones, but  both the location and size of company seem to play a significant factor.A number of other recent surveys continue to highlight the uneven acceptance of cloud computing.  Compare the following two cloud adoption reports, one surveying usage in the UK, and the other in Norway.Cisco’s 2011 CloudWatch report on cloud adoption in the UK found that only 7 percent of companies in the US are using the cloud.  That number is expected to expand to 23 percent in two years time.  But Ian Foddering, CTO and technical director at Cisco UK and Ireland, thinks that part of the reason why the adoption rate appears low is that people are just not aware that they’re using the cloud.  “People don’t even realize they’re consuming cloud-based services [even when they use software like or Cisco WebEx].”The Cisco report also cited another possible reason why companies in the UK have been slow to move on cloud computing: lack of standards.  95 percent of companies said that the lack of common cloud standards is a major concern, and 65 percent said that cloud standards were critical.  But again, not all companies share the same perspective.  Foddering said that  “some vertical sectors are very concerned about the lack of standards, and some, like healthcare, see the lack of standards as a barrier to entry, while some service providers, don’t see it as a factor at all.”But then consider a report from Rammboll which surveyed cloud adoption in Norway.  The report found that over the last year the use of cloud computing has doubled.  Now more than  35% of public sector bodies and private sector companies are using cloud-based application, compared to just 14% from the previous year.  The Rammboll report found that in Norway the main concern about cloud computing is security.  Security was cited by 91 percent of public sector companies and 83 percent of private companies as their number one worry.Terje Mjøs, one of the authors of the report on Norway, said that “suppliers of cloud computing must be able to reassure their customers that the supplier has the expertise needed to use software and virtualisation to establish watertight walls between different businesses in the cloud, and that the supplier can implement user management and access control that is 100% reliable. Users want to be reassured that cloud computing is secure and reliable. Storms in the cloud will keep users indoors, where they are today.”last_img read more

It’s Time for Another Online Privacy Checkup

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… dave copeland Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketcenter_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#privacy#web Call us paranoid, but we’re always looking for ways to preserve our privacy on the Internet. And, increasingly, most of those efforts center on the two biggest Internet destinations for most users: Facebook and Google. Love it or hate it, it’s hard to be an online denizen these days without interacting with at least one (and most likely both) of the Internet giants. We’ve spent the past few days scouring the Internet and have found tips – some old, but most new – on how to give yourself a sense of security when using both services. Get Yourself Out of Google StreetviewThe FCC hit Google with a $25,000 fine over how it collects data for its Streetview maps. Small money for Google, but big news for people who used this round of stories as inspiration to look up their own homes and find out they didn’t necessarily like what they saw.Google says its software automatically blurs images containing license plates and people’s faces, but like any software program, it doesn’t always work. And you may find other images that are revealing or just plain unflattering. Fortunately, PBS Newshour has a step-by-step primer on how to alert Google to those images and ask for them to be edited or removed.Check Your Facebook Privacy Settings – AgainIf you use a task management program like ToodleDoo or a calendar program like Google Calendar, it makes sense to put a recurring reminder in to check your Facebook privacy settings regularly. The reality is Facebook changes its user terms on a regular basis in a constant bid to open up your account and increase the amount of information you share (both knowingly and unknowingly), and we’re not so sure an FTC consent decree will curb that practice entirely. We’ve given up on crying foul every time these policies change: It’s just a fact of life on the world’s biggest social network.Facecrooks, a site the deals exclusively in using Facebook securely, has just released one of the best comprehensive guides for locking down your Facebook accounts. Follow each step, and you’ll be as secure as you can possibly be on Facebook. But even the implementation of the tips that suit you on a case-by-case basis is worth considering.Some of our favorite suggestions from the guide:Use a dedicated email address for Facebook.Don’t allow subscribers.Enable login notifications so you know when someone has accessed your account.Avoid posting information such as your birthdate, your home and mobile phone numbers and your street address.Always log out of Facebook after you finish your session.Spend Some Time Taking the “Eazy” Way OutPC World has a glowing review of Priveazy, which bills itself as a personal online privacy and safety consultant. Companies such as Facebook and Google hope we’ll give up on trying to “untangle the privacy knot,” but Priveazy, with online tutorials, quizzes and security checkups, aims to make the process of protecting online privacy, well, easy.As PC World points out, the tool may be “a bit too simplistic” for geeks and people who “just eat and breathe Internet privacy issues.” For the rest of us, however, it may be time well spent.last_img read more

Monthly Web Development Update 9/2018: Native Lazy Loading And Imaginary Work

first_img Related postsInclusive Components: Book Reviews And Accessibility Resources13th December 2019Should Your Portfolio Site Be A PWA?12th December 2019Building A CSS Layout: Live Stream With Rachel Andrew10th December 2019Struggling To Get A Handle On Traffic Surges10th December 2019How To Design Profitable Sales Funnels On Mobile6th December 2019How To Build A Real-Time Multiplayer Virtual Reality Game (Part 2)5th December 2019 HomeWeb DesignMonthly Web Development Update 9/2018: Native Lazy Loading And Imaginary Work (cm)From our sponsors: Monthly Web Development Update 9/2018: Native Lazy Loading And Imaginary Work Monthly Web Development Update 9/2018: Native Lazy Loading And Imaginary WorkYou are here:center_img Monthly Web Development Update 9/2018: Native Lazy Loading And Imaginary Work Monthly Web Development Update 9/2018: Native Lazy Loading And Imaginary Work Anselm Hannemann 2018-09-14T14:50:19+02:00 2018-09-15T11:11:14+00:00It’s an interesting concept to compare JavaScript with CO2 and yet a very valid one. Alex Russel who works for the Chrome team and has a lot of insights into the current state of the web says that using too much JavaScript or using it exclusively (without progressive enhancement/graceful degradation) will have the same effect as too much CO2 for the ecosystem on planet Earth — the ecosystem will fall apart. And just like we need a certain amount of CO2 to live, we need JavaScript on the web. It’s that fine line that makes the difference — the line between not too much and none at all.I feel that with the native browser APIs that we have these days we have a fantastic opportunity to build great web services without bloating them too much and without relying only on JavaScript. We can enhance native elements with the Custom Elements API easily via ES6 Classes, with so little code that it seems ridiculous to build all that on your own in a third-party framework. Coincidentally, the Github engineering team published an article about how they dropped jQuery entirely and what they now use instead: native JavaScript and small, lean code that is progressively enhancing their platform. Less code, better maintainability, and more stability.NewsChrome 70 is now in beta, bringing shape detection as an origin trial that allows us to perform QR code reading, face detection, and text recognition in images. The Web Authentication API got some updates, too, and referrerpolicy support was added to elements. This version will also deprecate Custom Elements v0, HTML Imports, and Shadow DOM v0.Finally, with Firefox 62, Mozilla ships ::selection instead of :-moz-selection. They also implemented flat(), and flatMap() for JavaScript arrays and developers get a new Shape Path Editor.Chrome 69 is out and brings us CSS Scroll Snap Points, the CSS viewport-fit property for cutout-displays like the one of iPhone X, and the Web Locks API which allows scripts running in one tab or worker to asynchronously acquire a lock, hold it while work is performed, and then release it. The update also comes with CSS conic gradient support, toggleAttribute() (which is similar to the classList.toggle() method but for attributes), and flat() and flatMap() for arrays. Unfortunately, this release changed how the browser displays the URL, and it seems that people consider it a security bug. Let’s see how that will evolve.With Firefox 62 supporting variable web fonts, we finally have support in all major browsers and can use it widely now to improve performance, be more creative with typography, and reduce data traffic drastically.Manuel Rego Casasnovas wrote about recent changes on CSS Grid Layout in percentages and indefinite height in the Chrome browser.Anyone who isn’t an expert would be hard-pressed to explain how tracking on the internet actually works. That’s why Firefox now changes their default settings and enforces tracking blocking in their browser by default.PHP7.3 is coming soon with new Heredoc and Nowdoc syntax, trailing commas in function calls, is_countable(), array_key_first(), array_key_last(), and Argon2 password hash enhancements.Getting the process just right ain’t an easy task. That’s why we’ve set up ‘this-is-how-I-work’-sessions — with smart cookies sharing what works really well for them. A part of the Smashing Membership, of course. Explore features →GeneralAlex Russell’s “The ‘Developer Experience’ Bait-and-Switch” is a great piece that explains the toxic environments we currently build for the web and why JavaScript can be compared to CO2 — both are needed in small portions, but if there’s too much of it, it’ll put the entire ecosystem (the web) at risk. A thoughtful article that I recommend everyone here to read, share, and remember.As Alexa, Cortana, Siri, and even customer support chat bots become the norm we have to start considering not only how our content looks but how it could sound. We can — and should — use HTML and ARIA to make our content structured, sensible, and most importantly, meaningful.Web PerformanceThe upcoming PostgreSQL 11 has some interesting performance improvements. Dimitri Fontaine shares what difference they can make.Ben Schwarz shares new approaches to native lazy load for the web that could become a reality soon.SecurityNightwatch Cybersecurity published a security vulnerability in Android that exposes information about the user’s device to all applications running on it. This seems to include the WiFi network name, BSSID, local IP addresses, DNS server information, and the MAC address — all in all quite a lot of private information that allows people to track individual Android devices. Unfortunately, all Android OS versions including forks (except for Android P/9 where a fix was provided) seem to be affected with no plan to fix older versions.CSSChen Hui Jing explains how to customize radio buttons without compromising their accessibility.CSS Shapes have quite some history already. Brought to the web early by an initiative of the Adobe Web team, browser vendors removed the implementations soon again, and are now slowly coming back with iterated, improved specifications and implementations. Rachel Andrew shares how to implement CSS Shapes.Sara Soueidan wrote down the reasons she switched from defining CSS colors as HEX or RGB to HSL and what the benefits are.With the web’s growth come new features to better accommodate its new form factors and use cases. One feature I’m excited about is the color-adjust property, proposed in CSS Color Module Level 4. It is an acknowledgment that the web will continue to show up on devices that have less-than-stellar displays.Creating color harmonies becomes a piece of cake with HSL. (Image credit)HTML & SVGStefan Judis read what the Mozilla documentation has to say about input elements and discovered a couple of interesting things that could be very useful for your next project.JavaScriptNolan Lawson compares the different ways of using timers in JavaScript and when to use is a tiny and elegant HTTP client based on the browser Fetch API.Ankur Anand wrote an article about the terrible performance cost of CORS requests in single-page applications.Adrian Roselli shares how we can build link lists at the end of a page for print styles.Babel 7 is out. It’s faster, has more options, and supports JSX Fragments and TypeScript.Auto-resizing s is a very useful way to improve the user experience for people writing content for your site or service. I wrote a blog post about how to auto-resize form elements with a short ECMAScript 6 class.AccessibilityEthan Marcotte reflects on what accessibility means and realizes that it’s not about making a website compatible with some assistive technology or software but about making it usable for everyone who wants to access it, regardless of the technology. This is a huge difference because his approach includes people who have difficulties reading a website even though they use the same browser and the same laptop as you. Maybe they are in bright sunlight, have difficulties with small text, or get distracted by bright colors or animated elements.Eric Bailey emphasizes how important it is to manually test for accessibility.Scott O’Hara shares a breadcrumb navigation using aria-label to provide an accessible name and aria-current to indicate the currently active link.Work & LifeRyan Singer contemplates the difficulty of planning a project with ‘imaginary work’ and why it’s so important to test first how hard something will be to integrate before planning it on the roadmap.We all have been there before: Imagining a solution in your head and implementing it are two entirely different things. (Image credit)Going Beyond…I love the concept of doodling, and even though I don’t do it regularly, it always fascinates me. Doodle Addicts is a platform that collects doodles from people all around the world. A nice gallery to get inspiration from.Jonny Brooks-Bartlett wrote an interesting article on why so many data scientists are leaving their jobs. The job might sound quite interesting and like a good bet these days, but often expectations don’t match reality and politics and ethical decisions are extremely difficult.Marco Lambertini explains how technology can help us save the planet, but more than anything we need to learn to value nature and its resources.An interesting discussion was raised this week by a very well-known Open Source contributor who tried to change the license of one of their projects in order to prevent companies who support the U.S. ICE institution from using their software. The change was quickly reverted after it was revealed that it wasn’t legally enforceable. However, the entire topic (which comes up way more often lately) shows that more and more people think about the impact of their work. They don’t want it to be used for bad, but for good. And while the idea of open, non-restricted source is desirable, it’s only if people use it to support human rights and for improving lives. I’m curious about new solutions that could ensure this; maybe we’ll see more terms of service for open-source projects soon (which would then be legally binding but may prevent free open-source projects from using them). Posted on 15th September 2018Web Design FacebookshareTwittertweetGoogle+sharelast_img read more

Government says review of how CFS system handled Tina Fontaine will be

first_imgThe Canadian PressThe Manitoba government committed late Monday to releasing a report into how child welfare workers dealt with Tina Fontaine before the teenager disappeared, died and was dumped in the Red River.A law that forbids the provincial children’s advocate from publicly releasing special investigation reviews into child deaths will be changed very soon, Families Minister Scott Fielding’s office said.“The minister commits to releasing it and says proclamation (of a new law) is imminent,” Fielding’s press secretary, Andrea Slobodian, wrote in an email.Tina Fontaine ran away from a Winnipeg hotel where she was being housed in August 2014. She was 15 years old.The Indigenous girl’s body was found nine days later in the water, wrapped in a duvet cover and weighed down by rocks. The man accused of killing her, Raymond Cormier, was found not guilty last week.Daphne Penrose, the province’s children’s advocate, said her office has reviewed files and looked at what services were provided to Tina.“The investigation is almost complete. We do have a little bit more work to do on it,” Penrose said Monday.But under current Manitoba law, Penrose cannot release her findings publicly. A bill passed in the legislature last year would allow her to do so, but the provincial government has yet to enact it.Earlier Monday, the Progressive Conservative government would not commit to a time frame for enacting the law.Cormier’s second-degree murder trial heard details of the final weeks of Tina’s life, but did not delve into the way social workers handled her case.Tina was raised in a stable home with her great-aunt, Thelma Favel, on the Sagkeeng First Nation, 120 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg. She left to visit her mother in Winnipeg at the end of June 2014 and became an exploited youth.Favel called Child and Family Services with concerns about Tina, and Tina ran away repeatedly from a youth shelter and hotels where she was placed.She was last seen leaving a downtown hotel, where she told the private contract worker employed by child welfare that she was going to a shopping centre to meet friends.In a brief written statement, Manitoba’s family services department would only say a review of the case by the regional Southern Child and Family Services Authority “found that standards and protocols were met.”The children’s advocate’s office, an independent body of the legislature, is expected to delve into more detail in its report.Some Indigenous leaders and opposition politicians are demanding a full public inquiry into the case – a broad, systemic hearing open to the public and media with witnesses testifying under oath.“I think we need to look at … why this little girl was failed on so many levels and how do we prevent this from happening in the future,” said Opposition NDP families critic Bernadette Smith.“I think we need a public inquiry … because it would highlight the services that were meant to keep (Tina) safe, where they failed, and how things could be different going from here on,” said Sheila North, grand chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, which represents First Nations in the northern part of the province.The idea of releasing children’s advocate reports was recommended by the last public inquiry into the province’s child welfare system _ a 2013 report on Phoenix Sinclair, a five-year-old girl who was beaten to death by her mother and her mother’s boyfriend after social workers closed her file.The inquiry report by retired Justice Ted Hughes urged Manitoba to follow British Columbia in allowing the release of special reports into children’s deaths by the advocate.last_img read more

Premier visits Five Cays gets standing water pumped out

first_img Recommended for you Related Items:five cays, Mosquitoes, premier rufus ewing, Public Works Department, pump, stagnant water Beaches puts former Premier on blast about controversial pier Bishop says peace & prosperity is everybody’s responsibility at Law Enforcers Church Service Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 05 Nov 2015 – The Premier on Tuesday personally oversaw that standing water in Five Cays was pumped out with the help of the Public Works Department. It has been a cry for weeks that the water left behind by Hurricane Joaquin and compounded by a week of rainy weather was not receding, and the nation’s health minister went to assess the situation for himself. In a media release issued yesterday, the Premier said: “it was determined that the waters were not receding on its own and therefore posed possible threat to the public health environment of that community…” The Premier agreed that the standing water posed a myriad of challenges including inaccessibility, boom in the mosquito population and a threat to healthy water. In order to get that stagnant water pumped out in areas of Five Cays, TCIG had to adapt policy. Hon Dr. Rufus Ewing said: “it signaled to me that there was a need for immediate relief and for an executive decision to be made on an area of policy that currently restricts the personnel to focus on public access primarily.The Premier said the water was pumped out Tuesday. PDA takes rally to Five Cayslast_img read more

Minister Ferreira Supports Global Ocean Conservation Efforts at EUs Our Oceans Conference

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Malta, October 13, 2017 – Valletta – Bahamas Minister of the Environment & Housing, the Hon. Romauld Ferreira, recently attended the European Union’s Fourth “Our Oceans” Conference, held October 5 and 6 in Valletta, Malta.   Hundreds of marine resource representatives from member countries met to improve and strengthen ocean resource security and policies.Keynote speakers at the international event were His Royal Highness, Charles, Prince of Wales, and His Serene Highness, Prince Albert II of Monaco, both of whom spoke on the importance of marine life protection.   Minister Ferreira spoke on The Bahamas’ contribution to protection of ocean ecologies.Minister Ferreira said: “We congratulate all governments that participated in this exercise to finalize this Coral Reef Life Declaration, as it solidifies our commitment to the protection of our global commons.   It highlights our interconnectedness and interdependence.   More importantly, it displays our dedication to a generation unborn, who, without such a declaration, may not know the wonders and abundant offerings of these great global commons.“In The Bahamas, coral reefs play a pivotal role in the continued viability of The Bahamas.  They are the foundation of our unique fisheries, a tantalizer to our tourists and a first line of defense against ever-frequent storms and hurricanes.   Currently, we are halfway to meeting our commitment to protect at least 20% of our near shore environment by 2020.   The goal is in sight, as we are making steady progress towards the target.”The conference delivered unprecedented results in drawing support for a commitment to protecting the ocean environment and managing its conservation.Mr. Ferreira stated: “We are however, doing our part, not only through the declaration of Marine Protected Areas, but through the replanting of endangered reefs and the creation of artificial ones.  Because life below water also depends on life above water, we must extend our obligations, not only to the conservation of marine environments, but to end practices that lead to ocean acidification, climate change and other harmful impacts to the Earth’s oceans.“The Coral Reef Sculpture Garden, commissioned by The Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation, in 2014, is the country’s first underwater living art gallery.   It is home to the largest underwater sculpture in the world and now home to thousands of coral.   It is a stunning example of a multipurpose hub for the marine environment.   Time is of the essence.   I again applaud the finalization of this declaration, but admonish us not to become complacent, there is much that remains undone.“The outcome of the 4th ‘Our Ocean’ conference stands to prove that when the world comes together for a common cause, much can be accomplished in peace.“I understand that over 200 commitments were tabled by different countries.  There were a combination of 87 NGOs, foundations, research institutes and international organizations that also made commitments.“This year’s conference has mobilized an impressive involvement of at least 100 commitments from corporate leaders and the business community, to dedicate a budget to conserving our ocean.  Hopefully, the next conference will yield more obligations as we all share the same water that covers 75 percent of the Earth,” said Minister Ferreira.By: Gena Gibbs (BIS)Photo captions:Header:  Minister of the Environment & Housing, the Hon. Romauld Ferreira attended the recent “Our Oceans” Conference in Malta.  Also pictured at the conference is Casuarina McKinney Lambert of Bahamas Reef Environmental Education Foundation (BREEF).Insert: Group Photo of “Our Oceans” delegates in Malta, October 5 and 6, 2017. Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApplast_img read more

Naked woman taken into custody after Kearny Mesa crash

first_imgNaked woman taken into custody after Kearny Mesa crash Posted: July 16, 2018 SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – A suspected drunken driver crashed a car into a center median, then ran around naked in the Kearny Mesa area, police said Monday.It happened shortly after 4:02 a.m. in the 1700 block of Convoy Street off Balboa Ave in San Diego’s Kearny Mesa neighborhood, San Diego police Sgt. Tom Sullivan said.Dispatchers received multiple calls about a silver car that kept crashing into the center median of Linda Vista Road.When officers arrived they found a naked woman in her 30s running around and screaming outside the vehicle, Sullivan said.The wheels of the car suffered significant damage, but no injuries were reported, Sullivan said.The woman was transported to Sharp Memorial Hospital to be evaluated for DUI, Sullivan said.Alcohol or drugs were believed to be a factor in the crash, Sullivan said. July 16, 2018 KUSI Newsroom, KUSI Newsroom Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitterlast_img read more

Samsung to Invest ₹500 Core in India to Ramp Up Mobile Production

first_imgSouth Korean tech giant Samsung is reportedly looking to invest ₹500 crore in India to increase mobile production in the country.Press Trust of India citing industry sources said the company is also to make use of the Indian government policy in this regard. The proposal for the aforementioned capital investment have been cleared by the Department of Electronics and IT (DEITY).”Samsung is working to invest Rs 500 crore in its mobile production facility in India. It had approached government in this regard to take benefit of policy announcements and other incentives. The investment proposals have been cleared at Department of Electronics and IT (DEITY) level,” a source told to PTI.The report also quoted the spokesperson of India as saying that the company is planning to increase its presence in the market.”We are looking at strengthening our manufacturing presence in the country, to fulfil our growing needs in the market. However we are not able to provide further details at this stage,” said Samsung India spokesperson.Samsung, the current market leader in the smartphone market, seems to be looking at the expansion of its production capacities in the country. Currently, the Noida facility is involved in the production of 35-40 million phones annually. Samsung Galaxy S3 is also being produced at the Noida factory. Although there were reports that Galaxy S4 will also come in an Indian-made version, not much has been said about it.According to a report from research firm IDC, 32.7 percent of the total shipment in January-March 2013 period has been shipped by Samsung.last_img read more

Declare landslidehit areas disaster zones BNP

first_imgMirza Fakhrul Islam AlamgirThe Bangladesh Nationalist Party on Monday demanded the government immediately declare the landslide-hit areas of the country as ‘disaster zones’, and stand by the victims with necessary support, reports UNB.The party also demanded that state mourning be announced over the deaths of huge number of people in landslides, in Rangamati, Khagrachari, Chittagong and, other areas of the country.BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir came up with the demand at an iftar party arranged by Jatiyatabadi Samajik Sangskritik Sangstha (JASAS) at Emmanuel’s Convention Centre, Gulshan.“While we’re taking iftar here, our many brothers and sisters in the country’s southern Chittagong region are going through immense sufferings as landslides damaged their homes and valuables. Around 170 people have so far been killed in the hillsides, but unfortunately the government is yet to announce any state mourning and the natural calamity-affected areas as disaster zones,” he said.The BNP leader further said, “We demand the government announce the landslides-hit areas as disaster ones and a state mourning for the loss of so many lives.”Fakhrul blamed the current government for destroying the uniqueness of Bangladesh’s political culture with its bad politics. “We’ve always been saying we want democracy. We’re also on a movement to restore democracy which has been snatched by Awami League.”Mentioning that the country is now run without democracy and people’s right, he said the real cultural practice is not possible in a country which lacks democracy. “We think democracy can be restored only through a fair and acceptable election.”The BNP leader hoped JASAS, the cultural wing of BNP, will help uphold the country’s true culture and spread it among people.He also asked JASAS leaders and activists to create a public opinion with cultural programmes and activities for restoration of democracy in the country.Leaders and activists of BNP, JASAS and cultural activists joined the programme.last_img read more

Test for Modi as five Indian states go to polls

first_imgIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott talk alongside a statue of the Dancing Shiva ahead of a meeting in New Delhi. AFP file photoFive Indian states representing more than 160 million voters will go to the polls in the next two months, officials said Wednesday, a key test for the prime minister after his shock currency move.They include India’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh, where Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is hoping to claw back power after performing well in national elections in 2014.The elections will begin on February 4, nearly three months after Modi announced he was scrapping nearly 86 percent of all Indian currency, a move aimed at curbing widespread tax evasion.The northern states of Punjab and Uttarakhand, Goa in the west and Manipur in the northeast will also elect new governments in the elections, which go on until March 8, with results due three days later.“All five states will go to election in one go,” Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi told reporters.“The commission and government machinery are in full readiness to conduct the elections in a free, fair and transparent manner.”Modi’s BJP needs to win state elections to gain more seats in the nation’s upper house of parliament, which has blocked reforms seen as crucial to fuelling the economic growth it has promised voters.Most members of the upper house are indirectly elected by state legislatures.His party currently rules in Goa and Punjab while the opposition Congress is in power in Manipur and Uttarakhand.The BJP held power until 2002 in Uttar Pradesh, where the ruling Samajwadi Party has been roiled by a power struggle in recent weeks that some believe could weaken its grip on power.Voting in Uttar Pradesh will begin on February 11 and take place in seven stages, and is being seen as the first major test of Modi after his assault on tax evasion.Initial praise for the Indian leader’s bold move has given way to criticism over the slow pace of rolling out new currency, which is widely expected to hit economic growth, although his popular support remains high.The voting also follows a Supreme Court ruling this week that politicians cannot use caste or religion to win votes.India is officially secular but most politicians, including from BJP have been accused of exploiting religious and caste sentiments to garner votes.The Election Commission said it would closely monitor that ruling, and also announced new rules designed to make campaign spending more transparent.Parties will only be allowed to use cash for campaign-related payments worth less than 20,000 rupees ($290), while candidates will have to take an oath that they have no unpaid public utility bills.last_img read more