Thursday, May 31, 2012

KKKangress Succeeds: Ends India’s Growth Story

In 1991, India had to pledge its gold to raise foreign exchange to pay off debts. While it may not be in such dire straits right now, Indian firms have to pay back some $137 billion this year itself to lenders at a time the country has a foreign exchange reserves of $290 billion, down from $308.5 billion in May 2011.

FirstPost: Shocker: India’s GDP slumps to 5.3 percent, lowest since 2003

FirstPost: Core sector growth halves to 2.2 percent in April

 Venky VembuPranab-da, stop being in denial: the worst is far from over 
Pranab-da’s reading – that the “worst is over” – is fundamentally flawed. Since the government has not even begun to address the structural nature of the problems – the runaway deficits, the subsidy pile, the collapse of investments – the slowdown will drag on for a lot longer.
Thus far, the government has been running scared of taking the bold measures that, while inflicting pain in the short term, are necessary to revive growth over the medium term. Its chickening out of the move to raise the price of diesel and LPG, and even its manifest attempts to distance itself from the recent petrol price hike (claiming fatuously that it was an administrative decision by oil marketing companies) doesn’t bode well for remedial policy action.

anand vs. gelfand. earlier anand v kasparov. || world chess championship a hindu-jewish conspiracy?

oh well, fortunately, there was anand v. kamsky and anand v. karpov.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Subsidizing Pollution

A Euro III diesel car emits 7.5 times more particulate matter and three times more NO2 than a similar petrol car. A litre of diesel emits more carbon dioxide than a litre of petrol when burnt.

The Euro III norms that are currently in force in Indian cities use diesel with sulphur concentration ranging from 350 to 550 ppm. Diesel particulate filters require ultra-clean diesel with sulphur content of less than 10 ppm.
LiveMint: Diesel could be more injurious to health

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

ishwar sharan: A sinister power struggle in the Vatican to get an Italian pope next time round – RIC

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ishwar Sharan <>
Date: Wed, May 30, 2012 at 7:34 AM
Subject: [New post] Vatileaks: A sinister power struggle in the Vatican to get an Italian pope next time round – RIC

New post on Bharata Bharati

Vatileaks: A sinister power struggle in the Vatican to get an Italian pope next time round – RIC

Vatican Flag"Last week an Italian newspaper ran a bizarre internal Vatican memo that involved one cardinal complaining about another cardinal who spoke about a possible assassination attempt against the pope within 12 months and openly speculated on who the next pope should be ... and [how it would] increase the chances that the papacy returns to Italy after two successive non-Italian popes who have broken what had been an Italian monopoly for over 450 years." - RIC

Pope Benedict XVICall it Conspiracy City. Call it Scandal City. Call it Leak City. These days the holy city has been in the news for anything but holy reasons.

"It is a total mess," said one high-ranking Vatican official who spoke, like all others, on the condition of anonymity.

The Machiavellian manoeuvring and machinations that have come to light in the Vatican recently are worthy of a novel about a sinister power struggle at a medieval court.

Senior church officials interviewed this month said almost daily embarrassments that have put the Vatican on the defensive could force Pope Benedict to act to clean up the image of its administration - at a time when the church faces a deeper crisis of authority and relevance in the wider world.

Paolo GabrieleSome of those sources said the outcome of a power struggle inside the Holy See may even have a longer-term effect, on the choice of the man to succeed Benedict when he dies.

From leaked letters by an archbishop who was transferred after he blew the whistle on what he saw as a web of corruption and cronyism, to a leaked poison pen memo which puts a number of cardinals in a bad light, to new suspicions about its bank, Vatican spokesmen have had their work cut out responding.

The flurry of leaks has come at an embarrassing time - just before a usually joyful ceremony this week known as a consistory, when Benedict will admit more prelates into the College of Cardinals, the exclusive men’s club that will one day pick the next Roman Catholic leader from among their own ranks.

"This consistory will be taking place in an atmosphere that is certainly not very glorious or exalting," said one bishop with direct knowledge of Vatican affairs.

Tarcisio BertoneThe sources agreed that the leaks were part of an internal campaign - a sort of "mutiny of the monsignors" - against the pope’s right-hand man, Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

Bertone, 77, has a reputation as a heavy-handed administrator and power-broker whose style has alienated many in the Curia, the bureaucracy that runs the central administration of the 1.3 billion-strong Roman Catholic Church.

He came to the job, traditionally occupied by a career diplomat, in 2006 with no experience of working in the church’s diplomatic corps, which manages its international relations. Benedict chose him, rather, because he had worked under the future pontiff, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, in the Vatican’s powerful doctrinal office.

"It’s all aimed at Bertone," said a monsignor in a key Vatican department who sympathizes with the secretary of state and who sees the leakers as determined to oust him. "It’s very clear that they want to get rid of Bertone."

Vatican sources say the rebels have the tacit backing of a former secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, an influential power-broker in his own right and a veteran diplomat who served under the late Pope John Paul II for 15 years.

"The diplomatic wing feels that they are the rightful owners of the Vatican," the monsignor who favors Bertone said.

Sodano and Bertone are not mutual admirers, to put it mildly. Neither has commented publicly on the reports.

Carlo María ViganoWhistle-blowing Archbishop

The Vatican has been no stranger to controversy in recent years, when uproar over its handling of child sex abuse charges has hampered the church’s efforts to stem the erosion of congregations and priestly recruitment in the developed world.

But the latest image crisis could not be closer to home.

It began last month when an Italian television investigative show broadcast private letters to Bertone and the pope from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former deputy governor of the Vatican City and currently the Vatican ambassador in Washington.

The letters, which the Vatican has confirmed are authentic, showed that Vigano was transferred after he exposed what he argued was a web of corruption, nepotism and cronyism linked to the awarding of contracts to contractors at inflated prices.

As deputy governor of the Vatican City for two years from 2009 to 2011, Vigano was the number two official in a department responsible for maintaining the tiny city-state’s gardens, buildings, streets, museums and other infrastructure, which are managed separately from the Italian capital which surrounds it.

Ettore Gotti TedeschiIn one letter, Vigano writes of a smear campaign against him by other Vatican officials who were upset that he had taken drastic steps to clean up the purchasing procedures and begged to stay in the job to finish what he had started.

Bertone responded by removing Vigano from his position three years before the end of his tenure and sending him to the United States, despite his strong resistance.

Other leaks center on the Vatican bank, just as it is trying to put behind it past scandals - including the collapse 30 years ago of Banco Ambrosiano, which entangled it in lurid allegations about money-laundering, freemasons, mafiosi and the mysterious death of Ambrosiano chairman Roberto Calvi - "God’s banker."

Today, the Vatican bank, formally known at the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), is aiming to comply fully with international norms and has applied for the Vatican’s inclusion on the European Commission’s approved "white list" of states that meet EU standards for total financial transparency.

Bertone was instrumental in putting the bank’s current executives in place and any lingering suspicion about it reflects badly on him. The Commission will decide in June and failure to make the list would be an embarrassment for Bertone.

The next pope?Italian Pope?

Last week, an Italian newspaper that has published some of the leaks ran a bizarre internal Vatican memo that involved one cardinal complaining about another cardinal who spoke about a possible assassination attempt against the pope within 12 months and openly speculated on who the next pope should be.

Bertone’s detractors say he has packed the Curia with Italian friends. Some see an attempt to influence the election of the next pope and increase the chances that the papacy returns to Italy after two successive non-Italian popes who have broken what had been an Italian monopoly for over 450 years.

Seven of the 18 new "cardinal electors" -- those aged under 80 eligible to elect a pope -- at this Saturday’s consistory are Italian. Six of those work for Bertone in the Curia.

Bertone, as chief administrator, had a key role in advising the pope on the appointments, which raised eyebrows because of the high number of Italian bureaucrats among them.

"There is widespread malaise and delusion about Bertone inside the Curia. It is full of complaints," said the bishop who has close knowledge of Vatican affairs.

"Bertone has had a very brash method of running the Vatican and putting his friends in high places. People could not take it any more and said ’enough’ and that is why I think these leaks are coming out now to make him look bad," he said.

Pope Benedict XVIPope "Isolated"

Leaked confidential cables sent to the State Department by the U.S. embassy to the Vatican depicted him as a "yes man" with no diplomatic experience or linguistic skills and the 2009 cable suggests that the pope is protected from bad news.

"There is also the question of who, if anyone, brings dissenting views to the pope’s attention," read the cable, published by WikiLeaks.

The Vatican sources said some cardinals asked the pope to replace Bertone because of administrative lapses, including the failure to warn the pope that a renegade bishop re-admitted to the Church in 2009 was a well-known Holocaust denier.

But they said the pope, at 84 and increasingly showing the signs of his age, is not eager to break in a new right-hand man.

"It’s so complicated and the pope is so helpless," said the monsignor.

The bishop said: "The pope is very isolated. He lives in his own world and some say the information he receives is filtered. He is interested in his books and his sermons but he is not very interested in government." - Red Ice Creations sourced from Yahoo News

'Making Loud Noises Is Not Journalism'

As soon as I step out of my urban comfort zone, I know that the media is not a priority in life, or in most cases, not even a part of life. The more you talk to this segment, the more you realise what a spectacular failure the Indian media has been in understanding, reflecting and empathising with this 'other India'. Even for our urban people, what difference does the media make in terms of painting the 'big picture' of India?
Take the issue of dynastic politics or the maladies of Indian democracy. The Indian media has not been effective in generating public opinion against them. In fact, it has shamefully indulged in 'paid news'.
 Rediff: Sheela Bhatt on the Indian Media

Monday, May 28, 2012

Iran Hit By Virus More Powerful Than Stuxnet

Iran has been hit by a powerful new virus, which has probably been engineered by the US and Israel. India needs to make sure it doesn't suffer any collateral damage from such a virus, which may have occurred the last time when Stuxnet came out.

Telegraph: Iran Hit By New Virus More Powerful Than Stuxnet

WSJ on Devi Shetty: The Henry Ford of heart surgery

good stuff. although it would have been better to call narayana hrudayala the arvind eye hospital of heart surgery.

and i am pretty sure the gratuitous references to m teresa could have been avoided without loss of relevance. or is it that white people can only understand in relation to henry ford and m teresa?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: sri 
Date: Tue, May 29, 2012 at 3:21 AM
Subject: WSJ on Devi Shetty: The Henry Ford of heart surgery

A 2009 article from the The Wall Street Journal

The Henry Ford of heart surgery: Devi Shetty's business model delivers
cheap medical care

by: Geeta Anand
From: The Wall Street Journal November 21, 2009

HAIR tucked into a surgical cap, eyes hidden behind thick-framed
magnifying glasses, Devi Shetty leans over the sawed open chest of an
11-year-old boy, using bright blue thread to sew an artificial aorta
onto his stopped heart.

As Dr Shetty pulls the thread tight with scissors, an assistant reads
aloud a proposed agreement for him to build a new hospital in the
Cayman Islands that would primarily serve Americans in search of
lower-cost medical care. The agreement is inked a few days later,
pending approval of the Cayman parliament.

... deleted

the chinese propaganda agency likes hollande. [bad news for france]

may 28th, 2012 CE

we could have predicted this based on who actually voted for hollande. do a google search for that. 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: B

The new broom Hollande

By Shen Xiaoquan,, May 28, 2012

The author is a researcher and senior editor at the International Affairs Research Center of Xinhua News Agency.

As the saying goes, "a new broom sweeps clean." The French new broom Francois Hollande recently participated in three diplomatic events since he was elected as president on May 15. He met with Germen Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on May 15, attended the Group of Eight (G8) Summit in Camp David in the U.S. on May 18 and later flied to Chicago for the NATO summit. His busy schedule gave the press an opportunity to observe France's new leader's diplomatic concepts and policies. Media in Paris commented that Hollande brought a new look to French diplomacy.

Hollande's diplomacy focuses on two issues: One is the euro zone crisis; the other is the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Both issues affect France's relationships with two of its major international partners: Germany and the U.S. The two partnerships form the basis of France's diplomacy.

Initial victory at G8

Before he was elected, Hollande had questioned the EU's financial contract with member states for resolving the sovereign debt crisis. In January, he asked for a renegotiation on this contract that was accepted by the vast majority of the EU countries.

According to Hollande, articles on stimulating growth must be included in this contract like those on strengthening the fiscal discipline of EU member states. Otherwise, France would block it. But Merkel flatly rejected Hollande's proposal. Their sharp opposition has caused concern for potential tensions between the two countries.

Shortly after his inauguration on May 15, Hollande visited Germany and met with Merkel. Both expressed their own views while keeping the door open to further negotiation. Both agreed to discuss the issue again at the EU summit to be held in late May. From the Berlin meeting, we can see that the essence of their divergence is the priority whether to reduce deficit or promote growth. Hollande's proposal reflected a wide concern that countries like Greece, Spain and Italy could not bear the growing pressure of austerity policies.

The euro zone crisis and Greece's potential exit have also dominated the G8 Summit agenda. Hollande's view gained supports from U.S. President Barack Obama and many other leaders, making Merkel to look somewhat isolated at the summit. In their summit communiqué, leaders said that bolstering economic growth and job creation was critical to the global economic recovery. Hollande proudly announced at a press conference after the summit that he wasn't the only one to have the desire for growth, and his mandate by the French public had been honored.

On the Greece issue, Hollande, together with other leaders, pledged to have Greece remain in the euro zone while respecting its commitments. A strong and cohesive euro zone is important to global stability and economic recovery. According to Le Figaro, Hollande's debut on the global stage claimed an initial victory.


Hollande's flexibility

The NATO Summit in Chicago is crucial to Obama because ending the Afghan War honorably tops his agenda. Hollande proposed to withdraw French troops ahead of schedule, which set a new trend in the Franco-U.S. relations.

According to an agreement signed by former President Nicolas Sarkozy and his U.S. counterpart, French troops along with the allied troops would withdraw from Afghanistan in phases starting from 2014. But Hollande pledged to withdraw all French troops by the end of this year. This change put Obama in an awkward situation because it not only upset the original plan, but also could cause a chain reaction in other allied countries. Of course, Obama would not agree with Hollande on his plan. But any escalating of divergence will negatively affect the NATO summit and Obama's bid for his second term as U.S. president.

Luckily, negotiations before the summit were successful. On May 19, Hollande and Obama as well as respective defense ministers held talks in Washington. Hollande emphasized that his plan of an early withdrawal has been made after a full negotiation with the allies. Considering the technical and diplomatic needs, only part of the combat troops, not the whole, will pull out from Afghanistan. The rest will stay until the supplies and materials have been transported safely and the mission of training local armies and policemen are completed, Hollande declared in a conciliatory tone after the summit. French Defense Minister Le Drian also said that the French troops' pullout would not affect the NATO "unity." They have not left the allied troops. Thanks to Hollande's flexibility on this issue, a row had been avoided and a consensus was reached at the NATO summit.

Hot west, cold east

Hollande's diplomatic performance on the three occasions implies that the French diplomacy turns its focus to the West rather than to the East.

Located to the east of France, Germany has a big dispute with France on solutions to the euro zone crisis. Without a compromise, the two parties would not be able to reach an agreement, and that would weaken the function of their alliance as an engine in Europe. The two countries' relationship is not only important to the development of themselves, but also to the EU, which is in need of a great political leadership to get out of the crisis.

To the west is the U.S. Former President Sarkozy was considered a pro-U.S. politician. During his term, the U.S. and France broke the stalemate caused by the Iraq War and later France returned to integrated military structure of NATO. Although Hollande is not as much a U.S. supporter as his predecessor, he gained Obama's backing on the euro zone crisis and his understanding on French troops' pullout from Afghanistan. Both have shown that the France-U.S. relationship is headed to solidity. Not long ago, in an interview with U.S. media, Hollande said that although it's important to keep the French diplomacy unconstrained, he would not have wanted to cause President Obama any trouble. Therefore, some analysts said that Hollande will not change the "pro-U.S. route" followed by Sarkozy.

This "hot west, cold east" phenomenon may be superficial and temporary, but it does show the new president's diplomatic philosophy: to keep the coherence of the country's foreign policies; to show insistence on matters concerning the economy and its people's livelihood; and to show flexibility on defense issues concerning U.S. interests. This is the pragmatic diplomacy of Hollande who styled himself as "Mr. Normal" during the election campaign.

TAPI is the mother of all scams: India to guarantee safe transit of Tapi Gas from Turken-Afghan border!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: sanjeev 

Per this ET report the price of Tapi Gas is linked to to the price of crude ie a rate of 55% of crude oil price. If crude is $ 100 delivered price at India’s border in Punjab shall be $ 13. Thus effective price shall be -
1. Cost at India border $ 13. (rupee cost depends on exchange rate then).
2. Cost of transportation (pipeline from Fazilka in Punjab to actual destination).
3. Marketing Margin by GAIL.
4. Sale would be subject to local Sales tax.
5. GAIL shall take delivery at the Turken – Afghan border. It will have to ensure pipeline security thru Afghanistan and Pakistan! In effect GAIL is assuming the risk for gas supplies to both these countries correct?  Can the National Security Advisor or GOI tell us how GAIL or GOI is going to ensure security thru Afghan-Pak region and at what cost. Are we giving the Pakis a lever to blackmail us?
Or is there an intended corporate beneficiary in this deal?
NEW DELHI: India will pay $ 13 for buying natural gas through the much-celebrated TAPI gas pipeline and will take indirect responsibility for safe transit of the fuel through high security risk areas in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

India on May 23 signed agreement to buy natural gas from Turkmenistan at a rate equivalent to 55 per cent of crude oil price which, at $ 100 a barrel, translates into $ 9.17 per million British thermal unit, sources privy to the development said.

After adding transit fee and transportation charges, the gas through Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) line would cost $ 12.99 per mmBtu at Indian border, three times the price paid to ONGC and Reliance Industries for producing natural gas from domestic fields, they said.

The rate agreed to flies in the face of oil ministry which has been stonewalling any increase in price to be paid to domestic producers arguing that a higher gas price would lead to an increase in power tariff and cost of fertiliser, thereby entailing higher government subsidy outgo, they added.

Besides the higher price, India has also in the Gas Sales and Purchase Agreement (GSPA) signed in Caspian Sea resort of Avaza, Turkmenistan agreed to take delivery of natural gas at Turkmen-Aghan border.

State-run gas utility GAIL India, which signed the GSPA, will then entrust the delivery of the gas to a consortium which will operate the TAPI pipeline, they said, adding that GAIL will be a prominent member of the consortium building and operating the 1,680-km line.

Sources said GAIL will pay Turkmengaz, the national oil company of Turkmenistan, on delivery of gas at Turkmen-Afghan border. Thereafter, the consortium which will have GAIL as partner, will take responsibility for transit of the gas through Afghanistan -- one of the top high security risk countries in the world, and terrorism hotbed Pakistan.


Stuck with $4.2 a million British thermal units (mBtu) price for its natural gas till 2014, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has sought from the government an import-parity price for sale of gas from its D6 field in the Krishna-Godavari basin (KG-D6).

Doing so would allow KG gas to be sold at the import price for liquefied natural gas (LNG). If approved, this would mean KG gas could be sold at over three times its current price. “We are asking for what we are entitled to. The pricing needs to be economical. It should give us sufficient return on costs and all the risks,” said a senior RIL executive. The market price could be lower if LNG prices fall, he added.

If the government agrees, it will be a first where any country’s domestically produced gas is priced equivalent to LNG rates, analysts said. Due to the costs involved in converting gas into liquid form at minus-zero temperatures and shipping it before regasifying, LNG is priced higher than domestic gas.

The current $4.2 price had been arrived through a formula linked to the Brent crude oil price. While setting it, the government had capped the crude price at $60 and fixed it for five years from the start of production. This period ends on March 31, 2014. Though the company has been seeking a revision in the price, the government has not agreed.

Besides pricing, RIL and the government have differences over the minimum work programme for the field, that has seen its gas production falling. Gas volumes have fallen to 27million standard cubic metres per day (mscmd), against the 62 mscmd committed by RIL. The RIL executive said decline in output had primarily happened due to water ingress and approvals had been sought to carry out procedures like workovers and side-tracking to overcome the hurdles.

Blaming the petroleum ministry for artificially suppressing gas prices, he said, “We are not suppressing gas production; it is the government which is suppressing the price.” They are paying $16-18 per mBtu for import of LNG but do not want domestic companies to be paid remunerative prices, he said.

He cited the production sharing contract (PSC) governed the government and operator relationship, guaranteeing the market price and marketing freedom. The government currently decides the price, as well as the customers for RIL. “The need of the hour is to restore contractual sanctity,” said another RIL executive.

The company has taken the government to court, seeking arbitration, even as the ministry of petroleum has retaliated by disallowing over $1 billion in cost recovery for the field. RIL has maintained there was no provision in the PSC to link cost-recovery to production, The ministry had served a notice on the company, on the grounds that it had failed to drill nine of the committed 31 wells. “That we have recovered all the KG-D6 capex is not true. We invested close to $10 billion and are yet to recover a significant part,” said the company executive.

RIL said the company had sought regulatory approvals to implement its plans to increase output from the D1 and D3 wells in the same field. The executive said if approvals were received in the next six months, it expected output to increase in about two years. “The second phase of D1 and D3 has not been done. Whatever requirement will come, will be all integrated with the development of other fields in the block,” said the executive.

Also read –
2. TAPI takes a big leap -
Warm Regards
sanjeev nayyar
to unsubscribe write back

“Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet”

The relentless drive for productivity may also have some natural limits. Ever-increasing productivity means that if our economies don’t continue to expand, we risk putting people out of work. Like it or not, we find ourselves hooked on growth.What, then, should happen when, for one reason or another, growth just isn’t to be had anymore? Maybe it’s a financial crisis. Or the need to rein in growth for the damage it’s inflicting on the planet: climate change, deforestation, the loss of biodiversity. The result is the same. Increasing productivity threatens full employment.

By easing up on the gas pedal of efficiency and creating jobs in what are traditionally seen as “low productivity” sectors, we have within our grasp the means to maintain or increase employment, even when the economy stagnates. At first, this may sound crazy; we’ve become so conditioned by the language of efficiency. But there are sectors of the economy where chasing productivity growth doesn’t make sense at all. The caring professions are a good example: medicine, social work, education. What sense does it make to ask our teachers to teach ever bigger classes? Our doctors to treat more and more patients per hour? What — aside from meaningless noise — would be gained by asking the New York Philharmonic to play Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony faster and faster each year?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

livemint: China's expanding core by Yuriko Koike

may 27th, 2012 CE

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: sanjeev 

Just because China says certain issues are core is the World expected to fall in line. That the list of core issues keeps on expanding is relevant only if the world accepts the first part.

China is now engaged in bitter disputes with the Philippines over Scarborough Shoal and Japan over the Senkaku Islands, both located far beyond China’s 200-mile-wide territorial waters in the South China Sea. Indeed, so expansive are China’s claims nowadays that many Asians are wondering what will satisfy China’s desire to secure its “core interests”. Are there no limits, or does today’s China conceive of itself as a restored Middle Kingdom, to whom the entire world must kowtow?

So far, China has formally referred to Taiwan, Tibet, and Xinjiang province as “core interests”, a phrase that connotes an assertion of national sovereignty and territorial integrity that will brook no compromise. Now China is attempting to apply the same term to the Senkaku Islands in its dispute with Japan, and is perilously close to making the same claim for the entire South China Sea; indeed, some Chinese military officers already have.

Illustration by Shyamal Banerjee/Mint

The Senkaku Islands, located to the west of Okinawa in the East China Sea and currently uninhabited, were incorporated into Japan by the Meiji government in 1895. At one time, there were regular residents working at a bonito-drying facility. In 1969, the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE) completed a seabed survey of the East China Sea and reported the possible presence of vast underground mineral resources, including abundant oil and natural gas reserves near the Senkakus. Two years passed before Taiwan and China claimed sovereignty over the islands, in 1971, but the Japanese government’s stance has always been that Japan’s sovereignty is not in question.

In April, Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara, a famous and articulate patriot, announced that the metropolitan government that he leads plans to acquire four of the Senkaku Islands, which are currently privately owned by Japanese citizens. Donations for the purchase from the people of Japan now exceed 700 million yen.

China reacted to Ishihara’s proposal with its usual sensitivity: it refused to receive the scheduled visit of Ishihara’s son, who is secretary general of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the country’s main opposition party.

... deleted

©2012/Project Syndicate

Yuriko Koike is Japan’s former minister of defence and national security adviser

Less Noisy Railway Tracks

Tata Steel plans to bring to India a unique railway track laying technology called ‘SilentTrack' which will reduce noise in the vicinity of tracks by up to 50 per cent. 

The steel major's European arm has successfully developed and laid ‘SilentTrack' in the UK. It has installed the tracks at Blackfriars station in London. Noise and vibration from moving trains cause lot of discomfort not only to the passengers but also to the people residing in proximity to the stations. 

BusinessLine: Tata Steel develops SilentTrack technology

Finding the deity everywhere and in all [pantheism being used against us?]

praxis, indeed! :-) you forgot 'trope'. i love the po-co-po-mo guys' lingo. almost indistinguishable from english. 

just like the communists' 'bourgeois' and 'revisionist' and other turgidities. these are even better in malayalam: "moorachi" sounds so... so disgusting! "thiruthal-vadi" sounds like something you want to crush under your heel.

and why is it that people can't believe i am subaltern? i am, too, dammit!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: K

Mr. Srinivasan,

As you are aware, the Pagan scriptures exhort adherents to perceive the deity everywhere and in all beings, e.g. Bhagavad-gita 5:18.

However, methinks this is a dangerous thing to do, especially if indulged in before one's notion of deity and powers of discrimination have appropriately matured and crystallized or if you happened to choose the wrong type of Ishtadevata to start with.   

Recently the Congress demonstrated the truth of my assertion by seeing their Ishtadevata - Joseph Goebbels - in others.  As you are aware, inspiration from this Ishtadevata of theirs is the reason why our students are fed the following sutras with their mother's milk, as it were:
1.  India was never a nation until Lord Mountbatten gave diksha to Nehru.
2.  All Indian children need a loving 'chacha' and that happens to be Nehru, who was allegedly immeasurably fond of the urchins.
3.  What Nehru did not discover about India is not worth discovering.
4.  The Republic of India is the 'Gift of Nehru' (with apologies to Herodotus).

After six decades of  devoted tapas and sadhana (not to mention saguNopasana and namajapa) dedicated to the aforementioned Teutonic devata, the Congress has graduated from the purely 'family-centric' stage to the 'vasudhaiva kutumbakam' stage, and the resulting enlightenment is causing it to perceive its Ishtadevata in other beings as well! 

'Incisive analysis of contemporaneous religious praxis in a subaltern mode' - don't you think?


constitutional democrats (frequently friends of congress) boast about rubbing out political adversaries

may 27th, 2012 CE

a senior communist leader in kerala declared that "they have 'eliminated' political opponents in the past, and will continue to do so."

this is in the context of the murder of a dissident communist leader recently. he was hacked to death. the investigating police have caught a bunch of communists and others.

and one of these fellows was the Speaker! yup, he did uphold their best traditions by murdering democracy -- remember the 'cash-for-votes' scam that he happily swept under the carpet?

communists are honest: they despise constitutional democracy. their motto: "one man, one vote, one time".

weren't these guys the best friends of the kkkangress until recently? 

huffpo - Vote for Dharun and forward

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Community Event <>
Date: Sat, May 26, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Subject: Fwd: Hoffington Post - Vote for Dharun and forward

Click Hoff Post link and vote for Dharun and forward to others:

nyt: inter-faith children, what to do? [best to tell them the good in both. oops, there is nothing good in one]

center of gravity of oil/gas shifts to the americas, away from OPEC via @chellaney

may 26th, 2012 CE

that's one way for the US to defeat the power of OPEC.

but we poor third worlders will still have to suffer from the high price of OPEC oil, whereas the US is home safe and free with shale gas and oil. and oh, US snake-oil salesmen will sell us a nuke reactor or two. (and a bridge in brooklyn too, along with weapons that they keep the keys to).

beware of yanks bearing gifts. didn't cassandra say something like that to the trojans?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

german record in solar power

nyt: Poor Calcutta [yet to recover from the ghoul-of-calcutta's propaganda]

name for m teresa courtesy christopher hitchens (what a dude he was!)

if this ghoul, in her missionary position (again thanks the hitchens) was a 'saint', then i'm the queen of england.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: sri 
Date: Sat, May 26, 2012 at 1:42 PM
Subject: Poor Calcutta - New York Times

Poor Calcutta

Published: September 5, 2007
Cambridge, Mass.

ONE morning in January 1997, I walked into my office at a nonprofit group
here after a visit to my hometown, Calcutta. A very senior colleague, whom I
would have, until then, characterized as being the "sensitive" sort, greeted
me: "Welcome back. And how is everyone in Calcutta — still starving and
being looked after by Mother Teresa?"

At first I thought this might be a bad attempt at humor, but I soon realized
that my colleague was seriously inquiring about my city's suffering humanity
and its ministering angel — the only images Calcutta evoked for him and
countless others in the West. When Mother Teresa died eight months later, 10
years ago today, foreign dignitaries and the Western news media descended on
the city. The reports on the funeral portrayed a city filled with starving
orphans, wretched slums and dying people abandoned on the streets, except
for the fortunate ones rescued by Mother Teresa.

They described a city I didn't recognize as the place where I had spent the
first 20 years of my life. There was no mention of Calcutta's beautiful
buildings and educated middle class, or its history of religious tolerance
and its vibrant literary and cultural life. Besides, other Indian cities
also have their share of poverty, slums and destitution, as would be
expected in a country where a third of the population lives on $1 a day —
for example, more than half of Mumbai residents live in slums, far more than
in Calcutta. Why were they not equally damned in the eyes of the world?

... delete

hindus strive towards the One: indystar

rjagannathan: French vs Taseer: Indians need to reclaim their history

may 26th, 

good stuff. this is why the humanities are important. history can be used to enslave you much more thoroughly than anything else. 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: sri 
Date: Sat, May 26, 2012 at 6:02 PM
Subject: French vs Taseer: Indians need to reclaim their history

A Must read article.. please read the comments as well

French vs Taseer: Indians need to reclaim their history

Pics of Golden Temple Amritsar by sanjeev nayyar

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: sanjeev 

Golden Temple or Hari Mandir Amritsar – this collection takes you for a virtual tour of the holy temple. We show every place that devotees worship for reasons for faith and honoring the brave, the Akal Takht and the weapons kept there in, the daily ceremony whereby the Guru Granth Sahib is taken from the Hari Mandir and kept in the Akal Takht at night and taken back in the morning, dress and weapon of warriors plus lots more.
Consider myself blessed because in 2012 visited Bodh Gaya, Pavapuri and now Hari Mandir. Ishwar ki kripa hai.
Warm Regards
sanjeev nayyar
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what the US isn't telling us all about china's military:

may 26th, 2012 CE

Think of it like an iceberg: The top lies in plain sight, but a lot more hides beneath the surface.

In its annual appraisal of the Chinese military published last week, the U.S. Department of Defense seems to be describing an object it finds both familiar and mysterious. The report certainly answers many of the important issues concerning China's military, including its attempts to develop an anti-ship ballistic missile and its continuing fixation on Taiwan.

Yet for many crucial aspects of China's strategy, the Pentagon seems like it's just guessing. Here are the five most important questions about Beijing's defense strategy that remain stubbornly unanswered.

1. What are China's long-term defense spending plans?

... deleted

Friday, May 25, 2012

Exploring Solutions For Traffic Mess

The bigger the city, the smaller a vehicle must be to get around. Whoever has been to Paris, Rome or Beijing knows this has been the case for a long time. This will become a universal principle in the future, as urbanization is on the rise along with people's need for mobility. Smaller ways to get around are in demand: bicycles, scooters and small cars.
Electric cars as an extension of conventional vehicles with other means don't solve a single problem. Big cars need big batteries in order to provide them with sufficient range. In a vicious circle, this makes the cars not only heavier, but also more expensive. They are too expensive, don't do anything to relieve traffic and are only of marginal use to improve the CO2 situation.

Spiegel Online: Congested Streets Spark E-Scooter Trend

remarkable: russian strategic journal talks of 'omens;.

my rediff piece on how to rescue the #rupee. basically, tighten belts of parasitic neta-babu classes.

with admirable restraint, even if i say so myself, i have eschewed the idea of lining up a bunch of these people and ... beating them with (in the immortal words of an old-fashioned person i knew) brooms dipped in excrement. 

or worse.

[actual phrase i was thinking of was: 'klanjil amedhyathil mukki adikkuka' -- hard to translate from the malayalam]

UPA genuinely amazed: "we got the #rupee a new symbol, didn't we? we did our bit. so why is it tanking?"


may 24th, 2012 CE

these people have a lot of influence on US foreign policy, esp. democratic.

note how feigenbaum, in a generally sensible article, cannot bring himself to point out gujarat's success story! only bihar and odisha! <rueful grimace>

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ram Narayanan
Date: Sat, May 19, 2012 at 12:30 AM

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India’s states: a silver lining amid economic gloom 

May 17th, 2012 

Author: Evan A. Feigenbaum, CFR

In recent months, there has been little but gloom about India’s economic prospects in the financial markets, for the following six very good reasons:

First, India’s tumultuous politics have, from a corporate perspective, stalled essential reforms. Tax, pension and FDI reforms have made little headway under the United Progressive Alliance government, and parliamentary business has been tied up in knots as the leading national and regional parties squabble.

Second, there has been mixed news from the capital markets. Inbound FDI was higher in 2011 than over the same period in 2010, but Mumbai’s SENSEX stock index was the world’s worst major performer in 2011. And the rupee has been among Asia’s worst-performing currencies, floundering amid fiscal problems, not least India’s current account deficit and persistent concerns about capital flows. These factors recently led Standard & Poor’s to downgrad India’s credit rating.

... deleted

India’s states, then, are increasingly masters of their own fate. And those most likely to succeed will be those that also recognise the need for good governance. After all, good governance turns out to be smart politics: while India has seen the highest rates of anti-incumbency of any democratic country in the world, there are now strong signs that this trend is slowing. This is especially true at the state level, where governments that have successfully improved governance, for example in Bihar and Orissa, have held on to power. Strong managers and competent chief ministers have, in some places, delivered striking results. And the good news is that such improvements should be good for growth and, ultimately, for investment too.

Even A. Feigenbaum is Adjunct Senior Fellow for East, Central and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations 

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one is a fable, the other is true. identify which is which. nadeem in dawn vs. aakar in mint

Thursday, May 24, 2012

why it is hindus who have no #RTE: top 10 ranks kerala medical entrance are 9 secular (7 ROP, 2 ROL), 1 communal

Rajeev On The Rupee Debacle

There is an empirical observation that those countries that escape a particular financial crisis (and pat themselves on the back) are quite likely to fall prey to the next financial crisis.

There was an orgy of self-congratulation and complacency about the wisdom of the Indian 'third way' when the West self-destructed and India did not. That chicken may now be coming home to roost.

The second reason is structural: The Congress is happy with a certain economic climate; and if presented with any other, they will quickly convert it into what they like.

Rediff: The saga of the rupee and why it is falling

did the US pressure india on iranian oil to push the TAPI gas pipeline? [a truly bad idea, this pipeline, a hostage-taker's dream]

may 24th, 2012 CE

after years in limbo, it appears that the TAPI pipeline deal has been signed, rather quietly.

as brahma chellaney pointed out, india lost $22 billion on a lucrative iranian gas deal because it pissed the iranians off to support obama's iran sanctions. 

was this TAPI thing part of the pressure put on india to reduce its oil imports from iran, a la the hillary clinton visit etc?

there are others who have said the whole point of the afghanistan invasion was to support the TAPI pipeline, which was a dream project of chevron. 

and now that we have seen how the paks are holding NATO hostage on the trucks, will anyone in their right senses agree to a pipeline through pak territory? and this is going through (presumably taliban-ruled) afghanistan, and through restive baluchistan in pakistan. real safe it will be, even if the ISI behaves and doesn't hold it hostage.

obviously, india's leaders are privy to information not known to the mortal man, or, well... the other possibilities are rather scary.

the iran-pak-india pipeline is perhaps a little less risky. 

the least risky option would be an undersea iran-india pipeline, but it will be prohibitively expensive.

a much better option would be to build more LNG ports, and get the liquefied gas shipped in from anywhere (qatar, or russia, or venezuela): a pipeline is a huge, and non-fungible commitment because it only goes from point a to point b.