The Congress party is likely to take legal action against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for mimicking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during an interview.During the interview the Trinamool Congress chief had said that the Congress party or the UPA government did not contact her on FDI in retail and diesel price hike – the two main reasons she had cited to withdraw support from the government.Mimicking the Prime Minister, Mamata said the moment the coordination meeting started, Singh said – “We have this problem, that problem.” She added that the Prime Minister was acting “goody goody” in the meeting.The West Bengal Chief Minister also hit out at the Prime Minister saying he was not a grassroots leader as he was not a part of the Lok Sabha, where the MPs are elected by the people. Mamata alleged that the UPA government does not consult its allies before taking any decisions. She said her party tried hard to support the government so that it completes its five-year term but it got difficult for her to “remain quiet all the time”.Not mincing words, the Trinamool Congress chief said the Congress is using money, muscle and mafia power to stay in power. Mamata said the government has lost both the moral and democratic right to rule the country. A confident Chief Minister also said that in the next West Bengal Assembly Elections, the Congress won’t be able to win a single seat in the state.
Monthly Archives: September 2012
Feeling the pinch of the fuel price hike, the urban middle class has dealt a severe blow to the Manmohan Singh Government, giving the Prime Minister’s push for reforms a big thumbs down. The aam admi, Congress’ target group, feels the government has not just lost credibility in the face of corruption charges, but also that its policies are burning a hole in their pockets.A survey conducted across six urban cities shows that 57 per cent feel UPA 2 has failed its battle against inflation. The other big let down is corruption with 32 per cent of the respondents claiming it’s a matter of concern.After Mamata’s exit, UPA 2 is struggling with numbers but adding to the nightmare are DMK and NCP who’re now demanding a rollback of reforms. The Congress may try to appease its allies with sweet deals but the aam admi is gunning for its head.When asked if the government’s decision to hike diesel prices is justified, 87 per cent said no and that’s a figure the government needs to worry about, and revamp its game-plan for 2014.The decision to reduce the cap on subsidized LPG cylinders to 6 is hurting every kitchen as had been predicted by the Left and other opposition parties.The government stands isolated with 93 per cent of Indians saying the move is unjust. In capital Delhi 99 per cent of the respondent have voted against the government’s move. Battling negative public perception here’s another shocker for the government. Dr Manmohan Singh’s push for FDI in retail, a move clearly aimed at winning the support of the urban middle class has backfired as well.A vehement no. coming from 76 per cent of the respondents when asked if they think FDI in retail is a correct decision. Almost 41 per cent say no and 14 per cent claim there could be snap polls this year itself. A vast majority – 67 per cent – say they have no faith in their Prime Minister and do not think he’s capable of bailing the country out of the current economic crisis.But Mamata seems to have gained immensely by walking out of the UPA. Sixty-seven per cent support her decision to withdraw support and 64 per cent feel she’s shown strong political will.Fifty-two per cent feel Anna made the right choice by not launching a political party but 40 per cent are in favour of Arvind Kejriwal’s decision.Interestingly a majority across metros claim they will support a candidate put up by the India Against Corruption group.
More than 100 million people will die and global economic growth will be cut by 3.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030 if the world fails to tackle climate change.As global average temperatures rise due to greenhouse gas emissions, the effects on the planet, such as melting ice caps, extreme weather, drought and rising sea levels, will threaten populations and livelihoods. It calculated that five million deaths occur each year from air pollution, hunger and disease as a result of climate change and carbon-intensive economies, and that toll would likely rise to six million a year by 2030 if current patterns of fossil fuel use continue.More than 90 percent of those deaths will occur in developing countries, calculated the human and economic impact of climate change on 184 countries in 2010 and 2030. It said the effects of climate change had lowered global output by 1.6 percent of world GDP, or by about USD 1.2 trillion a year, and losses could double to 3.2 percent of global GDP by 2030 if global temperatures are allowed to rise, surpassing 10 percent before 2100.It estimated the cost of moving the world to a low-carbon economy at about 0.5 percent of GDP this decade. Temperatures have already risen by about 0.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times. Almost 200 nations agreed in 2010 to limit the global average temperature rise to below 2C (3.6 Fahrenheit) to avoid dangerous impacts from climate change.But climate scientists have warned that the chance of limiting the rise to below 2C is getting smaller as global greenhouse gas emissions rise due to burning fossil fuels. The world’s poorest nations are the most vulnerable as they face increased risk of drought, water shortages, crop failure, poverty and disease. On average, they could see an 11 percent loss in GDP by 2030 due to climate change. One degree Celsius rise in temperature is associated with 10 percent productivity loss in farming. Even the biggest and most rapidly developing economies will not escape unscathed. The United States and China could see a 2.1 percent reduction in their respective GDPs by 2030, while India could experience a more than 5 percent loss.
The world’s freshwater resources are under increasing pressure from growing human population and industrial activity. Here’s a look at how the world’s top six water-abundant countries are dealing with their resources
Brazil: Share of total world resource: 19%, Share of world’s population: 2.82%. Government taking steps to guard world’s largest freshwater reservoir from environmental hazards, giving birth to a USD 100 million water protection industry.
Canada: Share of total world resource: 7%, Share of world’s population: 0.49%, Traditionally against exporting water, but is selling bottled water to the US.
Russia: Share of total world resource: 10%, Share of world’s population: 2.04%, Exporting water to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Fresh water supplies may equal that of oil and natural gas. Government officials say, “When we run out of oil, we’ll export water.”
China: Share of total world resource: 7%, Share of world’s population: 19.27%, 70% of its water bodies are contaminated, while half of its cities have polluted groundwater. Faces shortage. In talks with Alaska to import water.
Columbia: Share of total world resource: 5%, Share of world’s population: 0.67%, Contaminated freshwater. Threatened with issues like drying up of water bodies.
Indonesia: Share of total world resource: 7%, Share of world’s population: 3.47%. Plagued by water contamination. At this rate, by 2025, it would be facing a water crisis.
India: Share of total world resource: 4%, Share of world’s population: 17.8%. Deficient monsoons often lead to shortage of drinking and irrigation water. Groundwater is polluted due to poor land practices, atmospheric deposition of pollutants and direct discharge of sewage into water bodies.
The International Monetary Fund is set to cut its forecast for global growth next month when it updates its projections for the world economy. They will continue to project a gradual recovery, but global growth will likely be a bit weaker than anticipated even in July, and forecast has trended downward over the last 12 months.The biggest factor weighing on the world economy was uncertainty among investors over whether policymakers in advanced economies will deliver on promises.In July, the IMF cut its global growth projection for 2013 to 3.9 percent but left its 2012 forecast unchanged at 3.5 percent. Uncertainty over the debt crisis in the euro zone was the greatest risk to the world economy, but the possibility of a so-called “fiscal cliff” of expiring tax cuts and automatic government spending reductions next year in the United States was a also a “serious” risk. There was now also evidence of a slowdown in emerging economies, and “great concern” in poor countries about rising food prices and volatile commodity prices, as well as growing frustrations with transitions across the Middle East. Financial markets were buoyed by recent decisions among European leaders to address the euro zone crisis and now want to see the measures implemented in a coordinated manner.
Months after it unveiled a model bilateral investment treaty (BIT), a top Obama Administration official has said the US is working on BIT with a number of countries, including India, China and Mauritius.This is a part of the Obama Administration’s effort to promote investment policies and enhance trade, the US Trade Representatives Ron Kirk said at Coalition of Service Industries 2012 Global Services Summit. With these new policy tools, US negotiators are now advancing efforts to secure high-standard BITs with trading partners such as China and India, as well as Mauritius. They have also resumed exploratory BIT discussions with a number of countries including Ghana, Cambodia, Russia, and the East African Community (EAC).For example, China is the fastest growing auto market in the world. Through bilateral engagement, the US persuaded China to open its market for certain mandatory auto insurance. Of course, when negotiations and dialogue are not able to remove discriminatory barriers to trade sufficiently, it may be necessary to utilise appropriate trade enforcement tools. In July, a WTO Panel agreed with US claims that China’s pervasive and discriminatory measures in the electronic payment services (EPS) sector deny a level playing field to financial services suppliers from the US and other countries. China has now accepted the Panel’s ruling and the US is working with China to ensure that these practices end.
The net worth of the richest Americans grew by 13 percent in the past year to $1.7 trillion, Forbes magazine announced and a familiar cast of characters once again populated the top of the magazine’s annual list of the U.S. uber-elite, including Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Larry Ellison and the Koch brothers. The average net worth of the 400 wealthiest Americans rose to a record $4.2 billion. Collectively, this group’s net worth is the equivalent of one-eighth of the entire U.S. economy, which stood at $13.56 billion in real terms according to the latest government data. But the 13 percent growth in the wealth of the richest Americans far outpaced that of the economy overall, helping widen the chasm between rich and poor. Bill Gates, the chairman of Microsoft Corp, topped the list for the 19th year in a row with $66 billion, up $7 billion from a year earlier.Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive of insurance conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc, stood second with $46 billion, followed by Larry Ellison, head of software maker Oracle Corp, with $41 billion; and the Koch brothers, Charles and David, who run the energy and chemicals conglomerate that bears their name, Koch Industries, were tied for fourth with $31 billion. The ranks of the top five were unchanged from a year earlier. Two notable names dropped from the top 10, however. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, also active in conservative political causes, fell to the 12 spot from No. 8 last year, and financier George Soros dropped five spots to No. 12 from the No. 7 position one year ago. The disappointing stock market debut of Facebook Inc also took a toll on the fortune of its founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. His net worth fell by nearly half to $9.4 billion, and he slid to the No. 36 slot from No. 14, a year ago.
Apple needs to sell about six million iPhone 5 units by the end of this weekend to ease investors’ concern about supply constraints. If Apple do anything greater than six million, it will be a huge positive. Wall Street has been concerned that there are still “significant supply constraints,” that would limit Apple to only being able to produce about five to six million of the new phones before the end of the month. But Apple expects to sell about eight million iPhone 5 units, including pre-orders, by the end of the first weekend.Tavis McCourt, an analyst for Raymond James, also said he expects Apple to sell about 8 million iPhones during the time period leading up to the last day of Apple`s fourth quarter, which is Sept. 29.The iPhone maker announced Monday that it already had two million pre-orders for the iPhone 5 during the first 24 hours it was available online.Apple`s stock reached USD 700 a share for the first time in after-hours trading Monday and the stock closed at a record high of USD 701.91 Tuesday. But the stock could still go higher. With more products in the pipeline, Apple will continue to have more upside.
All eyes will be on Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as her 72-hour deadline to the government to roll back fuel price hike, LPG cap and FDI in retail ends. The Trinamool Congress will decide whether to withdraw support from the UPA. The Congress, though, is confident of convincing Mamata to stay.Mamata has threatened to take a tough decision to protest against the Centre’s reform measures, but, she hasn’t elaborated.Mamata’s final decision on Tuesday will be watched closely by the two arch rivals from Uttar Pradesh – the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party. Mamata’s 19 MPs can easily be replaced either with Mayawati’s BSP that has 21 MPs or with Mulayam’s SP that has 22, both are leaders with open channels of communication with the Congress.There are three clear cut options before Mamata. She can take the extreme step of pulling out of the UPA. She can pull out her ministers and give outside support to UPA or she can keep doing the tough talk without actually rocking the boat.In the past too, Mamata has threatened a lot, without ultimately doing anything. The UPA is confident that the script will be similar on Tuesday as well. The Congress is not keen on a rollback. It seems confident that it will be able to convince key ally Mamata Banerjee to stay on in the government. The UPA’s strength is currently 273 in the Lok Sabha, that’s just 2 seats above the half-way mark. If the TMC withdraws its 19 MPs, that number will plummet to 254 putting the government in jeopardy. But the support of the BSP and RJD could save the government. The support of the Samajwadi Party with its 22 MPs is uncertain at this point.