Monthly Archives: June 2012

China’s reform issue

China’s top financial policymakers expressed determination on Friday to push on with their campaign to reform and rebalance the world’s second-largest economy even as growth cools.Manufacturing activity in China has slowed for the past eight months, prompting expectations that regulators could dramatically loosen monetary and fiscal policies to spur the economy, as they did during the last global downturn. However, top officials who spoke at a financial forum in Shanghai indicated they will maintain the current “prudent” policy mix, while continuing with reform. 

ImageChina will also expand the financing channels available to banks, allowing them to raise funds overseas and retain higher levels of profit, Chinese banks have been in the spotlight in the past year with investors worried that a slowing economy may increase losses from bad loans, especially after the banks loaned some 10.7 trillion yuan to local governments following the 2008-09 financial crisis.Nearly all these reforms, such as boosting institutional investment, are long-term positive factors, and will not immediately push large amount of money into the market, Early economic indicators suggest growth did not pick up in June, raising doubts over whether China can meet its 2012 growth target of 7.5%, a level many thought the economy would comfortably exceed when it was announced in March. The reform push led by the central bank and other financial watchdogs represents a change in approach by Beijing from the last crisis. To offset the effects of the global downturn that began in 2008, China unleashed a wave of policy lending, infrastructure spending and other fiscal stimulus. It successfully revived growth but exacerbated existing structural economic distortions, encouraging real estate and stock speculation and enabling local governments to incur the USD 1.68 trillion pile of debt.

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Posted by on June 29, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Aakash Tablet has a hidden story?

The disastrous Aakash project has expunged India’s dream of developing the world’s cheapest computing device. And questions remain unanswered. Almost two years ago, the ministry announced it is in the middle of developing a low-cost computing device for students that would cost just USD 35.And that when complete, a global tender for five million units of the device would be floated? The blitz that accompanied the announcement had the world in a tizzy. A little less than a year later, in February 2011, (IIT), Jodhpur, which had taken upon itself the onus to decide what specifications this would run on, put out a global tender to build the first 10,000 units. In return for these services, the institution received Rs 47 crore from the government. DataWind, a Canadian company won the contract, produced a prototype built to spec, and Kapil Sibal, the minister in charge of MHRD, unveiled Aakash, the world’s cheapest computing device.

To put it mildly, the prototype was a disaster. Some phones in the market worked faster than this contraption. The battery couldn’t last two hours if a user tried to play video files on it. The touch screen, well, wasn’t “touchy” enough. And things got ugly between IIT Jodhpur and DataWind. Sibal finally stepped in and in early April this year announced that an upgraded version of the device will be made available by May. As this story goes on Aakash-2 is still being tested by C-DAC in Thiruvananthapuram; IIT Bombay has been appointed the new nodal institution to drive the project and officials there claim 100,000 units will be supplied for pilot tests by October this year. On its part, DataWind claims the 100,000 units have already been supplied to the institute.

Nobody seems to have a clue what the truth is:


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Mumbai’s hot property – Real Estate

Mumbai, India’s financial hub and home to Bollywood— is the most expensive city in the country and real estate prices in the city compete with other Asian centers such as Singapore and Hong Kong. Over the past year Asia’s third-largest economy has grappled with corruption scandals, policy flip fops and poor fiscal performance, but property prices in its largest metro have stayed immune, clinging to pre-Lehman highs. A 28th floor apartment in south Mumbai, facing the Arabian Sea, sold for a record-setting Rs 39 crore (USD 6.8 million) this month, underscoring the dichotomy in India’s property market where prices remain stubbornly high, even as the economy falters and the currency nosedives.

According to industry estimates, property prices in Mumbai rose about 17% in the first quarter of this year. A combination of a lack of supply, regulatory hurdles that have come in the way of new launches and an inflexible lease market have all contributed to the city’s sky-high prices but sales were down 40% over the past one year. But high mortgage rates, which are between 10% and 12%, have created a cash crunch for buyers resulting in a dip in volumes. The undertone is still bullish because the market is largely made up of Indians looking to own a home. Regulations in India restrict ownership by foreign individuals. “The buyers are more genuine homeowners and less speculators,”

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Posted by on June 28, 2012 in Corporate, Finance, Markets


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20 Years in Bollywood: ShahRukh Khan

On this day two decades ago a new Hindi film superstar emerged: Bollywood’s all-time favourite romantic hero Shah Rukh Khan, who debuted with Deewana. On completing 20 years, Khan says he just ‘got lucky’ and admits he has made mistakes all along. Superstardom, disappointment and controversies – Delhi boy Shah Rukh Khan has seen it all in his celebrity hood. For Khan, it’s been two decades in Bollywood, but his tryst with showbiz began in 1988, the year he started his journey with TV series Fauji, after being trained at The Barry John’s Acting Studio. Next year he featured in another successful show Circus and Doosra Keval.If people loved his act on small screen, he won hearts as a crazy lover in Deewana, in which he was competing with none other than Rishi Kapoor in the lead role. But lady luck was smiling on him and audiences loved his chemistry with the late Divya Bharti. The song Aisi deewangi dekhi nahin kabhi picturised on them became a chartbuster. Deewana turned out to be a huge hit at the box office, and won Khan a Filmfare Best Male Debut Award.There was no looking back thereafter – only more films, more hits, and more awards for Khan. His success earned him titles like – King Khan and the Bollywood Badshah.He redefined the romantic hero in Hindi cinema with many films and his work profile is eclectic.

At the peak of his career in 2007, he choose to go back to his roots: Television – to host the third season of the game show Kaun Banega Crorepati. After making it big in showbiz, he turned businessman by launching his production house Red Chillies Entertainment and later by investing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), whose victory at the fifth IPL Season was a silver lining for the star this year as lately, he has been a part of controversies. Now, one of the most lovable Bollywood actor is set to return to his lovey-dovey avatar with Yash Chopra’s next directorial venture. He will be seen romancing Katrina Kaif in it.

“Twenty uninterrupted years of serving. Not enough talent or looks or game plan. Thank you all. I guess I got lucky, lucky to be working all the time,” tweeted Khan, who entered filmdom with Deewana, which was released on June 25, 1992. “Made mistakes, still continue to do so. A little madness. A bit of solitude. Too silly to realise it’s impossible and maybe that’s why it gets achieved.”Mom said to only feel and say positive things. ‘Your Farishtey (angels) are always listening and fulfil your words’. My Farishtey work overtime,” wrote SRK.


Posted by on June 26, 2012 in Uncategorized


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26/11 Attack: Masterminds in Custody

Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist Abu Jindal, who is in Delhi Police’s custody, has confessed his active role in the Mumbai attacks, saying that Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed was present in the Karachi control room when the 26/11 masterminds choreographed the carnage.During the interrogation, Abu Jindal has admitted to handling the attack on Nariman House during 26/11 and said that he was in the Karachi control room under the guidance of Saeed. Jindal allegedly told the police that he was the one who trained the 10 terrorists. Delhi police will keep Abu Jindal in custody till July 5. They are likely to seek remand and extend his custody till July 20. Jindal has also admitted of travelling with Ajmal Kasab and other terrorists on the same boat to the Indian border. The other crucial detail that the police have been questioning is that of his involvement in the activities of the Indian Mujahideen and his role in the Jama Masjid (New Delhi), German Bakery (Pune) and the Chinnaswamy stadium blast (Bangalore). Sources say that the operation to nab Jindal was going on for the last several months and he was detained in Saudi Arabia in the first week of June. A team of Delhi Police and IB officials travelled to Saudi Arabia to bring him back to India. According to officials, He was involved in a blast in Ahmedabad in 2006 and the Aurangabad arms haul the same year. He was named in the 26/11 chargesheet and was considered one of the most wanted.

Kasab’s testimony to Mumbai police names Jindal for seeing off the 10 attackers at Pakistan shore. Abu Hamza, Abu Qaafa and Lakhvi were the others.After the Aurangabad arms haul, Abu Jindal fled to Pakistan. There he became closely involved with the activities of the LeT and eventually started working towards plotting the 26/11 attacks. The Mumbai crime branch which is probing the attack will now be taking a voice sample to further confirm that he indeed was one of the handlers. What they will also focus on is to find out what he was doing in Saudi Arabia for the last several months.The US says it is playing its part in bringing the perpetrators of 26/11 attacks because some of their own citizens were among the victims. Islamabad has also responded to Abu Jindal’s arrest. The Spokesperson of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi issued a statement. “Pakistan has been at the forefront in the campaign against terror.

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Posted by on June 26, 2012 in current affairs


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India’s credit rating- Stable

ImageMoody’s Investors Service announced that it was maintaining a stable outlook on India’s Baa3 rating as problems such as slower growth and higher inflation were long-standing and already factored into the outlook. The agency considered the global and domestic factors, including potential shocks in agriculture, and said they could keep India’s growth below trend for the next few quarters. But it felt recent negative trends were unlikely to become permanent or even medium-term features of the Indian economy.

Furthermore, the impact of lower growth and still-high inflation will deteriorate credit metrics in the near term, but not to the extent that they will become incompatible with India’s current rating, is what Moody predict and even Indian govt is confident on this.

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Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Uncategorized


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History of UK Parliament re-written, Suu Kyi.

Myanmar democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi became the first non-head of state to address both houses of Britain’s parliament on Thursday in a rare honour she used to ask for help in bringing democracy to the former British colony.Cutting a tiny figure in parliament’s cavernous and historic Westminster Hall, the 67-year-old Nobel Peace laureate and opposition leader received a standing ovation on arrival, introduced as “the conscience of a country and a heroine for humanity”.

“We have an opportunity to reestablish true democracy in Burma. It is an opportunity for which we have waited decades,” she told a forum previously reserved for world leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama.”If we do not get things right this time right round, it may be several decades more before a similar opportunity arises again. I would ask Britain, as one of the oldest parliamentary democracies, to consider what it can do to help build the sound institutions needed to build a nascent parliamentary democracy.”Suu Kyi, only the second woman to address both houses of parliament after Queen Elizabeth, is in Britain as part of a 17-day tour of Europe that has at times been emotional and physically demanding. The Oxford graduate spent 15 of the next 24 years under house arrest, becoming an icon of non-violent political resistance.During army rule, Suu Kyi refused offers allowing her to leave the country for fear she would not be allowed to return, costing her the chance to see her children grow up and also the opportunity to be with her husband, Michael Aris, before he died of cancer in 1999.After nearly half a century of direct military rule, in 2011 the junta gave way to a quasi-civilian government stuffed with former generals, and since then current President Thein Sein has startled the world with his appetite for reforms.

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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in current affairs


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