Category: Uncatgorised

Villagers protest at POSCO’s $12 bln Orissa project


Children and women form three phase resistence to prevent police from entering their village Dhinkia

About 2,000 villagers protested against POSCO‘s planned $12 billion steel plant on Saturday. Women and children formed a human ring around the site. Local opposition has long delayed the South Korean company building its 4 million tonnes plant. It is considered India’s biggest foreign investment project, in Orissa.

POSCO signed the agreement for the mill in 2005 and it was scheduled to begin production by the end of 2011. Protests, environmental concerns and government inquiries into alleged illegalities at a related mining concession have delayed it.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh gave the plant clearance in January on certain conditions, including ensuring that tribal rights and forest protection laws are observed. He said while giving permission he was against regularization of illegalities but had to. In fact tribal rights protected by Forest Rights Act, and environment concerns are utterly ignored and violated.

Orissa’s government started acquiring land for the world’s No. 3 steel company after the environment ministry’s January approval. POSCO needs 4,000 acres (1,600 hectares) of land. Local officials tried to persuade the villagers to back away and not use women and children as human shields, media said. About 500 policemen were deployed to try to control the protesters, roughly half them women and children.

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Courtesy of David Rosenberg

Source: Lateral Thinking

Obama’s State of the Union 2011:
“Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is
growing again.”

Herbert Hoover, May 1st 1930, US Chamber of Commerce Meeting:
“While the crash only took place six months ago, I am convinced we have now passed the worst and with continued unity of effort we shall rapidly recover.”

Obama’s State of the Union 2011:
“Thanks to the tax cuts we passed, Americans’ paychecks are a little bigger today. Every business can write off the full cost of the new investments they make this year. These steps, taken by Democrats and Republicans, will grow the economy and add to the more than one million private sector jobs created last year.”

Herbert Hoover, October 22, 1932, campaign speech in Detroit:
“It can be demonstrated that the tide has turned and that the gigantic forces of depression are today in retreat. Our measures and policies have demonstrated their effectiveness. They have preserved the American people from certain chaos. They have preserved a final fortress of stability in the world.”

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US and China Are Not Enemies But Frenemies –Video

Currency dispute between the US and China has been raging, yet they are not enemies but frenemies. They depend on each other, but gotta fight for advantage over each other.

China exports go to the US, and US debt is invested most by China, that fact that make both the countries depend on each other. That’s why the video says they are not enemies but frenemies.

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Asians Gird for Bubble Threat, Criticize Fed Move

Bloomberg | November 04, 2010 | 6:08 AM EDT

Asia-Pacific officials are preparing for stronger currencies and asset-price inflation as they blamed the U.S. Federal Reserve’s expanded monetary stimulus for threatening to escalate an inflow of capital into the region.

Chinese central bank adviser Xia Bin said Fed quantitative easing is “uncontrolled” money printing, and Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan cited the U.S. pursuing a “weak-dollar policy.” The Hong Kong Monetary Authority warned the city’s property prices could surge and Malaysia’s central bank chief said nations are prepared to act jointly on capital flows. “Extra liquidity due to quantitative easing will spill into Asian markets,” said Patrick Bennett, a Hong Kong-based strategist at Standard Bank Group Ltd. “It will put increased pressure on all currencies to appreciate, the yuan in particular has been appreciating at a slower rate than others.”

The International Monetary Fund last month urged Asia- Pacific nations to withdraw policy stimulus to head off asset- price pressures, as their world-leading economies draw capital because of low interest rates in the U.S. and other advanced countries. Today’s reactions of regional policy makers reflect the international ramifications of the Fed’s decision yesterday to inject $600 billion into the U.S. economy.

Stocks Climb

Most Asian currencies rose against the dollar after the Fed’s move, led by a 0.5 percent climb in the Taiwanese dollar and 0.2 percent gain in the South Korean won. New Zealand’s currency reached a 29-month high, and Australia’s dollar touched its strongest level since 1982. The MSCI Asia Pacific index of stocks advanced to the highest level since July 2008. People’s Bank of China adviser Xia said U.S. policy makers have a conflict between making policy for the domestic economy and accepting responsibilities that come with being the issuer of the international reserve currency, writing in the Finance News newspaper today.

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Govt approves stake sale in Shipping Corp

Reuters | Oct 5, 2010 | 8:13pm IST

The government on Tuesday approved a 10 percent sale of its equity in state-run Shipping Corp of India Ltd and also allowed the firm to raise funds selling India Shipping corp equal number of fresh shares. The government plans to raise roughly $8.5 billion from share sales in 2010/11, part of a divestment programme in 60 state-run firms over next few years, as it looks to cut a stubbornly high fiscal deficit and raise spending on social welfare.

The government expects to raise about 13 billion rupees ($291 million) from the 10 percent stake sale in the firm. It currently owns 80.12 percent of Shipping Corp and its holding would come down to 63.75 percent after the share sale.

Shipping Corp, the largest shipping company in the country, could launch the follow-on share sale before December, its managing director told Reuters last week. Shipping Corp, which has a market value of about $1.6 billion, has shortlisted SBI Capital, ICICI Securities and IDFC Capital as lead managers for the offer, three sources with direct knowledge of the situation said in August.

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Hi Athishay, Here is My Answer to Your Comment

(A friend named Athishay Jain asked me to honor my nation India after reading my article on CWG-2010 published on Technorati. As comments are limited to 300 characters, I could not post this as comment and hence I make it another article. I hope this may also be published).

Well Atishay, No doubt, I’m an Indian. But I will not support corrupt people only because they are Indians. Your name suites your feeling of honor.

If you follow news regularly, you should have come across a news of the Supreme Court asking the central government to distribute wheat kept in open air due to lack of place in ware houses, to poor people. The court asked so, because, the wheat kept outside the warehouses was becoming rotten and decayed. However, our agricultural minister Mr. Shard Pawar replied, “it is not possible to distribute freely the grains to any one.” Our Prime Minister said “the courts cannot indulge in the power of the parliament.”

While the courts were talking about rotting and decaying wheat due to space problem and the hunger of the poor people, our PM and agri. minister were talking about the power the parliament, forgetting they were in office by vote of the very people to whom they were denying to give food.

The double-digit growth rate for which our PM is aspiring, do not consider 60 percent poverty of our nation. It only considers two to five percent wealthy people of the nation.

Whom the commonwealth games have fed? As I said in my article, only the contractors, ministers and bureaucrats have been fed. They can be parasites eating away the wealth produced by the Indian labor in the form of commissions, but the same poor people who produce Indian wealth and wealthy, cannot eat mouthful for even half a day.

Is this the honor you are talking about?

You have right to feel it as honor, but don’t forget, the people have right to eat what they produce with their own labor. I feel it as a shame upon our leaders.

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Testing BlogJet

I have installed an interesting application – BlogJet. It’s a cool Windows client for my blog tool (as well as for other tools). Get your copy here:

“Computers are incredibly fast, accurate and stupid; humans are incredibly slow, inaccurate and brilliant; together they are powerful beyond imagination.” — Albert Einstein

ONGC examining implications of Vedanta-Cairn deal

Reuters | Aug 26, 2010 | 6:58pm IST

State-run explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp Chairman R.S. Sharma said on Thursday the firm is examining the legal and contractual implications of London-based Vedanta Resources’ up-to-$9.6-billion offer to take control of Cairn India. “We have been tracking the development and examining all legal and contractual implications of the issue on production sharing contracts inked with them,” Sharma said. ONGC has a 30 percent stake in Cairn India’s oil block called RJ-ON-90/1 in Rajasthan. India’s trade minister said on Tuesday ONGC should have a say in the deal.

Wall Street makes hay with defaulted mortgages

Reuters | Aug 22, 2010 | 1:42pm IST

As mortgage delinquencies climb near historic highs, Wall Street is finding new ways to make hay with the assets. So-called “vulture” firms have been snapping up troubled home loans at a faster pace, and are expected to ramp up securitizations of the assets in coming months. That should give a modicum of life to the private mortgage bond market that has been dormant since it imploded during the subprime home loan crisis in 2008. In a twist, loans supporting these new securities aren’t the kind that provide credit to home buyers, but the wreckage of defaults left over from the era of loose lending that sparked the crisis. The securitization, or bundling assets into bonds, of these delinquent loans is the latest phase for investors who have found ways to profit in repairing the troubled loans that many had a hand in creating.

The firms — including PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust, the company run by former Countrywide president Stanford Kurland — have increased purchases of discounted troubled mortgages as they help borrowers with refinancing or modifications, or through seizure of the property. Countrywide was the biggest U.S. mortgage originator in 2006 and a pioneer of nontraditional and subprime loans before its exposure to this debt brought it close to collapse. The mortgage bonds planned by PennyMac and others will fill a void for yield-hungry investors in a market struggling to recover as banks find it more profitable to funnel loans through government programs, or keep mortgages on their books. For banks, offloading the distressed mortgages is an important step forward after they did everything they could to avoid taking losses during the financial crisis. Continue reading

RBI can afford to be less hawkish – BarCap

Reuters | Aug 20, 2010 | 2:16pm IST

The Reserve Bank of India will probably pause after raising interest rates for a fifth time this year in September, signalling a less hawkish stance as inflation pressures begin to ease, an economist at Barclays Capital said. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has increased its main lending rate by 100 basis points since mid-March to rein in high inflation. The tightening policy has cooled headline annual inflation to just under 10 percent in July, after stubbornly staying in double-digits for five months. “The RBI is no longer behind the curve as far as managing inflation or inflation expectation is concerned,” Rahul Bajoria, regional economist at Barclays Capital, said in an interview. “So from that perspective I think the RBI can possibly afford to be slightly less hawkish from here on.”

Rising rates have also weighed on factory output, which rose at its slowest pace in 13 months in June at 7.1 percent from a year earlier. Exports grew an annual 30 percent in June, slower than 35 percent rise in May. Still, the RBI has forecast the economy will expand 8.5 percent in 2010/11 from 7.4 percent last year and the fastest pace among major economies after China. Bajoria reiterated the bank’s forecast for another 25 basis points increase in key rates by the RBI when it reviews policy on Sept. 16. “The market has fairly priced in both policy rate hike and liquidity constraints. Once the RBI has given its intention that repo rate will be the operating rate, I don’t think market is panicking on the liquidity situation,” he said. Continue reading

U.S. visa restrictions not WTO compatible: Trade secy

Reuters | Tue Aug 17, 2010 | 1:59pm IST

Recent visa restrictions imposed by the United States are not compatible with World Trade Organisation (WTO) regulations, a senior Indian government official said on Tuesday. The U.S. Congress passed legislation on Thursday to strengthen security along the border with Mexico, trying to tackle the politically sensitive issue of illegal immigrants ahead of November congressional elections. The Indian government has protested to Washington against what it called a highly discriminatory U.S. immigration bill that will double the cost of work visas for some high-profile Indian companies. Funds for the bill will be raised through visa fee hikes that U.S. Senate aides say would affect India’s Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys Technologies, Wipro and Mahindra Satyam. “Yes, this is WTO incompatible. I have no doubt about it,” Trade Secretary Rahul Khullar said when asked whether the recent visa restrictions were incompatible with WTO regulations.

Trade Minister Anand Sharma said that bill would cost Indian companies an extra $200 million a year and erode the competitiveness of Indian companies that send professionals to undertake projects in the United States. However, analysts are sceptical about whether India can drag the United States to the WTO on this issue. “We have a case against the US only if we can prove that the visa restrictions were aimed specifically against India. So we have to study the law and cannot immediately say it is not WTO compliant,” said an analyst with a Delhi-based think-tank dealing with trade issues. The analyst did not wish to be identified.

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It’s going to come back and hurt US

Business Standard | MSN News | 15/08/2010

“This could be the beginning of a trade war. It’s going to come back and hurt the US in so many ways, both short term and long term,” warns Sanjay Puri, president of the Washington-based lobby group USINPAC. But politicians in the US are scrambling for votes from American voters, not from Indian companies. With the US House of Representatives passing a $600-million border security bill on Tuesday that was virtually identical to the one passed by the Senate last Thursday, the stiff increases in visa filing fees — by $2,000 or $2,250 for H1B and L1 applications — took another step towards becoming law.The legislation proposes to raise H1B and L1 visa fees for companies that employ more than 50 workers in the US if more than 50 per cent of those employees are H1B or L1 visa holders. The revenue generated from this increase will pay for additional border security measures, including salaries, equipment and technology.

For procedural reasons, the House sent the bill back to the Senate, which will have to pass it again. The Senate is already on its summer recess, and it’s not clear whether it will pass the bill when it reconvenes next month or if it will interrupt its recess to pass the bill, as the House did. Once it clears the Senate again, it will have to be signed by President Barack Obama into law. That seems inevitable, according to immigration lawyer Deborah Notkin, of the New York firm, Barst, Mukamal & Kleiner, and a recent past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “I think it’s likely to pass, and I cannot imagine the President vetoing this bill,” says Notkin, pointing to the political risk in opposing the bill.

The mid-term Congressional and state-level elections are due in November, and no politician would want to be seen opposing a border security measure at a time when illegal immigration, mostly along its border with Mexico, has emerged as a politically explosive issue in the US. And with the country facing a 9.5 per cent unemployment rate and a weak economic recovery that’s already slowing, there’s little political risk in supporting a provision that ostensibly punishes employers who are giving work to those who are not US citizens. “That’s the danger of these tack-ons,” explains Notkin, adding provisions that would never pass as a stand-alone bill are sometimes tacked on to bills hard to oppose. Continue reading

Fed takes fresh steps to support fragile recovery

Reuters | 11/08/2010 | 12:28am IST

The Federal Reserve on Tuesday took fresh steps to lower borrowing costs amid a softening economic recovery, announcing it would use proceeds from its maturing mortgage bonds to buy more government debt. The decision to reinvest proceeds from the more than $1.3 trillion in mortgage-related debt the Fed holds, an effort to keep market-set borrowing costs down, represents a significant policy shift. Just a few months ago, the central bank had been avidly debating an exit strategy from the extraordinary stimulus delivered during the financial crisis. “To help support the economic recovery in a context of price stability, the committee will keep constant the Federal Reserve’s holdings of securities at their current level by reinvesting principal payments from agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in longer-term Treasury securities,” the Fed said in a statement.

The move was somewhat surprising. Although many analysts and investors had expected the Fed to announce it was reinvesting the mortgage proceeds, most had thought it would buy more mortgage debt instead of government bonds. Some analysts believe the Fed will end up having to go further in coming months and restart its shuttered program of outright asset purchases. “The Fed is a step closer to reviving its program, but it will likely take somewhat slower growth to push it off the fence,” said Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets. The Fed also left benchmark overnight interest rates steady in a zero to 0.25 percent range, and renewed its pledge to keep them low for an extended period.

U.S. stocks trimmed losses on the announcement, while prices for U.S. government debt rose, with the 30-year bond gaining more than a point. The dollar fell against both the euro and the yen. In their statement at the close of a one-day meeting, Fed officials offered a more gloomy outlook for the economy, saying the recovery in output and employment “has slowed in recent months.” When it last met in late June, it said the recovery was “proceeding.” Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Thomas Hoenig dissented for a fifth straight meeting over the Fed’s vow to keep rates low for a long time. s balance sheet from shrinking.  Continue reading

Iraq Shi’ite bloc rejects incumbent Maliki as PM

Iraq Shi’ite bloc rejects incumbent Maliki as PM | Reuters

One of Iraq’s main Shi’ite political blocs has rejected Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s claim to a second term and halted government formation talks until his party nominates a new candidate, politicians said. Though expected, this is a major setback in the process of forming a new government at a time when civilian deaths are rising and U.S. troops are planning to halt combat operations. Almost five months after Iraq held a parliamentary election meant to set it on a course towards stability after years of war, sanctions and insurgency, Iraqis are no closer to knowing who their next prime minister will be.

Maliki’s State of Law bloc, which came second in the March 7 parliamentary election, and the third-placed Iraqi National Alliance (INA), announced their merger in June under a new name, National Alliance. Together the merged Shi’ite coalition has 159 seats in the new 325-seat parliament, four short of a majority. But the prime minister’s post remains a stumbling bloc and talks to form a government have gone nowhere because of discord over Maliki’s desire for a second term. “All parties of the INA have agreed that the obstacle is the insistence of nominating Maliki,” Qusay al-Suhail, a senior member of the Sadrists political movement, a main faction of the INA, told Reuters on Sunday. “That is why we demanded an alternative … The INA’s decision is unanimous.” Continue reading