Skip to main content


Showing posts from January 27, 2008

Chinese are subsidizing the American way of life : $1.4 Trillion Question

The Chinese are subsidizing the American way of life. Are we playing them for suckers—or are they playing us? Source: The Atlantic by James Fallows The $1.4 Trillion Question Stephen Schwarzman may think he has image problems in America. He is the co-founder and CEO of the Blackstone Group, and he threw himself a $3 million party for his 60th birthday last spring, shortly before making many hundreds of millions of dollars in his company’s IPO and finding clever ways to avoid paying taxes. That’s nothing compared with the way he looks in China. Here, he and his company are surprisingly well known, thanks to blogs, newspapers, and talk-show references. In America, Schwarzman’s perceived offense is greed—a sin we readily forgive and forget. In China, the suspicion is that he has somehow hoodwinked ordinary Chinese people out of their hard-earned cash. Atlantic senior editor Clive Crook weighs in on the private-equity business—why it's booming, where it's headed, and wh

PAKISTAN : Drawn and Quartered

The NewYork Times By SELIG S. HARRISON Published: February 1, 2008 Washington WHATEVER the outcome of the Pakistani elections, now scheduled for Feb. 18, the existing multiethnic Pakistani state is not likely to survive for long unless it is radically restructured. Given enough American pressure, a loosely united, confederated Pakistan could still be preserved by reinstating and liberalizing the defunct 1973 Constitution, which has been shelved by successive military rulers. But as matters stand, the Punjabi-dominated regime of Pervez Musharraf is headed for a bloody confrontation with the country’s Pashtun, Baluch and Sindhi minorities that could well lead to the breakup of Pakistan into three sovereign entities. In that event, the Pashtuns, concentrated in the northwestern tribal areas, would join with their ethnic brethren across the Afghan border (some 40 million of them combined) to form an independent “Pashtunistan.” The Sindhis in the southeast, numbering 23 million, wo

Libya Sovereign Wealth Fund to Shun U.S., Ghanem Says

Libya Sovereign Wealth Fund to Shun U.S., Ghanem Says (Update2) By Francine Lacqua and Maher Chmaytelli Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Libya's $100 billion sovereign wealth fund will avoid buying U.S. assets because of politically motivated restrictions on investments by Arab states, the North African nation's top oil official said. The fund will consider buying stocks, bonds, real estate and banks in countries from China and Indonesia to Europe and Latin America, Shokri Ghanem, the chairman of Libya's state-owned National Oil Corp., said in Bloomberg Television interview yesterday evening in Vienna. ``The only market which is unfortunately not a pleasant market is the United States,'' he said. ``It's a very active market, but it is full of politics and unpleasant actions. In Europe, politics is not very much interfering in trade.'' Muammar al-Qaddafi, Libya's ruler since 1969, mended relations with the West by agreeing in 2003 to compensate the re

Analysis: Shell to shut again in Nigeria

Published: Jan. 30, 2008 at 7:22 PM :By CARMEN GENTILE UPI Energy Correspondent Nigeria's oil production -- already well below capacity due to ongoing violence -- is set to take another hit totaling 225,000 barrels per day, according to a leading producer in the West African country. Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Co. announced earlier this week that it would shut down production at the Bonga offshore oil field in March for routine maintenance. While the cutback is reportedly supposed to be temporary -- lasting 10 days, according to Shell officials, Nigeria's Vanguard newspaper reported -- there are lingering concerns that the Anglo-Dutch oil firm might keep the facility offline indefinitely due to the continuing militant attacks in the oil-rich Niger Delta. While attending the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Shell CEO Jeroan Van der Veer said, "We are prepared for whatever we face" regarding the numerous production setbacks the oil

ALBA, an Economic Alternative for Latin America

February 1st 2008, by Medea Benjamin - CommonDreams "With ALBA the Unity of our America is Reborn" (AFP) The sixth conference of the Latin American alternative trade alliance known as ALBA-which stands for the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas and means “Dawn” in Spanish-was held in Caracas on January 25-26. The brainchild of Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro, ALBA was founded by Cuba and Venezuela in 2004 as a fair trade alternative to US-backed free trade policies and is made possible thanks to Venezuela’s oil money. When Evo Morales was elected in Bolivia and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, they too joined ALBA, which Chavez has nicknamed the Club of “Chicos Malos”, or bad boys, because of its opposition to U.S. domination. At this weekend’s meeting, the Caribbean island of Dominica also joined, and representatives attended from Ecuador, Honduras, Uruguay, Haiti and several other Caribbean nations. Chavez opened the session talking about the need for a trade system that

QUOTE OF THE DAY : Indo-Afghan Relations

" After the US, Japan and the UK, India provides the highest aid to Afghanistan, not counting the institutions. But this is not why the Afghans have an incredible affection for India. The reasons must lie in shared histories. The barrier of religion is crossed here. In no country have I felt more welcomed than in Afghanistan. We need to put ourselves out a little more at the people level to return some of the warmth we receive in Afghanistan, where the heart opens when you say where you are from . " --ANAND K. SAHAY, " Remember the Khabuliwallah " Source: From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 5, Issue 5, Dated Feb 09, 2008 AFGHANISTAN : Honored to Be Your Host By Lisa Moore Posted 3/18/07 U.S. News & World Report Special Report: How They Do It Better Being a generous host in Afghanistan is akin to a sacred duty-an obligation of honor, even of life and death. A host must provide food, shelter, and protection for a guest, whether friend or stranger. "Not

Remember the Kabuliwallah? Incensed at the Western occupation but fearful of the Taliban’s return, ordinary Afghans are looking up to old friend India. ANAND K. SAHAY looks back on a trip full of surprises AFGHANISTAN IS a hard place; its hills and mountains are symmetrical but bare, and loom when least expected; the plains are dusty places that run unbroken, despairingly, for miles, now narrowing when mountains take shape, now widening, and then without warning turning into forbidding deep gorges that elicit both awe and anxiety. The people of the country have a well deserved reputation as gritty fighters. But there is something else about them too. They have a soft side which is hard to miss. This is the least expected part of being in Afghanistan. Mostly, our images derive from imperial era stories of brave but brutal men who sent British armies scurrying back through the Khyber Pass in disarray, who would first kill and only then

Medvedev’s Last Battle Before Kremlin Debut

Russia Intelligence Politics & Business inside Russia 31 January 2008 No. 70 Reposted from Russia Profile The arrest of Semyon Mogilevich in Moscow on Jan. 23 is a considerable development on Russia’s current political landscape. His profile is altogether singular: linked to a crime gang known as “solntsevo” and sought in the United States for money-laundering and fraud, Mogilevich lived an apparently peaceful existence in Moscow in the renowned Rublyovka road residential neighborhood in which government figures and businessmen rub shoulders . In truth, however, he was involved in at least two types of business. One was the sale of perfume and cosmetic goods through the firm Arbat Prestige, whose manager and leading “official” shareholder is Vladimir Nekrasov who was arrested at the same time as Mogilevich as the two left a restaurant at which they had lunched. The charge that led to their incarceration was evading taxes worth around 1.5 million euros

De?mo-narchy Of Democratic Republic of India - 2 By Published 07/27/2007 Indian Politics Indians are proud to declare theirs is the largest democracy in the World --undisputedly so. The question in this article is - is it the best, or how good is Indian Democracy, not how large. The answer is depressing for all of us, who grew up dreaming during British occupation of India, that one day we would form a great democracy the envy of the world. Westerners claim that democracy is inherent to their culture with the beginnings of Roman State- albeit it was limited to a few thousand elite, the rest being slaves. Indian political theorists claim that we had even richer history of democracy from Vedic times as illustrated in village panchayats. (See ) However, current trends in Indian constitutional democracy are disheartening. The real threat to Indian democracy is from the new breed of politicians who are taking advantage of the institution of democr