Showing posts from September, 2008

Running health care industry like banking industry?

In the run up to the upcoming US presidential election of 2008, scheduled for November 4, 2008, the 56th consecutive quadrennial United States presidential election, Barack Obama, the Senator from Illinois and the Democratic Party candidate and John McCain, the Senator from Arizona and the Republican Party candidate have been trading charges for quite a while on their election campaign trail. Obama has called McCain out for once suggesting deregulation of the health care industry like the banking industry. Obama used McCain’s words "Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation," McCain said in the magazine in their September/.October 2007issue. Obama read back the quote to the crowd and in astonishment said, “So let me get this straight – he wants to run health care like they’ve

Reliance SEZ: Fate hangs on people's verdict

Note: Government's stated purpose of creating SEZs across India is “the promotion of exports”. Kamal Nath, Commerce and Industries Minister claims that exports will ultimately grow five times, GDP will rise 2% and that 30 lakh jobs will be generated by SEZs across India. It is also claimed by the government that SEZs will attract global manufacturing through foreign direct investment (FDI), enable transfer of modern technology and will also create incentives for infrastructure. The constitutional tenability of the SEZs remains questionable. In “The Polyester Prince”, the banned biography of Dhirubhai Ambani, a senior lawyer said, view. 'Today the fact is that Ambani is bigger than government,' said the lawyer in all seriousness. 'He can make or break prime ministers. In the United States you can build up a supere corporation but the political system is still bigger than you. In India the system is weak. If the stock exchange dares to expose Ambani, he tells it: I wil

Contaminated milk kills children

China's food safety crisis has widened after the industrial chemical melamine was found in milk produced by three of the country's leading dairy companies. Chinese authorities have urged all provinces and major cities to set up 24-hour crisis hotlines to provide information and help to people affected by tainted milk. The order Saturday from the Ministry of Health follows directions Friday from China's State Council, or Cabinet, that doctors should provide free medical care for babies who have gotten kidney stones from contaminated milk. The milk, laced with the chemical melamine, is blamed for killing four infants and sickening more than 6,200 others. Recalls have been announced by Hong Kong authorities and by a major Japanese food company, Marudai Food Company, for products that may have been made with Chinese milk. Malaysia and Singapore have banned milk from China. Burmese authorities are promising to seize and destroy Chinese milk products. And the U.S.-based St

US, Europe & Russia pontificate each other

Russia Must Honor Ceasefire Terms 20 September 2008 Russia’s plans to position large troop garrisons in Georgia’s separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia threaten to further undermine the truce in the ongoing crisis in the South Caucasus. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said earlier this month that around 7,600 Russian troops will be stationed in South Ossetia and Abkhazia – 3,800 troops in each region. A cease-fire agreement that French President Nicolas Sarkozy brokered, and which President Medvedev and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili signed on August 14th, requires Russian and Georgian forces to pull back to positions they held before hostilities broke out on August 7th. The United States is extremely concerned by statements from the Russian government indicating that Russian forces will remain permanently in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. “The ceasefire agreement signed by Presidents Medvedev and Saakashvili obliges Russian troops to withdraw to the positions t

LieMeters and—these are the two websites which vet campaign statements and advertising in the US elections for the veracity of what is put out. The Los Angeles Times reports that both organizations are finding that the McCain campaign is doing more energetic misleading about Obama than vice versa.

Will This Gigantic Bailout Work?

This is what we might call the $1trillion question. That's $1,000,000,000,000, by the way. It is a little like surgery. The US government has amputated the gangrenous leg of the banking system to save the patient. But it is now preparing to graft the infected limb on to the body politic of America. The US taxpayers will be lucky if they do not feel distinctly unwell as a result of this little experiment. The truth is that simply buying the banks' worthless securities has been an option, if an unpalatable one, for the authorities since the credit crunch began a year ago. All the plans to lend against these assets, such as the Bank of England's Special Liquidity Scheme, and other "injections of liquidity", were temporary solutions, born out of a hope, if not an expectation, that the crisis would not be prolonged. We know better now. What the American authorities have done is the only sure way to protect the banking system against further destabilisation. Short-sel

High court challenge to stop toxic French ship arriving in Britain

On September 18, 2008, The Telegraph reported that Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is making inquiries into an accident at a dockyard in Graythorp. The site of the accident was the Teesside Environmental Reclamation and Recycling Centre, owned by Able UK. It was recently awarded a contract for the dismantling of asbestos-contaminated French vessel Le Clemenceau. Able will also be launching an investigation into the accident. Groups such as Friends of Hartlepool have launched a high court challenge to prevent the toxic "ghost ship" Clemenceau being dismantled at the site. Concerns about the risk of asbestos contained by ship, which is estimated to be 700 tonnes, are a motivating factor in the opposition. High court challenge to stop toxic French ship arriving in Britain A High Court challenge has been launched to stop a French aircraft carrier being broken up in Britain after it was deemed too toxic to be taken apart in India. By Sarah Knapton 3 September, 2008,

Full text of Obama's acceptance speech

To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation; With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States. Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest - a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours -- Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night. To the love of my life, our next First Lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia - I love you so much, and I&

The immediate fallout of the US crisis

US crisis When a giant tree falls, the impact is felt all around. The financial crisis on Wall Street will have its repurcussions for Indian corporates and the subsidiaries of failed blue chip investment banks such as Lehman and Merrill Lynch in India. Financing costs have risen sharply and some of the banks, even Indian banks, have gone back on financing deals. There have been cases where corporates which had gone to these banks lured by cheap financing suddenly found themselves caught on the wrong foot. Banks which had originally promised them cheap financing options, reneged on the deals. By the time they went to other banks, financing costs had risen by 20-30%. These corporates had already given firm order for plants on the back of the earlier commitment from banks. Indian banks too have started tightening the noose on credit. Most banks have started going slow on proposals and are looking not only at the best possible returns but also at the safety factor. Because of the subpr