India’s neighbours tend to think that its leaders spend much time plotting to influence events in their own countries. South Asia’s overweening regional power, they assume, is obsessed with what goes on across its borders in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, the Maldives, and of course China.
The manifestos released by the national Indian parties ahead of the current general election suggest that these assumptions are wrong. Continue reading »
More tragic news from the frontline of Venezuela’s crime scene: the murder in front of their five year-old daughter of Mónica Spear, a former beauty queen and soap opera star, and her British-born ex-husband at the hands of a gang of armed robbers this week.
It is doubtful that the assailants had much on their mind beyond armed robbery – which they knew could end in murder, an outcome not unusual in a Venezuela ravaged by violence. In that sense, the deaths are just more statistics in a country with one of highest murder rates in the world, up there with Honduras, El Salvador, Ivory Coast and Jamaica. Continue reading »
How do you get Reliance’s Mukesh Ambani, Rahul Bajaj of Bajaj Auto (both pictured left) and Infosys’ Kris Gopalakrishnan on the same team?
The answer, it seems, is to bring a little Washington to Delhi. The Brookings Institution, a highly-regarded think-tank, is opening an Indian affiliate, and many of India’s big names have signed up. Continue reading »
China’s “little Emperors” have got a lot of bad press in the 30-odd years since Mao Zedong created a generation of pampered and pilloried only children with the “one child policy”. It did not help that KFC, the Western fast food behemoth, opened its first restaurant in China soon afterwards, helping plump up the little darlings to the point where obesity is a problem for children whose parents and grandparents lived through famine.
But now an Australian study has even less nice to say about the generation that dominates China’s labour force. It says the one-child policy has created a generation of risk avoiders. Hardly good news for Beijing’s plan to create an innovation nation by producing millions of Chinese replicas of Steve Jobs. Continue reading »
A bit of a climbdown by the Chinese government on its yellow traffic light rule, which made running a yellow light as bad as running a red one.
Beijing, it seems, is increasingly ready to give ground on some issues prompting popular protest – unless the issues are really big ones. Continue reading »
China was already notorious for traffic jams but driving on its roads has just got that much more frustrating. A new rule forbids cars from “running” yellow lights and advises drivers to slow down on approaching intersections even when the light is green.
The intention behind the rule is a good one: to make roads safer. But on suffering mild whiplash today when the light turned yellow and my taxi driver slammed the brakes a few feet short of the intersection, it occurred to me that the authorities had not fully grasped the consequences of overturning a century-old worldwide traffic convention. Continue reading »
“I’m a finance minister. I have to present a positive picture!” That’s how a cheerful Guido Mantega defended his dismissal of Credit Suisse’s call on the Brazilian economy back in June – a call for GDP growth of just 1.5 per cent that looks dangerously close to coming true.
But the smiles were gone when Mantega, visiting the FT on Thursday, turned to the question of QE3: “The US pursues protectionist policies. Any country that manipulates its currency is practicing protectionism. We don’t do that.” Continue reading »