Tokyo is the most expensive city in the world. Osaka is the second most. Japan is certainly not a country for the faint-hearted! Here is a list of the most expensive cities in the world. 10. Geneva 9. Caracas 8. Paris 7. Zurich 6. Singapore 5. Melbourne 4. Oslo 3. …Read More »
Came across a very interesting article on Huffington Post: Why doesn’t Asia have Religion? It is a point that is important to make and so difficult to do so in the current world, which has been contaminated by the very idea of religion as the only sacrosanct way to God. …Read More »
Heads of States of various countries came together for a Gala Dinner ahead of ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It was held at Cambodia’s Diamond Island Convention Center on Monday. All the guests wore colorful shirts which reflected how the Cambodians do it. The bright colors added to the …Read More »
Came across a very interesting article about the blogging trends in Japan and India vis-a-vis the Western Blogosphere. It seems, even though English speakers to Japanese Speakers ratio is 5:1 in the world, the blogosphere is dominated by Japanese as opposed to English in terms of number of blogs. Japanese …Read More »
Japan is a remarkably homogenous country and people have to invent differences for prejudice to find a play. For, differences bring distinctions for some and inferiority for others. So they have come up with Blood Type defining the character, temperament and personality of people. In fact people ask Blood type …Read More »
Tensions between China and Japan are running high these days. And from the looks of it, it doesn’t seem like this will come down anytime soon. One of the consequences of this is that the Japanese companies are switching from China to India as the investment destination. “Strong growth and …Read More »
Singapore is a very green and clean city. I took a short hour and a half tour of the city, courtesy the airport tours. The Guide was knowledgeable and funny and very engaging. I took some pictures in the city. Some of the sites are spectacular though. [scrollGallery id=11]Read More »
I landed in Singapore early in the morning around 7 am. It was foggy to begin with, and after a long over 20 hours of a flight stopping in Moscow, Russia; this was a welcome stop. I still have some hours of flying time to get to the Motherland. But …Read More »
Most people are not satisfied with where they are. They would like to move out of their present countries to “greener pastures”. It seems of all the destinations in the world, US of A is the most desired. 150 million of the world’s adults would like to move to US. …Read More »
If you are an Indian or Chinese student, the chances are you are discriminated when it comes to College Admissions in the US. This is being proved by repeated studies and also from the complaints against some premier colleges like Harvard and Princeton. The explanations offered try their best to …Read More »
The American Classical music scene is a strange and interesting game of musical chairs when it comes to the audiences. The White American audience, which predominated the classical music halls is dispropotionately older (45-54 yrs). And as this older generation moves out due to death, disease to non-attendance – a …Read More »
A nuclear catastrophe is potentially around the corner. After the earthquake affected the Japanese nuclear plant, three explosions and a fire have occurred in four days.Read More »
Humanity demands fairness and goodness. Even in war civility is the way for a more peaceful world. That's what our instincts say and that is what is most ethical.However, when one goes back to history, one sees that those who were ruthless and not shy of completing a hostile exercise to its logical end, were more successful. Whether it is right or wrong.. good or bad, the truth is that the in war and in fighting half-way never works. Either you go the full way or don't start at all.If you look at the Islamic conquests, the European invaders, including the British and the US in WW-II against Japan, one would see that the reason why they changed the history was because they ruthlessly put the opposition down. They would either kill every body en-mass or they would take them as slaves. All these examples (except to some extent, the US action in WW-II) are examples of aggression and not self defence. Whether the proponents put a cloak of religious expansion and spreading the "love" of their Prophet or Leader, cannot hide the aggressive intent.Nevertheless, If you are fighting an opposition in a war then civility in war of treating your opposition with humanity has not been a best practice. We, in India, have been the prime exponent of that - from Prithviraj Chauhan (against Ghori) to Indira Gandhi (in 1971 against ZA Bhutto and Pakistan).Again, I know our culture does believes that being good to your opponent in war IS a virtue but if you would read history you would realize that it is somehow not the best practice.Sri Lanka has been suffering for decades now from the Tamil terrorism. The Tamil "tigers" were like mad warriors on hire for money as terrorism had seeped deep into their blood. ISI could hire LTTE operatives for a few thousand dollars to do suicide bombings or terror attacks anywhere in the sub continent. Sheikh Hasina's assassination attempt by LTTE financed by ISI was a prime example of that. There was NO way to clearly separate a "Normal and peace loving" Sri lankan Tamil from a "terrorist Sri Lankan Tamil".That terrorist machine has finally come to an end.Today, the news came that Vellupillai Prabhakaran, the 54-year-old founder-chief of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE); and his son Charles Anthony along with LTTE intelligence chief Pottu Amman, Sea Tiger chief, Soosai were dead.Read More »
Many times we do not realize the issues sitting from afar of a country. In Afghanistan there is the threat of Taliban - which is pretty serious - but then where Taliban is not there.. there is corruption. Corruption that is institutionalized by Hamid Karzai and his coterie and also the Western powers, US included.Here is an excellent case study of Dr. Mohammed Atash, the former president of Ariana, Afghanistan’s largest commercial airline - and how he was subjected to hell by Karzai, the politically connected managers, and the Western Companies.. to a position that he ran away from Afghanistan back to the US.Read More »
Sri Lankan Army has finally entered Kilinochchi, the de-facto capital of LTTE in North East Sri lanka. It was, however, a ghost town that was abandoned as the LTTE moved its operations further in the North East jungles.In the previous two attempts, Sri Lankan forces face still challenge and aggression from the LTTE and had many casualties. This time they surrounded the town from three sides and then entered.I applaud the Sri Lankan Army. It is a complete shame that India is not helping the SLA overtly and strongly in routing out the LTTE terrorists from the jungles and towns of Sri Lanka. I feel that if they cannot see or contribute to any good of that society, they have no right to be part of that country.Read More »
In the latest "Failed States Index, 2008" by Foreign Policy, four countries in our neighborhood have ended up in top 15. The list headed by Somalia, has Afghanistan as #7, and Pakistan at #9, Bangladesh and Burma are in a dead heat at #12! Pakistan and Afghanistan are two sometimes-friends-sometimes-enemies are very close to each other. And if Taliban has its way, then they may be together... failed!
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China and Pakistan have carefully cultivated Nepal as their territory for last 10 years. And it has been a complete failure of India to not have anything to stop it! At the very least I would have expected the BJP government to have done something about it but even they did not do anything!Read More »
I know many in Pakistan have been trying to speak negative about India.. but I came across this interview with the Afghan Ambassador to India where he talks about the Indo-Afghan relations. I think the facts are self evident. Also read the thoughts of Astad Deboo on his visit to Afghanistan where he talks about his performances and the general life in Kabut and Herat. He mentions how the Indian soaps (Kyunki Saas etc) have influenced the women there.. as many have named their daughters Tulsi. Astad Deboo has been awarded Padma Shree and is a top ranking innovative modern dancer of India.
As an ambassador to India for the last nine-and-a-half years, through the different ups and downs of my country, India has played a great positive role
The Afghan people and Indian people should know this. It should be recorded in the history of the two nations. Whether it was the government of I K Gujral, H D Deve Gowda or Atal Bihari Vajpayee or Manmohan Singh. All the institutions of your country, Parliament and others, were indeed keen to help Afghanistan -- not because of their problem with Pakistan. Independently.
When I became ambassador here, Commander Masood was in Kabul and Mr (Burhanuddin) Rabbani was the president, I found that they (the Indian government) were cooperative. When the Taliban captured Kabul, (then external affairs minister) I K Gujral announced at the United Nations that India recognised President Rabbani and Commander Masood, though they were not in Kabul then.Read More »
The entire Persian belt (Iran and Iraq) is a big mess! Iran had been getting its nuke technology from AQ Khan and the North Korea (well to be precise - from CHINA).. while the US and others in the West had ostensibly no freaking idea. And then when Bush came in to power, he wanted to avenge for his father and so wanted to hit Saddam Hussain. He did. But with that he took down so much - for starters over 4000 American soldiers. The war gave nothing except mess and more terrorists.
For past sometime, Iran has seen a light in that area as they can push up the Shias and control most of the area. It is their backyard for God's sake! So it finances and helps those Shias. If the US had let Iran remain doing that and leave the place slowly, it would have been fine. But the current generation of US politicians brought up on a staple of Viagara have tried to muddy their hands in Iran as well by threatening it. For a force that cannot handle Iraq, to threaten others in the neighborhood is stupidity! And the funny thing is that Iran is not even close to being the fountain-head of terrorism. That's Pakistan! So, another sojourn is in the offing for the US soldiers - to a country that has been made to become an enemy!
Israel - correctly so - is worried for its existence as Ahmedinejad is busy issuing threats to that country.Read More »
A few years back I had visited Malaysia. It is a very progressive and modern nation by any standards, specially by the Asian standards. I kept wondering what sustained the growth of that small nation (compared to India at least)? What was it besides the palm oil that it exported.
Well, Malaysia's exports are now around USD 305 billion. And although Palm oil is a major part of its exports.. it is not the main thing. The main exports are electrical and electronics and manufactured goods. Here is the break up:Read More »
Look at this scenario.. and imagine the economic effect of this scenario! Can you imagine if the rising and the growing societies of Asia united just as European societies have? How powerful would that block be!
A direct drive from anywhere in India to Vietnam. A train line from Delhi to Hanoi. Countries sharing energy resources -- not just petroleum products, think foreign help during an electricity grid failure. Trade, financial bonding, cooperation in education, information-technology.
This is what the Indian PM Dr. Manmohan Singh is in Philippines for!Read More »
Malaysian consortium is offering to build (and then operate and transfer - or BOT) the highways in India... some especially important and significantly useful highways. This is what is lacking in India currently. Malaysia, on the other hand, has nice looking highways in their country with wonderful work having been done in terms of their infrastructure... specially their metro and the airport at KL!!
The project, to be executed on a build-operate-transfer basis in a phased manner, envisages two expressways: one linking Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune; the other connecting Delhi and Kolkata.Read More »
Here is LG's new "Shine" phone. Man, North America's world in electronics is in pre-historic times compared to South Korea and Japan. Even stuff in India looks high-tech now compared to the US!Read More »
This is a pretty scary scenario!! If a few telecom lines under-sea are cut off that can disrupt the communications of a country big time!! The disruption here was caused by the damage to the lines under the sea in Taiwan due to the earthquake of the magnitude of 6.7 richter. But the point is that someone's enemy could have done this too...
With one blow, Mother Nature triggered the largest telecommunications outage in years, cutting off or slowing telephone and Internet traffic in Asia from Beijing to Bangkok.Read More »