Archive for May, 2008

Here is the list for top 10 nations with the highest inflation in the world; starting with the lowest tot he top-most:

10. Serbia: 15.5%

Serbia’s fragile economy, which mostly rests on agriculture, services and some manufacturing activity, has been going through a reform process for a long time. However, economic sanctions that were imposed on the nations in the 1990s have hit Serbia’s economy so hard that its myriad economic problems continue to this day.

Unemployment is rampant, foreign investment is down to a trickle, foreign exchange reserves are low, and political instability are keeping good projects from taking off.

Although the nation is growing at a robust pace, the rising inflation — currently at 15.5% — is hurting the Serbian economy.

9. Afghanistan: 17%

Afghanistan has long been a theater of conflict and that has affected its economy adversely. Perpetual battles, an environment of fear, lack of infrastructure, industry and services has led to a once-proud nation turn into one of the world’s poorest. The inflation rate in Afghanistan is at 17%.

The influx of billions of dollars of international aid has not really helped the economy much, although it is supposed to be much better now than it was in 2002.

8. Democratic Republic of Congo: 18.2%

Global investors do not feel that the Republic of Congo has a foreigner-friendly investment environment as it does not offer any incentive to the investor. Added to that a disorganized yet costly work force, high electricity costs, irregular supply of raw material, occasional civil unrest, political instability have only added to Congo’s woes.

And even as the nation grapples with its myriad problems, the Congolese economy has been going from bad to worse. And its current rate of inflation is 18.2%.

7. Uzbekistan: 19.8%

Uzbekistan is slowly moving from a somewhat closed to a market-based economy. The economic reforms have helped achieve some growth, but not nearly as much as the nation would ideally like to enjoy.

Also, lack of infrastructure, tight state control over the economy, occasional skirmishes with neighbouring nations, and an unstable political environment have seen inflation rise sharply here.

The nation’s inflation rate is at 19.8% currently.

6. Myanmar: 20%

Myanmar is one of the world’s poorest nations. It has suffered immensely under military rule for decades and has been categorized as one of the ‘least developed countries’ in the world by the United Nations. Its inflation rate is at 20%.

The economy of Myanmar is mostly controlled by the military junta leaving little room for private entrepreneurship or growth.

The military regime has also decided to do away with all reforms suggested by economists, throwing the nation’s economy into further turmoil.

5. Yemen: 20.8%

Yemen is going through terrible times. The Yemeni economy is experiencing an inflation rate of 20.8%.

More than 87% of Yemenis live for less than $2 a day. About 52% of children less than 5 years old suffer from malnutrition.

Most of the people are engaged in agriculture, followed by the services and infrastructure sectors, while unemployment is rampant at 35 per cent.

4. San Tome and Principe: 23.1%

The mainstay of the economy of San Tome and Principe, an African nation, is agriculture. The main export from the nation is cocoa. It also exports coconut, coffee, etc.

The current inflation rate in San Tome and Principe is at 23.1%.

The country does not produce enough to meet domestic demand and thus is forced to import some essential commodities. With prices of food and other essential items rising in the global markets, imports for the nation have become almost unsustainable, leading to high prices and inflation.

The nation has undertaken myriad measure to reform the economy, but it is still early days and the results of liberalisation will only be noticeable over a period of time.

3. Guinea: 30.9%

Guinea is also one of the world’s poorest countries. The inflation in the nation is at 30.9%.

Although blessed with rich mineral wealth — with huge iron ore, gold and diamond deposits — Guinea has been languishing as one of the poorest nations on earth with large-scale unemployment, lack of industry and infrastructure dogging it.

2. Iraq: 53.2%

War-torn Iraq is also facing a huge problem, not only on the political front but also on the economic one. Inflation in Iraq is running a muck. It currently stands at 53.2%.

Rising oil prices, political instability, terrorism and the other post-conflict dynamics have led to inflation in the nation rise to unmanageable proportions

Some hurried counter-by the Iraqi central bank to curb inflation too have added fuel to the fire.

1. Zimbabwe: 355,000%!

The inflation in Zimbabwe for the month of March 2008 rose to 355,000%! Yes, 355,000 per cent! It more than doubled from the February figure of 165,000%.

Economists say that it is a miracle that the Zimbabwean economy is still surviving and prices have been rising to unprecedented proportions. Inflation surged between February and March following the sudden rise in money supply that flooded the economy to finance the 2008 elections. Apart from this food and non-alcoholic beverages continued to drive up inflation.

Almost 80% of the nation is unemployed. The Zimbabwean central bank has introduced $500 million bearer cheques (or currency notes) for the public, and $5 billion, $25 billion, $50 billion agro-cheques for farmers. Just last fortnight the nation had introduced $250 million bearer cheques.

A sausage sandwich sells for Zimbabwean $50 million. A 15-kg bag of potatoes cost Zimbabwean $260 million. But then, Zimbabwean $50 million is roughly equal to US$ 1!

Courtesy: Rediff.com

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With Airbus 380 to be in India soon; with some major airlines like KingFisher Airlines getting them for their International flights; lets take a look at how the Airbus actually looks like:

The Airbus 380

The Airbus A380 is the world’s largest passenger plane. It is also the heaviest and the costliest commercial passenger aircraft ever built. If you want to buy it, it will cost you more than $300 million apiece.

The super jumbo is gigantic, like a Titanic in the sky. It’s tail stands seven stories high; and the plane is as wide as a soccer field, stretching 260 feet from wingtip to wingtip. It is also as long as two blue whales.

Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE SYSTEMS. It began life as a French-German consortium in 1970 that was soon joined by Spain and later Britain. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, with subsidiaries in North America, China and Japan, Airbus Industrie draws on a global network of more than 1,500 suppliers in over 30 countries.

Airbus developed the A380 as the most spacious and efficient airliner ever conceived. This 525-seat aircraft (853, if configured for only economy clasa) is designed to deliver an unparalleled level of comfort.

The A380 redefines the meaning of comfort for all passengers – whether they are premium customers in First and Business class, or leisure travelers in the Economy cabin.

Its double-deck passenger cabins are wider than other airliners in service today, offering the possibility for wider seats and aisles, along with more open spaces and access to optional passenger amenities such as business centres and social areas.

A380 has 33 per cent more seats compared to a 747-400 but 50 per cent more cabin area and volume.

To create the A380 cabin, the most spacious and comfortable yet designed for a large commercial aircraft, Airbus went to great lengths to find out what passengers themselves wanted.

Vast cabin mock-ups were conducted in eight major cities on three continents and the views of 1,200 frequent travellers – male and female and from a range of cultures and nationalities – were recorded.

Compared to a 747, the A380 has larger windows and overhead bins, and 60 cm of extra headroom.

The A380 is the ultimate in luxury. It has three decks: the top two for passengers and the lower one available for a medical centre, shopping or a fast-food franchise.

The aircraft has features like spas, casinos, gyms, bedrooms, and duty-free shops. Some airlines also plan to fix staterooms with beds, showers, a water feature, a double-width staircase between decks, and luxurious, book-lined club-style bars.

The A380 has wider seats and aisles, open spaces for passengers to stretch their legs and access to lower-deck amenities, thus offering unparalleled comfort.

The A380 generates only half the noise level at take-off and flight as compared with other aircraft. It meets the most stringent international certification and safety requirements, and uses the latest technologies for materials, systems and industrial processes.

The A380 has bigger seats and more space between them.

The A380 will fly on the busiest routes. Singapore Airlines was the first to fly the A380 in mid-2006 on high-traffic routes, especially to London, New York, Tokyo and Sydney.

BAA, the London Heathrow airport operator, has spending $850 million in terminal and airfield modifications to accommodate the super jumbo.

No it is not a luxury hotel room!

This is a first class seat bed on board the first Airbus A380 superjumbo.

Some airlines have opted to offer 12 first class single suites on its first Airbus A380 flight. Two suites joined together becomes a double suite fitted with a 23-inch — yes 23-inch — television and beds that turn into leather day chairs.

Coffee in bed, anyone?

The A380 will change the way we fly. Especially for the wealthy.

Business class passengers — 60 seats on this flight — had access to an in-flight bar.

This is what an A380 library, a shopping kiosk, a communication centre look like.

The plane also has a fitness centre. Some airlines even plan to have a swimming pool on board and will also do away with the traditional trolley service during meal times and will have self-service food counters for its passengers.

The aircraft has more space for in-flight sales and it could have a duty-free shop onboard.

he A380 cockpit has eight identical large interactive displays on the main instrument panel, with cursor control provided through a track-ball.

The displays provide a much larger screen area with clearer presentations, and they are augmented by a HUD (head-up display) that increases pilot situational awareness, particularly during the approach and landing phases.

The Brake-to-Vacate system, designed by a multinational Airbus team, helps ease airport congestion and reduce the amount of time an aircraft remains on the runway.

Enabling pilots to select a runway exit while the aircraft is making its landing approach, Brake-to-Vacate uses the auto-flight, flight controls, and auto-brake systems to regulate deceleration after touchdown.

This allows the aircraft to reach a specified exit at the correct speed under optimum conditions.

Folks travelling on the A380 in the economy class will not exactly be slumming it. This plane offers much more room for long legs that may prevent air travel-induced illnesses like deep vein thrombosis.

It is, no doubt, a spacious plane. In an economy-only configuration, it can accommodate 853 people.

Despite its ability to carry 35 per cent more passengers than its competitor, the A380 burns 12 per cent less fuel per seat – reducing operating costs and minimising its effects on the environment at the same time through fewer emissions.

The A380 burns fuel per passenger at a rate comparable to that of an economical family car.

Thanks to the incorporation of the latest advances in structures, materials, aerodynamics, systems and engine design, the A380 provides a direct operating cost per seat which is 15-20 per cent lower than the 747-400.

New-generation engines, combined with an advanced wing and landing gear design makes the A380 significantly quieter than other airlines – enabling the very large aircraft to meet strict local regulations at airports around the world.

In passenger operations, the A380 retains significant cargo capability in its lower deck while accommodating 525-plus passengers on the two main decks.

The A380’s lower deck is designed to accept all standard underfloor cargo pallets and containers.

The A380 cabin is the quietest cabin in the sky. Reducing cabin noise levels increases passenger comfort and well-being, and is an important factor in limiting the fatigue normally associated with long haul travel.

Passengers that have flown in the A380 have confirmed its cabin to be significantly quieter.

The A380 flight deck is also the quietest in the skies, improving working conditions for the flight crew.

With its superior cabin design and unique servicing concept, and thanks to a close cooperation with the aircraft ground handling industry, the A380 can spend less time at the gate between two flights.

Initial production of the A380 was troubled by delays attributed to the 530 km (330 miles) of wiring in each aircraft.

Airbus announced the first delay in June 2005 and notified airlines that delivery would slip by six months. This reduced the number of planned deliveries by the end of 2009 from about 120 to 90-100.

Airbus so far has received orders for 192 aircraft. It has already delivered four to Singapore Airlines.

The new airplane, received on April 27 will operate the route from Singapore to Tokyo.

The other 3 Airbus A-380, currently fly from Singapore to Sidney (since October 25, 2007) and London (since March, 18, 2008).

Virgin Atlantic has announced plans to include casinos, double beds, and gymnasiums on its A380s.

Singapore Airlines offers twelve fully-enclosed first-class suites on its A380, each with one full and one secondary seat, full-sized bed, desk, personal storage, and 58-cm (23-inch) LCD screen at a 20 to 25 per cent price premium over standard first class seating.

Four of these suites are in the form of two ‘double’ suites featuring a double bed.

Emirates has not yet revealed their front-end A380 product although Qantas Airways has shown their product which features a long flat-bed that converts from the seat but does not have privacy doors.

First class passengers of Emirates’ it seems will be able to shower on the A380!

Airbus 380 is not just about comfort and space, but a lifetime’s experience.

Courtesy: Rediff.com

Images:Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images

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Social Media Influence recently displayed the list for top 10 brands of YouTube. So, here they go:

  1. Nike – “Ronaldinho: Touch of Gold” – Viewed 22,581,372 times
  2. Pepsi – “PEPSI (Britney Spears, Beyonce, Pink – We Will Rock You)” – Viewed 14,050,586 times
  3. McDonalds – “Fast Food Freestyle” – Viewed 11,744,399 times
  4. Coca-Cola – “Diet Coke+Mentos=Human experiment: EXTREME GRAPHIC CONTENT” – Viewed 8,583,526 times
  5. Unilever – “Dove Evolution” – Viewed 6,727,556 times
  6. Disney – “Internet is for Porn” – Viewed 3,278,230 times
  7. Budweiser – “Banned Super Bowl 2007 Bud commercial” – Viewed 2,149,516 times
  8. Microsoft – “Microsoft Surface Parody” – Viewed 2,068,861 times. 3,322 comments
  9. IKEA – “Banned Commercial – Swedish Midsummer” – Viewed 1,483,858 times
  10. Toyota – “Top Gear: Killing a Toyota Part 1” – Viewed 1,132,279 times

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It may feel strange for some people as they read the topic of the post. But few incidents in the past month where am I staying with some of my friends encouraged me to go for this post.

Life is a cobweb and few of us try to understand it. We are different from the animals in the only way is that we live in a social intellectual world. I stay with two of my friends-one being my close and dear Friend Debu and m classmate at IIITB and another being my senior at IIITB, Shibashis. Both of them are good but there is something wrong with the second guy; I feel.

Firstly, last month, Shibu fell ill and went into such a situation that he was not able to move at all. Both of us helped him a lot; which I feel he should not also deny it. Apart from carrying him to the doctor, cleaning his vomits and making food; we struggled a lot during that time especially after returning from th hectic schedule of the office. Now, the real story begins. Even after not recovering completely, the guy moves out in the weekend for his stupid so-called Bengali Samiti Program. And to the surprise, he returns back home at 3pm with full confidence of having lunch at home and guess what, i did that as Debu was in Chennai to meet his brother.

The following week, his parents arrive (its OK as even though he has recovered completely), the father stays for 2 days and then moves out but again to the surprise, he makes his mother stay with us for more than a month without consulting any of us and that when he is not staying alone rather sharing a house ignoring others’ presence and privacy. Great..I can’t ever imagine a guy like this in my distant dream but yes, such guys do exist.

His mother stays with us for more than a month. I always felt that though it was bit more demanding from my side; but managed as mothers cannot be compared with anyone and here anyone is ANYONE but atleast he should have consulted us before making someone stay.

Next, on the line was the celebration of the birthday of Rabindranath Tagore. Do Tagore symbolizes just Bengalis or West Bengal? Perhaps, at least if you would have looked at this guy, Shibu and his co. Shibu becomes the President of his so-called Bengali Samiti.  Now, almost every day someone is invited by our so-esteemed President to have lunch/dinner at home. Not bad. But its not good when your so-called samiti or the President does not pay for it himself. And the crowd could have been most welcome had the President be staying at White House or Raj Bhavan; but so-President stays at a place; that we need to come to figure it out. Moreover, the President’s friends are from so noble cultured homes that they smoke among the non-smokers and leave their plates as it is after having food without washing.

Further, there are no timings to enter or exit the house; no matter what the other two poor little guys might think. The only appropriate time is his (the President-Shibu) timing. Add on to this, the President has not contributed a single penny except buying 1 Kg or so fish.

But the most astonishing moment for me was-He left with his friends to the WonderLa in Bangalore leaving his mother at home alone. When I asked that he would have taken his mother with him-hi answer was-“That place is not for people like them and it is more for the younger people like him”. Now, thats the VALUE ADDITION for him. In contrast to that, I have seen very-very old people in USA enjoying DisneyLand, SeaWorld, Clubs, Parties and roller coasters like a child. And guess, what people like Shibu do. I am very upset with people like them.

These people forget that when they were small child, their parents used to take them to various places like Melas and all, where as a child you need not understand and when you grow up and become intelligent, they decide which are the places their parents can visit with them and which are not. Parents spent their whole life looking for our prosperity and happiness and when it is their time to enjoy, why do we guys behave like this.

And Guess what, this guy aspires to do PhD and become a doctorate. A person, who could not look after the comfort and enjoyment of his/her parents, can we expect him to do any good to the society. That is a severe crisis when the young generation is caught in India between their own culture and the so-too Western Culture (Though honestly speaking I could not see it anywhere during my 2 and a half months stay at the most developed country of the world-USA).

These people happily celebrated Tagore’s Birthday without realizing the true values of their life–Social Cause as these Bengali Samiti can hardly do anything for the society for the human cause; these people can only do for their own personal cause. They did all these stuff when people died in the Jaipur Blasts; a sever cyclone in Burma and earthquake in China. I can bet not a single rupee would have gone for these disasters.

Now, its high time we decide whether humanitarian values are important or the so-called hollow and fake cultural values. Its time to boycott such events and try to channelize money for some good cause.

Sorry, for being too critical in this post but I could not resist myself from mentioning this weird and most horrible experience of my life.

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Recently, India and US governments have indulged in bad verbal spat over food shortage. There is no denying the fact that the population of countries like India, Pakistan and China is growing at such an alarming rate; and with growing wealth and economies, the consumption has increased but the consumption has increased all over the world; thus, resulting in the increase in the consumption of the food on the domestic front; though all of them are self-sufficient in themselves. I happened to read an article today at Rediff.com; which in my opinion are true to a great extent with figures mentioned therein. The solution to the problem is to curb the population growth rather than blaming each other. We should always remember, to be better we need to look at the good examples and try to excel them rather than blaming on the attitude of some bad examples (like what our Sourav Ganguly did by blaming the past attitude of Shane Warne). I don’t understand being an Indian, why we tend to not to accept our own mistakes and try to make others see how the other guy did the same way. There will be always good and bad but we have to decide which one we have to take in order to progress.

Anyways, here is the article:

Real facts behind food crisis

Biofuel is blamed nowadays for the ever-increasing food shortages with increased production of biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel drives rice prices at $1,000 per metric ton compared to $200-300 per metric ton for most of this decade.

The situation is compounded by some rice exporters withdrawing supplies from the market and the general rise in all commodity prices.

A closer look at the numbers shows a global industry at the beginning of a transition that will have major impacts on production, consumption and trade.

According to USDA estimates, the US accounted for an average of 11.5 per cent of world exports of rice for calendar years 2004 through 2007 and is projected at 12.7 per cent for 2008. US exports will increase to 3.5 million metric tons while world total exports decline to 27.5 MMT.

The largest rice exporter is Thailand at 9.0 MMT for 2007/08, 32.7 per cent of world exports, down 0.5 MMT from 2006/07 and up from 7.3 MMT in 2004/05 and 2005/06.

Thailand’s peak export year was 10.1 MMT in 2003/04. Rice production in Thailand was a record 18.5 MMT in 2007/08 and consumption is expected to be flat at 9.6 MMT. Thailand continues to monitor export sales.

Vietnam is the second largest rice exporter at 4.0 MMT, 14.6 per cent of the world total, and down from 4.5 MMT in 2006/07, 4.7 MMT in 2005/06 and 5.2 MMT in 2004/05, the peak of a 15 year export spurt that began at 1.0 MMT in 1990/91 and coincided with an almost doubling of rice production.

Domestic consumption in 2007/08 is expected to increase by 1.0 MMT to 19.7 MMT. Vietnam has imposed export restrictions.

US rice acreage in 2008 is expected to be 2.77 million acres, up slightly from 2.76 million acres in 2007, but small in comparison to US acreage for corn at 86.0 million, soybeans at 74.8 million and wheat at 63.8 million.

US rice plantings were 3.38 million acres as recently as 2005, and the decline in acreage in 2006 preceded the price increases for corn that began in the fall of 2006. These changes in US rice acreage and exports are not sufficient to drive fundamental changes in world markets.

China has a major role in rice production and use and a minor, and changing, role in rice trade. In the 2007-08 marketing year China accounted for 19.2 per cent of world rice plantings and produced 129.5 MMT of rice, 30.4 per cent of world production of 425.3 MMT.

Chinese consumption is expected to be 127.0 MMT, 29.9 per cent of world use of 424.2 MMT.

In recent years China has imported about 0.5 MMT of rice per year while exporting about 1 MMT, down from 3 MMT per year as recently as the late 1990s. China has increased export taxes to stop new export sales.

The fourth largest rice exporter is India at 3.0 MMT, 10.9 per cent of the world total, and down from 5.0 MMT in 2006/07, 4.5 MMT in 2005/06 and 4.7 MMT in 2004/05.

India exported 6.3 MMT in 2001/02. India’s production of 94.0 MMT in 2007/08 is record large and the third good crop in a row. Domestic consumption is also at a record of 90.4 MMT and up from 80.7 MMT in 2004/05.

The Indian government is battling consumer price increases that are averaging 7 per cent per year and has announced export restrictions on rice.

Pakistan is expected to be the fifth largest exporter in 2007/08 at 2.9 MMT, 10.6 per cent of world exports, up from 2.4 MMT in 2006/07, but down from 3.6 MMT in 2005/06 and 3.0 MMT in 2004/05. Before that, exports averaged about 2.0 MMT per year.

Production for 2007/08 was 5.4 MMT, up from 5.2 MMT in 2006/07 and just off the record production of 5.5 MMT in 2005/06. Domestic rice consumption is stable and stocks are adequate.

Compared to other major crops, only 6.5 per cent of rice is traded in global markets. That compares to 17.9 per cent for wheat, flour and products, 12.4 per cent for corn and 34.2 per cent for soybeans.

If China and India are removed, rice trade of the remaining countries is 11.6 per cent of production. China and India produced 223.5 MMT of rice, 52.6 per cent of world production, and have 4-6 MMT of exports, 1.8-2.7 per cent of their combined production and 14.7-21.8 per cent of world trade.

China and India are also expected to have 49.7 MMT of carryover stocks at the end of the current marketing year, 64.4 per cent of the world total. The other major exporters will have total end of year stocks of only 4.7 MMT.

With large populations, strong economic growth and internal food price pressures, China and India could quickly disappear from the rice export market. Thailand, Vietnam and the US are more committed to export markets.

Some importers are already talking about creating incentives for more domestic production. The Philippines, the largest importer at 1.9 MMT, has plans to encourage output. Indonesia has a record crop and is limiting exports to keep the supply available to avoid imports.

Courtesy: Rediff.com

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