Archive for May 23rd, 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

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »