When water started trickling down a statue of Jesus Christ at a Catholic church in Mumbai earlier this year, locals were quick to declare a miracle. Some began collecting the holy water and the Church of Our Lady of Velankanni began to promote it as a site of pilgrimage.
So when Sanal Edamaruku arrived and established that this was not holy water so much as holey plumbing, the backlash was severe. The renowned rationalist was accused of blasphemy, charged with offences that carry a three-year prison sentence and eventually, after receiving death threats, had to seek exile in Finland.
Now he is calling for European governments to press Delhi into dropping the case. And on the first leg of a tour around EU capitals on Friday, he warned that India was sacrificing freedom of expression for outdated, colonial-era rules about blasphemy.
“There is a huge contradiction in the content of the Indian constitution which guarantees freedom of speech and the blasphemy law from 1860 under then colonial rule,” Edamaruku told the Guardian in an interview in Dublin.
The online version of China’s Communist Party newspaper has hailed a report by The Onion naming North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as the “Sexiest Man Alive” – not realizing it is satire.
The People’s Daily on Tuesday ran a 55-page photo spread on its website in a tribute to the round-faced leader, under the headline “North Korea’s top leader named The Onion’s Sexiest Man Alive for 2012.”
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a person in possession of a fast internet connection must be in want of some porn.
While it’s difficult domain to penetrate — hard numbers are few and far between — we know for a fact that porn sites are some of the most trafficked parts of the internet…
It’s probably not unrealistic to say that porn makes up 30% of the total data transferred across the internet.
That’s pretty hard to swallow.
Nintendo sold more than 400,000 Wii Us in the gaming console’s first week on sale, a disappointment compared with its Wii predecessor, although retailers are reported to be sold out of the unit…
“We are essentially sold out at retail. As soon as we replenish product into stores, it is immediately selling through,” Reggie Fils-Aimé, Nintendo US president, told the Financial Times. “We are working with our retail partners to expedite product to their stores as quickly as possible.”
He said Nintendo had learnt a lot of lessons from the launch of the Wii, which was sold out for months to the frustration of consumers, but demand for the new console was still outstripping supplies at the moment.
Is it me, or is it stupid in here?
Wal-Mart has become so big and so pervasive that it effectively sets prices for everyone who sells to it, and everyone who competes against it. It has lowered prices for American workers — even those who don’t shop at Wal-Mart — even as it has done much to destroy the American labor movement and to encourage the offshoring of American jobs. It has changed how goods are shipped, packaged and produced. It has, at different times, encouraged devastating environmental practices and admirable ones. Any accounting of Wal-Mart’s effect on workers has to go far beyond a simple look at the wages they themselves pay to their direct workforce. See, for instance, this Wall Street Journal article on what happened in Thailand after Wal-Mart demanded higher standards from its shrimp suppliers.
Back in 2006 and 2007, I spent quite a bit of time reporting on the Wal-Martization of the economy, and I never came across an accounting I found sufficient. Whether Wal-Mart has been, on net, “good” or “bad” is a complicated question to frame and a devilishly tough one to answer. Soon, I’m sure, the question will be whether Amazon.com has been good or bad. I wish I had a definitive answer. All I’m certain of is that Wal-Mart has been — and Amazon.com will be — economically transformative.
SUPPOSE that an investor you admire and trust comes to you with an investment idea. “This is a good one,” he says enthusiastically. “I’m in it, and I think you should be, too.”
Would your reply possibly be this? “Well, it all depends on what my tax rate will be on the gain you’re saying we’re going to make. If the taxes are too high, I would rather leave the money in my savings account, earning a quarter of 1 percent.” Only in Grover Norquist’s imagination does such a response exist.
Between 1951 and 1954, when the capital gains rate was 25 percent and marginal rates on dividends reached 91 percent in extreme cases, I sold securities and did pretty well. In the years from 1956 to 1969, the top marginal rate fell modestly, but was still a lofty 70 percent — and the tax rate on capital gains inched up to 27.5 percent. I was managing funds for investors then. Never did anyone mention taxes as a reason to forgo an investment opportunity that I offered.
Under those burdensome rates, moreover, both employment and the gross domestic product (a measure of the nation’s economic output) increased at a rapid clip. The middle class and the rich alike gained ground.
So let’s forget about the rich and ultrarich going on strike and stuffing their ample funds under their mattresses if — gasp — capital gains rates and ordinary income rates are increased. The ultrarich, including me, will forever pursue investment opportunities.
Another fine American. Why are they all so old?
The doctor who performed the world’s first successful kidney transplant and won a Nobel Prize for his pioneering work, has died in Boston.
News of Dr Joseph Murray’s passing on Monday was confirmed by a spokesman at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
He was 93 years old and died in hospital after suffering a stroke at his home in Boston…
“My only wish would be to have 10 more lives to live on this planet. If that were possible, I’d spend one lifetime each in embryology, genetics, physics, astronomy and geology,” Murray said.
“The other lifetimes would be as a pianist, backwoodsman, tennis player, or writer for the National Geographic.”
Walmart, the US retailer, has admitted and ended its relationship with the unnamed supplier who sourced goods from the Bangladesh garment factory that saw 110 workers die in a blaze in the capital, Dhaka over the weekend.
The multinational company severed ties with its supplier as anger over safety standards in Bangladesh’s clothes manufacturing industry mounts.
The 12-storey building of the Tazreen factory that housed 1,000 employees, saw at least 110 textile workers with no emergency exits die in the blazing inferno on Saturday.
We have to hope that, over 100 years since the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in NYC, Bangladesh will reform (and apply) its manufacturing regulations.
But not everyone is happy with Costco’s business strategy. Some Wall Street analysts assert that Mr. Sinegal is overly generous not only to Costco’s customers but to its workers as well.
Costco’s average pay, for example, is $17 an hour, 42 percent higher than its fiercest rival, Sam’s Club. And Costco’s health plan makes those at many other retailers look Scroogish. One analyst, Bill Dreher of Deutsche Bank, complained last year that at Costco “it’s better to be an employee or a customer than a shareholder.”
Mr. Sinegal begs to differ. He rejects Wall Street’s assumption that to succeed in discount retailing, companies must pay poorly and skimp on benefits, or must ratchet up prices to meet Wall Street’s profit demands.
Good wages and benefits are why Costco has extremely low rates of turnover and theft by employees, he said. And Costco’s customers, who are more affluent than other warehouse store shoppers, stay loyal because they like that low prices do not come at the workers’ expense. “This is not altruistic,” he said. “This is good business.”