Optimistic Cynic

Yeah Right!

Moving the blog

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I have shifted the blog to http://opcynique.blogspot.com/

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Written by OC

January 24, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Posted in Notice

Delaram-Zaranj Highway Completed

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Some good news out of Afghanistan:

India today handed over to Afghan authorities a crucial highway built by it in the face of stiff resistance from Taliban, vowing that the collaboration between the two countries in the field of development will not stop.

The 215-km long Delaram-Zaranj highway, a symbol of India’s developmental work in the war-ravaged country, was handed over to Afghan authorities by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the presence of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta. [PTI]

Below, you can see the Zaranj and Delaram on the map:

Zaranj-Delaram

A total of 135 people (including 6 Indians) laid down their lives in constructing this critical road.

Zaranj is at the Afghanistan-Iran border. On the Iranian side, there is a road link to the Iranian port of Bandar-Abbas. Therefore, this road provides India with an alternative access route to Afghanistan. So far, only the Air route has connected India and Afghanistan with overflight rights dependent on Pakistan’s whims and fancies. Pakistan has been denying transit facility to India through its territory for a land route.

Written by OC

January 24, 2009 at 11:30 am

The Dossier on 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attack

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The dossier of evidence pertaining to the 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attack presented by India to the world has been made public.

As far as I know, The Hindu is the only mainstream website which is hosting the pdf files on their website. Naturally, this has put a heavy load on their servers and people are finding it hard to download these documents.

I have managed to download these files courtesy Heptanesian Archives, and am now mirroring the same on this blog:

Part-1 (3.1 MB, pdf)

Part-2 (4.2 MB, pdf)

Part-3 (2.0 MB, pdf)

Part-4 (5.4 MB, pdf)

If you have a blog (other than on wordpress.com – because my files are already on their servers) or your own website, please consider mirroring a copy of the dossier, at least for a few days.

Written by OC

January 8, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Posted in India

Tagged with , , ,

The Sorry Fate of Iceland

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Start reading this tragic tale here:

This North Atlantic volcanic island, which is the size of Cuba, with a population of 320,000 – the size of Coventry’s – is an unlikely player on the global financial stage. It is famous for its fish, geysers and for winning the UN’s 2007 ‘best country to live in’ poll. But Iceland built its extraordinary wealth on the crest of the worldwide credit boom and now the crunch is sweeping it away, bankrupting a people for whom the past eight years have been, for most of them and by their own admission, one long party. [Guardian]

Basically, the country is bankrupt. So are most of its people.

To make it worse, it is being threatened by former friends:

The Prime Minister said Britain would seize the assets of Icelandic companies and take “further action against the authorities” over the collapse of the island’s banks.

The diplomatic row, which has echoes of the Cod Wars of the 1970s, erupted after it emerged that more than 100 local authorities have deposits in Iceland. They stand to lose a total of more than £1 billion. British companies are said to have as much as £12 billion in the failed banks and individual savers more than £6 billion. [Telegraph]

But how did these idiots local authorities of Britain come to deposit so much money in Icelandic banks? Quite simply, they offered certified “better” deals:

Back in May when the base rate was 5%, Icesave was offering eye-watering 7.01% on its one-year fixed-rate savings account. The best UK banks could manage was Birmingham Midshires, which paid 6.88%. Icelandic banks offered more bang for your pound, they also appeared safe.

The credit-ratings agencies, whose job it is to assess which banks are most likely to give you your money back, gave them top-grade. Indeed, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch and Moody’s only downgraded some of the banks in the week they went bust. [Sky News]

Presumably, nobody at Standard & Poor’s, Fitch or Moody’s had known about the basic idea of Risk vs Rewards.

This reminds me – no matter how the global economy manages to survive the current crisis, and regardless of what happens to the fate of many investment banks, i-bankers, CEOs etc. – if there is one group of companies that needs to be investigated thoroughly, it is the credit rating agencies. These buggers are paid to avoid precisely this sort of fuck-ups. They are supposed to evaluate risks, which means that they have to disregard what the Suits and Talking-heads are saying and take a detailed look at the actual books. Did they do that? Time and again, names of these same credit rating agencies keep coming up in one failure after another where they have given completely fraudulent ratings. How come these rascals are still standing?

Anyway, what is this troubled country of Iceland to do now? Go fishing, literally:

Now residents are betting that the Atlantic island’s natural resources, primarily fish and geothermal energy, will help the country survive.

“We can live off the land as there are not so many of us, and we have heating, clean water and fish,” said Reykjavik resident Kristinn Johansson, 50, outside a branch of the now- nationalized Kaupthing. “We will be fine. We can eat what we can fish.” [Bloomberg]

Oh dear, how the mighty have fallen! Who is next?

Written by OC

October 10, 2008 at 12:07 pm

Posted in World

Tagged with ,

Graffiti Spelling Fail

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Spelling Fail

Spelling Fail

Seen in the lift (elevator) of my building. For a lot more fails, see failblog.

Written by OC

September 28, 2008 at 3:39 pm

Posted in Humour

Tagged with ,

Laid-off Workers of the World, Unite!

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First, the background:

Lalit Kishore Choudhary, the 47-year-old chief executive officer of Graziano Transmissioni India, died on Monday after sacked employees beat him up in the company’s office, a senior officer said. [Reuters]

The sacked employees, all innocent-like:

“We were demonstrating peacefully to get our jobs back,” one of the workers, Rajpal, told the Hindustan Times newspaper.

“Outsiders may have assaulted the CEO leading to his death. Firing by the guards agitated workers and they clashed with the staff,” he said. [BBC]

Yeah, right. They were just demonstrating peacefully, caressing the CEO with iron rods. Poor guy couldn’t take so much love and affection.

Nothing really weird about this, so far. Sacked employees got angry at some point during negotiations, and the angry mob beat up the CEO, resulting in his death. A criminal case that should be duly investigated and the culprits punished so as to serve as a warning to all those to think that mobs have the right to break laws. Right? Wrong.

Here is the real WTF stuff:

“This should serve as a warning for the managements. It is my appeal to the managements that the workers should be dealt with compassion,” Union Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes told reporters at a press conference. [ToI]

I suppose it should be okay with the Government if its shareholders/workers (citizens of India) decide to implement a similar brand of justice on their management (Cabinet Ministers etc.).

Written by OC

September 24, 2008 at 2:52 am

Posted in India

Tagged with , , ,

Get Well Soon

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Inspector MC Sharma

Inspector MC Sharma

Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma was one of the recipients of the Police Medal for Gallantry this year on Republic Day (full list – pdf). He took three bullets during the encounter in Delhi in which two terrorists were killed, and one was captured, while two managed to escape. Head Constable Balwant, who also received a bullet, is reported to be out of danger.

… Inspector M C Sharma, a highly decorated officer of the special cell who has won gallantry awards seven times, was in a “critical condition” at the Holy Family hospital. [Rediff]

Take a couple of minutes off, and say a prayer for him to get well soon.

Update: He succumbed to the injuries on Friday, cremation service was held on Saturday. May his soul rest in peace.

And we need better execution of counter-terrorism operations. We can’t afford to lose people like him to hasty and insufficient planning.

Written by OC

September 19, 2008 at 6:26 pm