Ye re ye pavsa tula deto paisa

The above Marathi nursery rhyme calls out to the rain gods by offering them the lure of the lucre. Perfect time to sing it as rains have performed a vanishing act after showing glimpses in the initial parts of June.

The following is courtesy IMD.

 

Typically rains cover even Punjab by July 1. However, they seem to have stalled. The 3 day forecast doesnt seem to be pretty either with the exception of NE India, which is expected to receive widespread and fairly widespread rainfall, other parts of the country are  likely to get scattered and isolated rainfall. 

The Dragon pokes the Elephant again

The Chinese had the measure of the Indian response under the leadership of Dr. Manmohan Singh. They knew exactly what the Indian response would be if provoked, i.e. nothing. They needled India all across the shared border from Ladakh (squatting in the DBO area) to Arunachal Pradesh (not accepting India’s sovereignity over it by releasing maps that showed it to be part of China and by issuing stapled visas to residents of Arunachal Pradesh), built infrastructure in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

Recently, Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, visited India. He said that their policy of issuing stapled visas was a “goodwill gesture” facilitating easy movement of people of Arunachal Pradesh across the borders. Well, what a load of bull. May be the Modi government should start issuing stapled visas to Tibetans too. Remember, Modi quite had quite cleverly invited the officials of Tibetan government in exile to his swearing in ceremony which had raised howls of protests from the Chinese.

Again China released maps which shows Arunachal Pradesh as part of Southern Tibet (which itself has been illegally occupied by China). Ironically, our VP is visiting China to mark 60th anniversay of Panchsheel. China now wants to gauge the new Indian government stance and resolve to counter such mischief. Modi government response would be critical that would set the tone of future faceoffs.  

Flying Dutchmen!!

Even though RVP’s “flying” goal was a spectacular one and it actually opened the account for Netherlands against Spain, it is their fifth goal, scored by winger Arjen Robben that remains with us even after 3 days after the game.

Metro has this here Apparently, the dutch winger’s sprint was clocked at 37 kmph whereas defender Ramos run was clocked only at 30 kmph. It has even managed to beat Theo Walcott’s record of ~ 35 kmph.

Robben’s blistering pace and then supreme control of the ball proved too much for the Spanish defence. He toyed around for some time with the goal keeper Casillas and then scored.

What a match. What a goal!!   

Brazil WC 2014 Kicks off

In a few hours the greatest spectacle after the Olympics would kick off. More than 30 teams would battle it out for the WC Champions tag. Brazil is hosting the WC after a gap of almost 65 years. Some interesting facts of the WC include;

  • Use of goal line technology for the ever so controversial goals,
  • Vanishing spray paints (to allow referee’s a chance to ear mark the spot for free kicks etc),
  • Robots & drones for increased security,
  • Eye popping $ 35 million for the winning team and $ 25 million for the runners up.

Brazil seem to be punter’s favourite.

Following are the odds to win the groups

  • Group A – Brazil minus 600 (risking $6 to win $1 or 6:1 risk reward ratio)
  • Group B – Spain minus 175
  • Group C – Colombia minus 120
  • Group D – Italy plus 120 (risking $ 1 to win $ 1.2)
  • Group E – France minus 150 
  • Group F – Argentina minus 600
  • Group G – Germany minus 200
  • Group H – Belgium minus 175

Odds to win 2014 World Cup

  • Brazil: 5-to-2
  • Argentina: 4-to-1
  • Germany: 5-to-1
  • Spain: 13-to-2
  • Italy: 20-to-1

There are 3 European teams in there. Not surprisingly since europeans have managed to get to the finals of every world cup sans 1. 

Visiting Brazil for the World Cup? Then be prepared to pay “Custo Brasil”

The Brazilian Real has broadly been appreciating against the dollar since 2003. This reflects the strong economic growth experienced by Brazil last decade with ~ 5% average annual GDP growth. Per capita GDP has more than doubled from 2005 to $ 5700 in 2013 (per capita PPP $ 10200). Offlate though growth has fallen off the cliff.

High economic growth seems to have set off a consumerist frenzy. Coupled with high taxes, import tariffs (negating the positive impact of a strong currency) and high minimum wages means a cascading impact of high retail prices and leading to what is locally known as “Custo Brasil” or “Brazil Cost”. 

Here is a sample of Brazilian prices;

  • Cocktail –  $10,
  • Cheeseburger – $17 ,
  • Pepperoni pizza – $35.
  • I – Phone 5S – $ 1200 which is 5x the retail price in US.
  • Nike Flyknit Lunar 2 – $313 at a Rio shopping mall which is 3x the price in US.
  • Levi 501 jeans – $80.
  • McDonalds burger – $ 6.28 (is among the most expensive in the world)

This reflects in the very high consumer price inflation in Brazil with the price index having doubled over past 10 years translating into 7% inflation compounded annually leading to the central bank there raising rates to curb it.

Economist has this and this .

Falling economic growth offlate coupled with high prices and the high costs involved in staging the sporting spectacle i.e. FIFA WC 2014 has led to street protests in Brazil which started with increase in bus fares. NYT has this .  

‘Storm in Assamese tea cup’ – Follow up

In continuation of our earlier post here where the silent infiltration across Assam was highlighted, there is this slightly dated article here

With Modi’s pre – election promise to stop the infiltration from Bangladesh and the subsequent appointment of VK Singh (ex – army Gen) as MoS (independent charge) of North – East and Kirren Rijiju as MoS Home Affairs, one should expect a strong counter to this menace.