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Rising inflation cost Indian households Rs 5.8 lakh crore

Posted by Admin on July 2, 2011

Yahoo! India Finance, On Wednesday 29 June 2011, 10:20 AM

Bangalore: Inflation has knocked the bottom out of household budgets. Now, someone has come along and actually measured how big the hole in the collective household budget really is. Rising prices of food items, besides petroleum products and commodities, have burnt a hole in the pocket of the Indian consumer during the last three years.

Surging inflation cost Indian households an additional Rs 580,000 crore (around $129 billion) during the three-year period from 2008-09 to 2010-11, a Crisil Research study said.

The study concluded that price trends of commodities in the wholesale price index favour the middle and higher income classes, rather than poor and vulnerable Indian households who spend a large part of their income on food.

The study shows that growth of private consumption expenditure in nominal terms increased to nearly 17 per cent per year during this period from 14 per cent in the preceding 3 years mainly due to the rise in food inflation. “The rise in inflation to 8 per cent per year during 2008-09 to 2010-11 from 5 per cent in the preceding 3 years eroded the purchasing power of money and inflated the consumption expenditure bill of Indian households by Rs 5.8 trillion,” said Dharmakirti Joshi, Chief Economist at CRISIL.

Crisil said contrary to the general perception, prices of several commodities declined even during periods of high inflation. “Prices of many consumer durables have declined in the last few years. If adjusted for improvement in the quality of goods, the decline would be even sharper.”

Consumers immediately feel the impact of rising inflation in food articles because these items are purchased on a daily basis. Durables are not purchased frequently and hence, a fall in their prices tends to be overlooked while forming inflation expectations, said Vidya Mahambare, a senior economist at Crisil.

Price trends of commodities in the Wholesale Price Index favour the middle- and high-income classes, rather than the poor and vulnerable Indian households, who spend a large part of their income on food.

The middle- and high-income groups benefit more from falling prices of non-food manufactured items, particularly durable goods, as they have higher disposable income to spend on other goods and services, including consumer durables and for savings.

“The poor, with limited discretionary income to spend on consumer durables, do not benefit much from the lower prices. In contrast, rising prices of food items strain their discretionary spending,” the report said.

Higher food prices should be an incentive to enhance the production of food items, but this has not happened so far. In addition to price signals, productivity improvement in food/agriculture categories would require better technology and improved investments in irrigation. In the absence of these measures, high food inflation is here to stay, the report added.

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NASA Envisions Alien Worlds

Posted by Admin on July 2, 2011

NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC-Caltech)NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC-Caltech)
Out of the Dust, a Planet is Born
In this artist’s conception, a possible newfound planet spins through a clearing, detected around the star CoKu Tau 4 by the Spitzer Space Telescope, in a nearby star’s dusty, planet-forming disc. The possible planet is theorized to be at least as massive as Jupiter, and may have a similar appearance to what the giant planets in our own solar system looked like billions of years ago.

Hubble Spots Possible New Moons Around Pluto
The artist’s concept above shows the Pluto system from the surface of one of the candidate moons. The other members of the Pluto system are just above the moon’s surface. Pluto is the large disk at center, right. Charon, the system’s only confirmed moon, is the smaller disk to the right of Pluto. The other candidate moon is the bright dot on Pluto’s far left. Click image for full resolution.

Steaming Hot Planet
This artist’s impression shows a gas-giant exoplanet transiting across the face of its star. Infrared analysis by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope of this type of system provided the breakthrough.The planet, HD 189733b, lies 63 light-years away in the constellation Vulpecula. It was discovered in 2005 as it transited its parent star, dimming the star’s light by some three percent.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Harvard-Smithsonian CfA NASA/JPL-Caltech/Harvard-Smithsonian CfA
Fantastic Four Galaxies with Planet
This artist’s concept shows what the night sky might look like from a hypothetical planet around a star tossed out of an ongoing four-way collision between big galaxies (yellow blobs). NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope spotted this “quadruple merger” of galaxies within a larger cluster of galaxies located nearly 5 billion light-years away.Though the galaxies appear intact, gravitational disturbances have caused them to stretch and twist, flinging billions of stars into space, nearly three times as many stars as are in our Milky Way galaxy. The tossed stars are visible in the large plume emanating from the central, largest galaxy. If any of these stars have planets, their night skies would be filled with the monstrous merger, along with other galaxies in the cluster (smaller, bluish blobs).This cosmic smash-up is the largest known merger between galaxies of a similar size. While three of the galaxies are about the size of our Milky Way galaxy, the fourth (center of image) is three times as big. All four of the galaxies, as well as most other galaxies in the huge cluster, are blob-shaped ellipticals instead of spirals like the Milky Way.Ultimately, in about one hundred million years or so, the four galaxies will unite into one. About half of the stars kicked out during the merger will fall back and join the new galaxy, making it one of the biggest galaxies in the universe.

Exoplanet HR 8799b
This is an artistic illustration of the giant planet HR 8799b.The planet was first discovered in 2007 at the Gemini North observatory. It was identified in the NICMOS archival data in a follow-up search of NICMOS archival data to see if Hubble had also serendipitously imaged it.The planet is young and hot, at a temperature of 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. It is slightly larger than Jupiter and may be at least seven times more massive. Analysis of the NICMOS data suggests the planet has water vapor in its atmosphere and is only partially cloud covered. It is not known if the planet has rings or moons, but circumplanetary debris is common among the outer planets of our solar system.

Chemical Soups Around Cool Stars
This artist’s conception shows a young, hypothetical planet around a cool star. A soupy mix of potentially life-forming chemicals can be seen pooling around the base of the jagged rocks. Observations from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope hint that planets around cool stars – the so-called M-dwarfs and brown dwarfs that are widespread throughout our galaxy – might possess a different mix of life-forming, or prebiotic, chemicals than our young Earth.

Huygens on Titan
In 2005 the robotic Huygens probe landed on Titan, Saturn’s enigmatic moon, and sent back the first ever images from beneath Titan’s thick cloud layers. This artist’s impression is based on those images. In the foreground, sits the car-sized lander that sent back images for more than 90 minutes before running out of battery power. The parachute that slowed Huygen’s re-entry is seen in the background, still attached to the lander. Smooth stones, possibly containing water-ice, are strewn about the landscape. Analyses of Huygen’s images and data show that Titan’s surface today has intriguing similarities to the surface of the early Earth.

Flaring Red Dwarf Star
This is an artist’s concept of a red dwarf star undergoing a powerful eruption, called a stellar flare. A hypothetical planet is in the foreground. Flares are sudden eruptions of heated plasma that occur when the field lines of powerful magnetic fields in a star’s atmosphere “reconnect,” snapping like a rubber band and releasing vast amounts of energy equivalent to the power of 100 million atomic bombs exploding simultaneously.Studying the light from 215,000 older red dwarfs collected in observations by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers found 100 stellar flares popping off over the course of a week.

Super-Hot Planet with Unique Comet-Like Tail
Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have confirmed the existence of a baked object that could be called a “cometary planet.” The gas giant planet, named HD 209458b, is orbiting so close to its star that its heated atmosphere is escaping into space.Observations taken with Hubble’s Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) suggest powerful stellar winds are sweeping the cast-off atmospheric material behind the scorched planet and shaping it into a comet-like tail.

This Planet Smells Funny
Giant planet GJ 436b in the constellation Leo is missing something–and that something is swamp gas. To the surprise of astronomers who have been studying the Neptune-sized planet using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, GJ 436b has very little methane–an ingredient common to many planets in our own solar system. This artist’s concept shows the unusual, methane-free world partially eclipsed by its star.Models of planetary atmospheres indicate that any world with the common mix of hydrogen, carbon and oxygen, and a temperature up to 1,000 Kelvin (1,340 degrees Fahrenheit) should have a large amount of methane and a small amount of carbon monoxide. But at about 800 Kelvin (or 980 degrees Fahrenheit), GJ 436b it does not. The finding demonstrates the diversity of exoplanets and the need for further study.

NASA/Kepler Mission/Dana BerryNASA/Kepler Mission/Dana Berry
An Imagined Canyon on Planet Kepler 10-B
The daytime temperature is expected to be more than 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, hotter than lava flows here on Earth, hot enough to melt iron! Many years ago, before Kepler launched, members of what became the Kepler team built a robotic telescope at Lick Observatory to learn to do transit photometry– detecting drops in brightness of stars when planets pass in front of them. We called it the Vulcan Telescope, named after the hypothetical planet that scientists in the 1800’s thought might exist between the Sun and Mercury. A planet that might explain the small deviations in Mercury’s orbit that were later explained with Einsteins theory of general relativity.Vulcan is the god of fire in Roman mythology, a name befitting of a world so close to the Sun. The artists rendering of Kepler-10b is reminiscent of that hypothetical planet Vulcan. The Kepler team came full circle in its quest. We know that we’ve only begun to imagine the possibilities.

NASA/Kepler Mission/Dana BerryNASA/Kepler Mission/Dana Berry
Imagined View from Planet Kepler 10-B
Kepler-10b orbits one of the 150,000 stars that the Kepler spacecraft is monitoring, a star that is very similar to our own Sun in temperature, mass and size, but older with an age of over 8 billion years, compared to the 4-and-1/2 billion years of our own Sun. It is one of the brighter stars that Kepler is monitoring and about 560 light years from our solar system, which means when the light from this star began its journey toward Earth, European navigators were crossing the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in search of new horizons. Today, we are still exploring and our crow’s nest is a space telescope called Kepler. One day, the oceans we cross will be the galaxy itself, but for now, we imagine the worlds we discover by putting all that we have learned from our observations and analyses into the fingers of artists.Kepler-10b must be a scorched world, orbiting at a distance that is more than 20 times closer to its star than Mercury is to our own Sun, with a daytime temperature expected to be more than 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit.The Kepler team has determined that Kepler-10b is a rocky planet, with a surface you could stand on, a mass 4.6 times that of Earth, anda diameter 1.4 times that of Earth.

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Widescreen: Longest bridges in world

Posted by Admin on July 2, 2011–longest-bridges-in-world.html;_ylt=AvH.UX7Nt7IR0e6V3_T2.tdh_t5_;_ylu=X3oDMTNoY2k3cG9zBHBrZwNjOGNlNmI0YS0yMzVlLTM0YjItYmU1My02Mjc5MTMwZjk0ZTIEcG9zAzIEc2VjA01lZGlhRmVhdHVyZWRDYXJvdXNlbAR2ZXIDMThmZmQxNTQtYTQ3Yy0xMWUwLThjZWUtODNhYThmNTMwNWVj;_ylg=X3oDMTMyczVlMjA2BGludGwDaW4EbGFuZwNlbi1pbgRwc3RhaWQDNDM0NTQ1YTMtYzU2NC0zOTZjLWJlYjItNWY3YTYzMjQ3NjkzBHBzdGNhdANob21lfHdpZGVzY3JlZW4EcHQDc3RvcnlwYWdl;_ylv=3

The world’s longest cross-sea bridge, spanning 36.48 kilometers across the mouth of the Jiaozhou Bay in China’s eastern Shandong province, opened to traffic four years after construction started. Here’s a peek into some of the world’s longest bridges.

Lake Pontchartrain Causeway

Located in Louisiana, United States, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, consists of two parallel bridges that run parallel to each other. The bridges are supported by 9,500 concrete pilings and spans over 38.35 kilometres. The southern terminus of the Causeway is in Metairie, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans. The northern terminus is at Mandeville, Louisiana.

Donghai Bridge

Completed on December 10, 2005, the Donghai Bridge has a total length of 32.5 kilometres and connects Shanghai to the Yangshan port in China. The ‘Donghai Bridge’ is popularly known as ‘The stone’.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge is a four lane bridge that connects the Delmarva Peninsula’s Eastern Shore of Virginia with Virginia Beach and the metropolitan area of Hampton Roads, Virginia. The bridge has a total length of 37 kilometres.

Vasco da Gama Bridge

The Vasco da Gama Bridge is a cable bridge with a total length of 17.2 kilometres. The bridge was opened to traffic on 29 March, 1998. The bridge spans across the Tagus River near Lisbon, Portugal.

Penang Bridge

The Penang Bridge opened to traffic on September 14, 1985 and connects Gelugor in Penang island and Seberang Prai to mainland Malaysia. The total length of the bridge is 13.5 kilometres.

Rio-Niteroi Bridge

The Rio-Niteroi Bridge is a box girder bridge that connects the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Niteroi. The bridge opened on March 4, 1974 and the total length of the bridge is 13 kilometres.

Confederation Bridge

The 12.9 kilometre long bridge opened on 31 May 1997, connecting the Prince Edward Island with New Brunswick, Canada. The Confederation bridge is a two-lane highway toll bridge.

San Mateo-Hayward Bridge

Commonly known as the San Mateo Bridge, the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge connects San Francisco Peninsula with the East Bay. The total length of the bridge is 11.265408 kilometres.

Seven Mile Bridge

The Seven Mile Bridge is is located between the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Strait. Finished in 1982 at a cost of $45 million, the Seven Mile Bridge connects city of Marathon in the Middle Keys of Florida to Little Duck Key in the Lower Keys of Florida.

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Egypt police clash with youths; over 1,000 hurt

Posted by Admin on July 2, 2011

By Patrick Werr and Yasmine Saleh | Reuters – Wed, Jun 29, 2011

CAIRO (Reuters) – Police in Cairo fired tear gas on Wednesday at hundreds of stone-throwing Egyptian youths after a night of clashes that injured more than 1,000 people, the worst violence in the capital in several weeks.

Nearly five months since a popular uprising toppled long-serving authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak, Egypt‘s military rulers are struggling to keep order while a restless public is still impatient for reform.

The latest clashes began after families of people killed in the uprising that ousted Mubarak held an event in a Cairo suburb late on Tuesday in their honor.

Other bereaved relatives arrived to complain that names of their own dead were not mentioned at the ceremony. Fighting broke and moved toward the capital’s central Tahrir Square and the Interior Ministry, according to officials.

The Health Ministry said 1,036 people were injured, among them at least 40 policemen.

The ruling military council said in a statement on its Facebook page that the latest events “had no justification other than to shake Egypt’s safety and security in an organised plan that exploits the blood of the revolution’s martyrs and to sow division between the people and the security apparatus.”

Prime Minister Essam Sharaf told state TV he was monitoring developments and awaiting a full report on the clashes.

A security source quoted by the state news agency MENA said 40 people were arrested, including one U.S. and one British citizen, and were being questioned by military prosecutors.

Some said those involved were bent on battling police rather than protesting. To others, the violence seemed motivated by politics.

“The people are angry that the court cases against top officials keep getting delayed,” said Ahmed Abdel Hamid, 26, a bakery employee who was at the scene overnight, referring to senior political figures from the discredited Mubarak era.

By early afternoon, eight ambulances were in Tahrir, epicenter of the revolt that toppled Mubarak on February 11, and the police had left the square. Dozens of adolescent boys, shirts tied around their heads, blocked traffic from entering Tahrir, using stones and scrap metal.

Some drove mopeds in circles around the square making skids and angering bystanders. “Thugs, thugs… The square is controlled by thugs,” an old man chanted.

“I am here today because I heard about the violent treatment by the police of the protesters last night,” said Magdy Ibrahim, 28, an accountant at Egypt’s Banque du Caire.


The clashes unnerved Egypt’s financial market, with equity traders blaming the violence for a 2 percent fall in the benchmark EGX30 index, its biggest drop since June 2.

First-aid workers treated people mostly for inhaling tear gas in overnight violence. A Reuters correspondent saw several people with minor wounds, including some with head cuts.

Mohsen Mourad, the deputy interior minister for Cairo, said the security forces did not enter Tahrir overnight and dealt only with 150-200 people who tried to break into the Interior Ministry and threw stones, damaging cars and police vehicles.

The Muslim Brotherhood‘s political party warned Egyptians that remnants of Mubarak’s rule could exploit violence to their ends. Presidential candidate Mohamed ElBaradei called on the ruling military council to quickly clarify the facts surrounding the violence and to take measures to halt it.

U.S. Undersecretary of State William Burns, visiting Cairo, said he hoped an investigation into the clashes would be “fair and thorough.”

Young men lit car tyres in the street near the ministry on Wednesday, sending black plumes of smoke into the air.

“There is lack of information about what happened and the details are not clear. But the certain thing is that Egyptians are in a state of tension and the reason behind this is that officials are taking time to put Mubarak and officials on trial,” said political analyst Hassan Nafaa.

Sporadic clashes, some of them between Muslims and the Christian minority, have posed a challenge to a government trying to restore order after many police deserted the streets during the uprising against Mubarak. In early May, 12 people were killed and 52 wounded in sectarian clashes and the burning of a church in Cairo’s Imbaba neighborhood.

A hospital in central Cairo’s Munira neighborhood received two civilians and 41 policemen with wounds, bruises and tear gas inhalation, MENA said. All were discharged except one civilian with a bullet wound and a policeman with concussion, it said.

Former interior minister Habib al-Adli has been sentenced to jail for corruption but he and other officials are still being tried on charges related to killing protesters. Police vehicles were stoned by protesters at Sunday’s hearing.

The former president, now hospitalized, has also been charged with the killing of protesters and could face the death penalty. Mubarak’s trial starts on August 3.

(Additional reporting by Dina Zayed and Sherine El Madany; Writing by Edmund Blair and Tom Pfeiffer; Editing by Peter Graff)

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How 11 Corporate Titans Profited After Failure

Posted by Admin on July 2, 2011;_ylt=AjjNXi1Y.GKn6p4xRqU5.zWr9HQA;_ylu=X3oDMTE2YmhlNWFzBHBrZwNpZC0xNzU3MjMEcG9zAzEEc2VjA01lZGlhSENNBHZlcgM5;_ylg=X3oDMTMwdW8wam81BGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDNTc0YzJlZmMtNDhkNS0zYzMxLWJhZTEtNzFmOWZkY2ExYWM4BHBzdGNhdANlbnRlcnRhaW5tZW50BHB0A3N0b3J5cGFnZQ–;_ylv=3?x=0

, On Wednesday June 29, 2011, 3:24 pm EDT

In this economy, there aren’t too many second chances. But if you’re a corporate titan, fortune may smile on you more than once, even if you damage your firm or even imperil its existence.

The last several years have been tumultuous in corporate America, as a financial crisis rippled through the economy and other disasters brought shame upon once-admired firms. The recession that coincided with the financial crisis has cost the U.S. economy about seven million jobs and left the whole nation slogging through a weak, unconvincing recovery. Yet a number of disgraced CEOs and other grounded high-flyers have fared surprisingly well, either landing plum jobs with new employers or securing golden parachutes that guarantee a luxurious retirement–or both. That’s not always the case. In his 2004 book Why Smart Executives Fail, Dartmouth professor Sydney Finkelstein found that of 51 “failed” CEOs, only two ever got hired again by an existing firm. The rest started their own firms, became consultants, or slunk into retirement. Today, by contrast, companies seem more willing to hire executives with black marks on their resumes.

[In Pictures: 11 Business Leaders Who Profited After Failure.]

Of the 11 corporate “up-failers” on our list, none has been accused of crimes or illegalities, and virtually all of them attribute their controversial performance as business leaders to factors beyond their control. Yet critics blame them for problems that deeply damaged the firms they once ran or helped run. Here are some of the former CEOs and other corporate honchos who seem to have stumbled upward after being involved in some of the most notorious corporate episodes of the last decade:

Martin Sullivan, former CEO of AIG. Sullivan replaced longtime AIG chief Hank Greenburg in 2005, and presided over many of the decisions that led to the insurance giant’s collapse in 2008, the year he was forced out. Under Sullivan’s watch, for instance, AIG issued billions of dollars’ worth of insurance on highly risky mortgage-related derivatives, which left AIG seeking the biggest bailout in corporate history when those derivatives plunged in value and AIG was unable to honor its commitments.

Where he is now: British insurance firm Willis Group named Sullivan its deputy chairman last year and put him in charge of a new global-services division. Research site reports that Sullivan will earn a base salary of $750,000 and be eligible for a 2011 bonus of more than $1 million. If he stays for three years, he’ll also be able to cash in company stock worth at least another $4 million.

Tony Hayward, former CEO of BP. Hayward’s three-year tenure atop the British oil giant ended in 2010, following the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, which killed 11 workers, fouled the Gulf with oil, and forced BP to set aside a whopping $41 billion for cleanup, litigation, penalties, and other costs. Hayward got a year’s salary when he left–about $1.7 million–and held onto BP stock that could be worth millions more.

Where he is now: Hayward recently launched a new energy firm in the U.K. called Vallares, which raised more than $2 billion in a public offering. The firm plans to use that money to buy and operate energy firms in emerging markets.

Mark Hurd, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard. After five years as HP’s top honcho, Hurd’s career seemed to quickly unravel in August 2010 after allegations surfaced of misconduct relating to a personal relationship. Hurd abruptly resigned, with a $12.2 million cash payout from H-P and stock options worth $30 million more, according to the Associated Press. A shareholder lawsuit against H-P–which is still ongoing–argues that the technology giant overpaid the departing CEO.

Where he is now: A month after Hurd left H-P, Oracle hired him as president, with pay that could top $10 million per year.

[See Career Lessons from Conan O’Brien.]

Stanley O’Neal, former CEO of Merrill Lynch. O’Neal spent much of his career at Merrill Lynch and became CEO in 2002, presiding over the company as it began to place huge bets on subprime mortgages and risky derivatives that generated billions in losses, nearly sank the firm, and led to a takeover by Bank of America in 2008. In 2006–the year Merrill made many of the deals that led to its downfall–O’Neal earned $91 million, according to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. When O’Neal resigned in 2007, Merrill gave him a severance package worth another $161 million.

Where he is now: In 2008, after O’Neal left Merrill, Alcoa named him to its board of directors.

Dow Kim, former head of global markets and investment banking for Merrill Lynch. From 2003 to 2007, Kim oversaw a vast increase in the amount of collateralized debt obligations Merrill created and sold, eventually making Merrill the No. 1 Wall Street issuer of these controversial derivatives tied to mortgages, according to the FCIC. Those CDOs eventually led to billions in losses and severely weakened the firm. Kim left Merrill Lynch in the middle of 2007–shortly before its losses began to mushroom–receiving more than $35 million for his work in 2006, according to the FCIC, a paycheck second only O’Neal’s during that fateful year.

Where he is now: After leaving Merrill Lynch, Kim tried to start a hedge fund, which struggled to attract investors amidst the 2008 financial crisis.

Charles Prince, former CEO of Citigroup. Like Stan O’Neal at Merrill Lynch, Prince spent his four years as CEO of Citi trying to capitalize on the boom in subprime mortgages and exotic derivatives linked to them. He resigned in 2007 as those risky bets began to unravel, leading to gargantuan losses that would ultimately require a $45 billion government bailout (which Citigroup later repaid). Citi gave Prince a severance package worth $36 million when he left, on top of the $43 million he had already earned as CEO, according to the FCIC.

Where he is now: Keeping a low profile.

[See How to Recover From a Career Flameout.]

Thomas Maheras, former co-CEO of Citigroup’s investment bank. Maheras helped catapult Citigroup from a bit player in the market for lucrative but risky CDOs into one of the world’s top originators, along with Merrill Lynch. He resigned from Citigroup in October 2007, as the securities his division created began to lose value and generate losses that would eventually overwhelm Citi. Maheras earned more than $34 million for his work at Citi in 2006, his last full year at the bank, according to the FCIC.

Where he is now: In 2008, Discover Financial Services named Maheras a director. He also started a private investing firm called Tegean Capital Management.

Jeffrey Peek, former CEO of CIT Group. Peek arrived at CIT in 2003 and began to convert the sleepy, small-business lender into a broader financial-services firm with expanded portfolios of student loans and subprime mortgages. That turned out to be a bad move, needless to say, and CIT declared bankruptcy in 2009, with Peek resigning shortly afterward. Peek earned about $27 million at CIT through 2008, according to Forbes, but CIT’s acceptance of $2.3 billion in government bailout money prevented him from claiming a severance package when he resigned. Peek’s wife Liz, meanwhile, famously wrote the anonymous “Confessions of a TARP Wife” for Portfolio, which turned out to be a deep embarrassment when her identity as the author was revealed. CIT’s bankruptcy filing meant taxpayers were out the $2.3 billion they had extended to the firm.

Where he is now: Last year Barclay’s hired Peek to be one of its top investment bankers.

John Thain, former CEO of Merrill Lynch. Thain’s illustrious Wall Street career seemed impeccable until he replaced Stan O’Neal as Merrill Lynch’s CEO in 2007. Thain tried in vain to keep Merrill’s losses under control, finally guiding the crippled firm into the arms of Bank of America in 2008. That may have been inevitable, but Thain drew criticism for several events under his watch, including a million-dollar renovation of his office (which he ultimately paid for himself) and $3.6 billion in bonuses granted to Merrill bankers during a year in which the firm nearly collapsed and required federal bailout money to survive. Thain, once thought to be a contender for the top job at the new Bank of America, was instead forced out of the merged firm in early 2009.

Where he is now: A year after Thain left Merrill Lynch, Wall Street’s revolving door ushered him into the top job at CIT, which had emerged from a prepackaged bankruptcy. His pay at CIT: $6 million per year in cash and stock, plus an annual bonus of up to $1.5 million.

[See 10 Steps to Fine-Tune Your Retirement Plan.]

Steven Newman, CEO of Transocean. Newman enjoyed a rewarding year in 2010, even though his firm’s Deepwater Horizon oil-drilling rig–which was leased to BP–blew up on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers and triggering the huge oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico. Newman had taken over as Transocean CEO barely a month earlier, yet he had been president of the firm before that, and Transocean awarded him $5.8 million in total compensation for 2010. Newman’s pay included a “safety bonus” of nearly $100,000, which he earned because Transocean “achieved an exemplary statistical safety record as measured by our total recordable incident rate,” according to a company filing with the SEC. After an uproar, Transocean said its top executives would donate their safety bonuses to a memorial fund for the families of the 11 workers killed in the Gulf explosion. Research firm GMIRatings points out that Transocean also gave its outgoing CEO, Robert L. Long–who left right before the Gulf disaster–an exit package worth about $21 million.

Where he is now: Still CEO of Transocean.

Don Blankenship, former CEO of Massey Energy. Blankenship and the firm he had run for two decades became enormously controversial after a gas explosion at Massey’s Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia on April 5, 2010, killed 29 miners. The explosion came after inspectors had repeatedly cited Massey for safety violations at the mine, and it impaired the company’s profitability. Massey swung from a $104 million profit in 2009 to a $167 million loss in 2010, and subsequently merged with Alpha Natural Resources. The combative Blankenship endured a 2010 pay cut of more than 40 percent, but as pointed out, he also got a $14.4 million severance package, plus a $7 million pension and $32.1 million in deferred compensation. It’s good to be CEO. Even a dethroned CEO.

Where he is now: Retired.

Twitter: @rickjnewman

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Russian scientists expect to meet aliens by 2031

Posted by Admin on July 2, 2011;_ylt=AlyK.mPsGh4UscgUEHBVPJLtiBIF;_ylu=X3oDMTNhM2lzNzdzBHBrZwM3YjY3MTBmZS1kYmMyLTMzZTItOWJlYS0xNmY4ZDQ5ZjZlZjYEcG9zAzEyBHNlYwNNZWRpYVRvcFN0b3J5BHZlcgMyYjIxYmQ4MC1hMTk3LTExZTAtYmY5ZS02YTdlMTk4N2YxYzk-;_ylg=X3oDMTFxcW12NnU4BGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lfG9kZG5ld3MEcHQDc2VjdGlvbnM-;_ylv=3

By Alissa de Carbonnel | Reuters – Tue, Jun 28, 2011

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian scientists expect humanity to encounter alien civilizations within the next two decades, a top Russian astronomer predicted on Monday.

“The genesis of life is as inevitable as the formation of atoms… Life exists on other planets and we will find it within 20 years,” Andrei Finkelstein, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences‘ Applied Astronomy Institute, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

Speaking at an international forum dedicated to the search for extraterrestrial life, Finkelstein said 10 percent of the known planets circling suns in the galaxy resemble Earth.

If water can be found there, then so can life, he said, adding that aliens would most likely resemble humans with two arms, two legs and a head.

“They may have different color skin, but even we have that,” he said.

Finkelstein’s institute runs a program launched in the 1960s at the height of the Cold War space race to watch for and beam out radio signals to outer space.

“The whole time we have been searching for extraterrestrial civilizations, we have mainly been waiting for messages from space and not the other way,” he said.

(Writing by Alissa de Carbonnel; editing by Paul Casciato)

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Kashmir problem is Nehru's special gift to India: Advani

Posted by Admin on July 2, 2011

By Indo Asian News Service | IANS – Sun, Jun 26, 2011

New Delhi, June 26 (IANS) As India and Pakistan restored peace talks over pending issues including Kashmir, veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani Sunday slammed the country’s first political family of late prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru whose ‘lack of courage’ led to the Kashmir issue remaining unresolved.

In the latest entry on his blog,, the BJP leader also slammed late chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah whose ambition to be the leader of independent Kashmir also contributed to the issue.

Advani said neither the government of Nehru in New Delhi nor the government of Abdullah in Srinagar believed that Jammu and Kashmir needed to be fully integrated into the Indian union.

‘In the case of Abdullah, the problem was his ambition to become the unquestioned leader of a virtually independent Kashmir. In the case of Nehruji, it was a matter of lack of courage, firmness and foresight,’ Advani said.

He said that Article 370, which gives a special status to Jammu and Kashmir in the Indian constitution, had ’emboldened’ secessionist forces in the state to carry out their ‘poisonous propaganda that (Kashmir’s) accession to India is not final and that Kashmir, in particular, is not a part of India.’

Advani wrote that India had lost two opportunities to settle the issue once and for all with Pakistan — one in the 1947 war when Nehru ruled the country and the other in the 1971 Bangladesh war when Nerhu’s daughter Indira Gandhi was at the helm.

‘Our countrymen should know that the Kashmir problem is Nehru family’s special ‘gift’ to the nation,’ he wrote in a sarcastic vein.

‘Nehruji’s blunder was totally avoidable. The consequences of this ‘gift’ are Pakistan’s export of cross-border terrorism and religious extremism, thousands of lives of our security personnel and civilians and tens of thousands of crores of rupees spent on military and paramilitary defence.’

The BJP leader’s comments come days after India and Pakistani in foreign secretary level talks in Islamabad discussed a range of issues relating to peace and security, Jammu and Kashmir and the promotion of trade.

Advani also warned against giving any autonomy to the state because ‘the implications must be understood’.

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Nawaz biggest threat to Pakistan's security: Zardari

Posted by Admin on July 2, 2011

Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan

Nawaz Shariff
By ANI | ANI – Wed, Jun 22, 2011

Islamabad, June 22(ANI): Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has asked Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif to refrain from “defaming the Pakistan Army and institutions of the country for his personal gains”.

Zardari said that the national institutions, including the army, were fighting against the mindset which had so far killed thousands of people, including former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.Nawaz Sharif’s thought is the biggest threat to Pakistan’s security. His earnest regret is that this time army did not maneuver against the government of the day and refused to listen to his conspiracy theories,” the Daily Times quoted Zardari, as saying.

“He (Nawaz) wants the politics of General Zia-ul-Haq,” he added, claiming that the “mindset which took the life of Benazir Bhutto is on the retreat”.

He also called upon political forces to work for strengthening the country’s institutions and refrain from inciting clash of institutions.

“There is no single country in the world which survived or achieved progress after its institutions, including the army, were damaged. Do not speak against institutions. Do not talk about breaking them,” the President said.

Expressing concerns over the deteriorating law and order situation in the country, Sharif had earlier said that the country’s rulers and foreign agencies were behind the current imbroglio in Pakistan.

He said that corruption was in full swing in all departments, and that Zardari was following the policy of destruction. (ANI)



The Islamic nations are in a mess because of their rabid Islamic fundamentalistic attitudes and mindset.They pretend to be enemies of terror yet secretly provide shelter to the master of terrorists Osama Bin Laden and his followers.They are nothing but wolves in sheeps clothing.Their doom is on the horizon.If it wasnt for the Americans,British,Autralians,French,Canada,Japan and a host of other developing nations countries like Pakistan,Iran,Afghanistan,Turkey,Yemen,Iraq and other smaller Islamic nations would have lost their identity.They should thank the liberalized nations for their existance but on the contrary they turn around and bite the hand that has all along protected them .They are not altogether to blame —it is the violent culture and religious doctrine of hatred they follow .They are like horses in harness,with blinds over their eyes , iron bits in their mouths and reins in the hands of the Devil, who by the way, is steering them ruthlessly on the road that leads to the path of destruction.
When will realization dawn on the Islamic world .


A failed state, will destroy by itself.

As you sow, so shall U reap for Pakistan,

Only India Can save them, no body else can, others (West and China) and are using Pakistan for their selfish motive.

It is time to wake up for Paki and change their mind set towards his Great Nation.


Bhutto killed by Musharaff. Nawaz sent back by the same flight from his motherland by Musharaff. What is Zardari’s problem? He has got presidency served him on platter and he still complaining.


What is this yaar Zardari sahab?

Taliban waale inti mehnat karte hai. Building ko bomb se udaate hain, logon ko maarte hain aur saara credit Nawaz Sharif ko de rahe ho?

You are denying Taliban the credit of being Pakistan’s biggest threat, the same way the makers of 3 Idiots film denied writer Chetan Bhagat the credit of making 3 Idiots film a huge success.

Raju Hirani aur Vidhu Vinod Chopra se kuch seekho. They apologised to Chetan Bhagat and gave him credit. Now you should apologise to Taliban for making this statement and give them full credit of being Pakistan’s biggest threat.


Mr. Peer has very little idea of International politics and America.Pakistan is nearly bankrupt in it’s economy and it is declared as twelvth most failing nation in world clubbed with some African and Asian nations like Bangladesh, Bhutan., Nepal, sreelanka ,Afganistan and Iraq.If US stops giving AID to pakistan, it will be disaster for Pakistan.But biggest threat of Pakistan to my assesment is not from Nawaj but from ISI, different Islamic fundamentalist groups and policy of Pak Army showed by former general Jia ul Haq.They have to give up Dar-E- Islam mentality or else, how their own extremist groups are engaged in action sometimes with civilian population and with Army itself which helped this groups to be formed to punish India.Though entire world does not want to see Pakistan again devided into three /four states, I feel it is inivitable and none can stop it .Initiatives will be taken by their own people not by foreigners as it happened in East Pakistan and again their own policy will be held responsible for such divition.


Zardari is barking for his country at the expense of Nawas Sherif.Suddenly,he found out that Nawas is a big threat to Pakistan.He is mistaken.The present crop of leaders are self-centred,corrupt and made huge money,by corrupt means.Benazir also looted Pakistan like every one.Zardari made use of Banazir,made huge money,during her rule.[Probably,the loot by Karunanidhi and his family will be much more then the loot of Bhutto’s family]All these comedians-Nawas Sheriff,Zardari,Banazir,Musharaf etc were on the periphery of Pakistan Politics.the real power rests with the army and are calling the shots.Zardari stitched plenty of trousers after his unexpected victory in the last elections of Pakistan.He appears well-dressed for every body to see his trousers.He spends sometime in the presidential House and goes to sleep.Poor fellow!!He is not consulted on important matters of Pakistan.He manages his time like this.He is not to be blamed for this state of affairs.The Pakistan army should take responsibility for the plight of Zardari.He is a good material for Reymond advertisement for the well-dressed male.Waste fellows and a waste country!God save Pakistan!!


This comment is from an Indian.

There is no need to defend the army. They know to take care of themselves, whether you are with them or not. You can allow someone who has held the post of P.M. to say what he feels. If individual army officer cannot be held responsible or quoted or commented upon, the next best way is to say about the institution. Shutting the mouth of someone today, will come back to you soon.

Let your army be under the control of Civilian President. You are the President. Please be patient to praise the institution till they let you know what they propose to do with Nawaz. Now with your comment you have given them the legitimacy to eliminate him by proxy.


Zardari is in league with Geelani, Kayani and Pasha. They are only playing a big drama to siphon off the Aid coming from the west & US. They are using the terrorists to get more aid. At the same time they are trying to bring China into the AF_PAK theatre. China is very much interested since it wants the big share in the mineral wealth of the region. As such they cannot tolerate any one denigrating the President, PM, Army head trio. Of course even Nawaz is no better. he is just playing the card since he is not benifitting from the loot of Aid. The sufferers are the Pakistan people.
As for as India is concerned, the UPA’s hand shake policy is a fiasco. Inspite of knowing the crookedness of the Pak elite rulers and the turncoat president of Afghanistan they are going ahead with development plans in Afghanistan. It looks that the UPA is following the US dictats. The US will ditch us. They are even capable of teaming up with china to put us down.


Mr Zardai, I hope yoou are educated enough to understand that the people of Pakistan is not with you. You leave the hands of the US and its allies , which all the Pakistani people and the worlds Muslim population think as their enmy . Your 90% of the Problem will be solved. Do you not understand that your own army is not satisfied to work with US and its allies. Why you are exposing the rank and file of the army and the public in general to face the wrath of your discontented population. Please do nor try to deviate the attention of the mass to Nawaz Sharif or to that extent anybody else but introsepect. If not ,Pakistani people will not forgive you and your coterie.

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