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Showing posts from September, 2015

UK: the disbalanced economy

London generates 22% of UK GDP despite accounting for only 12.5% of the UK population. According to the Centre for Economic and Business Research, it makes a net contribution to the Exchequer of an astonishing £34bn.

Inner London's GDP per head was 328% of the European Union average in 2010, compared with 70% in west Wales - the biggest gap in any EU state, said the European Commission's statistics agency Eurostat. Among the next eight largest UK cities, only one other, Bristol, has a GDP that is above the national average.

In 2013 it was estimated that in property terms London's top 10 boroughs were worth more than all of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales combined. London's housing stock is worth as much as Brazil's annual GDP, estate agents Savills reported in January 2015.

A cul-de-sac comprising a score of 1930s semi-detached homes in Ilford or Hounslow might easily be worth £10m.

Compare this with Germany, where the political capital Berlin is balanced by a fin…

Why can't Indian companies Infosys, Wipro, etc, lead Digital India campaign? Make in India should apply to Digital revolution also !

Indian FM ready to cut government stake, thus cut control, on state owned Banks- could be disastrous for the poor.

Govt may consider cutting stake in state-run banks - Arun JaitleyMon Sep 28, 2015 2:03pm IST
REUTERS - The government may consider reducing its stake in state-run lenders to 52 percent, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday.The government would also consider other issues including problems tied to distressed state power providers, Jaitley said while speaking at a banking conference.

Top Ten Programming Languages of 2015

What are the most popular programming languages? The only honest answer: It depends. Are you trying to land a job at a hot mobile app startup, model electricity flows across a continent, or create an electronic art project? Languages are tools, and what’s a “must have” in one domain can be a “whatever” in another. So for the second year in a row, IEEE Spectrum has teamed up with computational journalist Nick Diakopoulos to give you a popularity ranking that you can adjust to meet your own needs.
Our ranking system is driven by weighting and combining 12 metrics from 10 data sources. We believe these sources—such as the IEEE Xplore digital library, GitHub, and CareerBuilder—are good proxies for the popularity of 48 languages along a number of different dimensions. The weighting of these sources can be adjusted in our interactive Web app to give, say, more importance to languages that have turned up in job ads. Filters can be applied so that you can see only languages relev…

6 Core Reasons Why Instagram Grew So Quickly

1. A Unique Visual Storytelling Application Stories have been around for thousands of years. As human beings we’re wired to live and tell stories. The change that has fueled the growth of Instagram is that we’ve become a society of visual storytellers. The primary mode of telling stories is through pictures. Americans love watching movies, annually fueling Hollywood’s billion-dollar industry.
While yesteryear had humans using the oral tradition to pass down stories, today sees pictorial storytelling outstripping audio and even print narratives as the primary way the world tells and shares stories. The modern age beckons the earth’s inhabitants to constantly live life faster. As a consequence the time to read life evaporates quickly, leaving only the mere snatches of time to look at pictures, allowing our modern minds to fill in the necessary words of the narrative between the pictures.
2. Facebook Piggyback The Facebook phenomenon has changed the size of the world. Never b…

Facebook is working on a novel way to track you

Facebook and Google seem like they’re in a contest to see which can come up with the creepiest ways to keep track of its user base has spotted a new patent that was awarded to Facebook earlier this year that describes technology that can identify individual users’ phones based on unique camera lens defects that show up on the pictures they upload onto the web.

How is Facebook pulling this off, you’re wondering? By taking a deep look at things such as “faulty pixel positions in the camera, lens scratches, dust on lens, camera artifacts” and other characteristics that will let it identify individual cameras. Facebook thinks it can pair these characteristics with more traditional metrics like location data to correctly identify the camera being used. Now for the bigger question: Why is Facebook doing this? In its patent filing, the company says that this technology can be used to determine “fake, fraudulent, or additional accounts” that its users set up so it can s…

2.3 million families are close to homelessness in USA

1-in-4 US renters spend half their pay on rent and utilities

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than one in four U.S. renters have to use at least half their family income to pay for housing and utilities.

That's the finding of an analysis of Census data by Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit that helps finance affordable housing. The number of such households has jumped 26 percent to 11.25 million since 2007.

Since the end of 2010, rental prices have surged at nearly twice the pace of average hourly wages, according to data from the real estate firm Zillow and the Labor Department.

"It means making really difficult trade-offs," said Angela Boyd, a vice president at Enterprise Community Partners. "There are daily financial dilemmas about making their rent or buying groceries."


Russia's tech and finance professionals flee abroad more than before

For most of the last decade, Igor Gladkoborodov worked his way up in Moscow's vibrant high-tech scene, going from web developer to co-founder of an online-video startup that drew $3.5 million in local funding.

Last month, he abandoned Moscow for Menlo Park, California, joining a growing flow of professionals leaving Russia amid recession, deepening international isolation and tightening regulation of the Internet.

"Five years ago, there was still hope that things would change for the better," says Gladkoborodov, 32, who moved with his wife and two young sons. "Now it's clear that Russia is facing a long systemic crisis," he adds. In Silicon Valley, he says he regularly meets others from Moscow who've left.

Official statistics show the number of Russian citizens leaving permanently or for more than nine months reached 53,235 in 2014, up 11 percent and the highest in nine years. Germany, the U.S. and Israel all report increases in the numbers of applications…

What are the QS World University Rankings? What have IIT-Delhi and IISc Bengaluru done to make the cut?

What criteria are followed to determine the rankings? Six key indicators, of different weights, cumulatively determine an institution's overall score. The academic reputation of the university carries the maximum weight of 40 per cent, citations per faculty and student-to-faculty ratio carry 20 per cent weights each, employer reputation accounts for 10 per cent weightage, and international faculty ratio and international student ratio account for 5 per cent each.

How has IIT-D improved its ranking? IIT-D's own assessment is that the improvement is "primarily based on the quality of faculty and the research output" over the past five years. An indication of this is the fact that IIT-D has secured the 36th rank based on 'globally based citations per faculty'. It, has, however, fared poorly in criteria such as the faculty-student ratio, international faculty, and international students. What about IISc, Bengaluru? The absence of undergraduate courses had thus far…

Getting the best of debt instruments -PPF NSC etc

For risk-averse investors, there is a choice of a wide range of debt products. Each of the products has its own utility, depending on your goal and investment horizon. Debt products may not be as aggressive as equity, when it comes to return on investment. For the risk-averse, though, these combine safety, returns and tax-efficiency.

Debt funds are more liquid and tax-efficient compared to bank deposits. They invest in easily saleable fixed-income securities such as banks' certificate of deposits and highly credit-rated companies' commercial papers maturing in 91 days. They offer investment flexibility, unlike fixed deposits. The interest earned on short-term funds is added to your income and taxed as per slab.

If you have slightly less than a year in hand, opt for the dividend option (where dividend distribution tax of 14.16 per cent is paid by the fund house). You can thus enjoy higher post-tax returns, especially if you fall in the higher tax bracket (30 per cent). Even for t…

Going Hyperlocal - Flipkart, Snapdeal, Paytm already there before you know what it means.

Bengaluru/New Delhi:Flipkart, Snapdeal and Paytm, India's top e-commerce firms, are preparing for entry into so-called hyperlocal delivery and considering investments in such start-ups, potentially heralding a much-awaited consolidation of the nascent but increasingly crowded business.Hyperlocal start-ups connect customers with supermarkets and restaurants through apps and deliver products on demand, in a few hours or even quicker.Flipkart is testing a separate ordering app called Nearby in Bengaluru to deliver groceries, electronics, clothes and other products, three people familiar with the matter said.The company has been working on its hyperlocal push for at least a year and plans to launch it over the next two months, the people said. It plans to offer delivery of products within a few hours of an order being placed, they said, requesting anonymity.Snapdeal, run by Jasper Infotech Pvt. Ltd, is planning to expand into hyperlocal primarily through acquisitions and financial inv…

An easy way to find tourist hotspots in any corner of the world !

World's hottest tourist attractions: Interactive 'heat map' reveals top 10 most photographed travel destinations across the globe.Anyone who has visited New York will have whipped out their camera to take an obligatory shot of the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty. And a visit to Paris or Rome isn’t complete without a smartphone selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower or Spanish Steps respectively. But which tourist sights are the world’s most iconic? An interactive 'heat map' has revealed the top 10 photographed cities in the world - along with which tourist attraction is the most snapped in each location.

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Is the governemnt hiding the poverty levels? How to Read India’s Poverty Stats

In the year ending 2012 there were 269.3 million people (21.9% of the population) living below the poverty line, the Planning Commission, the government’s think-tank, said Tuesday.
For sure, that’s a huge number, but it’s far lower than the 407.1 million people under the poverty line in the year ending 2005, when the Planning Commission estimated that 37.2% of the population were living in poverty.
And the latest estimates also showed a significant decrease from almost two decades ago when in the year ending 1994, there were 403.7 million people, or 45.3% of the population in poverty.
Local newspaper headlines celebrated the fall. “Now, only 22% of Indians below poverty line, Planning Commission” said the Economic Times.
“Poverty shrunk under UPA govt: Planning Commission,” was the headline in the Hindu.
But how accurate are these most recent estimates and do they stand up to economic scrutiny?
Some experts have questioned the government’s definition of poverty and arg…

Map of india showing people with ownership of all four assets - television, computer/laptop, scooter/car and telephone/ mobile phone.

With 20 per cent of India's population still lives below the poverty line. What will smart cities mean to India? 

Twenty years hence, the 2011 census shows that only 4.6 per cent of India's population has ownership of all four assets - television, computer/laptop, scooter/car and telephone/ mobile phone.
While the limiting asset is computer with only 9.5 per cent ownership, 21 per cent owns a scooter and 63 per cent owns a phone.

Click on the image to enlarge:

How projections go wrong ! The year 1991 was a landmark in India's economic and political history. And by throwing its doors open to the foreign world, it created two myths - the great Indian middle class and the great Indian growth story. But myth was soon busted when the 300 million middle-class figure projected in 1991 actually stood at 30 million. According to the standards set by the Asian Development Bank, members of the middleclass consume on average $2- $20 a day. Is the vulnerable middle- clas…

US financial bubble ready to burst:Nobel laureate Robert Shiller

More and more investors are expressing concern that US stocks are overvalued, which may result in a major bear market - characterized by falling prices and widespread pessimism, Nobel laureate in economics Robert Shiller told the FT. Studies have shown that the level of uncertainty among investors has peaked since the end of the dot-com boom in 2000, said Shiller.Fifteen years ago, the US technology sector index, the Nasdaq Composite, lost 78 percent of its value, falling from 5046 to 1114 points."It looks to me a bit like a bubble again with essentially a tripling of stock prices since 2009 in just six years and at the same time people losing confidence in the valuation of the market," he said.Ref:

Default feared as Rs800 crore Amtek auto (Indian autoparts company) bonds set to mature

Mumbai: Amtek Auto Ltd will need to pay Rs.800 crore to investors in the next two weeks, when bonds sold by the company in 2010 mature, and concern is mounting among bankers and bondholders that the debt-laden auto parts maker, which reported a surprise June quarter loss, may default. The Delhi-based company had sold the bonds at a coupon rate of 10.25%, its largest such sale in the local market. These bonds are coming up for redemption on 20 September, according to data from Bloomberg. Axis Bank Ltd managed the bond sale. Apart from this lump-sum repayment, an additional Rs.40 crore of debt is due for payment on 16 October and Rs.50 crore on 4 November, according to a draft shelf disclosure document prepared by the company dated 7 April. Minthas reviewed a copy of the document. Amtek Auto's managing director Gautam Malhotra didn't respond to several calls seeking comment on Thursday and Friday. An email sent to the company also remained unanswered

Govt should spend on awareness campaigns to prevent farmers' suicides in India. 3000 dead in three years.

Lack of awareness in farmers to government advisory centers leads to high incidence of crop failure and thus lead to suicides.

Maharashtra is by far the epicentre of the crisis, with over 10,000 recorded farm suicides between 2011 and 2013. This year, the Marathwada region alone has seen over 200 farmer suicides in just three months. According to figures from the Ministry of Agriculture, the total of number of suicides committed by farmers for agrarian reasons in the last three years stands at 3313. The five States — Maharashtra, Telangana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala — accounted for 3301 of them.