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Vaiko arrested for pro-LTTE remarks

This is the second time that Vaiko has been arrested for supporting the banned group LTTE.
This is the second time that Vaiko has been arrested for supporting the banned group LTTE.
MDMK chief Vaiko was on Thursday arrested for making ‘highly inflammatory speeches in support of the LTTE’, police said.Vaiko had at a public meeting in Chennai on Tuesday said a separate Tamil Eelam under the leadership of LTTE chief Prabhakaran would come into existence soon in Sri Lanka.

“LTTE and Sri Lankan Tamils could not be separated. Though we are against any violence, we should differentiate between violence and right”, he said.

“Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had assured me no military aid would be supplied to Sri Lanka, had gone back on his word,” he alleged.

Vaiko said, “if the need arises, I will be the first man to take up arms in support of Sri Lankan Tamils. I will gather youths all over the country for this purpose”.The MDMK presidium chairman, M Kannappan, had told the meeting that time would come to demand for a separate Tamil Nadu. In that meeting, a two-hour film on Sri Lankan army’s alleged atrocities against Tamils was screened.

In a statement on Wednesday, AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa had demanded that all LTTE supporters be booked.

Tamil Nadu government’s decision to arrest Vaiko was to make it clear that ruling DMK’s support was only for the suffering Sri Lankan Tamils and not for LTTE.

Vaiko, now an ally of Jayalalithaa, was detained under POTA by her Government in 2004 on his arrival from the United States after he had made a pro-LTTE speech at a public meeting in Tirumangalam in Madurai.

DMK chief M Karunanidhi had condemned Vaiko’s arrest at that time.

This is the second time that Vaiko has been arrested for supporting the banned group, the earlier occasion being during the previous AIADMK government when he was held under POTA.

Vaiko was arrested under the Unlawful Prevention Activities Act, police said.

He was remanded to 14 days judicial custody.

Vaiko said soon after his arrest that his party was for India’s sovereignty. At the same time, it could not allow the Centre to provide arms and ammunition and logistics support to Sri Lankan government ‘to perpetuate war against Tamils’.

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October 24, 2008 Posted by | General, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama establishes double digit lead over McCain

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and his wife Michelle embrace during a rally in Miami. (AP)
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and his wife Michelle embrace during a rally in Miami. (AP)

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama has established a double digit lead over his Republican rival John McCain just two weeks ahead of crucial elections, a just released poll says.
The ‘Wall Street Journal-NBC News’ poll found that 52 per cent voters favour Obama against 42 per cent who support McCain, showing a four per cent increase since the poll two weeks ago. The poll has a margin of error plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

The poll says that a growing number of voters said that they were comfortable with the Democrat’s values, background and ability to serve as commander-in-chief.

It’s the largest lead in the Journal/NBC poll so far, and represents a steady climb for Senator Obama since early September, when the political conventions concluded with the candidates in a statistical tie.

“Voters have reached a comfort level with Barack Obama,” said Peter D Hart, a Democratic pollster who conducts the poll with Republican Neil Newhouse.Though most voters polled said that McCain is better prepared for the White House than the first-term Obama, there are increasing concerns about the readiness of McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the poll showed.

The race, the Journal said, has rested largely on the question of whether voters could get comfortable with Obama, the first African-American to run on a major party ticket, and one who has been on the national political scene for just a few years.

McCain has worked to stoke concerns about Obama’s past and his qualifications, raising questions about his rival’s character and his association with 1960s-era radical William Ayers. The new poll suggests that these attacks haven’t worked. The poll found that Obama now holds a 12-percentage-point advantage with independents, a group both sides have fiercely sought. Two weeks ago, Obama led this group by just four percentage points. In mid-September, independents favoured McCain by 13 points.

Obama leads suburban voters by 12 percentage points, up from two points two weeks ago. He leads among older voters, those over 65-years-old, by nine points, erasing a one-point McCain advantage from the last poll. And in the Midwest, home

to a swath of battleground states, he is now favoured by 25 points, up from a one-point advantage.

Some daily tracking polls, the journal said, have found a tighter race between McCain and Obama in recent days.

Real Clear Politics, a Web site that averages major polls, shows Obama up by 7.2 percentage points.

Others have found a larger spread, such as one released Tuesday by the Pew Research Centre for the People and the Press, a nonpartisan research group. That poll found a 14-point advantage for Obama among registered voters.

Many polls also show McCain lagging in key battleground states, which hold the electoral votes that could decide the race.

Obama, the paper said, has also eaten into traditional Republican advantages, notably on taxes, despite McCain’s attempts to make the issue a central economic theme of the campaign’s closing days.

In the mid-September Journal poll, McCain was favoured 41 per cent to 37 per cent when voters were asked which candidate would be “better on taxes.” This week’s poll found Obama leading on the issue by 48 per cent to 34 per cent.

That, the Journal says, may be partly due to Obama’s argument that McCain would raise taxes on health-insurance benefits. While McCain’s health plan does raise some taxes, the plan overall represents a net tax cut, the paper said, citing independent estimates.

October 22, 2008 Posted by | Elections, General, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chandrayaan-1 in earth’s orbit, sends signals

India’s first unmanned flight to the moon blasted off from Sriharikota, off the Andhra Pradesh coast, early morning on Wednesday and started to cruise around the earth in its designated orbit, minutes after a copybook liftoff.

Carrying over a billion hopes, India’s maiden lunar mission began its historic journey to the moon on Wednesday when an indigenously developed rocket placed the spacecraft into the Transfer Orbit “perfectly”.

A 44-metre-tall and 316-tonne rocket called the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV C11) carried the 1,380-kg lunar orbiter from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, , about 80 km north of Chennai, at exactly 0622 hrs IST.

After 18.2 minutes of the lift-off, ISRO’s warhorse rocket injected Chandrayaan-I into earth orbit.

The cuboid spacecraft built by the Indian Space Research Organisation – likely to be injected into Moon’s orbit on November 8 – has launched the country into the elite club that has sent missions to the moon.

Other members of the club are the US, former Soviet Union, European Space Agency, China and Japan. The US returns to lunar exploration aboard Chandrayaan-1, which is also carrying two NASA instruments in its payload.

The first four phases of the launch were 100 per cent perfect, said the scientists, and ground stations across the world – including the master control station in Bangalore – started getting signals from Chandrayaan.

Hectic activity is on at the ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Peenya, Bangalore which will be the country’s nerve-centre for controlling Chandrayaan-I for the next two years.

The Deep Space Network (DSN) at Byalalu will join ISTRAC in tracking the spacecraft for the next six hours.

’It’s a historical moment’

Speaking minutes after the successful liftoff Chairman of the Indian Space Research Agency (ISRO) G Madhavan Nair described the moment as historic. “India has started its journey to the moon. The first leg has gone perfectly. the spacecraft has been launched into orbit,” he said.

Nair pointed out that the launch had gone off perfectly despite heavy rain in and around the spaceport for the last four days. “We’ve been fighting the odds for the last four days,” he said.

But the weather gods relented by Tuesday evening and there no rain when the launch took place in a cloudy morning sky.

Chandrayaan-1 started to orbit the earth on its geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), from which its onboard liquid apogee motor (LAM) will be fired in a series of complex manoeuvres to take it to the lunar orbit – 387,000 km from earth – on Nov 8.

It was a dream come true for about 1,000 space scientists and technologists when PSLV-C11, with the spacecraft atop, blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre of the state-run ISRO.

Within minutes of the 44.4-metre rocket roaring aloft, leaving behind an inferno in the underground inlets of the second launch pad, the mission control centre of the space station erupted with joy and excitement.

Top scientists, led by Nair, space centre director M C Dathan, associate director M Y S Prasad and others shook hands and hugged one another even as the high-security facility reverberated with clapping of hands and cheers.

Former ISRO chairmen U.R. Rao and K. Kasturirangan and space commission member Roddam Narasimaiah, who were present on the occasion, congratulated Nair and his team.

October 22, 2008 Posted by | General, Science, Technology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

India’s Largest Test Victories

By an innings
Winner Margin Opposition Ground Match Date Scorecard
India inns & 239 runs v Bangladesh Dhaka (SBNS) 25 May 2007 Test # 1833
India inns & 219 runs v Australia Kolkata 18 Mar 1998 Test # 1409
India inns & 140 runs v Bangladesh Dhaka 10 Dec 2004 Test # 1725
India inns & 131 runs v Pakistan Rawalpindi 13 Apr 2004 Test # 1697
India inns & 119 runs v Sri Lanka Lucknow 18 Jan 1994 Test # 1244
India inns & 112 runs v West Indies Mumbai 9 Oct 2002 Test # 1616
India inns & 109 runs v New Zealand Chennai 6 Jan 1956 Test # 420
India inns & 106 runs v Sri Lanka Nagpur 27 Dec 1986 Test # 1063
India inns & 101 runs v Zimbabwe Nagpur 21 Feb 2002 Test # 1589
India inns & 100 runs v Australia Mumbai 3 Nov 1979 Test # 860
India inns & 95 runs v Sri Lanka Bangalore 26 Jan 1994 Test # 1245
India inns & 90 runs v Zimbabwe Bulawayo 13 Sep 2005 Test # 1765
India inns & 83 runs v Bangladesh Chittagong (MAA) 17 Dec 2004 Test # 1727
India inns & 70 runs v Pakistan Delhi 16 Oct 1952 Test # 355
India inns & 67 runs v Sri Lanka Cuttack 4 Jan 1987 Test # 1064
India inns & 52 runs v Pakistan Multan 28 Mar 2004 Test # 1693
India inns & 46 runs v England Leeds 22 Aug 2002 Test # 1613
India inns & 27 runs v New Zealand Mumbai (BS) 2 Dec 1955 Test # 417
India inns & 22 runs v England Chennai 11 Feb 1993 Test # 1213
India inns & 17 runs v Sri Lanka Ahmedabad 8 Feb 1994 Test # 1247
India inns & 15 runs v England Mumbai 19 Feb 1993 Test # 1214
India inns & 13 runs v Zimbabwe Delhi 13 Mar 1993 Test # 1218
India inns & 8 runs v England Chennai 6 Feb 1952 Test # 348
India inns & 8 runs v Sri Lanka Chandigarh 23 Nov 1990 Test # 1156
India inns & 2 runs v Australia Sydney 7 Jan 1978 Test # 814
By runs
Winner Margin Opposition Ground Match Date Scorecard
India 320 runs v Australia Mohali 17 Oct 2008 Test # 1889
India 280 runs v South Africa Kanpur 8 Dec 1996 Test # 1344
India 279 runs v England Leeds 19 Jun 1986 Test # 1047
India 272 runs v New Zealand Auckland 7 Mar 1968 Test # 634
India 259 runs v Sri Lanka Ahmedabad 18 Dec 2005 Test # 1778
India 255 runs v West Indies Chennai 11 Jan 1988 Test # 1089
India 235 runs v Sri Lanka Colombo (SSC) 27 Jul 1993 Test # 1228
India 222 runs v Australia Melbourne 30 Dec 1977 Test # 812
India 216 runs v New Zealand Chennai 26 Nov 1976 Test # 787
India 212 runs v Pakistan Delhi 4 Feb 1999 Test # 1443
India 195 runs v Pakistan Kolkata 16 Mar 2005 Test # 1741
India 188 runs v Sri Lanka Delhi 10 Dec 2005 Test # 1776
India 187 runs v England Kolkata 30 Dec 1961 Test # 518
India 179 runs v Australia Chennai 6 Mar 1998 Test # 1405
India 172 runs v New Zealand Bangalore 12 Nov 1988 Test # 1107
India 171 runs v Australia Kolkata 11 Mar 2001 Test # 1535
India 170 runs v Sri Lanka Galle 31 Jul 2008 Test # 1884
India 162 runs v New Zealand Mumbai 10 Nov 1976 Test # 785
India 153 runs v Australia Kanpur 2 Oct 1979 Test # 857
India 140 runs v England Bangalore 28 Jan 1977 Test # 794
India 138 runs v England Mumbai 27 Nov 1981 Test # 911
India 131 runs v Pakistan Mumbai 16 Dec 1979 Test # 865
India 128 runs v England Chennai 10 Jan 1962 Test # 520
India 123 runs v South Africa Johannesburg 15 Dec 2006 Test # 1823
India 119 runs v Australia Kanpur 19 Dec 1959 Test # 483
India 100 runs v West Indies Chennai 11 Jan 1975 Test # 752
India 96 runs v West Indies Mumbai 18 Nov 1994 Test # 1274
India 85 runs v West Indies Kolkata 27 Dec 1974 Test # 750
India 72 runs v Australia Perth 16 Jan 2008 Test # 1862
India 64 runs v South Africa Ahmedabad 20 Nov 1996 Test # 1338
By wickets
Winner Margin Opposition Ground Match Date Scorecard
India 10 wickets v Pakistan Mumbai (BS) 13 Nov 1952 Test # 357
India 10 wickets v Pakistan Chennai 15 Jan 1980 Test # 869
India 10 wickets v New Zealand Hyderabad (Decc) 2 Dec 1988 Test # 1111
India 10 wickets v England Mohali 3 Dec 2001 Test # 1574
India 10 wickets v Zimbabwe Harare 20 Sep 2005 Test # 1767
India 9 wickets v Bangladesh Dhaka 10 Nov 2000 Test # 1512
India 9 wickets v England Mohali 9 Mar 2006 Test # 1788
India 8 wickets v New Zealand Wellington 29 Feb 1968 Test # 632
India 8 wickets v New Zealand Auckland 24 Jan 1976 Test # 769
India 8 wickets v England Mumbai 28 Nov 1984 Test # 1001
India 8 wickets v England Kolkata 29 Jan 1993 Test # 1211
India 8 wickets v New Zealand Bangalore 18 Oct 1995 Test # 1308
India 8 wickets v New Zealand Kanpur 22 Oct 1999 Test # 1464
India 8 wickets v Zimbabwe Bulawayo 7 Jun 2001 Test # 1548
India 8 wickets v West Indies Chennai 17 Oct 2002 Test # 1618
India 8 wickets v South Africa Kolkata 28 Nov 2004 Test # 1724
India 8 wickets v South Africa Kanpur 11 Apr 2008 Test # 1873
India 7 wickets v New Zealand Delhi 19 Mar 1965 Test # 583
India 7 wickets v Australia Delhi 28 Nov 1969 Test # 667
India 7 wickets v West Indies Port of Spain 6 Mar 1971 Test # 683
India 7 wickets v Australia Delhi 10 Oct 1996 Test # 1335
India 7 wickets v Zimbabwe Delhi 18 Nov 2000 Test # 1515
India 7 wickets v Sri Lanka Kandy 22 Aug 2001 Test # 1557
India 7 wickets v England Nottingham 27 Jul 2007 Test # 1841
India 6 wickets v West Indies Port of Spain 7 Apr 1976 Test # 775
India 6 wickets v Pakistan Delhi 22 Nov 2007 Test # 1849
India 5 wickets v New Zealand Dunedin 15 Feb 1968 Test # 630
India 5 wickets v England Lord’s 5 Jun 1986 Test # 1046

October 21, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

India thump World Champs Australia by 320 runs

India drubbed Australia by 320 runs at Mohali to take a 1-0 lead in the Border-Gavaskar series. This is India’s biggest ever Test win (excluding innings victories).

India dominated this match with everybody chipping in significantly. Debutant Amit Mishra had a 7-wicket match haul, while Sourav Ganguly and Gautam Gambhir slammed centuries in first and second innings respectively. Sachin Tendulkar scored 88. But the ‘Man of the Match’ was the captain himself. MS Dhoni was given the award for his knocks of 92 and 68*.

Scorecard

Congratulate Team India

Earlier, Australia, who resumed the play on Tuesday with their overnight score of 141/5, were bundled before the lunch in reply to India’s 515 runs on the last day of the second Test.

Zaheer Khan fastened India’s winning bid as he took three quick wickets of Brad Haddin, Cameron White and Brett Lee while Amit Mishra wrapped up the proceedings by claiming Mitchell Johnson and Michael Clarke.

Zaheer struck in the very first over of the fifth day and dismissed Haddin for 37 runs after he added 84 runs with Clarke for the sixth wicket. A good length ball from Zaheer came back to beat Haddin and crash into the middle and off-stump.

In his next over, he got White come forward for the drive. The ball took an outside edge and Dhoni took a good catch behind the wicket. Lee didn’t even last a ball. Zaheer pitched a short stuff that beat Lee and uprooted the off-stump.

After Lee fell, India hoped to finish it quickly but a 50-run partnership between Johnson and Clarke frustrated the hosts. Mishra then foxed Johnson with his flight caught him off his own bowling. Clarke, who slammed a fighting 69, fell as the last wicket as he pulled a good length ball from Mishra and Sehwag at midwicket pouched it safely.

Australian coach Tim Nielsen had confessed after the close of fourth day’s play that team played for a win but the gameplan backfired. Of course, with 515 runs to chase in four sessions on a spinning track can never be easy and playing aggressively cost Australian heavily.

4th innings score in India by visiting team

Inn4 Score Result Margin M Season Venue Target
WI 276-5 W 5 wickets 1 1987-88 Delhi (Feroz SK) 276
NZ 272-6 D drawn 1 2003-04 Ahmedabad (GS) 370
WI 270-7 D drawn 3 1966-67 Chepauk 322
WI 266 L 96 runs 1 1994-95 Wankhede 363
NZ 252-2 D drawn 3 1999-00 Ahmedabad (GS) 424
Aus 212 L 171 runs 2 2000-01 Calcutta 384

October 21, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Injury almost pushed me into depression: Sania

The Indian ace has been out of action since the Beijing Olympics.

OFF COURT: The Indian ace has been out of action since the Beijing Olympics.

Forced to stay away from courts for almost half the season, a fit again Sania Mirza is eyeing a comeback at January’s Classic tennis tournament in Hong Kong and revealed that she almost sunk into depression while struggling to recover from a wrist injury.

The Indian ace has been out of action since the Beijing Olympics, where her wrist injury flared up again and she had to concede her first round singles match.

Sharing the trauma she faced when she ran out of options to get her wrist healed, she said it was difficult to cope with the situation at that time.

“It was scary. It was career threatening. I was almost going through depression. I think the post-injury period is more difficult to cope with and I am happy to be back. But I never doubted that I cannot make a comeback ,” Sania, who is in Capital for the treatment, said.

Sania said she was keen to make a comeback but was not in a hurry. She confirmed that she will play a team tournament in Hong Kong in January before resuming her Tour activities.

“It is a big honour to represent Asia. It is great to be a part of such a large field, where you have players like (Jelena) Jankovic and (Maria) Sharapova. But we still have two-and-a-half months to go and it is very long period in tennis,” she said after spending about an hour on the DLTA courts, practicing with Radhika Tulpule.

Talking about the next season, she said she was approaching it cautiously.

October 21, 2008 Posted by | General, Sports, Tennis | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Banks safe, but economy may slump: PM

Manmohan Singh says tackling inflation remains goverment's priority.

HIS ECONOMIC ADVICE: Manmohan Singh says tackling inflation remains goverment’s priority.

Indians banks are safe and depositors need not worry for their money, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has told Parliament for the first time after the worldwide financial crisis.

“Our banks, both in the public sector and in the private sector, are financially sound, well capitalised and well regulated. There should be no fear of a failure of any bank,” Singh said in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

“I wish to assure depositors in our banks that their deposits are entirely safe.” Singh, however, warned that the economy might slow down.

“The financial storm has shaken confidence in the system and precipitated a steep decline in stock markets. It has produced a sharp slowdown in economic activity, with the prospect of a prolonged recession in industrialised countries,” he said.

There is enough capital, but “nevertheless, we must be prepared for a temporary slowdown in the Indian economy”.

Singh said the precise impact of the global financial crisis was difficult to estimate but the economic slowdown in developed countries is likely to have an “indirect impact” on the Indian economy.

Some estimates projected GDP growth to reduce to 7.5 per cent in the current year, but “our effort will be to minimise the negative effect of the financial crisis… to return to the growth trajectory of 9 per cent.”

The Prime Minister said the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Government were carefully monitoring the flow of credit and would ensure that the additional liquidity infused into the system translated into actual credit.

“We will not hesitate to do more, if needed. While the capital adequacy ratios of all our banks are well above the Basel norm and above the RBI stipulated norm, government has promised that it will help banks, which have lower ratios, to access funds to increase the capital risk-weighted asset ratio to 12 per cent,” he said.

October 20, 2008 Posted by | Business, General, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sourav Ganguly completes 7,000 Test runs

Sourav Ganguly reached a personal landmark on Friday when he became the fourth Indian batsman to cross 7,000 runs during the first day’s play of the second cricket Test against Australia at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium here.

Ganguly’s feat came just an hour after Tendulkar surpassed the record of West Indian Brian Lara as the highest scorer in Test cricket.

The Prince of Kolkata, who will retire from international cricket after the four-Test series, crossed the milestone while on 40 after gliding a Johnson delivery to sweeper cover for a double.

Tendulkar and Ganguly stitched a crucial partnership after India lost four wickets with 163 runs. The reached the duo in the post-tea session of the first day’s play here.

Ganguly took 111 Tests to achieve the feat, in his 12-year illustrious career.

The other three in the 7,000-run category are Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid. Ganguly is the 33rd batsman in world cricket to cross the 7,000-run mark in Tests.

October 20, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Lehman Brothers went bust ?

$362 bn Lehman brothers went bankrupt today. Merill Lynch was sold to Bank of  America for merely $50 bn.

Lehman and Merill were 2 of the 5 biggest investment banks in US. Both are history now. 26000 employees working for Lehman lost their jobs in one day. It was  a big news on all TV channels showing the Lehman employees packing their stuff, clearing their desks and closing their offices on the Wall street. NYSE rep said on TV that Stock holders of Lehman will not get anything.

The economists say this is going bring a worst economic depression of this century. And of course it is going to affect global economy.

US economy is supposed to slide further down and get worse till next June.

Why Lehman Bros went bust; what it means for you


L
ehman Brothers is not more. Merrill Lynch has gown down the Bank of America maw. AIG too could go belly up. With a doubt, these developments in America are the most shocking events to have hit global financial markets. So where did it all begin? And what does it mean for the Indian stock markets? Find out. . .
What is (or was) Lehman Brothers?

America’s fourth-largest investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc has filed the biggest bankruptcy petition known to mankind.
The 158-year-old firm was founded by brothers Henry, Emanuel and Mayer Lehman, Jewish immigrants to the US from Germany, in 1850. Henry set up a general store in Alabama in 1844 and was later joined by his brothers. In 1850 they set up the merchant bank in New York after having made money in railway bonds. So what went wrong?

Lehman Bros, which till June 2008 had not reported a quarterly loss even once, had earlier survived many an economic crises, like railroad bankruptcies of the 1800s, the Great Depression in the 1930s, and the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management in the 1990s.

Thus the collapse of the giant investment bank came as a major shock for the entire world markets that plunged after Lehman filed a Chapter 11 petition with US Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan.

The $613 billion (some estimates put the size at $639 billion) bankruptcy thus throws up the question: why did the Wall Street giant go bust? Here’s why. . .

Why did Lehman Brothers go bankrupt?

The giant investment bank succumbed to the sub-prime mortgage crisis that has rocked the United States and the global economy. Lehman was strangled by a massive credit crisis and fast plummeting real estate prices.

The gargantuan $60 billion loss in bad real estate loans forced the bank to file for bankruptcy.

However, the fall of the 158-year-year institution that started cotton trade in US before the American Civil War and financed the railroad that built a nation, got hit by a large dose of bad luck, pride, arrogance and greed. Primarily, the pride of its chief executive office Richard Fuld.

But there were more reason. Check out what they were.

Lehman’s collapse was also triggered by the refusal of other banks to do business with it because of its complex and, at times, opaque ways of trading. Housing loans made by the bank to people with little support made these loans very risky, and when interest rates rose, these borrowers could no more repay Lehman. This led to huge losses, the extent of which is not yet clear.

Thus other banks stopped trading with Lehman. This led to it losing almost all business and triggered its fall.

The final straw for Lehman was the fact that both Barclays Plc of the United Kingdom and Bank of America Corp pulled out of takeover talks. BofA bought out Merrill Lynch for $50 billion.

However, Barclays has now said that it is in discussions with Lehman Brothers about buying certain assets of the stricken US investment bank.

“Barclays confirms that it is discussing with Lehman Brothers the possible acquisition of certain Lehman Brothers assets on terms that would be attractive to Barclay’s shareholders,” Britain’s third largest bank said in a statement.

When other banks do not want to buy Lehman, why is Barclays interested?

Barclays wanted to buy Lehman out at a discount, so to speak. But when Lehman CEO Fuld decided that his bank was worth much more than what Barclays had apparently offered, Barclays stepped back.

Now that Lehman has filed for bankruptcy, its assets are available fairly cheap. However, the biggest problem is to take on Lehman’s enormous liabilities.

How far is the CEO of the company responsible for Lehman’s fall?

Wall Street analysts believe that it was the ‘hubris’ of Richard Fuld, the 62-year-old CEO of Lehman, who did not take the telltale signs of impending doom very seriously. Fuld, nicknamed The Gorilla for his foul temper, intimidating presence and tough talk, rejected many bids to save Lehman because he thought that the sinking giant was much bigger than Wall Street was giving it credit for, and wanted to get more price for the sale of the company.

Analysts say if the bank was sold just a week before it went kaput, it could have been saved the ignominy of a bankruptcy, but Fuld was far too adamant to see reason. Result: the end of a 158-year-old financial giant.

Could the United States government helped, like it helped Bear Stearns in May this year, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac earlier this month?

The US government could have helped, but US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said that it would not use up any more taxpayer dollars to bail out Lehman Brothers as it would lead to investment banks getting away with their gambling ways. Paulson had bailed out Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Bear Stearns, saying that if the government had not done so, the US housing loan market would have collapsed leading to gigantic losses for hundreds of banks all over the globe that have invested in US property.

Paulson, however, believes that a brokerage major like Lehman, which does not have a direct connection with ordinary people who have taken on home loans, need not be bailed out as it would not cause any systemic damage to the US economy

Will everyone in Lehman lose their jobs?

The bankruptcy administrators, PricewaterhouseCoopers, feels that as Lehman’s operations were essentially centralized at New York, the folding up of the investment banker in the US will have a telling impact on all its operations globally.

Over 5,000 employees in the UK have already lost their jobs, while about 20,000 in the US might as well forget going back to their work stations. About 2,500 Lehman employees in India too face the axe.

Will the whole bank be liquidated?

Unlikely, at least for now. The US Chapter 11 that deals with bankruptcy says that PwC, the administrators, can go about taking its time to find good offers and buyers for Lehman’s ‘least affected businesses.’

The entire exercise can take months before all of Lehman’s assets are sold, given the complexities linked to the bankruptcy.

What about the Bank of America and Merrill Lynch deal?

Merrill Lynch’s buy out by Bank of America is also a shocking development. ML, saw the writing on the wall once it guessed that Lehman was going bust, and decided to sell out before it actually has to file a bankruptcy petition..

What about the insurance giant AIG?

The world’s largest insurer, American International Group, has been downgraded by credit rating agencies and is racing against time to find a multi billion dollar infusion to stay afloat. US Federal Reserve officials and two leading banks, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, were negotiating to put together $75 billion package to save the insurance giant to stave off crisis.

AIG has sought $40 billion in bridge loan to stave off the crisis. But the Fed rebuffed the request. AIG’s ills came to fore, when three leading credit rating agencies – Standard and Poor’s Moody’s and Fitch – lowered the company’s credit scores.

Who could be the next to fall?

Some Wall Street analysts, reports The Guardian, name Washington Mutual as the next financial major to ‘find itself in serious trouble.’

However, the even bigger worry is whether the world’s largest securities firms, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, would be able to survive this brutal financial crisis. But many say that these two gaints will not melt down as they have ‘done a better job of spreading their bets across world markets and are also more diversified, less leveraged and have managed such risks much better.’

What do Indian markets fear?

The fall of two global financial behemoths — Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch — is expected to dent India Inc’s ability to raise resources via the equity route.

Experts feel that such events significantly increase the risk perception, which in turn will put all future investments by institutional investors such as pension or endowment funds, on the back burner.

While the public issue market has already dried up, the private equity funds are also becoming conservative in terms of pricing. This is resulting in either inordinate delays in concluding deals or transactions being called off.

There are many instances of private equity fund managers refusing to go ahead with deals after signing the term sheet. Sources said that a leading fund conducted due diligence on two companies in the last fortnight but did not close either deal primarily because of the developments in the US, their home country.

The crisis faced by Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers is expected to have a cascading effect on PE firms too.

Will it hit the Indian growth story?

The ongoing financial sector crisis in the United States and its repercussions on developed markets worldwide will result in lower capital inflows into emerging markets like India, economists and government officials said today.

At the same time, they called for the government to make it easier for Indian companies to borrow overseas by easing the restrictions that have been imposed in the past to reduce excessive liquidity in the system and control inflation.

This will, in turn, lead to a slowing in investment growth in the months ahead. As lending gets tighter and investment flows dry, corporate India will find it more difficult to raise both equity and debt.

Technology firms are shivering

Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy filing may well prove to be the last straw for Indian IT firms, which were expecting the second half of FY09 to be better. As a result of the US financial market crisis, analysts do not expect Indian IT firms to sign any significant contracts in the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) space in the months to come.

While IT firms do not disclose client-specific details, it’s estimated that Lehman Brothers has outsourced deals amounting to anywhere between Rs 550 crore and Rs 700 crore (annually) to numerous IT firms, including majors like Tata Consultancy Services, Satyam Computer Services and Wipro. Lehman Brothers, say sources, works with 14 services providers in India – Wipro and TCS being the largest. It also has investments in a few IT firms. It’s not clear if these holdings will be liquidated to raise funds.

Moreover, the sources add that Lehman Brothers’ unit in India has issued termination letters to a majority of its 2,500 employees.

What kind of investment does Lehman have in India?

Lehman does not have direct large holding in the Indian stock markets. These holdings are estimated at around $200 million, including Participatory Notes. This figure is not enough to cripple the Indian stock markets.

But Lehman has exposure to the Indian stock market through special purpose vehicles. This exposure to real estate stocks is said to be of about $1.5 billion, enough to shake up the markets.

October 20, 2008 Posted by | Business, General | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

China to help Pakistan build nuke reactors

The US might not be willing, but Pakistan’s old friend and strategic ally, China has agreed to help it build two more nuclear reactors.

Top officials said that was this part of China’s efforts to improve civil nuclear cooperation between the two countries.

An agreement to this effect was signed in Beijing during the course of the first visit of the new Pakistan President ,Asif Ali Zardari, to China that concluded on Friday, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.

However, Pakistan has not been able to swing a deal like the one between India and the US.

Meanwhile, China has spoken out against the discrimanatory nature of that Indo-US Nuclear Deal, saying Pakistan should not be left out.

October 18, 2008 Posted by | General, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment