Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Germany to pay last installment of World War I debt

Germany to pay last installment of World War I debt: "

Yesterday I mentioned the odd fact that Japan still sends China around $1.2 billion in aid every year to make ammends for the damage done during World War II, but it's not the only country still paying for its (long) past wars. This Sunday, Germany will finally put the 1919 Versailles Treaty behind it: 

Oct. 3, the 20th anniversary of German unification, will also mark the
completion of the final chapter of World War I with the end of
reparations payments 92 years after the country's defeat.

The German government will pay the last instalment of interest
on foreign bonds it issued in 1924 and 1930 to raise cash to fulfil the
enormous reparations demands the victorious Allies made after World War

The reparations bankrupted Germany in the 1920s and the
fledgling Nazi party seized on the resulting public resentment against
the terms of the Versailles Treaty.[...]

The debt payments were halted during the Great Depression and the Nazi era, then resumed in 1953. The final installment comes to €69.9 million.


How Indian regulators saved Indian markets in 2008

A must read, the inside story of how Indian regulators, government heads, and financial institutions saved India in 2008:

Never before had government decision-making been so unorthodox as it was in those four weeks. And seldom had it been so effective. One of the things all the players remember is how many phone calls they made, and how few files were opened. There was no time for files. There was no time for bureaucratic rules.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, his then finance minister, P Chidambaram, and Montek Singh Ahluwalia, then and now, deputy chairman, Planning Commission, were at the top of the informal command structure managing the crisis. Ahluwalia was the one keeping the PM informed most regularly. Chidambaram was the one who sought out good advice from everywhere, including young, sharp economists.

The takeaway is valuable for future crises:

This fascinating story of all the players and all the moves that ensured there were no panic runs in India has two broad lessons. One, stakeholders must cooperate and do so by forgetting precedents when money is at risk. As the latter part of the story shows, this wasn’t the case at the start. There was a group within policy-making circles who didn’t take the crisis seriously enough. How that group lost its argument is a fascinating part of how India avoided a full-blown crisis. The second lesson is that it all boils down to the government in the end. Bankers, businessmen and regulators are crucial. But it is the political appointees who are finally accountable for keeping India’s money safe.

IT'S TEA TIME! Porcelain Pistol

IT'S TEA TIME! Porcelain Pistol: "

Pp Bo Teacup Yls

Pp S  Yls Mocca

Porcelain Pistol by ...

The Porcelain Pistols are replicas of James Bond's Walther PPK and its contemporary sister, the P99,with friendly permission of Carl Walther Inc.The fragile weapon, hand-painted in the style of classic tableware motifs, liesnext to your coffee and cake, asking to be picked up. Its coolness andcomfortable grip increase the qualms of the user, leaving him in a quandary between the pleasure of luxury and violence.

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It's Not About What You Do, But Why You Do It [Video]

It's Not About What You Do, But Why You Do It [Video]: "
What you care about and makes you happy doesn't really matter. What's important is why those things matter in the first place. Starting with that 'why,' rather than 'what,' could help you find better and more meaningful ideas. More »


Friday, September 24, 2010

Why Netflix Has Already Won the Digital TV/Video War

Why Netflix Has Already Won the Digital TV/Video War: "
Now that premium entertainment is becoming easy to stream from web to TV, the race to monetize growing consumer demand is becoming fierce. The stakeholders include nearly the entire internet -- Google, Apple, Amazon, Hulu -- and nearly the entire entertainment industry -- NBC Universal, News Corp., Disney and, soon, Sony, Viacom and Time Warner. Unfortunately for them there's already a clear winner. Netflix. Here's why.


Obelix Goatse

Obelix Goatse: "

Who ever thought the character created by Goscinny and Uderzo is such a dirtbag? This is the Obelix Goatse at Parc Asterix in France. And don’t you tell me you don’t know what Goatse is…



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Time traveler, world traveler, book reader