Thursday, March 21

Buy India, Sell China


You were asking if its good to sell the xtrata and rio and buy virgin. My answer was ambiguous. What you need to think about is what's the best stock or fund to purchase which will give you the best return over the coming say 1 year. So you have to do some analysis. What's the projected return from virgin media? Versus say an Italian or Indian fund? Or say the ft 100 or 250 fund? Or an oil firm? Etc etc? Did you do a comparison? 



Buy India, Sell China - Forbes

Until recently, India saw itself as an emerging economic powerhouse, the next China so to speak. Those delusions of grandeur led to complacency and the end-result is that GDP growth has slumped to a ten-year low. Most investors are now writing India off as an economic and political basket case. For Asia Confidential,that spells potential opportunity. While India has many problems, they’re unlikely to get much worse from here. At 13x forward earnings, with a cyclically low earnings base, the India market looks reasonable value.

India’s rival, China, has far bigger problems, in my view. Current consensus suggests China’s economy is recovering, its politicians will ensure this continues and stocks are poised to rebound. I think this will prove very wrong. To prevent a steep economic decline in the middle of last year, China’s politicians effectively doubled down on the investment driven, debt fuelled growth strategy which got the country into trouble in the first place. That’s led to spiralling asset bubbles and this week’s news of likely further monetary tightening confirms the government is worried. It should be.

Two weeks ago, I recommended that investors sell Chinese stocks, after suggesting to buy them in October last year (and realising a nice gain). Today, I’ll outline why Indian stocks offer better prospects over the next 2-3 years.

Wednesday, March 20

The Shiite Murders: Pakistan's Army of Jhangvi

That's where it goes off Son. The radicalisation of society. If society stands up and keeps on saying no, then these militants cannot survive. Same thing happens in India. We saw what happened in Northern Ireland where a vicious tit for tat terrorist campaign went on for decades. Still going on a bit. It's a question of hearts and minds but when religion gets inside minds, then the mind rots. So be careful of organised religion kannu. Stay away from the Hindu Christian Muslim organisations or people who profess an undying love for their religion. Or who are proud of their religion. There is only one religion. Be good. Do good. Rest is mere detail. And mostly, the religious idiots aren't good and don't do good. 



The Shiite Murders: Pakistan's Army of Jhangvi : The New Yorker


On the morning of February 18th, Dr. Syed Ali Haider, a forty-six-year-old eye surgeon in Lahore, was driving with his eleven-year-old son, Mustafa Haider from their home in upper-middle class Gulberg, a quiet area of mansions on tree-lined avenues, to Aitcheson College, a high school established by the British, which has groomed a few generations of Lahore élite. As Dr. Haider stopped at a traffic light, armed militants on motorbikes surrounded his car, opened fire, and sped away. His driver, who was in the back seat, escaped unhurt and called the police. The doctor had been shot six times in the head and was dead when help arrived; his son, who had been shot once in the head, died later in a hospital.

Dr. Haider came from a much-regarded Lahore family; his relatives were renowned doctors and members of the judiciary. Nobody claimed responsibility for his killing, but everyone in Lahore suspected the Sunni extremist militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which has been involved in numerous attacks on Pakistan’s Shia minority. “This is a sectarian killing. Ali had no personal enmity,” Justice Syed Fazal Haider, his uncle and a retired High Court Judge, told the Pakistani press.

A few days after the murders, I met Professor Osama Siddique, who had returned to teach at Lahore University of Management Sciences after getting his doctorate at Harvard Law School. Siddique’s son goes to the same school as the slain boy, and told him, “I knew Mustafa. I used to teach him how to play cricket at school.” Lahore had largely been unaffected by the frequent violence in Pakistan, but the new wave of attacks on the Shia minority, which constitutes around twenty per cent of Pakistan’s population of a hundred and eighty million, had left the city stunned.

Tuesday, March 19

Joel Klein vs. New York City teachers

Dear kannu

You belong to a family of teachers. At least on my side. Long family tree of teachers. Both dadu and didu are professors. So am i. I also give huge credit to my teachers for what I've done and become. So reverence for teachers is seriously built into me. An old quote always impresses me. The influence of a teacher stops at eternity and that's true. 

Think of the teachers you had up till now. You will remember 1-2 very good ones. Most are average and then you have some who are dire. The challenge one has is what do you do with these teachers at the bottom end of the scale. Our society, our culture, our economy depends on great teachers. Without them, we are playing with the future of our kids. To keep on having bad teachers on is a crime against our students. I feel strongly about it just like I feel strongly about lifelong learning. And investments in education. We sponsored a scheme called as teach first where we took the best students and then helped them become teachers for some time at least. 

See here for an example of what New York State is facing with bad teachers. I read somewhere that in the past decade or more only 17 teachers in England have been fired for incompetence. And that's spectacularly stupid. Why not measure by results? We measure the students by results no? 

Something to think about. 



Joel Klein vs. New York City teachers : The New Yorker

In a windowless room in a shabby office building at Seventh Avenue and Twenty-eighth Street, in Manhattan, a poster is taped to a wall, whose message could easily be the mission statement for a day-care center: “Children are fragile. Handle with care.” It’s a June morning, and there are fifteen people in the room, four of them fast asleep, their heads lying on a card table. Three are playing a board game. Most of the others stand around chatting. Two are arguing over one of the folding chairs. But there are no children here. The inhabitants are all New York City schoolteachers who have been sent to what is officially called a Temporary Reassignment Center but which everyone calls the Rubber Room.

These fifteen teachers, along with about six hundred others, in six larger Rubber Rooms in the city’s five boroughs, have been accused of misconduct, such as hitting or molesting a student, or, in some cases, of incompetence, in a system that rarely calls anyone incompetent.

The teachers have been in the Rubber Room for an average of about three years, doing the same thing every day—which is pretty much nothing at all. Watched over by two private security guards and two city Department of Education supervisors, they punch a time clock for the same hours that they would have kept at school—typically, eight-fifteen to three-fifteen. Like all teachers, they have the summer off. The city’s contract with their union, the United Federation of Teachers, requires that charges against them be heard by an arbitrator, and until the charges are resolved—the process is often endless—they will continue to draw their salaries and accrue pensions and other benefits.

“You can never appreciate how irrational the system is until you’ve lived with it,” says Joel Klein, the city’s schools chancellor, who was appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg seven years ago.

Monday, March 18

Sussex University Students stand up for stupidity

My mind boggles. First the story.

It is a dispute that has radicalised dozens of students, shut down sections of Sussex University for more than a month and won admiration and support from the likes of Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali and the actor Peter Capaldi.

At issue are two clashing visions of the university experience – one that sees students as consumers and another that rejects the commercialisation of learning and everything that goes with it.

Other universities are watching as students and staff at the Falmer campus, near Brighton, flex their campaigning muscles.

The trigger for the dispute is what the protesters regard as creeping privatisation on campus. Sussex is one of several universities outsourcing key services such as catering and estate management.

Student campaigners, who have occupied the university's conference centre since early February, say the move will jeopardise employment terms and conditions. "Private providers won't be bound to provide workers with the same contract terms, so there's a danger positions may be undermined," said William Brown, a first-year English student. "The university has also been very unclear about the reasons behind the decision, which is incredibly hypocritical of an academic institution."

Plans to outsource services at Sussex were "the straw that broke the camel's back", said Theadora Jean, a master's student in critical and creative writing. "Even among people like myself who aren't taking part in the protests, there is a lot of support for the campaign. Across the country universities are becoming more and more like businesses … this is about making a stand against that. It's the principle that counts."

heh, where do they think all the funds come from to run the university? the money tree in the courtyard? or the public sector fountain of money? forget about that, who do you think constructed the university? the public sector constructors? how about the electricity they use? the little public sector gnomes? how about the water? how about the beer they drink? who do they think makes that? the department of beer making?

the mind shudders at the thought of the imbecility of these idiots.