Monday, October 25, 2010

London borough becomes 'Islamic republic'

I really dont know anything about the UK. The final comment on this article was what made me re-post to a SL audience. (Hat Tip Sepia Mutiny )

  • Finally, something else which Tower Hamlets is not. Some of my commenters are fond of saying that the borough is an example of “Third World” politics in the UK. There are indeed similarities – but actually the claim is an insult to the Third World. Bangladesh has got to grips with Islamism; the IFE’s Bangladeshi parent, Jamaat-e-Islami, gets about two per cent of the vote in elections there. No Islamist sympathiser in Bangladesh has unfettered control over a £1 billion budget. Bangladesh, in short, has less of a problem with Islamic radicals than Tower Hamlets.
Reminds me of the ultra nationalists, Sinhalese or Tamil in the First World. Ms. Jan Jananayagam and H.L.D. Mahindapala come to mind.

  • Outside the Wellington Way polling station in Tower Hamlets yesterday, as at many other polling stations in the borough, people had to run a gauntlet of Lutfur Rahman supporters to reach the ballot box. As one Bengali woman voter went past them, we heard one of the Rahman army scolding her for her “immodest dress.”That incident is perhaps a tiny taste of the future for Britain’s poorest borough now it has elected Mr Rahman as its first executive mayor, with almost total power over its £1 billion budget. At the count last night, one very senior figure in the Tower Hamlets Labour Party said: “It really is Britain’s Islamic republic now.”
    For the last eight months – without complaint or challenge from Mr Rahman – this blog and newspaper have laid out his close links with a group of powerful local businessmen and with a Muslim supremacist body, the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) - which believes, in its own words, in transforming the “very infrastructure of society, its institutions, its culture, its political order and its creed… from ignorance to Islam.” Mr Rahman has refused to deny these claims.

    We have told how the borough’s change from a conventional council leader to a mayoral system came about as a result of a campaign led and financed by these two groups – and how the IFE, in its words, wanted to “get one of our brothers” into the position.We have described in detail, again without complaint or challenge by Mr Rahman, his deeply problematic two years as council leader until he was removed from that post six months ago, partly as a result of our investigations. After he secured the leadership with the help of the IFE, millions of pounds were channelled to front organisations of the IFE, a man with close links to the IFE was appointed as assistant chief executive of the council despite being unqualified for the position and the secular, white chief executive was forced out. Various efforts were made to “Islamicise” the borough. Extremist literature was stocked in Tower Hamlets’ public libraries.

Chinese workers in India

From the Washington Post

  • IN CHANDANKYARI, INDIA Perched precariously on scaffolding, several Chinese workers showed Indian laborers how to weld the shell of a blast stove at a steel plant construction. Step by step, the Indians absorbed the valuable skills needed to build a large, integrated factory from scratch in record time.
    Their presence in a nation of more than a billion people with staggering unemployment may appear incongruent. But the government says Indian workers lack the technical skilled needed to transform the country into a 21st-century economic powerhouse.

    Until the gap is bridged, companies are relying on the expertise of Chinese workers to build mega infrastructure projects. Chinese workers have worked on ports, highways, power and steel plants in India. Chinese equipment and expertise have also been used in a crude oil refinery, a cable-supported bridge, the telecommunication networks and even the glass facade of the new airport terminal in New Delhi.

    "India may be an IT superpower and producing thousands of doctors, lawyers and MBAs every year. But the biggest gap is in the availability of skilled electricians, carpenters, welders, mechanics and masons who can build mega infrastructure projects," said Raghav Gupta, president at Technopak, a consultancy that released a report on skill development last year. "Most of these workers have to be trained on the job. And that often delays the projects and makes it more expensive."

  • Jayalalitha on Chinese Worrkers

  • Chinese workers at present employed in contract works relating to highways and railways in Sri Lanka is a threat to India's sovereignty says AIADMK chief J. Jayalalitha. She says Chinese spies and intelligence personnel with a specific mandate to commence anti-Indian surveillance and espionage operations are among the more than 25,000 Chinese workers landed in Sri Lanka to engage in work relating to highways and railways.

  • Ms. Jayalalitha
    Why do you see the mote in Sri Lankas eye, but dont see the beam in yours.

    Hat Tip:

    Saturday, October 9, 2010

    US: Cautionary Tale of deregulated Banking

    Below, a video from Jon Stewarts Daily Show on the Foreclosure Gate (crisis). The basic question is how house mortgage loans were done and were there errors and flaws in the paperwork (equivalent to Sri Lanka transfer of deed and recording in Land Registry) due to fraud or gross negligence.

    The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
    Foreclosure Crisis
    Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

    This is a non trivial issue for not only foreclosure, but mortgages that are current and the US economy, for the following reasons.
    a) Total mortgage debt of the US is 14 trillion. Even if 10% of the mortgages are questionable, thats 1.4 trillion !.
    b) These mortgages were bundled up and sold as Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS, Residential (RMBS) and Commercial (CMBS)). These are cash flow assets like bonds, where the cash flow is generated by the mortgage payments. These MBS were then sold to among others
    • To pension funds such as CALPERS. So if these MBS start loosing value and default in cash flows what happens to pension funds and their ability to pay the pensions.
    • Other banks and other Financial institutions such as Asset Management companies. These MBS are considered Level 2 or 3 assets, i.e. hard to value. What happens to the balance sheets of these institutions, could they be insolvent.

    c) Were the rise in house prices, due to lax lending standards compounded by fraud and negligence in the processing of documentation. Will an owner of a Underwater Mortgage (Mortgage is greater than the current value of property) be able to question (have recourse against) lenders. i.e. In plain English, lenders pushed up prices by giving loans to all and sundry, without the right paperwork. Now that the reality is apparent, the prices of houses have dropped and the house owner is paying through his nose for an overvalued house. Can the house owner sue the lender?. Even if a few house owners, start litigation, regardless of the courts decision its going to create havoc in house prices, mortgages and the whole shebang.

    So the whole housing securitization market is a mess. Currently the thinking is there are two options out of the mess.
    a) Pass regulation that accepts the shoddy paperwork by banks overriding all accepted real estate practices and law. i.e bail out the banks and screw the home owner.
    b) Modify existing mortgages to reflect current house prices and re-do paperwork. Then the MBS securitized with these mortgage are at best going to be devalued (Not going to address if thats considered a default and what it does to CDS' s taken against the MBS. That means the bank balance sheets are screwed.

    This is really a cautionary tale, of how de regulated lending and banking (repeal of the depression era Glass-Steagall Act) can destroy even the largest economy. Golden Key, was just a blip (I know those who lost life savings think other wise) in the Sri Lankan Economy. Imagine if the commercial and state banks were allowed to operate like Golden Key.

    You can read more on this at

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

    Odder and Odder: Curtis Mayfield

    Curtis Mayfield in Superfly Pusherman

    The Start of Pusherman, for all who remember Harlem before 1990.

    Even more Odd: Bootsy Collins, a Mr. Funk

    Bootsy Collins a Mr. Funk from the late 60's

    More of an Odd: 70's Harlem Music

    Marlene Shaw and Gil Scott Heron are some of the oldest (recent past) influences on hip hop. Poets writers with words that still have relevance today

    Marlene Shaw: Woman Of The Ghetto (1969)

    Gil Scott Heron: Home Is Where The Hatred Is (1971)

    Rap from the late 60's. Gil Scott Heron: Whitey on the Moon.