Twitter turned six years old on March 21. On March 21, 2006, Twitter creator Jack Dorsey published his first tweet: “just setting up my twttr”. But at first it appealed only to techies. It became a major source of news only two years later, when Pakistani terrorists attacked Mumbai on November 26, 2008, says Mary Cross in her book on social media.Continue Reading
Singapore has the fastest growing population among all the countries I checked on the Asian Development Bank Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2010. You will find it here on the bank's website.
I didn't check Samoa and Vanuatu and a few other Pacific islands on the list. But, among all the other countries, Singapore posted the biggest population increase in 2008 and 2009, according to the figures given by the bank. It shows by what percentage the population increased in each country. Those are the figures used here in the chart and the following table, which includes all the countries I checked.
Singapore's members of parliament are paid more than the members of the House of Commons and the European Parliament and their counterparts in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong and New Zealand.
|Japan||¥1,300,000 a month||($15,200 a month,i.e $182,000 a year).|
|European Parliament||€7,665 a month||($9,880 a month, i.e, over $118,500 a year)|
(Table shows annual salaries unless mentioned otherwise.)
I discovered this after reading that the Indian parliament plans to treble its members' salaries. The Financial Times report says: "Parliamentarians in the world’s largest democracy currently receive Rs16,000 ($343, €266, £220) a month."
That's less than a day's pay for a Singapore MP.
Four out of five dollars invested in or earmarked for business in Singapore is foreign money.
Foreign investors accounted for S$46.8 billion (about $34.2 billion) of the S$57.3 billion investment commitments made in the manufacturing and service industries between 2006 and 2009. Local investors accounted for just about S$10 billion.
In 2008, local investors accounted for only S$1.8 billion against more than S$16 billion from foreigners. And it has been no different this year, with only S$1.3 billion from locals against more than S$6.2 billion from foreigners. Americans have committed nearly S$2.7 billion this year, and the Europeans nearly S$2.8 billion. They have been the biggest investors every year, as you can see from this chart going back to 2006.
Hillary Clinton did not want to be Secretary of State when Barack Obama offered her the job — and one reason she gave was her husband,
John Heilemann and Mark Halperin in their book, Game Change, describe Obama's midnight meeting with Hillary in Washington two weeks after he won the presidential election in November 2008:
It's not going to work, an anguished Hillary said… You don't want me, you don't want all these stories about you and me. You don't want the whole circus…
Hillary, look, you're exactly right, Obama said… But the thing is, the economy is a much bigger mess than we'd ever imagined it would be, and I'm gonna be focused on that for the next two years. So I need someone as big as you to do this job… I need someone I can trust implicitly, and you're that person…
You know my husband, she said…You know I can't control him, and at some point he'll be a problem…
I know, Obama replied. But I'm prepared to take that risk…
Hillary announced her decision to be Secretary of State the next morning. The book concludes:
It was November 20. The election was sixteen days in the past. But today, Obama had pulled off the grandest game change of all. On the brink of great power and awesome responsibility, he and Clinton were on the same side.
If the ending seems star-struck, the book is anything but…
Singapore experienced the sharpest drop in trade last year since records began to kept in 1964, says the Economic Survey of Singapore 2009 released by the Ministry of Trade and Industry yesterday.
Singapore's total trade plunged 19 per cent to $747 billion in 2009, down from $928 billion in 2008. Trade declined with all top 10 trading partners: the European Union, Malaysia, China, America, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.
But exports to China exceeded imports for the first time in several years. I have included only figures for 2008 and 2009 in this chart because anything more would have made it difficult to read.
One does not have to go beyond 2008 to understand the trading pattern with the other major partners. Imports exceed exports to America, the European Union, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan while exports surpass imports from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Hong Kong. In fact, Singapore exports far more to Hong Kong than it imports from there. The sharpest drop has been in exports and imports from Malaysia, America and the European Union.
The Economic Survey says:
Singapore’s export recovery has in fact lagged the other East Asian economies, growing by just 4.9 per cent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2009, after four consecutive periods of double-digit declines.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had good reason to say we shouldn't look only at the GDP.
Take GNI or GNP, and PPP, not PAP, and Singapore is a top 10 economy. And that's according to the World Bank.
The World Bank website says:
For operational and analytical purposes, the World Bank’s main criterion for classifying economies is gross national income (GNI) per capita. In previous editions of our publications, this term was referred to as gross national product, or GNP.
Remember what PM Lee said? "GDP will remain important, but perhaps we should look at GNP together with it."
The World Bank website says:
The bank's official estimates of the size of economies are based on GNI converted to current U.S. dollars. GNI takes into account all production in the domestic economy (i.e., GDP) plus the net flows of factor income (such as rents, profits, and labour income) from abroad.
And, now, bang the drums, blow the trumpets.
Singapore is one of the top 10 economies based on GNI per capita converted to purchasing power parity (PPP), according to this World Bank list. All the figures are for 2008. You can find it here.
|Economy||Purchasing power parity (international dollars)|
The Singapore economy has shrunk for the first time in eight years, contracting 2.1 per cent in 2009. The economy grew 0.6 per cent in the third quarter only to end in worse shape than in 2008, when the gross domestic product rose merely 1.1 per cent.
This is only the fifth time the economy has shrunk, according to Statistics Singapore records going back to 1960.
The economy last shrank in 2001, when GDP fell 2.4 per cent, but it bounced back, growing 4.1 per cent the following year, when Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong was still prime minister. The other lean years were 1985, when GDP fell 1.5 per cent; 1998, when there was a 1.4 per cent drop; and 1964, when the economy shrank 3.8 per cent.
Will Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong mastermind another economic rebound? The official forecast is 3 to 5 per cent growth this year.
But the economy seems to be running out of steam, growing only 3.5 per cent in the fourth quarter compared with the same period last year after double-digit gains in the second and third quarters. The economy
grew 21.7 per cent in the second quarter compared with the first
quarter and 14.2 per cent in the third quarter compared with the second
quarter, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s third
quarter report released in November.
That was how the economy ended up growing 0.6 per cent in the third quarter compared with the previous year. But a weak fourth quarter has pushed the economy back into the downward spiral that has plagued the rest of the year.
East Asia as a whole has been growing much faster than Singapore, according to the Asian Development Bank. The December issue of the Asia Development Monitor says:
The combined gross domestic product (GDP) of the 10 largest economies in emerging East Asia grew 5.0% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2009, well above growth rates in the previous three quarters.
That was well above Singapore's 0.6 per cent third quarter growth. China's phenomenal 8.9 per cent third quarter growth boosted East Asia as a whole.
But Vietnam, Indonesia and South Korea also did better than Singapore, as this chart shows. It's taken from the Asia Development Monitor.
The five other nations are Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand and the Philippines. The green bar shows third quarter performance and the orange bar, first quarter. The only exception is Indonesia, where the orange bar indicates second quarter performance because that's when the economy bottomed out, says the report.
Aravind Adiga has won the 2008 Man Booker Prize worth 50,000 pounds ($87,000) for Commonwealth writers for his novel, The White Tiger, set in India. Indian Kiran Desai won the award for The Inheritance of Loss, spanning India and America, in 2006. Irish Anne Enright was the winner last year for The Gathering.
Adiga, 33, who read English literature at Columbia and Oxford and writes for Time magazine, lives in Mumbai.The White Tiger, about corruption, poverty and exploitation in India, is his first novel. Links to his Time articles appear at the end of this post.
"Adiga is the fifth Indian author to win the prize, joining VS Naipaul, Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy and Kiran Desai, who won the prize in 1971, 1981, 1997 and 2006 respectively," notes the Man Booker website. Roy also won with her first novel, The God of Small Things.
The only other debut novelist to win the prize was the Australian DBC Pierre in 2003 for Vernon God Little.
Adiga is the second-youngest novelist to win the award and cites the black American writers Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin as influences, says The Times.
About The White Tiger
Adiga also admires the Indian writer RK Narayan, he said in a Rediff interview, where he said he started writing the book based on his experiences as a Time magazine correspondent in India. He was struck by the vast gulf between the rich and the poor — and the fact that, despite the huge poverty, there was "so little crime in India compared to that in New York, South Africa and Latin America".
The White Tiger is a clever, dark, unusual novel where:
GQ beats the Economist and Wired! Style beats substance. It's happening in politics.
The New Yorker and the National Geographic are winners too in the 2008 National Magazine Awards. The National Geographic beat Time, which I prefer myself, but the Geographic is more popular and timeless.
The National Geographic also won the prize for Best Reporting with an article on China's Instant Cities.
Vanity Fair won the prize for Profile Writing for Pat Dollard's War on Hollywood.
Mother Jones was the winner in the 100,000-250,000 circulation category, beating another heavyweight, Foreign Policy.
- GQ won in the 500,000 to 1 million circulation category;
- The New Yorker in the 1 million to 2 million category; and
- The National Geographic in the over 2 million category, beating Time, People, Glamour and Martha Stewart Living. A pretty eclectic list.
Question: Is HuffPo getting to be the Fox News of the left? Daily Kos may be more to the left, but HuffPo is more foxy, the glitterati playing chatterati.