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March 2006

French youths and workers protests against the new Employment Law

Link: ZAMAN DAILY NEWSPAPER (2006032031112).

In France, the new labor law French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin refuses to repeal has led many French university students and workers to take their protests to the streets.

De Villepin, aiming at reducing the rate of unemployment after coming to office, told French youth magazine Citato that the act should be given a chance as it can be modified in time.

With a 10 percent unemployment rate, of which 25 percent is comprised of the French youths, France tops European countries.

The new law eases the unemployment for those under-26, but it also gives employers the right to dismiss the workers in the first two years without justification.

I understand if workers protests this law as it is against their vested interests. But why would university students protests against this law?

Are these students so sure that they will get employment inspite of such a rampant unemployment for youths? If they are why are they so worried about getting fired within the first two years? Just doesn't make any sense to me. For university students this law is a really good deal as it will atleast give them a chance for getting a real job instead of being dependent on public welfare. Maybe, that's what is irritating these students! Now they have to work instead of living on the public dole.


Free Trade pact with Japan and China

Link: India plans free trade pact with Japan, China- The Economic Times.

MUMBAI: Prime minister Manmohan Singh said Saturday that his government was working on free trade agreements with Asian countries like Japan and China to open up new growth avenues for economy.

Addressing a business conference here, the prime minister also said the country was moving towards full capital account convertibility on the back of a robust economic expansion.

If this government manages to do the above, inspite of sharing the power with the Communists, then that will be a real achievement. Economic reforms will have an unstoppable momentum then. Let's hope this happens real soon ... More like this please!

Link: Stumbling and Mumbling: Anti-capitalism: good for equities.
The French stock market outperformed the US stock market despite the latter being more market friendly:

Had you bought French rather than US stocks at pretty much any time in the last 30 years - barring the late 80s - you'd have made money.
France's out-performance has been especially marked over the last 10 years - the period when the US's productivity surge has excited Anglo-Saxon triumphalism. During this time a sterling-based investor would have made 11.7% a year in French stocks against only 7.9% in US ones.

I take two messages from this. First, anti-capitalists are, in Lenin's phrase, useful idiots - they actually help stock markets. Second, a healthy economy and a health stock market are two different things.

Bogus Resumes

Link: Businesspundit: Half of All Resumes Are Bogus.

Résumé, a South Burlington, Vt.-based résumé-counseling company, spent six months verifying dates of employment, job titles, and educational background on more than 1,000 résumés, and found that 42.7% had one or more significant errors. The study, which was the company’s first, looked a résumés for positions ranging from entry level to executive.

My wife, who is looking for a job as a software engineer, received calls from many "consultants" who offered to find her a job. After some questioning, they admitted that resume will have to be spied-up a little bit and they will arrange for appropriate people to act as references for her. I guess these people must have been the previous beneficiaries of the "consultancy"!

So, this is what a principled communist look like!
Link: BBC NEWS | South Asia | India Speaker rebuked on spending.

India's top auditing body has reprimanded the Speaker of parliament for unauthorised expenses during overseas trips nearly 10 years ago.

The auditors say Somnath Chatterjee spent thousands of dollars more than his entitlement without submitting valid receipts.


The CAG says that in 1996-97 alone, Mr Chatterjee drew $8,525 above the amount he was entitled to without furnishing evidence of expenditure.


But Mr Chatterjee actually drew $6,000 for the 12 days at the rate of $500 a day.

The CAG report added: "Scrutiny of hotel bills of the chairman and managing director of the WBIDC relating to their stay in Israel, Germany, France and the UK from 8 to 22 September 1998 revealed that apart from room rentals, an expenditure of $1,072 was made towards minibar, bar, laundry and tobacco."

Bush visits India

India and US signed a landmark nuclear deal during Bush's visit to India. This deal will provide India access to the nuclear fuel in return for allowing international inspections of its civilian nuclear reactors:

- Under a July 2005 deal, agreed in principle between India and the United States, New Delhi would commit itself to certain non-proliferation standards including allowing international inspections of its civilian nuclear plants.

In return, it would gain access to U.S. civilian nuclear technology, including fuel and reactors denied for 30 years. India's military facilities would not be subject to inspections under the deal.

- The agreement hinges on India separating its nuclear facilities into civilian and military components.

However, some people choose to oppose the deal and Bush's visit to India:

About the visit of Bill Clinton, circa 2000, there is no need to say much. The gala event is so recent as to be relatively fresh in people’s minds. Blessed with charisma and a gift of the gab, Clinton — whose principal policy aim for this part of the world, was to “cap, reduce and eliminate” Indian nuclear capability — captivated his hosts. There were no demonstrations against him. On the contrary, after his address to a joint session of two Houses, MPs — cutting across party lines — made a spectacle of themselves by falling over each other to shake hands with him.

Bush — who is being accommodative towards this country over the nuclear issue and has made friendlier pronouncements on India than any other American president — can only envy Bill. Paradoxically, Dubya is not liked by a fairly large section of Indians. Iraq has something to do with this. So have the threats to Iran. Much more damaging, however, have been TV images of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.

So, Bill Clinton, who opposed India's nuclear capability was great. While Bush, who signed the nuclear deal against so much opposition and without pushing India to sign the NPT, is bad!

Did the Left protest against Bill Clinton during his visit to India? They protested alright, but not over Clinton's opposition to India's nuclear programme. But when Bush came calling, the Left protested his visit precisely because of the nuclear deal:

Left parties said on Friday that they would hold protests across the country over a landmark deal on nuclear technology during Bush's visit to India next month.

But the real reason may be India's vote against Iran at the IAEA:

Earlier, the Left parties had urged the government not to vote against Iran in the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog meet, but analysts say India voted under pressure for the deal.

The deal although announced with great fanfare has run into criticism from nuclear experts and some members of the U.S. Congress who say it undermines global non-proliferation goals.

Left parties are strongly opposed to New Delhi supporting the West, as it did last September when the IAEA declared Iran had failed to comply with its international obligations.

Karat, agitated over the US attitude on deal, said they would take up the issue in the forthcoming session of Parliament and urge New Delhi not to vote against Iran in next month’s IAEA meeting.

Why do the Left even pretend that they are for India's interests?