Archive for April, 2009|Monthly archive page

Chrysler Files for Bankruptcy

In Financials, Politics on April 30, 2009 at 20:37

chryslerUS automaker Chrysler have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection which protects the company from its creditors allowing it to rearrange its finances while still trading at the stock exchange. Chrysler is also expected to receive $8 bln in additional government aid – of which $4.7 bln will be repayed over an 8 year period. The administration described it as a “surgical short bankruptcy” that will last from 30 to 60 days.

The new Chrysler ownership structure will be as follows: Fiat gets 20% stake with the potential of reaching to 35%, the Treasury will have an 8%, a union trust VEBA takes 55%(!) and the governments of Canada and Ontario a combined 2%. Moreover, Daimler will give its 19.9% stake to Chrysler and the latter’s bondholders will receive $2 bln in cash forgiving their $6.9 bln debt.

It’s worth mentioning that Fiat won’t have to pay anything for its share, allowing the Italian carmaker to enter the US market at zero cost. Fiat’s technology will endow Chrysler with the production of smaller and fuel-efficient cars.

I’ m really glad to see Mr. Obama taking a strong grasp on the situation. The questions however is, what holds him back from doing the same with (some) investment banks (i.e. let them file for bankruptcy)?

Britain Ends Combat Operations in Iraq

In Politics on April 30, 2009 at 12:19

iraq-british-troopsUK Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced today that British troops have ended their six years of combat operations in Iraq. Since the 2003 US-led invasion, 179 British personnel have been killed.

The majority of British troops – 3,700 in total – will leave Iraq by the end of May leaving behind around 400 of British personnel to train Iraqis naval forces.

”Today marks the closing chapter of the combat mission in Iraq,” Brown said. ”The flag of 20 Armoured Brigade will be lowered as British combat patrols in Basra come to an end and our armed forces prepare to draw down.”

Source: NYT

Barca Fall Short as Blues Get the Edge

In Sports on April 29, 2009 at 10:32

barcelona-v-chelseaBarcelona failed to score at Camp Nou for the first time this season as Chelsea managed to escape with an invaluable 0-0 draw. Guardiola’s team had the complete dominance throughout the whole game – with 68% ball possession – and tried to penetrate Chelsea’s defence with quick passing game.

Hiddink had really probed Barca’s game and managed to lock its key players. Xavi and Iniesta were limited by Ballack, Mikel and Essien while Lionel Messi had to confront both Bosingwa and (occasionally) Malouda on the right flank. Thiery Henry was showing signs of selfishness on the left side and never caused any serious threat to Chelsea.

Although Chelsea last night was not a spectacle to watch, it was a very strong, disciplined and well prepared team. Lot’s of credits to Guus Hiddink who stopped Blaugrana’s ‘goal machines’ from finding the net. The Blues could have also made the double had Drogba been more composed on his first-half one-on-one chance.

Here are the game’s highlights..


“Slumdog Millionaire” Duo Dating!

In Uncategorized on April 28, 2009 at 09:46

slumdog-millionaireWhile promoting their movie, Slumdog Millionaire costars Dev Patel and Freida Pinto had repeatedly denied the dating rumors. It was told, however, by the film’s crew members that the chemistry of the two on set was undeniable and were sure that something had been definitely going on between the two.

Dev, 18, and Freida 24 – that’s normal for Hollywood standards  – were caught together in Tel Aviv, Israel, where Pinto is shooting her latest flick, “Miral”. Patel’s mom had publicly confirmed the two were dating. “Life can’t get any better for him,” she adds. “Freida is really beautiful, and I am really happy for them.”

Swine Flu Alert!

In Misc on April 27, 2009 at 20:05

I just feel the obligation to contribute to the global effort to contain swine flu. The virus crossed the Atlantic today as several cases have been detected in Spain and the UK. Here is a video about swine flu symptoms, treatment and prevention. Take a look..

Krugman: “Growth in the Latter Half of this Year”

In Financials, Politics on April 26, 2009 at 19:12

paul-krugmanPaul Krugman – whose points and comments are valued the most from a vast majority of people, myself included – on his speech at Un. of Cincinnati, said he expected to see recovery from late of 2009. Among other things, Krugman mentioned “there are two kinds of recessions that are bad – those that take place because of financial crises, and those that are synchronized around the world,” he said. “In both cases, the recessions tend to last longer and be deeper. Right now, we’ve got both going on.”

Moreover, he criticized Obama’s recovery plan claiming it only mitigates risk. It will diminish the depth of the slump rather than drive us to actual recovery. He also expressed his concern on the lack of global support (i.e. stimulus plans). This is a synchronized recession and demands co-ordinated action on an even scale.

Finally, on a question “what will it take to pull out of this crisis”, the Nobel Prize winner replied; “this looks like the kind of slump that has all the markings of where normal recovery forces are very, very weak. [..] Almost always the way a country recovers from a financial crisis is with an export boom. The problem is that we have a global crisis this time. So who are we going to export to, unless we find another planet to take our stuff?”

(Would Mars be interested in buying any of these toxic assets?!)

by The Self-Seeker

Button Makes a Hat-Trick!

In Sports on April 26, 2009 at 15:26

BAHRAIN AUTO RACING F1 GPJenson Button stormed to victory today in what can be regarded as a masterpiece of tactics by team manager Ross Brawn. In a race that proved difficult for overtaking, Jenson Button made the most of an empty track after pitting later than the opposition and pulling away while Trulli, struggling in his second stint due to tyre issues, held up the opposition. He eventually finished third, leaving Toyota disappointed as both their cars were leading initially and both Trulli and Glock posted the fastest lap-times respectively.

Vettel’s strong second place despite having tyre management and traffic problems leaves him in a very good position; his performance an indicator of a potential title challenge. Lewis Hamilton, after starting well, managed to finish in 4th, a positive development for the controversial McLaren team, due for a hearing in Paris next week over the “liargate scandal”. Ferrari finally scored their first points of the season with Raikonnen’s sixth place ahead of Glock and behind three stopping Barichello, with Massa having a terrible race and finishing 14th, not helped by a forced pit-stop and problems with KERS. Alonso finished in the last points scoring position, his performance handicapped by a lack of pace in the Renault.

The difficulty of overtaking has raised questions over the effectiveness of the current Formula 1 regulations which were enforced to encourage closer racing.  While the new rules have definitely levelled the playing field, the Bahrain Grand Prix was an example of Brawn’s tactical knowledge. Even so, it seems obvious Brawn GP has the best car at this moment. The next Grand Prix in Barcelona promises to be very exciting, as many teams bring much needed car developments in order to close the gap to Brawn.

Results:

1. Jenson Button Brawn Mercedes 57 Laps 1:31:48.182
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault +7.1 seconds
3. Jarno Trulli Toyota + 9.1 seconds
4. Lewis Hamilton McLaren Mercedes + 22 seconds
5. Rubens Barichello Brawn Mercedes + 37.7 seconds
6. Kimi Raikonnen Ferrari + 42.0 seconds
7. Timo Glock Toyota + 42.8 seconds
8. Fernando Alonso Renault + 52.7 seconds

Championship Standings after Four Rounds:

1. Button 31 Points
2. Barichello 19 Points
3. Vettel 18 Points
4. Trulli 14.5 Points
5. Glock 12 Points
6. Weber 9.5 Points

by Sketch

100 Days for Obama at the Oval Office

In Politics on April 24, 2009 at 11:54

barackobama-1US President Barack Obama is approaching 100 days in office and it’s time for a rough assessment on his contribution so far to the American people and the rest of the world.

Obama had to face plenty of severe challenges entering the oval office on the 21st of January. Getting the economy back on track, confronting terrorism and cleaning up the general ‘Bush mess’ are just a few issues on Obama’s to-do-list.

Have your say; do you think president Obama’s first 100 days are a success or do you think he fell short of his pre-election words of hope and promises?