Saturday, November 20, 2010

In Booming India, All That Glitters Is Gold

I found the following story on the NPR iPad App:
http://www.npr.org/2010/11/18/131427793/in-booming-india-all-that-glitters-is-gold?sc=ipad&f=1001

In Booming India, All That Glitters Is Gold
by Corey Flintoff

NPR - November 19, 2010

In much of the world, gold is regarded as an investment for times of great risk. In India, though, demand for the yellow metal remains strong through good times and bad.

That's because, in Indian culture, gold has a traditional worth that far outweighs its intrinsic value. As India's economy surges and more people share the wealth, the country's thirst for gold is rippling through the world market.

There's no better place to see what gold means to India than in the tony jewelry stores of New Delhi. At Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri Delhi, P.N. Sharma shows visitors through three floors of opulence that make "Breakfast at Tiffany's" look like a snack.

"Exclusive necklaces are over there, and bangles," Sharma says, waving past displays that would stagger the imagination of a maharaja. Salesladies in gold saris extend velvet trays with gem-encrusted gold necklaces as families cluster around the counters.

Almost all of this gold is designed to be given at weddings. That's because gifts of gold are presented to the bride throughout the process, from the time she becomes engaged to her wedding night.

It's an age-old way of conferring protection on the marriage and on the family that will result.

Nandkishore Zaveri, a director in the company, says wedding gold is a kind of insurance policy, "given to the daughter at the time of marriage, so that in the case of any difficulty in the family after the marriage, this can be encashed and the problem can be solved.

"That's what gold is all about in India."

Both the bride's and the groom's families give gold to the bride, so many parents begin buying jewelry, or at least saving for it, when their children are still quite young.

"I want to buy gold for my son's marriage," says Ashok Kumar Gulati, fastening a heavy gold chain around his wife's neck. The necklace that Mrs. Gulati is trying on will be a present for her daughter-in-law in the days that lead up to the ceremony.

The jewelry is priced by weight, according to the market price on any given day, and a necklace like the one she is trying on can run to thousands of dollars.

But Gulati says even at these high prices, he's not worried that the family will ever lose money on its gold purchases, especially when it's compared with any other investment.

"[Compared with] the appreciation of any other investment, gold will be matching up," he says. "So gold is never a loss."

That's why India is the world's largest consumer of gold, accounting for some 20 percent of the world's demand.

Surya Bhatia, an economist at the New Delhi-based investment firm Asset Managers, says demand will continue to grow because India's economic boom is bringing more people into the middle class, and families are increasing their purchasing power.

"From a single-income family to a double-income family, the levels of income have gone up," he says. "The education has also led to this boom of the incomes."

Bhatia says many Indians are starting to look at investments in gold in a new way. Instead of holding it as gold jewelry, they are buying exchange-traded funds, which are investments in gold that can be traded like stocks.

But there are many reasons why Indian families aren't likely to give up their gold jewelry. The Hindi word for wedding jewelry is "stridhan," which means "women's wealth."

"It is considered as an asset for a woman, which is her property [and] will remain with her throughout her life," says Pavi Gupta, who visited the store with her fiance, Manpreet Singh Duggal, to look over some gold pieces that their families may buy.

She says gold is a form of empowerment for a woman because it gives her the means to save her family if the need arises.

In a hard-charging economy like India's, where risks are high and there's not much of a social safety net, that can mean a lot. [Copyright 2010 National Public Radio]

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Kenyatta Lovett
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Black Farmers, Indians Closer To U.S. Settlement

I found the following story on the NPR iPad App:
http://www.npr.org/2010/11/20/131467093/black-farmers-indians-closer-to-u-s-settlement?sc=ipad&f=1001

Black Farmers, Indians Closer To U.S. Settlement
by The Associated Press

AP - November 20, 2010

Black farmers and American Indians who say the United States discriminated against them and took their money for decades are a step closer to winning long-awaited government settlements.

Under legislation passed by the Senate on Friday, black farmers who claim discrimination at the hands of the Agriculture Department would receive almost $1.2 billion. American Indians who say they were swindled out of royalties by the Interior Department would split $3.4 billion. Both cases have languished for more than a decade, and plaintiffs say beneficiaries are dying off.

"The Senate finally did the right thing," said John Boyd, head of the National Black Farmers Association. "They stepped up and told the world civil rights still matter in America."

The legislation was approved in the Senate by voice vote Friday and sent to the House. The money had been held up for months in the chamber as Democrats and Republicans squabbled over how to pay for it.

President Barack Obama praised the Senate for finally passing the bill and urged the House to move forward on it. He said his administration is also working to resolve separate lawsuits filed against the department by Hispanic and female farmers.

"While these legislative achievements reflect important progress, they also serve to remind us that much work remains to be done," he said.

Elouise Cobell, a member of the Blackfeet Tribe from Browning, Mont. and the lead plaintiff in the Indian case, said two people who would have been beneficiaries had died on her reservation this week. "It's 17 below and the Blackfeet nation is feeling warm," she said. "I don't know if people understand or believe the agony you go through when one of the beneficiaries passes away without justice."

Lawmakers from both parties have said they support resolving the claims of discrimination and mistreatment by federal agencies. But the money has been caught up in a fight over spending and deficits. Republicans repeatedly objected to the settlements when they were added on to larger pieces of legislation. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., satisfied conservative complaints by finding spending offsets to cover the cost.

The legislation also includes a one-year extension of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, which gives grants to states to provide cash and other assistance to the poor, and several American Indian water rights settlements in Arizona, Montana and New Mexico sought by Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.

In the Indian case, which has been in the courts for almost 15 years, at least 300,000 Native Americans claim they were swindled out of royalties overseen by the Interior Department since 1887 for things like oil, gas, grazing and timber. The plaintiffs would share the settlement.

Cobell was confident about passage in the House, where the two settlements already have passed twice as part of larger pieces of legislation.

For the black farmers, it is the second round of funding from a class-action lawsuit originally settled in 1999 over allegations of widespread discrimination by local Agriculture Department offices in awarding loans and other aid. It is known as the Pigford case, named after Timothy Pigford, a black farmer from North Carolina who was an original plaintiff.

The government already has paid out more than $1 billion to about 16,000 black farmers, with most getting about $50,000. The new money is intended for people -- some estimates say 70,000 or 80,000 -- who were denied earlier payments because they missed deadlines for filing. The individual amounts depend on how many claims are successfully filed.

The bill passed Friday would be partially paid for by diverting dollars from a surplus in nutrition programs for women and children and by extending customs user fees.

The Obama administration has moved aggressively to resolve the discrimination cases after most of them spent a decade or longer in the courts. Last month, the Agriculture Department offered American Indian farmers who say they were denied farm loans a $680 million settlement.

------

Online:

National Black Farmers Association: http://www.blackfarmers.org/

Agriculture Department: http://www.usda.gov [Copyright 2010 The Associated Press]

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Kenyatta Lovett
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Former Sen. Braun Enters Race For Chicago Mayor

I found the following story on the NPR iPad App:
http://www.npr.org/2010/11/20/131471926/former-sen-braun-enters-race-for-chicago-mayor?sc=ipad&f=1001

Former Sen. Braun Enters Race For Chicago Mayor
by The Associated Press

AP - November 20, 2010

Former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun kicked off her campaign Saturday for Chicago mayor, joining a crowded field that already includes former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

Braun, who runs an organic food company, formally declared her bid to replace retiring Mayor Richard Daley at an event at a lakefront airport Daley shut down to turn in to a nature preserve. Daley surprised the political establishment by announcing in September that he wouldn't seek a seventh term.

The 63-year-old Braun made history when she was elected in 1992 as the first black woman in the U.S. Senate. She lost her re-election bid in 1998 and was later named ambassador to New Zealand. Braun ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for president in 2004.

The mayor's race already includes five other declared major candidates: Emanuel, City Clerk Miguel del Valle, former Chicago school board president Gery Chico, state Sen. James Meeks and U.S. Rep. Danny Davis.

Braun is counting on her wide breadth of government experience to resonate with voters, but some of them weren't even born when she won her last election in 1992 for the U.S. Senate. Before that, she served as an Illinois state lawmaker and Cook County government official.

She will likely have to address some past miscues that raised questions about her judgment, including a highly criticized visit with a brutal Nigerian dictator when she was a senator and never-proven accusations about misused campaign money.

Absent from the political scene for six years and having previously referred to herself as a "recovering politician,'' Braun has to reintroduce herself to voters in the mayor's race.

"My job is talking about and describing a vision for the future. A vision of what we're going to do now. Like I said, Chicagoans are very practical people. They're a lot more interested in what is going to happen than what happened last week,'' she said during an Associated Press interview earlier this week.

Braun said her business experience running a small company that specializes in coffee, tea and spices should be a plus with voters because she has had to work hard to weather the recession that has battered businesses, both big and small. [Copyright 2010 The Associated Press]

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Kenyatta Lovett
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A Mother's Desperate Act: 'Margaret Garner'

I found the following story on the NPR iPad App:
http://www.npr.org/2010/11/17/131395936/a-mother-s-desperate-act-margaret-garner?sc=ipad&f=124289519

A Mother's Desperate Act: 'Margaret Garner'
by Bruce Scott

NPR - November 19, 2010

In pre-Civil War America, few slave stories were more compelling than Margaret Garner's. She and her family were owned by a Kentucky plantation farmer, but one night they escaped to Ohio with another group of slaves.

Their hiding place was discovered, and Margaret's family was surrounded. She swore she would kill her children and herself rather than return to slavery. As her husband was dragged off, Margaret plunged a knife into her daughter. She was preparing to kill her other daughter and herself when she was seized and jailed.

Margaret was put on trial. Abolitionists wanted her tried for murder, which would have set a number of precedents, including establishing an enslaved person's rights and responsibility regarding her own children. Instead, Margaret Garner was accused of destruction of property, and sent back into slavery, along with her husband.

Her story advanced the rift between the abolitionists and the defenders of slavery, a rift that would soon help lead to the Civil War.

Grammy Award-winning composer Richard Danielpour and Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison collaborated to bring this true life story to the operatic stage. Margaret Garner was co-commissioned by opera companies in Detroit, Cincinnati and Philadelphia and made its debut in May 2005 at Michigan Opera Theatre in Detroit.

Toni Morrison had already told a version of Margaret Garner's story in her best-selling novel Beloved, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. She says it's not a story about race. It's more about the internal struggles that result from the institution of slavery.

"The interest is not the fact of slavery, but of what happens internally, emotionally, psychologically, when you are in fact enslaved and what you do you do to try to transcend that circumstance. And that really is what Margaret Garner reveals," Morrison says.

Margaret Garner is Richard Danielpour's first opera. The story, he says, is one that both touches him personally and resonates from the past into the present.

More than anything else, Margaret Garner is an opera that reminds us that we all belong to the same human family, and it demonstrates what can happen when we forget this fundamental truth, says Danielpour. While slavery has been outlawed in the United States since 1865, its lingering effects have proven that issues concerning race, class, and the true meaning of freedom are in no way resolved in our country.

On World of Opera, host Lisa Simeone brings us a production from Opera Carolina, based in Charlotte, N.C., starring American mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves in the title role.

See the previous edition of World of Opera or the full archive.

Read Toni Morrison's libretto to 'Margaret Garner.'

[Copyright 2010 National Public Radio]

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Thank you,

Kenyatta Lovett
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Friday, November 05, 2010

NYTimes: Apple Invites Developers to Submit Mac Apps

From The New York Times:

BITS: Apple Invites Developers to Submit Mac Apps

Apple is inviting developers to submit ideas for the new Mac App Store.

http://nyti.ms/aQswdN

Get The New York Times on your iPhone for free by visiting http://itunes.com/apps/nytimes


Thank You,

Kenyatta Lovett
770-601-7441

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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

NYTimes: Is Your Marketing Campaign Risky Enough?

From The New York Times:

YOU'RE THE BOSS: Is Your Marketing Campaign Risky Enough?

Is being outrageous a good thing? Will it sell products?

http://nyti.ms/9BHWOT


Thank you,

Kenyatta Lovett
Sent from my iPad

@MarketingUK, 11/2/10 5:44 AM

Marketing Magazine (@MarketingUK)
11/2/10 5:44 AM
Coke puts UK ads on ice: http://bit.ly/9YFZAa


Thank you,

Kenyatta Lovett
Sent from my iPad

Monday, November 01, 2010

Free Biology Textbook: How Open Should We Be?

As we begin to venture into open source products, what are we doing to valuations?