"What we don't want to do is just be participating in something and providing cover for an institution that does not end up doing right by its people"
- US President Barack Obama clarified that he was not opposed to China's Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, reports AFP, but that a multilateral lending institution had to have strong guidelines by which to operate, as the World Bank does. Beijing has already signed up 57 founding members for the AIIB. The US is not among them, nor is Japan
YouTube, Google's online video service, will make movies - a series of them - for which it has tied up with DreamWorks Animation's subsidiary AwesomenessTV. These will be feature-length films and will be released globally on YouTube, reports The Guardian.
Barking up the wrong tree?
For all its perceived ills, the land law passed by the UPA in 2013, with the BJP's support, does not deserve much blame for slowing the economy. As the Modi government fights tooth and nail to change this law, hobbled in its efforts by a farmer committing suicide at an AAP rally, The Economic Times reports that of the 804 projects stalled as of February this year, only eight per cent ran into problems in acquiring land. The main reasons they are stuck, as thrown up by an RTI query, turned out to be unfavourable market conditions, lack of clearances other than those related to the environment, and falling promoter interest.
Reports suggest that companies have been registered in Australia, New Zealand and Scotland by Subhash Chandra's Essel Group under names that sound like those of cricket boards. The ICC, world cricket's governing body, is said to be looking into domains like worldcricketcouncil.co.in registered by an employee of Ten Sports, part of Chandra's Zee Entertainment. Is Chandra again dreaming of carving out a slice of cricket for his group? He had started the breakaway league ICL that got overshadowed and obliterated by BCCI's IPL. Sadly, Chandra has taken the intrigue out of the developments. An Essel statement said it was looking to come back into the business of cricket and make it a global sport. Sadly, again, the group denied speculation that Lalit Modi, the IPL's architect, now a BCCI pariah, might drive Essel's new initiative. That would have been as delicious an irony as they come. Modi was the one who led the efforts to stamp out the ICL.
1,123 cubic metres: That's the per capital availability of fresh water in India
3,000 cubic metres: That's how much it was 50 years ago
6,000 cubic metres: That's the global average
Focus on South Asia
What: South Asia Economic Conclave
When: May 7-9
What to look for: The Confederation of Indian Industry is partnering with the World Bank Group and the Asian Development Bank to create a high-level private sector-led forum for South Asia called South Asia Economic Conclave. The forum's objective is to stimulate informed dialogue between the private sector and government to promote regional trade and investment, which would, in turn, help catalyse higher growth and new job opportunities for all South Asian countries.
Yes, Prime Minister
What: Elections in the UK
When: May 7
What to look for: According to recent polling, Ed Miliband's Labour party is on a strong wicket against the ruling Conservatives, led by Prime Minister David Cameron. Infosys co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy's son-in-law, Rishi Sunak, is leading the list of ethnic minority MPs contesting the polls. Sunak is contesting from former foreign secretary William Hague's constituency of Richmond in North Yorkshire.
In Black and White
What: SIT report on black money
When: By May 12
What to look for: The Supreme Court has asked the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the black money case to submit a status report on or before May 12. The case will be heard on that day. Submissions from Ram Jethmalani, who is a petitioner in the case, and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy will be heard.
What: Modi visit to China
When: May 14-16
What to look for: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will focus on the widening trade deficit and greater market access for domestic products, including automobiles and pharmaceuticals, during his visit to China. Modi is expected to visit the ancient city of Xian, the hometown of Chinese President Xi Jinping, besides, of course, the capital Beijing. Last year, Xi had had begun his visit to India in Ahmedabad in Gujarat, Modi's home state.