29  Dec
The $2500 car?

Indian automaker Tata Group is going to release a US$2500 car in 2008. I didn’t even know that India had a viable car industry.

India’s giant Tata Group plans to launch the world’s cheapest car early in January while also looking set to drive off with two of the poshest marques — Ford’s iconic Jaguar and Land Rover brands.

Ratan Tata, head of the tea-to-steel Tata conglomerate, will unveil the “People’s Car” January 10 at a New Delhi auto show that will carry a sticker price of 100,000 rupees, or 2,500 dollars, which some analysts say could revolutionise automobile costs worldwide.

And Tata, which has been on an aggressive overseas expansion drive, is also expected to win its reported two-billion-dollar bid for the British Land Rover and Jaguar brands in January — putting it in the unusual position of making two prestige cars as well as the world’s lowest-cost automobile.

The cheap car, a pet project of Cornell-trained architect Ratan Tata that he helped design, is aimed at getting India’s masses off their motorbikes and into cars.

“I hope to make a contribution to making life safer for them (the masses),” said reclusive tycoon Ratan Tata, who has spearheaded the growth strategy of the company known for its philanthropic values and paternal management style.

“That’s what drove me — a man on a two-wheeler with a child standing in front, his wife sitting behind, add to that the wet roads — a family in potential danger,” Tata, who turned 70 on Friday, said on the company website.

But despite its low price and safety factors, analysts say the four-door, five-seater could be a tough sell for Tata’s vehicle arm, Tata Motors, even with an economy growing by a scorching nine percent, creating new affluence.

If motorbike owners wanted to graduate to cars, there are a lot of good second-hand cars for 100,000 rupees or less, analysts say.

“You don’t find large sections of two-wheeler owners buying second-hand cars simply because they don’t find them as attractive a proposition,” said Mahantesh Sabarad, analyst at Mumbai brokerage Prabhudas Lilladher.

“A two-wheeler, the most popular kind, would cost 35,000 to 40,000 rupees, so it’s still a big jump up,” Sabarad said, adding cars cost far more to maintain.

“It will not be an immediately profitable venture, it will take a longer time to break even — at least three years,” said Angel Broking analyst Vaishali Jajoo.

Tata has said it’s targeting the car at Indian and eventually other emerging markets. A Tata Motors board member recently revealed the car would get a significant 25 kilometres (15.5 miles) per litre.

“Acceleration wise, it?s the same as a Maruti 800,” board member R.A. Mashelkar said, referring to the most popular budget model made by Japanese-owned rival Maruti Suzuki that sells for 4,800 dollars.

Obviously the idea of tens of millions more people driving cars and adding to pollution is scary, but according to the maker the environmental impact is no more than that of a motorbike.

If the cheap car is a winner, environmentalists fear it will further congest India’s clogged roads and add to choking pollution.

But Tata says the car will create no more pollution than a motorbike and is confident of its success.

“We should be able to create a new market that does not exist,” said Ratan Tata, forecasting an annual market of a million cars.

I had always thought that the next big automakers would appear from China, but perhaps India will be the country to shine in this field. With petrol prices going through the roof and people paying a heavy price for their car ownership, they should have no trouble finding buyers for it.

Posted by Matt, filed under Technology. Date: December 29, 2007, 11:26 pm | 6 Comments »

A reader brought this to my attention, a comfort women blog written by a Japanese person living in America. I haven’t had much of a chance to read it, but by all means, take a look.

Posted by Matt, filed under diplomacy, Random. Date: December 27, 2007, 5:13 pm | 1 Comment »

What is especially tragic about these murders is that not only were the Korean couple murdered outside their home, but their children saw their father being stabbed.

There are a lot of great people in the Philippines, but there are also a lot of cold-hearted murderers who can be hired for less than $100. And what is really scary about the Philippines are the rumors that even the police are involved in some of these contract killings.

Whatever faults Korea may have, at least we do not have to worry about being shot outside our homes. I hope the angel of death quickly finds these stinking murderers and sends them to Hell to suffer for eternity.

“Korean couple found dead in Porac”

Here is the SBS Korean language news report of these murders and others:

“‘Koreans are targets,’” Three Koreans shot in the Philippines”

Posted by Gerry-Bevers, filed under Uncategorized. Date: December 27, 2007, 5:53 am | 7 Comments »

25  Dec
This is not right.

Koreans screw up yet the foreigner is forced to pay? Actually, Korea should be paying for the damage to the tanker and the lost oil. Do Korean authorities have no liability?

“Supertanker seized over S. Korea’s worst oil spill”

Posted by Gerry-Bevers, filed under Uncategorized. Date: December 25, 2007, 11:23 pm | 7 Comments »

Refreshing straight talk from Keith Olbermann. What is strange is that he is the exception, not the norm. The first thing the media should be saying after statements by President Bush is, “is the President lying again?”. Instead they uncritically report and support him. Why do they support such a discredited President?

Anyway, see Olbermann speaking truth to power.

Posted by Matt, filed under diplomacy, Politics. Date: December 25, 2007, 3:49 pm | 10 Comments »

Link to Photos

Merry Christmas Matt, Ponta, and everyone else.

Posted by Gerry-Bevers, filed under Uncategorized. Date: December 25, 2007, 5:06 am | 5 Comments »

Like my own country, Australia, Canada does not really have the concept of free speech because certain types of speech are controlled, censored or punished. This article sends chills up my spine because although it is talking about Canada, we have exactly the same organs here, doing exactly the same thing. I have also been threatened with this treatment by a ‘Korean-Australian’ commenter on this blog recently. Read on -

The Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) is taking Maclean’s magazine to a human rights commission. Their crime? Refusing the CIC’s absurd demand that Maclean’s print a five-page letter to the editor in response to an article the CIC didn’t like.

It may shock those who do not follow human-rights law in Canada, but Maclean’s will probably lose.

Forcing editors to publish rambling letters is not a human right in Canada. But that’s not how the CIC worded their complaint, filed with the B.C., Ontario and federal human rights commissions. Maclean’s is “flagrantly Islamophobic” and “subjects Canadian Muslims to hatred and contempt” according to a CIC statement. “I felt personally victimized,” said Khurrum Awan at the CIC’s recent press conference. All this because Maclean’s dared to run a column discussing the demographic rise of Islam in the West.

It’s a new strategy for the CIC, which in the past has tried unsuccessfully to sue news media it disagreed with — including the National Post — using Canada’s defamation laws. But Canada’s civil courts aren’t the best tool for that sort of bullying. In a defamation lawsuit, the CIC would have to hire its own lawyers, follow the rules of court, and prove that they suffered real damages — and the newspapers would have truth and fair comment as defences. Launching a nuisance suit against Maclean’s would result in an embarrassing loss for the CIC, a court order to pay the magazine’s legal fees, and it would deepen the CIC’s reputation as a group of radicals who don’t understand Canadian values. (Three years ago, Mohamed Elmasry, the CIC’s Egyptian-born president, declared that every adult Jew in Israel is a legitimate target for terrorists).

So civil lawsuits won’t work. Criminal charges are a non-starter, too: Canada’s hate-speech laws are reserved for extreme acts of incitement, and charges can only be laid with the approval of the justice minister. And in criminal court, the accused must be proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. No chance there.

That’s why human-rights commissions are the perfect instrument for the CIC. The CIC doesn’t even have to hire a lawyer: Once the complaint has been accepted by the commissions, taxpayers’ dollars and government lawyers are used to pursue the matter. Maclean’s, on the other hand, will have to hire their own lawyers with their own money. Rules of court don’t apply. Normal rules of evidence don’t apply. The commissions are not neutral; they’re filled with activists, many of whom aren’t even lawyers and do not understand the free-speech safeguards contained in our constitution.

And the punishments that these commissions can order are bizarre. Besides fines to the government and payments to complainants, defendants can be forced to “apologize” for having unacceptable political or religious opinions.

An apology might not sound onerous, yet it is far more troubling than a fine. Ordering a person — or a magazine — to say or publish words that they don’t believe is an Orwellian act of thought control. The editor of Maclean’s, Ken Whyte, maintains his magazine is fair. But human rights commissions have the power to order him to publish a confession that he’s a bigot — or, as in one Ontario case, even order someone to study Islam. Even convicted murderers cannot be “ordered” to apologize.

Read the rest by yourself.

Posted by Matt, filed under finger chopping wacky, Politics. Date: December 23, 2007, 7:59 am | 3 Comments »

23  Dec
Article preview

Here is a preview of an article I wrote for lewrockwell.com. Once Lew gives the final approval for it, it should appear in a couple of days.

Read Ron Paul and the ‘Nazi Money’ Smear.

Posted by Matt, filed under Politics. Date: December 23, 2007, 7:52 am | 4 Comments »

A Korean run net cafe in my area was raided by the Australian Federal Police the other day. Since I walk past there almost everyday, I was there when the AFP were raiding it. They were pulling data off computers and generally had the place locked down. I would say there were more than 10 members of the AFP there.

The Australian Federal Police have raided an internet cafe in Sydney’s CBD where large volumes of pirated music and movies for re-sale were suspected of being illegally downloaded.

A spokeswoman for the AFP confirmed an operation was taking place this morning at Interville Technology in World Square, but would give no further details.

The raid follows an investigation that was carried out in co-operation with officials from the anti-piracy arms of the Australian music and film industries – Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI) and the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT).

It is understood that heavy duty electronic equipment was discovered at the premises and that employees at the internet cafe were hired to scour the web for suitable material to download.

This included popular music and newly released movies.

These downloads were then made available to customers to upload onto portable hard drives.

One of the other Korean run net cafes just up the street got the hint because I noticed them dumping all their files in a flurry of activity while the raid was going on elsewhere.

I took a photo from my mobile phone. When I was outside the AFP members could been seen but unfortunately the photo quality is poor and cannot really be seen in it.

korean net cafe

The local arms of the American music and film industries have been getting fairly aggressive lately, which accounts for the actions of the AFP. How about the AFP also start raiding Korean run businesses that exploit Koreans on Working Holiday visas and student visas by paying them below the minimum wage, without superannuation or workers injury compensation? Although it is Korean run businesses exploiting their fellow Koreans in Australia, it is happening in Australia and is damaging to the national reputation, and should be stopped.

Posted by Matt, filed under Random, Scams. Date: December 23, 2007, 7:45 am | 2 Comments »

23  Dec
Wonder Girls bad?

Seems like a fair few foreign bloggers are up in arms about the Wonder Girls, something to do with them being associated with pedophilia or something. I don’t get that because none of them are actually prepubescent, and a plurality of the members are 18 or over, and the youngest 15 in any case.

I think they are just a lot of fun. Take a look and decide for yourself. You may be asked to download the divX player. Don’t worry it is safe and is nothing to do with ActiveX.

Posted by Matt, filed under Language, Music. Date: December 23, 2007, 7:10 am | 3 Comments »

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