Thursday, June 30, 2005

Sensex 25,000?

Rakesh Jhunjhunwala,the irrepressible bull in Mumbai,keeps saying that the Sensex will touch 25,000.Of course,he does n't say when.People generally dismiss him as a pathological optimist.Sensex at 7,000 was unthinkable a few months back.Many erstwhile unthinkables are becoming real these days.Who would have thought,scarcely a month back,that a Chinese company would outbid Chevron for Unocal?Who would have known that Jap funds would flow to India to nudge the Sensex past 7K?Is it unthinkable that a part of Chinese wealth now going to US treasury,may find its way to Mumbai stock market?With Globalisation apace,the locus of the unthinkable keeps shrinking.Chinese funds will soon drive Sensex if only because it is unthinkable now.Market capitalisation of Indian companies,presently around $400 billion,can easily be swayed by funds from our neighbour.But why should the Chinese be interested in Indian stocks?That is a million yuan question,as of now.

Monday, June 27, 2005

More on Data (in)security

There are atleast two reasons why we should not worry too much:1)In a country where an army commander would sell war plans for $500,anything can happen.2)An inexorable law of Globalisation is :"A problem that occurs somewhere in the globe can manifest itself anywhereelse also."It is too early to forget what happened in CardSystemsSolutions where data (encashable data) relating to 40 million credit cards were compromised.The famous courier UPS lost unencrypted data of Citicorp customers.Prior to this,Time Warner lost precious data concerning its ex-employees in a similar fashion.The present scandal will be under discussion till the next one occurs.Another law of Globalisation is :"The time gap between any two successive global scandals is progressively on the decrease."In a different context,it is interesting to compare two parallel events namely S.Korean Posco's $10 billion investment (the largest one-time FDI in India sofar) and CNOOC's $18 billion bid for Unocal.Posco is investing in the Paradip steel project in return for a 30-year right to export alumina-rich iron ore from India.This was well received in India barring some resistance from left fringes.But the mainstream US seems to be paranoid about CNOOC's offer.Tatas who would be adversely affected by the Posco move,maintained a dignified silence.Chevron,onthe other hand,is throwing tantrums.To top it all,Unocal's reserves are mainly in the Asia-Pacific region.The US energy system,surprisingly 50% dependant on coal,benefits less than 1% from Unocal.Srivarahan

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Kizhanatham,Nava Thirupathi and "Get Well" Anjaneya

It was very satisfying to perform "Thirumanjanam" to Sree Venugopala on 11th June.Kizhanatham where the temple is located is a one-street village on the banks of Thamraparani river.
On 11th and 12th,we visited the nava thirupathis-Sree Vaikuntam,Natham,Thirupuliangudi,Perungulam,twin thirupathis,Thenthiruperai,Thirukolur and Alwar Thirunagari.The temples are well maintained by TVS Venu Srinivasan.
We also visited an Anjaneya temple near Tirunelveli railway station.An hospital called "Get Well" hospital is close by.It used to be a good hospital till misunderstanding among promoters resulted in its closure.The patients are now getting faster relief from their ailments by praying to nearby Anjaneya.Hence his name:"Get Well Anjaneya".

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Data Security and Identity Theft

Identity Theft (IT?) is rare in Europe except in the UK where last year 100,000 people i.e. 0.17% of the population fell victim to account hijacking etc.The comparable figure in the US last year was 10 million ID theft victims i.e.3.39% of the population.

Though many reasons are given for relative insecurity in the US, the following recently reported cases explain why we must not be surprised:

Time Warner and CitiFinancial lost personal data of their employees and customers when computer tapes were lost by their couriers,Iron Mountain and UPS resply.The tapes contained names,social security numbers,payment history etc.TW and CF clarified that the mishaps occured despite enhanced security! (What would happen if security is lowered?) Ofcourse,the missing tapes were not encrypted.They were therefore sitting ducks.Both companies have promised that,in future,data will be sent electronically in encrypted form.

Identity thefts do not just happen;they are facilitated by corporate action!