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The world we live in

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Those who follow the business news around the world know that a 100 Billion Euro debt reduction brings some reprieve for Greece (and to the global share markets!!). There is a fun side to this summit.

Let us look at the “official schedule” for the Eurozone summit in which this deal has been arrived at:
“Agenda for the working session of the European Council”:
19.15: Working dinner
20.00: Bilateral meeting/Eurozone only session
22.00: Press Conference
22.05: Silvio Berlusconi (Prime Minister of Italy) heads off to the nightclub; drinks on him… Angela Merkel (German Chancellor) declines because she has to, George Papandreou (PM of Greece) declines because he can’t afford the taxi back.

Ms.Merkel and Mr.Sarkozy (French President) swapped a smile when asked at a news conference at a summit if they were reassured by Mr.Berlusconi’s promises of action to address Italy’s economic crisis. The smile caused widespread resentment in Italy, where it was seen as a national humiliation and insult.
The Bribe payers’ index released by Transparency International for the year 2011 ranks countries on bribery. The survey was conducted in 28 countries. In a scale of 10 to 0, where 10 means no bribe and 0 means always bribe, India has got an index of 7.5 with a rank of 19. Quite interestingly, China has got an index of only 6.5 with a rank of 27. It is hard for me to believe that India is better than China!Renu, both Malaysia and South Africa share the same index and same rank 7.6 and 15 respectively. Ravi, UAE has got an index of 7.3 with a rank of 23. Isn’t it strange that a strict Islamic country is worse than India in terms of corruption?

In 1950, only 29% of the world’s population lived in cities but the urban population has increased to over 50% by 2007. The United Nations estimates this figure to reach 70% by 2050.
Tokyo is home to about 35 million people, more than the population of Canada. Do you see it K? By 2025 there will be 36 such mega cities in the world with population more than 10 million each.
People under 25 (years of age) make up 43% of the world’s population.
Slums (in cities) around the world are home to 800 million people and are growing by about 16 000 people per day.
Cities like Shanghai and Sao Paulo could have metropolitan economies of about $500 Billion by 2025, bigger than the national economies of several developed countries.

A pair of ample bloomers once owned by Britain’s Queen Victoria sold for more than 9 000 Pounds at an auction in Edinburgh on 1
[SUP]st[/SUP] Nov 2011. During an auction an anonymous buyer paid 9 375 pounds for the white silk under garments.
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Y mentioned in one of the threads that $1 - $2m is "enormous" wealth. But the following news report does not give me that feeling. Look at the real estate prices in Mumbai:

While a luxury flat in suburban Powai costs upwards of Rs 6 crore ($1.2m), the price escalates to Rs 12 crore ($2.4m) for a similar flat in Bandra, going up to Rs 15 crore ($3m) in central Mumbai areas like Parel, Worli and Shivaji Park, and as much as Rs 40 crore ($8m) for a 4,000 sq ft home in South Mumbai's Malabar Hill and Peddar Road areas.

Heard about the 12-acre India Bulls Bleu project at Worli in Central Mumbai? It will have five towers of 75-storeys, with three- and four-bedroom flats, with saleable area starting at 3,900 sq ft, and living space a little over 1,500 sq ft. This translates into a rate of Rs 80,000 ($1 600) per carpet sq ft, with the cost of the smallest flat exceeding Rs 12 crore ($2.4m). And the developers are calling it affordable luxury!

Further, in the luxury segment, new concepts are set to dominate the market in a big way with the introduction of sports cities, designer homes, branded residences, green homes, smart homes and theme-based housing.

I would like to know the real estate prices in the U.S. and Europe. Can our members throw some light? I leave it to the economists to determine the economic status of Indians. As far as I am concerned, I do not want to buy such a flat even if I can afford.
Sexual assistants rub disabled up the right way

For several years, Jacques Arnould has been giving disabled people in Switzerland the right to a little sexual attention. But for many, his work as a professional “sexual assistant” treads a thin line between a caring profession and prostitution.

Aged 50 and married with three children, Jacques is one of the rare Swiss assistants to openly speak out about the services he provides. He is a qualified physiotherapist, with a specialty in urinary and gynecological issues.“Disabled people are still people, with fantasies, expectations, desires and frustrations”, he said. Some assistants show a client how to touch and be touched, others bring the person to orgasm.

Across town, Michelle Gut, an elegant masseuse, greets clients – many of whom are mentally or physically disabled - at her massage parlour. Michele charges Euro 162 an hour for the disabled and Euro 220 for able bodied clients and offers services ranging from classic massage to “erogenous zone massage”.
I do understand that specific property might have a price because of its location but this is an average prices and may shed a different light.

The median home price, the point at which half of all homes are sold for more and half are sold for less, fell across the country in August.
Northeast $244,100.
Midwest $141,700
South $151,000
West $189,400.

Some of expensive houses that were sold in 2011 were in these areas.

Zip CodeMedian Home Price
#10 11568, Old Westbury, NY$3,095,000.00
#9 93108, Montecito, CA$3,099,348.00
#8 11976, Water Mill, NY$3,300,000.00
#7 10013, New York, NY$3,317,962.00
#6 10012, New York, NY$3,392,574.00
#5 90210, Beverly Hills, CA$3,469,891.00
#4 94010, Hillsborough, CA$3,499,000.00
#3 11962, Sagaponack, NY$3,595,000.00
#2 94027, Atherton, CA$4,295,000.00
#1 07620, Alpine, NJ$4,550,000.00

“The Manor,” Los Angeles, US: $150 million
“The Pinnacle,” Montana, US: $155 million
Hearst Mansion, Beverly Hills, US: $165 million
Fairfield Pond, The Hamptons, US : $170 million
Antilla, Mumbai, India: $1 billion

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Ravi, UAE has got an index of 7.3 with a rank of 23. Isn’t it strange that a strict Islamic country is worse than India in terms of corruption?

All Islamic countries are worse in corruption. They haven't even listed Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt. Of course they just keep thinking of the corruption of the "Great Satan" - the US. I guess the Koran tells you how many wives you can take but not whether you can take bribes.
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