January 16th, 2012
03:10 AM GMT
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(CNN) – India is Asia’s third largest economy, the world’s tenth largest by nominal GDP and is dubbed as the world’s largest democracy. So why does India still skulk in the shadows of the world’s other rising superpower China? One reason could be that India is hamstrung by its bureaucracy.

As the Economic Times stated, India needs to reform its bureaucracy and curb widespread corruption so it can fix its global image and achieve economic growth.

A recent report from the Hong Kong based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy Ltd ranked India the lowest on a bureaucracy rating in Asia. The report shows that the country runs an inefficient bureaucracy because of corruption and inadequate infrastructure. Business executives complain about how top officials are willing to accept under-the-table payments and how in turn, companies are tempted to make such payments in order to overcome bureaucratic inertia and gain government favors, the report says.
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December 8th, 2011
05:12 AM GMT
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(CNN) – Given a choice between internet access or keys to a car, which would you choose?

According to new research, it’s more of a toss-up for young adults. That not only marks a generational divide between lifestyle choices for Generation X and Gen-Y, but could have a knock-on effect for how future cars are developed, the study author says.

It also speaks to a new study on why more traffic deaths in the U.S. are a result of using phones or portable electronic devices while driving.

When posed with the dilemma of choosing between access to your car and access to the Internet, 46% of all 18-to-24-year-old drivers in the U.S. surveyed said they would choose the Internet and give up their cars.
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November 25th, 2011
05:28 AM GMT
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(CNN) – These days, anyone who’s anyone in the entertainment industry has their own clothing line, energy drink, or at the very least, perfume. Chinese basketball superstar Yao Ming is kicking it up a notch, releasing a wine bearing his name.

The 2009 Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon is produced by Yao’s own Yao Family Wines and will be auctioned off at a charity event held by the Special Olympics.

“Basketball gave me the opportunity to live in the United States and discover many wonderful things in America. Now I look forward to bringing great wines from California back to the Chinese people,” Yao said in a statement.

There are only 1,200 bottles of the wine in existence and at 3,800 yuan  ($597) each, none will be sold on the open market, China Daily reported. On Sunday, the wine will be auctioned at a starting price of 60,000 yuan ($9,429).
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November 18th, 2011
06:22 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) - In Taiwan, legislation is moving towards legalizing the world’s oldest profession, but in practice the trade remains largely underground.

Under the revised Social Order Maintenance Act, which went into effect in early November, prostitution is legal in designated red-light districts, but so far no local governments have been willing to create these zones, rendering prostitution anywhere illegal.

“You [the government] tell us that both the sex worker and the client would not be penalized within the district, but where is it?” Chung Chun-chu, secretary general of the Collective of Sex Workers and Supporters told the Taipei Times. “So far, none of the local governments have any plans to create red-light districts.”

All 22 county and city mayors have expressed concern that creating prostitution districts would lead to increased crime and plummeting property values, according to an Apple Daily survey.
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November 17th, 2011
05:33 AM GMT
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Hong Kong, China (CNN) – A nearly 9-hour flight delay turned into a standoff at Hong Kong airport Wednesday, with passengers refusing to leave the plane for 5-hours until the airline agreed to higher compensation.

The incident underscores just how high tensions can rise in modern air travel with passengers and airlines jockeying it out in a low-frill, high-fee world. There is no global standard for passenger compensation in the case of airline delays and wide gulf can exist between passenger expectations and airline offers.

When Hong Kong Airlines flight 752 from Singapore arrived at 530 a.m. Wednesday morning, the airline says 80 passengers refused to get off. The travelers, mainly members of package tours from mainland China, demanded the airline increase the original compensation offer of $50 per passenger.
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November 15th, 2011
04:41 AM GMT
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(CNN) - What does “the 1%” see when viewing news reports on the Wall Street demonstrators camping in the cold to protest wealth disparity? Apparently one rich rapper sees an opportunity to make money.

Rapper and business mogul Shawn Carter, better known as Jay-Z, has debuted a collection of t-shirts on his Rocawear line playing off the Occupy Wall Street movement. The shirts, which are selling for $22.99 and read "Occupy All Streets”, were wiped from the brand's website over the weekend in response to allegations that Carter – whose net worth is estimated at $450 million – was trying to profit from the 99%, but are back up again.

Although Carter sold Rocawear to Iconix Brand Group in 2007 for $204 million, according to the New York Times, he continues to be creatively involved in the brand.
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November 14th, 2011
05:32 AM GMT
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(CNN) - The “King of Good Times” is facing some grim times at the moment.

Airline group chief and billionaire business tycoon, Vijay Mallya is struggling to keep India’s Kingfisher Airlines afloat due to surging fuel costs and fuel taxes.

In the past week, the Bangalore-based carrier has cancelled 200 flights in hopes to reduce its debt from Rs. 6,500 crore (about $1.4 billion) to Rs. 3,000 crore ($600 million). Kingfisher has suffered a loss of Rs.1027 crores ($200 million) in the past fiscal year, adding to its mounting debt.
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November 11th, 2011
07:31 AM GMT
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(CNN) –Today, November 11, 2011 or 11/11/11, marks the second to last repetitive date of its kind this century—12/12/2012 will be the last—and around the world weddings, births, the Egyptian pyramids and even corduroy are being influenced by the supposed cosmic significance attached to this date.

The date, which happens to be Veterans Day in the U.S. and Remembrance Day in Commonwealth countries, is a perfect palindrome and occurs only once a century.

Couples all over the world are scrambling to get married on this supposedly auspicious date. In Las Vegas, the Clark County clerk’s office has already received 3,500 applications for marriages on November 11; usually there are only 1,000 applications per month, the International Business Times reported. FULL POST

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November 10th, 2011
05:20 AM GMT
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(CNN) – Duty-free shopping onboard may no longer be limited to watches and perfume.  Ryanair is considering offering in-flight pornography to its passengers, according to a report on Tuesday in The Sun.

The racy content would be broadcast through a custom Ryanair app for smartphones and tablets.  Michael O’Leary, chief executive of the Dublin-based discount airline, told the Sun, “Hotels around the world have it, so why wouldn’t we?”  He said that pornography would be available only via the relative privacy of mobile devices and would not be shown on seat-back television screens.

This isn’t the first time O’Leary has displayed a “sex sells” ethos for his airline.  In 2008, he made flippant comments to the media about offering “beds and b***jobs” in business class.  The airline has also published an annual “Girls of Ryanair” calendar since the same year, featuring its female flight attendants in bikinis.
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November 3rd, 2011
06:10 AM GMT
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(CNN) – Have you ever been shaken down for a red envelope in China or hit up for a deal "sweetener" in Russia?

Companies from these countries are most likely to engage in bribery, according to a survey released on Wednesday by corruption watchdog Transparency International.

The two countries received the lowest scores on the 2011 Bribe Payers Index, which ranked the top 28 largest economies according to the likelihood of companies headquartered in these countries practicing bribery.  The scores were based on a survey of the perceptions of 3,016 business executives across 30 countries who had business dealings in those top 28 economies.

China and Russia were the only companies that scored below 7 on a scale of 10, with scores of 6.5 and 6.1, respectively. Companies based in the Netherlands and Switzerland tied for first place with scores of 8.8, with Belgium, Germany, and Japan rounding out the top five. FULL POST

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