Sunder’s List: Bakra

Roundup: S&P -0.28%, Dow -0.13%, Nasdaq +0.08%, Gold $1,310.30, London -0.25%, Germany -0.31%, France -0.82%. At pixel: Nikkei -0.01%, Hang Seng -0.04%

Will Diwali soon go down in dictionaries as a yearly ritual in which India poisons itself? Delhi particulate matter levels were at an alarming over-5-to-9 times prescribed standards. (LiveMint)

Mutual Fund direct plans: the smart money has subscribed. Brace yourself for more tele-marketing calls as distributors try harder to find the bakra… (LiveMint)

U.S. and European companies invested heavily in recent years to expand in China. But the latest set of quarterly earnings results reveal that for many companies, China has been a drag. “We are not hearing the vast opportunistic optimism that existed, let’s say, a year or two ago.” (WSJ)

And in India, always bet on corruption, no matter what. Take the new land bill for example. Before: the state had unchecked powers to take private land for projects deemed of public interest, including private investments. Private companies have mostly relied on state procured land for big projects. But these powers were widely abused, with farmers railroaded into relinquishing land at throwaway prices usually to see the land resold afterwards for far more, with middlemen reaping windfall profits. After: “This whole process of acquisition assumes the farmer and landowner is a naive chap… and his rights have to be protected by this long-drawn out procedure. The process is so full of red tape, bureaucratese and problems it will get tied up in knots.” Also, “It is likely that land acquisition itself will end in all of urban, and most of rural India.” And as we all know, red-tape breeds corruption. (FT)

Saudi authorities carry out raids on businesses, markets and residential areas to catch expatriates whose visas are invalid. The government hopes that reducing the number of illegal workers will create opportunities for Saudi job-seekers. Good luck with that! (LiveMint)

Good luck!

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