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Neymar Scores Goal from Behind the Net

Brazilian striker Neymar Jr. scores yet another ridiculous goal — from behind the net. He pulled off another ridiculous move yesterday putting just enough backspin to score from behind the net, during practice before a friendly football match against Honduras in preparation for the South American football championship — Copa America, which began today in Chile. Neymar scored a goal — even though he was on the wrong side of it. He’s six yards behind the goal line. How is this possible? Amazing technique, the perfect weight on the strike and the exact right amount of spin… all at the same time. We’re almost at the point where Brazil’s new king of Europe is defying the laws of physics. The craziest thing? If any mere mortal managed to pull this off, they’d be hopping around celebrating. Neymar? He acts like it’s all perfectly normal. He’s not even trying. He’s just messing about during a break – and he’s done this before. He pulled off the same move in practice before a friendly match against France this year.

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Innocence or Ignorance

There’s a proverb — “Ignorance is bliss.” Is ignorance the same as innocence? Ignorance is having the opportunity to learn, but choosing not to. Innocence is a natural state that we are all born with and supposed to grow out of. People often think of ignorance as if it’s a blank, but it has a shape, either because of unacknowledged motives or as the result of the sequence of historical conditions that led to it. Some people avoid going to the doctor because they don’t want to find out that anything is wrong with them. But ignorance of our sickness doesn’t make us healthy, ignorance of our sin doesn’t make us innocent as well. Ignorance is a choice of the conscious mind. Once you chose to close your eyes and rejected the knowledge, innocence was converted into ignorance. You can accept the information, maybe choosing to research the subject matter further, or choose to stay ignorant ignoring the information. Innocence is a state that can invite opportunities for learning while ignorance is a state brought about by the lack of desire to learn. If the lack of knowledge was not by choice then it can’t be called ignorance and in that case, it would be innocence. We cannot, therefore, deem an innocent person as ignorant, nor affirm the statement in another way. Is it innocence or ignorance that is bliss?

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A Short Story on Privilege

Recent comic of Toby Morris, The Pencilsword’s “On a Plate” illustrates the concept of privilege, and delivers the truth with a punchline. He places two individuals side by side, showing how financial security and benefits, or the lack of it, affects them even if they come from households that love and support them, leading to two completely different outcomes. This short story may change your mind about privilege. Image Source: The Wireless

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Six Banks Fined $6 Billion Over Rigging of Forex Markets

Six of the world’s biggest banks will pay nearly $6 billion — bringing the total sums paid in connection with alleged forex manipulation to about $10 billion. These banks are also among the world’s biggest foreign-exchange traders. Five of them agreed to plead guilty to charges tied to a currency-rigging probe as they seek to wind down almost half a decade of enforcement actions. Separately, the Federal Reserve fined Bank of America Corp $205 million for unsound practices in foreign exchange. Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Plc agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to manipulate the price of US dollars and euros in settlements with the Department of Justice. UBS Group AG agreed to plead guilty to charges related to interest-rate manipulation. They were the first to cooperate with antitrust investigators and were granted immunity in the currency probe. Between December 2007 and January 2013, forex traders at Citi, JPMorgan, Barclays, RBS  and a few other big banks colluded by sharing proprietary information on pending client orders ahead of the 4 p.m. fix. This information sharing was allegedly done through instant-message groups – with catchy names such as “The Cartel,” “The Mafia,” and “The Bandits’ Club” – that were accessible only to a few senior traders at banks who are the most active in the forex market. The audacious nature of the dealing desks is revealed in the chatroom transcripts as one employee at Barclays remarks, […]

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Allowing Banks to Fail

Shortly after the financial crisis broke out in 2008, regulators around the world embarked on a regulatory reform in order to prevent such a crisis from happening again. This regulatory reform is as complex and multi-layered as the crisis itself. Many observers wish there was a silver bullet that would solve the crisis with one clean shot. But, there is no such silver bullet. Too Big to Fail It refers to banks that are so big, so interconnected or so important that their failure might bring down the entire financial system. Consequently, the government has an incentive to step in and bail out these banks in order to prevent a systemic meltdown. Banks that were deemed “too big to fail” therefore operated with implicit government support that was provided free of charge. Such support, however, can induce banks to engage in risky transactions. If things go well they take the profit, but if things go wrong the taxpayer foots the bill. Obviously, this is a less than optimal situation from any point of view but the banks’. How can this problem be solved? The first step is to reduce the likelihood of a large bank failing. To this end, regulation has, among other things, imposed stricter capital requirements in general and introduced surcharges for systemically important banks. But capital can only shield against losses up to a point. A system that entirely prevents the failure of banks is neither possible […]

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Peer-to-Peer Lending Disrupting the Banking Model

bii-how peer to peer lending works

Banks have historically handled most consumer and small business lending because they have the resources to assess a borrower’s creditworthiness, and the regulatory approval to fund loans. However, this model has some key inefficiencies — interest rates are not individualised, the costs of underwriting loans are high, loan decisions can take months, and small & micro enterprises in particular have generally […]

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Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a modern celebration honoring one’s own mother, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It was founded for mourning women to remember fallen soldiers and work for peace. It all started in the 1850s, when West Virginia women’s organizer Ann Reeves Jarvis—Anna’s mother—held Mother’s Day work clubs to improve sanitary conditions and try to lower infant mortality by fighting disease and curbing milk contamination, according to historian Katharine Antolini of West Virginia Wesleyan College. The groups also tended wounded soldiers from both sides during the U.S. Civil War from 1861 to 1865. Anna Jarvis never had children of her own, but the 1905 death of her own mother inspired her to organize the first Mother’s Day observances in 1908. On 10 May of that year, families gathered at events in Jarvis’s hometown of Grafton, West Virginia—at a church now renamed the International Mother’s Day Shrine—as well as in Philadelphia, where Jarvis lived at the time, and in several other cities. Largely through Jarvis’s efforts, Mother’s Day came to be observed in a growing number of cities and states until U.S. President Woodrow Wilson officially set aside the second Sunday in May in 1914 for the holiday. The holiday Anna Jarvis launched has spread around much of the world, though it’s celebrated with varying enthusiasm, in various ways, and on various days—though more often than not on the second Sunday in May. In much of the Arab […]

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Goodbye Mom!

I read this story sent to me via WhatsApp today and just wanted to share it with everyone. A young man shopping in a supermarket noticed a little old lady following him around. If he stopped, she stopped. Furthermore she kept staring at him. She finally overtook him at the checkout, and she turned to him and said, “I hope I haven’t made you feel ill at ease; it’s just that you look so much like my late son.” He answered, “That’s okay.” The old lady said: ”I know it’s silly, but if you’d call out ‘Good bye, Mom’ as I leave the store, it would make me feel so happy.” She then went through the checkout, and as she was on her way out of the store, the man called out, “Goodbye, Mom!” The little old lady waved and smiled back at him. Pleased that he had brought a little sunshine into someone’s day, he went to pay for his groceries. “That comes to $1,211.85,” said the clerk. “How come so much? I only bought 5 items.” The clerk replied, “Yeah, but your Mother said that you’d be paying for her things, too.”

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Dim sum, Hummus & Falafel

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It was 30 March, Jaya’s stitches on her right wrist were removed. Things were looking okay. Her abdomen stitches would be removed next day. It was getting into evening, Jaya was in no mood to return to the hotel so early. I was a bit hesitant whether she would be able to roam around as she was recovering from her […]

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Bollywood Flavour in Diplomacy: Lebe Jetzt

German Ambassador to India Michael Steiner paid tribute to the soft power of Bollywood by making his acting debut in a video on Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta and Saif Ali Khan-starrer 2003 romantic drama “Kal Ho Naa Ho”. The lip syncing of Ambassador Steiner is perfect. Awesome performance! The German Embassy on their YouTube page says: “Traditional diplomacy was about government-to-government relations. Modern diplomacy is more about people-to-people relations. And culture is central here. This is why Michael Steiner, German Ambassador to India, and Salman Khurshid, former Foreign Minister of India, without taking themselves too seriously, plunged into uncharted waters. Together with Eliese Steiner and under the direction of Sumit Osmand Shaw, they pay homage to the Indian film by reenacting one of its most famous music videos – thus connecting people across borders. The original video from 2003 – featuring Preity Zinta, Saif Ali Khan and the “King of Bollywood” Shah Rukh Khan – was filmed in the USA. This remake, instead, has been shot in India. It is an Indo-German tribute to Bollywood movies, which have a huge fan base not only in India, but also in Germany.” “Bollywood is a cultural institution. This is the one instrument to connect to the world and it is a very good instrument. Me and my wife are Bollywood addicts. She has seen more than 150 Bollywood films… we have seen them together,” the German ambassador said. The title says “LEBE […]

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