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Today, there was a discussion on street foods with my schoolmates on WhatsApp. We were remembering our good old days and found that we are all still in love of the street foods. I am a street foodie. I love street foods. When the discussion was over, I was remembering another street food, which is very much popular in Bihar […]

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Fitch assigns Iraq’s first rating at B-

Fitch Ratings issued, on Friday, 7 August 2015, its first rating on Iraqi debt, assigning the fifth-worst junk grade in part due to the cost of civil conflict and a global slump in oil prices. Fitch Ratings, together with Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, are commonly known as the “Big Three credit rating agencies”. They have assigned Iraq a Long-term foreign currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of ‘B-‘ with a Stable Outlook. The agency has also assigned a Country Ceiling of ‘B-‘ and a Short-term IDR of ‘B’. ‘B’ ratings — highly speculative — indicate that material default risk is present, but a limited margin of safety remains. Financial commitments are currently being met; however, capacity for continued payment is vulnerable to deterioration in the business and economic environment. Political risk and insecurity are among the highest faced by any sovereign rated by Fitch. Sectarian conflict has raged with varying intensity since 2003, ISIS militants currently effectively hold three of the 18 provinces, relations with the Kurdish regional government are volatile and governance indicators are exceptionally weak. Iraq holds the world’s fifth largest oil reserves and significant amounts of gas. Oil production has risen rapidly to 3.3 mbpd in May 2015, from an average of 2.4 mbpd in 2010, with Iraq becoming the world’s second largest exporter in 2014. Production costs are low. The bulk of oil production facilities and infrastructure are away from areas of domestic insecurity. Iraq is almost entirely dependent on […]

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An annoying trend in restaurants

The other night we were eating at a restaurant and enjoying it. We were out for a family dinner. The restaurant is highly regarded. Life was good. And the food was great. But then it happened again. “Are you done with that?” the server asked. “Can I get it out of your way?” “No,” I said. “We’re not done eating.” I had to repeat “Please do not take an empty plate from one person while others are still eating the same course. Wait, wait, wait.” Restaurants seem to have abandoned, or simply overlooked, a classic tenet of service etiquette. Rather than clear plates once everyone at the table has finished the meal, which has long been the custom, servers instead hover over diners, until the very instant someone puts down a spoon. If you’re lucky, they might ask permission before stealing your plate. When a server clears a plate before everyone is finished, he or she leaves the table with a mess of subtle but important signals. Those who are still eating are made to feel as though they are holding others up; those who are not are made to feel as though they have rushed the meal. Why that subtlety seems to evade so many restaurants these days is unclear. Publicly, restaurants might argue that they are trying to avoid clutter; privately, they might encourage waiters to speed tables along; but what it amounts to is an uncomfortable dining […]

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Happy Birthday, Mr. Subba


We were staying in the Royal Plaza hotel in Gangtok. On July 20 morning, when we went for breakfast, we saw a separate stage for rock band. I asked the restaurant personnel whether they had started live performances in the evenings. They told me that the stage was being set for the birthday celebration of the Managing Director of the […]

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Huge landslide on our way to Gangtok


Jaya, her father and I were coming to Gangtok yesterday to see my son, Babai. He’s studying MBBS at SMIMS in Gangtok. The flight reached Bagdogra airport on time. The cab was already booked and we proceeded for Gangtok, which is around 125 km. It’s a mountainous road with beautiful natural surroundings. Teesta river flowing by the road adds to  […]

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Dubai Mall — It’s not just a mall!


Today I got some time in the evening and I went to the Dubai Mall. The Dubai Mall is the world’s largest shopping mall. As per Wikipedia, in 2012, Dubai Mall continued to hold title of world’s most-visited shopping and leisure destination, and attracted more than 65 million visitors, an increase of more than 20 percent compared to the 54 million […]

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Mall to celebrate travels of Ibn Battuta


In the evening after the meeting was over, I went to the Ibn Battuta Mall. It’s the world’s largest themed shopping mall. This mall is uniquely designed to celebrate the travels of the famous Moroccan explorer Ibn Battuta. Ibn Battuta visited India during the reign of Muhammad bin Tughlaq. Each region Ibn Battuta explored – Andalusia, Tunisia, Egypt, Persia, India and China […]

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Mall of the Emirates


I reached Dubai today for meetings with our software vendors. They’re located in Media City. We went and checked in at Hotel Radisson Blu at Media City. It’s also pretty hot in Dubai. I went down to Icon Bar for some beer. But the bar wasn’t serving alcohol as it’s Ramadan time. They said that alcohol is served during Ramadan […]

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