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from India Insight:

Movie Review: Happy New Year

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

A still from the movie "Happy new year"If there is one person who loves Shah Rukh Khan more than Shah Rukh Khan, it has to be Farah Khan. Right from her first film, the director has been enamoured with the Bollywood star – at least on screen. It isn’t a surprise that the biggest dud in her career was a film that didn’t include the actor (Tees Maar Khan).

In Happy New Year, she brings back SRK, self-deprecating jokes, six-pack abs and lots of bling. Borrowing liberally from Hollywood heist films, most notably Steven Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s Eleven,” Khan doesn’t seem too concerned with the business of making a good film – she just wants to make sure her lead hero and his rippling muscles get as much screen time as possible.

Khan, who began her career in Bollywood as a choreographer, pokes fun at others plying the trade, and the dialogue by Mayur Puri is peppered with so many references to the director’s and Shah Rukh Khan’s past films that you wonder if there is anything original in these three hours. The director’s fondness for the 1980s Bollywood melodrama, evident in all her past films, shows here as well, although not as effectively.

Shah Rukh Khan plays Charlie, a thief who only steals for revenge and not for monetary gain. He comes up with what has to be the most convoluted and ridiculous plan for a heist ever. Charlie gathers a motley gang to help him rob the world’s most expensive diamonds from a resort in Dubai.

from Breakingviews:

Review: World needs agreed ground rules for peace

By Martin Hutchinson

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Henry Kissinger argues in “World Order” that the world needs agreed ground rules as a precondition for achieving peace. The prevailing approach in the West, derived from the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, of nation states with limited conflicts isn’t reflected in the traditions of emerging nations like China or India. However the 1814 Vienna Congress’s innovation of allowing intervention of great powers only to protect stability might work better.

from Reuters FYI:

A not-so-lonely island

A view of "Moai" statues in Rano Raraku volcano, on Easter Island, 4,000 km (2486 miles) west of Santiago. REUTERS/Stringer/Files

A view of "Moai" statues in Rano Raraku volcano, on Easter Island, 2,486 miles west of Santiago. REUTERS/Stringer/Files

Another Easter Island mystery solved?

Scientists discover the inhabitants of the remote Rapa Nui island were not isolated after all.

from India Insight:

“Margarita, with a Straw”: dissolving hatred of homosexuals in India

Modern India is walking slowly towards a general acceptance of homosexuals and lesbians. Shonali Bose in her new film, “Margarita, With a Straw,” tries to pick up the pace. The film, which premiered and won the NETPAC award at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this year, is about a teenager with cerebral palsy who is unabashed about her sexuality, much to the horror of her middle-class, conservative mother.

Bose, who identifies herself as a bisexual, says the film comes from two personal experiences – that of exploring her own sexuality and the experiences of her cousin, who suffered from cerebral palsy. Bose said she hopes that the film contributes towards the debate over Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which forbids homosexual sex, and eventually sexual legitimacy for homosexuals, bisexuals and lesbians.

from Breakingviews:

Zuckerberg’s Chinese chat leaves CEOs tongue-tied

By Katrina Hamlin

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Mark Zuckerberg may spend his days running a $200 billion internet giant, but somehow he found the time to pick up Chinese. The Facebook founder surprised and delighted his hosts by answering questions in Mandarin during a visit to Beijing on Oct. 22. Other corporate chiefs may feel pressure to do the same.

from Data Dive:

Big Pharma’s race to develop an Ebola vaccine

The news last night that a New York City physician, Craig Spencer, tested positive for Ebola brought a whole new wave of freakout about the deadly virus.  How breathless is the coverage?  Joe Coscarelli puts it in perspective in "The Most Ignorant American Ebola Panic of the Moment."

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization made real news this week as it announced large-scale clinical trials, due to start in January, 2015, in the rush to vaccinate against the further spread of Ebola in West Africa.

from The Great Debate UK:

Starting with the Arctic, could some effects of global warming be reversed?

By Julian Hunt, Visiting Professor at Delft University of Technology, a member of the UK House of Lords, and former Director General of the UK Meteorological Office. The opinions expressed are his own.

Governments are in the midst of preparations for the 2014 UN Climate Summit, which begins in Peru on December 1, in advance of potential agreement of a new global climate treaty next year.  The scientific basis for these international attempts to reduce fossil fuel consumption is data from cutting-edge research which has recently yielded conclusions showing how at least some effects of global warming could be reversible.

from Morning Bid with David Gaffen:

Still feeling the fear trade

Fear remains in the markets and it is being tested again following the diagnosis of a New York-based doctor with the Ebola virus. Even though there are just nine documented cases of the deadly disease on U.S. soil so far and just one death.

Relating all of this to markets can’t help but seem myopic and flippant, but it cannot be ignored, either. So the best method is to merely present the information and move on. U.S. stock futures dipped around 8:30 p.m. ET after news that the test had come back positive – about a 0.5 percent drop. That's similar to the activity during the day’s trade when the first news of the doctor hit through the New York Post.

from FaithWorld:

Saudi Arabia’s Shi’ites fear they are at mercy of region’s tumult

(Shi'ite protesters carry posters of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr during a demonstration outside the Saudi embassy in Sanaa October 18, 2014. The Shi'ite Muslim minority in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province have long felt marginalised by the Sunni ruling dynasty, and protests for greater rights as part of the 2011 Arab Spring brought a crackdown on both protesters and demands for reform. But now, death sentences for three Shi'ite Muslims, including prominent dissident cleric Nimr, suggest that the region's wider turmoil is further hardening attitudes toward the sect at home. The posters (L-R) read: "He who feels dignity is restless and no power can stop him." and "We are all Sheikh Nimr al Nimr" and "Freedom for the unjustly detained Sheikh Nimr al Nimr." Picture taken October 18, 2014. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

(Shi'ite protesters carry posters of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr during a demonstration outside the Saudi embassy in Sanaa October 18, 2014.REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

The Shi’ite Muslim minority in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province have long felt marginalised by the Sunni ruling dynasty, and protests for greater rights as part of the 2011 Arab Spring brought a crackdown on both protesters and demands for reform.

from Breakingviews:

Amazon’s ambition outruns its cash flow

By Robert Cyran

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Amazon’s ambition is outrunning its cash flow. The online retailer’s 20 percent sales growth in its third quarter was slower than expected, and its $437 million loss was an ugly record. But it’s the firm’s voracious need for investment that is the bigger problem. Chief Executive Jeff Bezos’ vision may be limitless, but his company’s ability to finance it is not.

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