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What do we understand by political vocation? Very early on in my career as a civil servant I went with a delegation to India and I found that most of the politicians had been in politics for more than 30 years. They were still going strong. The average life of a civil servant is between 37 to 39 years unless the age is fudged. In our country, politics is rather naively held to be an infant existence. We always talk of a fledgling politics. Politics is about leadership situations and unless the democratic process for leadership determination is put in place there will remain this concept of a Mughal emperor in position of authority with hardly or no accountability to the people of the country. So how do we influence our leadership positions? There is no public consensus and anyone who is backed by some kind of manipulation becomes a leader. There have been serious reservations on the perverted election by selection process as it is not equitable in nature. Nor does it provide equal opportunity or of conditions to make the grade as a leader.

An eerie quiet hangs over Intipuca, a Salvadoran town whose streets bear names like "Distant Brother" and are lined with empty houses that look lifted from a Hollywood movie. "Welcome to Intipuca City, the place to be," says an English-language sign at the edge of town - an ironic slogan for this place of so many goodbyes, a symbol of the Central American exodus to the United States. Some 5.3 million Central American immigrants live in the US, 2.9 million of them from El Salvador, a country of just 6.3 million people whose recent history has been blighted by civil war and economic struggles.
Claude Burns, who just earned a degree from MIT's Sloan School of Management, hatched what he thought was a great start-up idea: a subscription business peddling craft beers. The problem was how to come up with the half-a-million to fund it? He figured he'd target the usual suspects - family, friends, angel investors, maybe even a local bank. What he didn't expect was that one of his classmates would step up. Victoria Gutierrez liked the idea so much that right before graduation, she promised to invest $25,000 in Noble Brewer, based in Oakland, Calif.
"So how would you define being personal."
The article by Dr Ashfaque Hasan Khan [Sit-ins and economy, Business Recorder, November 3, 2014] and its rejoinder by the Ministry of Finance [Rejoinder by MoF: 'Sit-ins and economy', Business Recorder, November 17, 2014] has once again raised some fundamental issues about reliability of official data, especially claims about restricting budget deficit to 5.5% during fiscal year 2013-14.
The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has issued a rejoinder against two of my articles ("Sit-ins and Economy", November 3 and "The True Budget Deficit", October 13) published in this newspaper. In so doing, they have provided me an opportunity to dwell more on these topics as well as reply to an MoF rejoinder. The motivation behind writing my article of November 3 was to ascertain the government's claim that the sit-ins (dharnas) at D-Chowk in Islamabad have adversely affected the economy. Through the government's own statistics I showed that the economy was already on the downturn since January 2014 - much before the sit-ins. For example, the large - scale manufacturing (LSM) grew at an average rate of 6.5 percent during July-December 2013-14, slowed to an average of 1.7 percent during January - June 2013-14.
Mega-merger fever is back on Wall Street, six years after the financial crisis, and 2014 is shaping up as a record year for take-overs in a sign of US corporate optimism. In rapid succession on Monday, pharmaceutical giant Actavis said it would pay $66 billion for Allergan, which makes the wrinkle-eraser Botox, and oilfield services company Halliburton said it would take over rival Baker Hughes for $34.6 billion. Times have never been riper for big deals, mergers-and-acquisitions bankers told AFP.


Index Closing Chg%
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Banking Review 2013

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.380 bln
Exports $2.181 bln
Imports $4.561 bln
WeeklyNovember 13, 2014
Reserves $13.268 bln