Protests over Ferguson ruling spread across US

Protests spread across the US following no indictment of police officer who shot a black teen in Ferguson town. In New York City's Times Square, several hundred people rallied carrying banners protesting 'police tyranny'


Protests spread across the US over the explosive grand jury decision in Missouri against indicting a white cop who shot dead an unarmed black teen.


Angry people took to the streets from Seattle out west to Chicago in the middle and New York late Monday, the nation's largest city, as the hotspot town of Ferguson, Missouri - where the decision was rendered - roiled with rioting.


Not long after President Barack Obama appealed for calm over the hotly awaited ruling in Missouri in the case of slain teen Michael Brown by white policeman Darren Wilson, several hundred people gathered in front of the White House.


They chanted slogans such as "Hands up, don't shoot" and waved banners saying "stop racist police terror" and "Justice for Mike Brown."


That demonstration was peaceful, unlike violence that broke out in Ferguson itself in which a police car was torched, stores were looted and police fired tear gas to disperse angry black demonstrators.


The rally outside the White House dispersed after midnight but demonstrators headed elsewhere, possibly toward the US Capitol, the seat of Congress, AFP correspondents observed.


In New York City's Times Square, several hundred people rallied carrying banners protesting 'police tyranny'. Others had slogans saying 'racism kills' and 'no justice, no peace'.


Some people likened police to the white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan.


The police presence in New York City was heavy. A helicopter flew overhead. Another rally was held in the city's Union Square.


New York City police chief Bill Bratton made an appearance at the Big Apple's signature crossroads Times Square, where someone splashed him in the face with a red liquid.


Other protests were held in major cities such as Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles. In Oakland, California, which has a large black community, protesters blocked a highway.


But in these cities there were no immediate reports of violence.


Why was Manmohan Singh not examined in coal scam?

Replying to the Special Court’s query CBI said officials of PMO were examined during the probe and it was found that the statement of the then Coal Minister Singh was not necessary


The Special Court on Tuesday asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as to whether it has examined former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was then holding the coal portfolio, during its probe in the coal blocks allocation scam case involving top industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla, former Coal Secretary PC Parakh and others.


Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar asked the agency, “Don’t you think examination of the then Coal Minister was necessary in the matter? Don’t you feel the need to examine him (Singh)? Don’t you think his statement was necessary to present a clear picture?”


Responding to this, the Investigating Officer (IO) told the court that the officials of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) were examined during the probe and it was found that the statement of the then Coal Minister was not necessary.


He, however, clarified that the then Coal Minister was not permitted to be examined.


Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held the portfolio of the Coal Ministry when Birla’s company Hindalco was allocated coal blocks in Orissa’s Talabira II & III in 2005.


“PMO officials were examined. The then Minister of Coal was not examined in light of the statement of PMO officials,” the IO said, adding “the then Coal Minister was not permitted to be examined. It was found that his statement was not necessary”.


During the hearing, the court directed CBI to file the case diary before it, after which the Senior Public Prosecutor VK Sharma said the agency be allowed to file these documents in a sealed cover.


“...I deem it appropriate that let the case diary files and crime files of the present case be summoned and as per the request of Senior PP, let it be produced in the sealed cover,” the judge said and posted the matter for further proceedings on 27th November.


Earlier on 10th November, CBI had told the court that there was “prima facie enough material” to proceed against some private parties and public servants in the case.


The Supreme Court-appointed special public prosecutor (SPP) RS Cheema for CBI had submitted before the judge that the court can take cognisance of the offences mentioned in the closure report as there was prima facie “evidence against the accused to show their involvement”.


The CBI’s stand seeking prosecution of the accused had come after the court, on 12th September, questioned the agency for showing hurry in closing the case in which an FIR was lodged against Birla, Parakh and others.


On 21st October, the agency had filed a revised final closure report in the case.


The FIR against Birla, Parakh and others was registered in October last year by CBI, which had alleged that Parakh had reversed his decision to reject coal block allocation to Hindalco within months “without any valid basis or change in circumstances” and shown “undue favours”.


The FIR relates to allocation of the Talabira II and III coal blocks in Odisha in 2005.


CBI had booked Birla, Parakh and other Hindalco officials under various IPC sections, including criminal conspiracy and criminal misconduct on the part of Government officials.


In its FIR, the agency had alleged that during the 25th Screening Committee meeting, chaired by Parakh, the applications of Hindalco and Indal Industries were rejected for mining in Talabira II and III “citing valid reasons”.


Victim of Junk Food

This is with regard to the Cover Story in Moneylife (13 November 2014). This is an interesting Cover Story.


Since the past 11 years, I have been a victim of such junk food every day, soon after I left my home town. In fact, since the past two years, I have been to McDonalds for breakfast 2-3 times a week. I was addicted to it. Of late, coming across various health-related articles, I have reduced going to such food outlets, but I have not stopped completely.


I believe that a huge chunk of people, who visit such outlets frequently, may not be doing so due to the taste of the food, but the appealing ambience of the outlets that creates an urge in the mind of visitors to go there and have food. If the urban food joints offer better ambience and sell healthy food at affordable prices, society can benefit, to a large extent.


In India, though the regulations on the quality of food served everywhere, including roadside vendors, are almost absent, there is only a small set of people who takes appropriate steps to avoid such places and take healthy food. However, over time, urban population is going to increase and, due to lifestyle constraints, more and more people will fall victims to junk food.


After reading this article, I would think twice before visiting such places for food. A suggestion would be to display photographs of disease, the way it is done in the case of tobacco products. The Indian government has to regulate all junk food chains and start putting up hoardings with photographs about their health hazards in front of such stores, so that visitors at least become aware of the effects of consuming junk food.


Thank you, Moneylife, for a wonderful Cover Story, apart from finance-related ones. We need to make people understand and realise this.

P K Misra, by email


Profound Philosophy!

This is with regard to Prof Hegde’s article on the Nocebo effect in Moneylife

(27 November 2014). Prof Hegde’s philosophy is profound, practical and much-needed for our times. It should reach a larger audience. His articles in Moneylife, complemented with the chapter “Medicine Optionality and Fragility” in Nassim Taleb’s book Antifragile, speak about how naïve intervention by doctors causes harm.


I have registered for MSSN (Moneylife Smart Savers Network) and I love the unbiased advice given on all aspects. I salute Moneylife’s courage to do this in India, where I am sure the powerful will spare no effort to protect themselves.


Thank you, Moneylife for all the amazing work that you do. I have always thought of doing something for society but somehow the lazy, scared and corporate treadmill-running Charles gets the better of me. Hope to do my bit by spreading the Moneylife message. I got my mother-in-law and two colleagues to subscribe to Moneylife magazine. Hopefully, more will follow.

Charles Carvalho, by email


Casual Approach

This is with regard to “Stop Punishing Investors for the actions of Rogue Promoters” by Sucheta Dalal. As usual, congratulations to Ms Dalal for bringing the reality to surface! When the Congress government was in power, nothing happened; the change in government has changed things. SEBI has issued the order.


I was representing the Shareholders’ Association at a meeting with senior officers of SEBI. Officers had a casual approach on protecting the interest of the common investors. Unless such persons are punished within reasonable time, things are not going to improve.

Shanti K Patel, online comment



Simple Helplessness

This is with regard to “Are You Serious?” by Sucheta Dalal. No, they are not serious. Those who are supposed to be the watchdogs of consumer interests hardly care about consumers. They care more about protecting those who exploit consumers. When asked why they are not taking action, the reply is a simple helplessness: ‘No teeth’. Laws do not empower them. They advise, for relief ‘go to a consumer forum’. Everywhere, the consumer is at the receiving end.


Role of Media? Sorry to say, except Moneylife, all other media confine themselves to mere reporting of court judgements. If any consumer has a serious grievance, the media does not have the time or the inclination to print even a line.

Mohan Siroya, online comment


Realistic Expectations

This is with regard to “How Financially Savvy Are You?” by Debashis Basu and Raj Pradhan. I find it shocking that respondents expect returns of 15%-20% from equities, over long periods of time. Only 12% of the respondents have realistic expectations of equity returns. Moneylife should caution its readers NOT to expect returns over 12%.

Ralph Rau, online comment


Nice Coverage

This is with regard to “Book Review of: Why Moats Matter.” Nice Coverage! I liked the Moat concept. Actually, we all think of such factors. But it seems the author of the book helped the reader to actually provide the tools to finally pick the stock.

Kiran Aggarwal, online comment


eal Cleaning Up

This is with regard to Book Review of Not Just an Accountant by Jason Monteiro. The book has opened debates on several issues concerning governance and the games people holding power play. It needs a lot of courage and will to live for the country for individuals like Vinod Rai, to speak out on issues raised in the book. The debate should be taken forward for real cleaning up to happen. Moneylife has done its bit by publishing this review.

MG Warrier, online comment


Loss of Investors

This is with regard to “SEBI Regulates ‘Research Analysts’” by SD Israni. Big fines and penalty can deter roadside equity firms.


SEBI should bring out what would happen to an investor if the imposed fine or penalty is unable to meet the investors’ loss. A well-considered and 360-degree approach is required. But, going by SEBI’s track record, it may be a series of over-promises. There is under-performance by SEBI like in the case of PEARL shares.

Madhur Aggarwal, online comment


Commissions of Wealth Management Companies!

This is with regard to “IRDA for Removing Cap on Agent Commission?” by Raj Pradhan.


Excellent article and the issue which has been covered by Moneylife! I would request Moneylife to carry a similar article on how much commission wealth management companies get for forcing their clients to buy Z-grade punter shares.

Suketu Shah


Is the BJP Doing a Quid Pro Quo?

This is with regard to “Bailing Out Cooperative Banks” by Sucheta Dalal. The PSBs (public sector banks) are funded by the central government as they have the majority stake in them. It may be for the first time that the ‘Government at the Centre’ is rescuing cooperative banks. Twenty three cooperative banks get Rs2,375 crore.


It is sad that the BJP, which has come to power with the promise to root out corruption, is shielding cooperative banks that have gone into the red because of corrupt practices, mismanagement, etc. The managements of the failed cooperative banks are, by and large, in the hands of ruthless politicians. The BJP seems to be obliged to them to repay the dues it owes: quid pro quo. What the BJP practises is different from what it professes.


Other ailing cooperative banks may also await the lift karale’ boost by the Central government!


Cooperative banks, which are victims of politicians, are put on moratorium by the regulators. As a result, the depositors, i.e., the public, have to bear the brunt of the problem. The public, if not the regulators, should oppose the misuse of the taxpayers’ money by the Central government.

RG Nakhate


Woes of the New Government?

This is with regard to “What To Make of the New Road Transport Bill?” by Veeresh Malik.


The circus remains the same and so do the new jokers who work in Delhi. Only the ringmaster has changed. These ministries are touts for various industries designed to fleece and trouble the common man. There is no civil society representation. This is the case of the auto Industry. Look at real estate, the mother of all corrupt industries, which has no industry status. Poor agreements are signed which are lop sided and weighed in favour of the builder. Gas prices are up and taxi-drivers will cry for two days. Life would be as usual afterwards. Airlines charge high rates today and the industry is sick.

Mahesh S Bhatt


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