Mumbai’s 27-Story House Lies Empty, Clinton Presses Pakistan on Haqqani | Oct. 16 – Oct. 21, 2011
Life moves fast. News moves faster. An Indian billionaire abandons his megamansion, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gives Pakistan tough love and people rally for civil liberties in Bangladesh.
A House, Not a Home About a year ago, Mukesh Ambani built a billion-dollar mansion called Antilia that soars 27 stories high, towering over the rest of Mumbai’s homes. Despite the lavish furnishings, which include three helipads and six floors of parking, no one seems to be living there. Rather, Ambani and his family live in Sea Wind, a nearby apartment tower only half Antilia’s size. “The house, widely considered the most expensive private residence in the world at an approximate valuation of $1 billion, is at least put to some use. The Ambanis apparently host movie screenings and dinners in a grand ballroom,” TIME reports. [TIME NewsFeed]
Musical Chairs Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan are in a tight battle for a free seat on the 15-member U.N. Security Council. The winning country will be elected by the 193 members of the U.N. General Assembly for a two-year term. If Pakistan wins the Asian seat, it will return to the Council for the first time since 2003. The vote is unusual this time around, as four of the five seats are hotly contested, unlike previous years when regional groups would endorse their pick ahead of time. [Dawn]
Overblown Food Prices As demand for fruits, vegetables and proteins increases, India’s food inflation rate is also on the rise. The inflation rate hit 10.6 percent year-on-year the week ending Oct. 8, following the rising trend that started in August. Although India has raised interest rates 12 times in the past year, it has been unable to keep inflation rates under control. According to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, supply constraints are causing the food inflation. [Monsters and Critics]
Talk Them to Death U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Pakistan after spending a couple days in Afghanistan, where she called for Pakistani authorities to resist militants who “kill their own people and cross the border to kill in Afghanistan.” Clinton suggested Friday that Pakistan take part in peace talks in Afghanistan since the former has not taken adequate action against the Haqqani network, in the Americans’ opinion. Clinton told a journalist, however, that the U.S. expects Pakistan to force militants to negotiate rather than fighting them. [LA Times]
Equal Rights For All Transgenders, or “hijras” as they are known in Bangladesh, may soon be recognized as a gender, if protestors’ voices are heard by the government. Hundreds of students, activists and transgender people turned out in support of these people who are born male but dress as women. The Dhaka rally drew attention to the discrimination and human rights abuses that 30,000 to 150,000 transgenders in Bangladesh regularly face. According to the BBC, senior government official Muhammad Ebadur Rahman said, “The idea behind the rally is to sensitise the masses about the transgender people. There is a misconception and negative attitude of the people towards them.” [BBC News]
Amina Elahi is Divanee.com’s Managing Editor. Check out her blog.