G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Friday, February 27, 2009

Unclaimed $1,456 B in Swiss Banks may soon help Indian Democracy

FT reported on February 20, 2009:

“As many as 52,000 American customers hid UBS accounts from the authorities in violation of tax laws, a US government lawsuit against the Swiss bank alleged on Thursday.

The Department of Justice filed a suit seeking to force UBS to disclose the holders of accounts with about $14.8bn in assets.

… UBS reached a landmark settlement with the US government in which the Swiss bank admitted having enabled clients to evade taxes, agreed to pay $780m in fines and turn over about 250 client names to the US…”

PRAFUL BIDWAI wrote in Frontline Feb 13, 2009:

“…Indian businessmen have stashed away billions of dollars in bank accounts abroad. According to a recent report attributed to the Swiss Banking Association, the estimated amount is an astronomical $1,456 billion, higher than the deposits from all other countries put together…”

India may not get $1,456 billion but even the fine amount of $780m looks pretty good.

Timing couldn’t be better because the impending Loksabha elections will surely deplete $1,456 billion considerably.

But spare a thought for an unknown Swiss banker handling Indian accounts. He may lose part of his bonus.

(Since 2001, Mike Luckovich has drawn a few brilliant cartoons of Osama bin Laden and his partner. Here is the latest one.)

Artist: Mike Luckovich